The dust has finally settled on Tampa Bay Bucaneers’ Super Bowl success in February, with Tom Brady adding to his legacy in the victory over Kansas City Chiefs.
Once the door had the door shut on last season, the attention for 31 other teams turned to how they could improve their rosters in April.
While Tampa Bay’s roster partied to celebrate their success, the general managers of the remaining 31 teams turned to the 2021 NFL Draft, which gets underway on April 29 in Ohio.
Like always, the attention is firmly around the No.1 pick and where the quarterbacks will end up, and we look at this year’s candidates and who is in the hunt for them.
Jacksonville Beckons for Lawrence
The 2021 Draft class is filled with high-quality quarterbacks, with five expected to be snapped up in the first round.
Leading the race is Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and the scouting reports suggest he has what it takes to star in the NFL from the outset.
He leaves Clemson as a three-year starter, and ended his career as a starter with a record of 34 wins and two defeats.
Lawrence’s accurate passing, athleticism and quick thinking have already seen him labelled a “generational” talent, and he looks destined for the Jaguars, who have the first pick in this year’s draft and coincidentally need a quarterback for years to come.
Fields and Wilson Ready to Make their Mark
Justin Fields and Zach Wilson are the next two quarterbacks in the NFL Draft, and both could be snapped up inside the first four or five picks.
Wilson played for three years at BYU and scored 43 touchdowns in 2020. He is known for his quick thinking and spontaneity, and he looks set to become an immediate starter in the NFL.
The New York Jets still have Sam Darnold at their disposal, and they are considering their options at present, but he is
6/4 to still be with the Jets in week one.
Jets’ general manager, Joe Douglas, is also considering Fields, but he looks a little raw compared to Wilson and Lawrence.
Scouts suggest his reads need to improve, but the Jets could take a chance on him, and Fields is
5/2 to be named the number two overall pick.
The Miami Dolphins have moved up the pecking order to three, but they are not looking at a QB, although Atlanta Falcons are with the fourth pick, and it is unlikely that both Wilson and Fields go beyond the top 10 picks.
Lance Has First-Round Hopes
Trey Lance is another QB who is looking to join the select club of first-round draft picks.
Lance was a dual-threat quarterback in the Bison read-based scheme, and he will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Easton Stick and Carson Wentz, who were drafted in round one earlier in their careers.
Lance’s downfall is the fact he was only a one-year starter at North Dakota State, and he may need to settle for a backup role in 2021.
The same applies to the remaining QBs towards the top end of the draft, with Mac Jones, Davis Mills, Kyle Trask, Ian Book, Kellen Mond and Jamie Newman all hoping to become NFL QBs in the next two months.
The likes of Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers are also pondering a move for a quarterback, and it looks like the 2021 Draft could be full of excitement for several playmakers with Lawrence the star attraction.
*All odds correct at time of writing