The 2020 NFL regular season is over. There’s only one college football game left to play: Monday’s college football playoff national championship between Alabama and Ohio State. Eighteen of the 32 NFL teams know where they’ll pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and have turned their attention to it. The time therefore seems opportune to predict how the first round will unfold in April.
It is still very early. This month’s Senior Bowl will give scouts a chance to see players who didn’t have much ribbon this year in a shortened season, and the NFL scout combine will be teams’ first look as well. one year out of many highly touted draft prospects who have chosen out of the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic. The reviewers, including myself, still have plenty of tapes to watch and plenty of interviews to conduct. The standings will change, as will the back half of the command draft used here – which was determined by ESPN’s Football Power Index projections.
But that’s for sure at this point, just under four months: the class is filled with talent. I currently have 22 players with a rating over 90 – which I use to identify true first-round prospects – including a handful of quarterbacks. So how is all of this going to play out? Predict the top 32 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, starting with a one-win Jaguars team. And don’t forget to check out our special simulation project, live on ESPN + at 5 p.m. ET.
Note: Draft order is set for picks 1 to 18. For picks 19 to 32, we used ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) projections. Subclasses are marked with an asterisk.
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Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson *
Were you expecting someone else? I haven’t seen a quarterback prospect like Lawrence in nearly a decade, and the Jaguars are certainly in the market for one. Gardner Minshew II, Mike Glennon and Jake Luton combined for the NFL’s second-worst overall QBR in 2020 (43.7). Jacksonville will have a new GM and a new coach after losing 15 games, and the 6-foot-6 Lawrence – who has a huge arm, good pocket mobility, and all the intangibles you could ask for – would give the news. leading the team a starting quarterback who should soon be among the best in the NFL. Lawrence said for the project Wednesday.