The Best NFL Landing Spots For This Year’s Elite QB Class

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Ryan Rogers Contributor
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The 2021 NFL Draft is scheduled to begin April 29 and this year’s incoming NFL Quarterback Class is one of the best in recent memory. Trevor Lawrence headlines the class but is quickly followed by numerous other dynamic quarterbacks including the likes of Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, Kyle Trask, Trey Lance and Mac Jones.

If this class wasn’t already enough to excite GM’s across the league, multiple teams are in need of a leader behind center, including the Indianapolis Colts after Philip Rivers retired last Wednesday. With aging QB’s of old, Deshaun Watson’s off-the-field drama, upcoming free agency, and a historic QB class, the first round of the Draft could be captivating from start to finish. (RELATED: Alabama Quarterback Mac Jones Wins The Manning Award)

Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) – Jacksonville Jaguars

Urban Meyer is the new Head Coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars and really couldn’t have fallen into a better position. With the first pick in the draft, the Jags select the highest graded QB prospect since Andrew Luck, according to draft insider, Mel Kiper Jr., at ESPN. Unless the Jaguars receive an unprecedented trade package for the pick, Lawrence essentially feels like a lock here. With Meyer now under helm, there have been recent rumors of the Jags considering Justin Fields. After all, it was Meyer that recruited Fields and helped convince him to transfer from Georgia to Ohio State in January 2019. But even Meyer, himself, has openly touted Lawrence as a better prospect than Fields in the past because of his greater experience. Expect the Jags to pair Lawrence with their young dynamic duo of James Robinson and D.J. Chark on offense.

Justin Fields (Ohio State) – New York Jets

Fields has had quite the year, with his draft stock constantly going up and down every week. He did end the season on a high note however, with an outstanding performance against Clemson, throwing for six touchdowns in a dominant Sugar Bowl display. Although his draft stock has risen recently, his ideal landing spot could largely come down to where Deshaun Watson ends up. Assuming the Jets are unable to put together a trade package tempting enough for the Texans, Fields is the likely choice with the second pick in the draft. The Jets won two games at the end of the year, dropping them to #2 overall but up until then, it was almost certain the Jets would take Lawrence. With confidence in Sam Darnold still low, it makes sense for them to pull the trigger on a franchise quarterback in Fields. (RELATED: REPORT: Texans Don’t View Tua Tagovailoa As A Replacement For Deshaun Watson)

Zach Wilson (BYU) – Atlanta Falcons

The new regime in Atlanta can go several different directions with the 4th overall pick in the Draft, according to Todd McShay of ESPN. They can trade back, take badly needed defensive help, or grab their quarterback for the future. In his piece for the Falcon Wire, Deen Worley explains why it’s highly unlikely the Falcons will be able to move on from Matt Ryan this offseason. However, plenty of NFL teams have drafted young quarterbacks in advance, sitting them behind a proven veteran for a time until they are ready to play. This could be the case with Zach Wilson, an explosive talent praised for his toughness and ability to throw a long ball. Some even like him more than Fields. Drafting Wilson would give the Falcons an incredible talent to rely on for the future while still giving Matt Ryan one more year as the starter.

Trey Lance (North Dakota State) – Carolina Panthers

Matt Rhule’s Carolina Panthers are in a similar position to the Falcons. They know Teddy Bridgewater isn’t the quarterback of the future, just like Matt Ryan isn’t the future. But at the same time, it doesn’t look like either will be moving on to a new team this offseason. If Rhule wants to draft a QB for the future, Trey Lance is a highly intriguing option. Lance finished his college career with 48 total TD’s and only two turnover’s according to PFF Draft but some have raised concerns about his small sample size of games and how he’s, “Played against much lesser competition than the other four big name QBs in this class” according to Max Mcauliffe’s latest scouting report on the NDSU star. Lance could be the biggest boom-or-bust candidate in this year’s draft but if Rhule is set on a QB, it may be worth the risk, especially if Lance gets one season to settle in and learn from a proven veteran.

Mac Jones (Alabama) – New England Patriots

After the top four QB’s are off the board, things get a little dicey. At this point, several teams including the Patriots, Colts, and 49ers need a quarterback. Don’t be surprised if the Washington Football Team, Steelers, and Chicago aren’t looking over their shoulder deciding if they should pull the trigger as well. After their first losing season in 20 years, Bill Belichick is finally pushed to be aggressive in the Draft, picking up the Alabama signal-caller. Although Jones isn’t nearly as mobile as many modern NFL QB’s, Todd McShay has raved about his “intelligence” and “pocket presence”, characteristics that have always been of high value to the Patriots, according to Mike Reiss at ESPN. This feels like Belichick correcting the mistake that was letting Garoppolo move on too soon in in 2017. (RELATED: REPORT: Alabama Quarterback Mac Jones Is Jumping Up NFL Draft Boards)

Kyle Trask (Florida) – Washington Football Team

Ron Rivera pulled off a miracle with this Washington team this season, winning the NFC East and sneaking into the playoffs with a 7-9 record. With one of the league’s best defenses, an elite wide receiver in Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson coming off a promising rookie season, all that is left to complete the puzzle is a quarterback. Alex Smith simply can’t be trusted due to his health concerns and Dwayne Haskins  has officially moved on to the Steelers. In Kyle Trask, Washington can afford to take a shot at a player with tremendous upside. Trask’s record breaking season in the SEC had him soar up draft boards but a disappointing end to the Gators’ season brought expectations back down slightly. Still, the Heisman Finalist possesses the ability to be a starter in the NFL if he’s surrounded by a good system. (RELATED: Alex Smith Hasn’t Made A Decision On Playing Next Season)