Here are the top 10 quarterback prospects (with projected round) for the 2021 NFL draft, which is set for April 29-May 1:
1. Trevor Lawrence, Clemson, 6-foot-6, 220 pounds (first round): Lawrence had one of the more celebrated careers by a quarterback in college football history from 2018-20. He led Clemson to a national championship as a freshman in 2018. He finished his career going 34-2 (.944) as a starter, the third-best winning percentage by a starting quarterback with at least 30 career starts since Division I split in 1978, trailing only Miami’s Ken Dorsey (.950) and USC’s Matt Leinart (.949), according to ESPN Stats & Info. Lawrence was a four-year starter at Cartersville High School and went 52-2, including a 41-game win streak and 14-2 record in the playoffs. He led his team to four region titles and two state titles. He finished with 13,908 passing yards and 161 touchdowns against 21 interceptions over his high school career. He was a member of the AJC’s Super 11, Class of 2017.
2. Justin Fields, Ohio State, 6-3, 228 (first round): In addition to his impressive outing throwing the football, Fields (Harrison High) showed off his speed by clocking a time of 4.44 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. To put this time in perspective, the only quarterback to run a faster time at the NFL scouting combine was Robert Griffin, who ran the 40 in 4.41 seconds.
3. Trey Lance, North Dakota State, 6-4, 226 (first round): Lance, 20, elected to enter the draft after North Dakota State played only one game in the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic. He led the Bison to the FCS national championship in 2019. He posted a 17-0 record as a starter. In 2019, he passed for 28 touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for 1,100 yards and had 14 rushing touchdowns.
4. Zach Wilson, Brigham Young, 6-3, 210, (first round): He completed 247 of 336 passes (73.5%), which ranked second in the FBS. He finished with 33 touchdown passes and threw only three interceptions. He also rushed for 10 touchdowns.
5. Mac Jones, Alabama, 6-3, 210, (first round): Jones set a single-season completion percentage record while connecting on 311 of 402 passes (77.4%). He also led the nation with a school-record 4,500 passing yards. He won the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s top quarterback and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.
6. Kyle Trask, Florida, 6-4, 240 (third round): He bloomed late after taking over for Feleipe Franks, who suffered an ankle injury in 2019. He helped the Gators win eight of 10 games and tossed 25 touchdown passes. In 2020, he led the FBS with a 43 touchdown passes, a school record. He passed for 356.9 yards per game, which was a school-record 4,283 yards.
7. Davis Mills, Stanford, 6-4, 212 (third round): After a four-year period with only 11 starts, two severe knee injuries and a strange season limiting him to five games because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mills moved through Pro Day drills in Palo Alto, Calif., hoping to show scouts he still deserved to be spoken in the same breath with the other elite quarterbacks in this year’s NFL draft class. Mills (Greater Atlanta Christian) was the top quarterback in the 2016 recruiting class, his counterparts in 2017 -- Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields -- are considered top-five picks.
8. Kellen Mond, Texas A&M, 6-3, 217: (fourth round): He was the Senior Bowl MVP. He became the school’s all-time leader in most career passing categories and tied Johnny Manziel, a Heisman Trophy winner, with 93 total touchdown passes. He led the Aggies to a 9-1 record in 2020.
9. Jamie Newman, Wake Forest, 6-4, 230 (fourth round): Why did he opt out at Georgia? Was he losing the battle for the starting spot? Before the bizarre departure, most thought he needed to play to help his pro draft stock. Has some arm talent and is mobile.
10. Feleipe Franks, Arkansas,6-6, 228 (fifth round): After playing for Florida and losing his job after an ankle injury in 2019, he transferred to Arkansas as a graduate student. He started nine games for the Razorbacks and completed 163 of 238 passes for 2,107 yards, 17 touchdowns and four interceptions.
» Here’s a look back at the top 10 quarterbacks in the 2020 draft.
Teams in need: Falcons, Jacksonville, New York Jets, Denver, New England, Chicago and Pittsburgh. Need area for Falcons: Yes. The Falcons have one quarterback on the roster after Matt Schaub retired and Kurt Benkert was released. Top 5 QBs for 2022 draft: Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler, Auburn’s Bo Nix, North Carolina’s Sam Howell, USC’s Kedon Slovis and Iowa Sate’s Brock Purdy.
Falcons’ 2021 draft position: Here are the top 10 picks in D. Led’s Mock Draft 4.0:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)
2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, (QB, BYU)
3. San Francisco 49ers: Justin Fields (QB, Ohio State)
4. Atlanta Falcons: Penei Sewell (OT, Oregon)
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase (WR, LSU)
6. Miami Dolphins: Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida)
7. Detroit Lions: DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama)
8. Carolina Panthers: Jaylen Waddle (WR, Alabama)
9. Denver Broncos: Trey Lance (QB, North Dakota State)
10. Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain (CB, Alabama)
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