Lawrence Favored To Be Top Pick In 2021 NFL Draft
The NFL Draft is over in 2020, which enables the NFL scouting community to begin to look at the next draft class for 2021. There are obvious questions about whether college football will be played this year, and if there are no games, what will this mean for every team’s draft evaluation, since players will wind up sitting for a full year? We can’t really know what will happen, and we can’t try to assume things about the future. However, we can at least evaluate where prospects stand right now, so that if things change, you will get a sense of which players are rising or falling on the draft board.
The top two picks in the 2021 NFL Draft are very likely to be the quarterbacks. Start with Lawrence, who has played in national championship games in each of his first two seasons at Clemson and will be favored to quarterback in a third national title game if college football is able to play a season this year. Lawrence wasn’t at the top of his game in 2019 for Clemson, but he did make clutch plays in the College Football Playoff semifinal game at the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State. Lawrence has a cannon for an arm, and he is also sneaky-fast. He can run, not merely scramble, when he absolutely needs to. He seemed to be confused by opposing defenses at times last season, so as long as he shows improvement in reading defenses this upcoming season, he should solidify himself as the No. 1 pick in the draft.
The only other player with an excellent chance of being the No. 1 pick in 2021 is Fields. He makes good decisions with the ball. He spreads the wealth to his various backs and receivers. He is faster than Lawrence. He definitely had a better 2019 season than Lawrence, even though Lawrence’s Tigers beat Fields’ Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff. Fields had such a dynamic 2019 season that if he can replicate it in 2020 and Lawrence doesn’t significantly improve from his 2019 results, Fields could vault past Lawrence for the No. 1 pick. It’s one of the quarterbacks for the top pick. Fields is the clear best alternative to Lawrence.
The massive yet agile offensive lineman for Oregon will have a chance to jump to No. 1 on the draft board if Lawrence and Fields are both ordinary. The quarterbacks have to struggle in order for Sewell to jump up the board and become the ultimate prize for NFL teams in 2021. Oregon won the Rose Bowl this past season, elevating his national profile. If the Ducks can defend their Pac-12 championship and the two quarterbacks leave something on the table, the draft order could change, and Sewell could benefit.
The defensive end from Miami has to watch the draft crumble in front of him in order to capitalize and get an outside shot at the No. 1 pick. This is so much on the periphery of the race; other players will have to stumble, and the players behind Rousseau on the draft order will have to stay in place so that they don’t rise above him.
ODDS TO BE FIRST PICK OF 2021 DRAFT
TREVOR LAWRENCE -400
JUSTIN FIELDS +500
PENEI SEWELL +1200
JAMIE NEWMAN +1600
GREGORY ROUSSEAU +1800
JA’MARR CHASE +2000