Sports Reporter breaks down the most sought after recruits for this year's NFL Draft.
By Mark Molz
Everyone knows Trevor Lawrence is going to be the first overall pick in this year's NFL draft. He is a generational type talent that will hopefully have a transcending career at the next level.
The real excitement in this year’s draft will come in the picks that follow. With the possibility of five quarterbacks going in the top ten, this year is one of the more quarterback heavy classes in recent memory. The Jets, Forty-Niners, and Falcons hold picks two, three, and four and they all very well could take a quarterback with their respected picks.
With the trading of Sam Darnold to the Panthers, the Jets have now made it known they will be taking a quarterback with their 2nd overall pick, but the question still remains as to which quarterback they will be taking. There are four quarterbacks they will be able to choose from; Zach Wilson (BYU), Trey Lance (North Dakota State), Justin Fields (Ohio State), and Mac Jones (Alabama).
Justin Fields was the previous frontrunner to go second overall to the Jets, but as each quarterback has completed their pro day and pre draft workouts, Zach Wilson has now become the more viable option at this point in time. Wilson finished his 2020 campaign with 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. He took the college football world by storm and propelled himself up draft boards during the college football season and has the opportunity to be the highest drafted BYU player in the history of the program. But, although everything is leaning towards Zach Wilson, it is ultimately the Jets decision and anything can happen when it is their turn on the clock.
Meanwhile, it is up in the air with who the Forty-Niners are going to select with the third overall pick. What if the Jets decide not to take Zach Wilson? Will the Niners jump on him? Is Mac Jones better short-term or long-term? Will Justin Fields be the face of the franchise?
There are many questions to be asked and few answers for the average viewer, like many of us are. While the Niners still hold on to Jimmy Garoppolo, who led them to a super bowl just two seasons ago, it seems they are ready to draft a quarterback for their future. With Jimmy G constantly injured and missing games, I am sure Niners coach Kyle Shanahan is tired of choosing between Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard every week.
The Niners have the opportunity to shake up the whole draft depending on who they select. Many analysts believe it will be Mac Jones, who led the Alabama Crimson Tide to a National Championship in his lone year as a starter. But, there are concerns with Mac Jones and his ability to perform at the next level considering he had played a year of college football as a starting quarterback.
Others think it should be Justin Fields, whose dual-threat running and throwing game could be dominant in the NFL if put in the right system. But, conversation about Trey Lance being the Niners selection has also surfaced in analysts conversations which would make the following picks extremely interesting.
After the Niners you have the Falcons, who are struggling to stay afloat with Matt Ryan under center. With one of the best receiving duos in the league, in Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, the Falcons are also searching for a quarterback who can win and get Jones and Ridley the ball. With the fourth pick, it will be interesting to see who will still be available. All four quarterbacks have a chance to fall fourth to Falcons and if they don’t trade out their spot in the draft they will be looking to jump on the best available at that time. If I were to make an assumption, I would say the Falcons end up going with Trey Lance out of North Dakota State. He has the ability to throw the deep ball and hit his targets down the field, which is what the Falcons need.
On top of all the quarterbacks in this year's draft, the first half of the draft will be filled with offensive skill players that surely can dominate at the next level. Ja’Marr Chase (LSU), Jaylen Waddle (Alabama), Kyle Pitts (Florida), and Heisman winner DeVonta Smith (Alabama) will all be on the board and there is a strong chance they will all be gone by the tenth pick.
This class is packed with so much talent some analysts have DeVonta Smith - who is the first wide receiver to win the Heisman since Desmond Howard did it 1991- going last out of all those players. Ja’Marr Chase even sat last year's season out due to COVID-19 and has the opportunity to go in the top five.
This draft class has the opportunity to be one of the best of all time. This year's NFL draft will be one of the more exciting ones we have seen in a while. There will be trades, shocking picks, talent at every position, future NFL MVPs, and a lot of money to be made by these players. This is not one you will want to miss.
Click on the links below to check out some of the latest Mock Drafts.
Melanie Moyer '22,