We're nine days out from the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. In just over a week, all predictions and forecasts will be proven right or very wrong. Speculation about who will go where will come to a dead stop as earnest attempts to project how each of these draftees will fit with their new NFL franchise take over.
Until then, we will continue to try and forecast exactly how the most important picks will play out. Field Yates attempted to do just that on Get Up this morning. In a discussion about the crop of quarterbacks that have dominated draft storylines over the last few weeks, Yates predicted that five quarterbacks will go in the first nine picks of the draft.
This doesn't come as a big surprise if you've been tapped into the draft information pipeline over the last month or so. It's still kind of crazy to hear it out loud. The first two picks (Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson) have been locked in for a while now. The Niners traded up to three and immediately were linked with Mac Jones, which is rather stunning but the signs are pointing to the Alabama QB as he inevitable pick for San Francisco right now. The Falcons could very well take Trey Lance at No. 4 or trade down to another interested party. That's four quarterbacks in the first four picks. And if Justin Fields really is the odd man out here, then there should be a few teams aggressively trying to trade up for the right to add him.
We entered draft season back in January with the understanding that Lawrence and Fields were definitely going high in the first round. Lance was intriguing but didn't play in 2020 so it was anyone's guess how his tape would hold up under the close eye of professional and amateur draft analysts. Months later, Fields could end up being the fifth quarterback taken as Jones and Wilson entered the ring. Five QBs off the board before the picks hit double-digits.
That is extraordinarily rare. The closest thing we've seen in recent history was the 2018 draft, in which three quarterbacks went in the top seven picks and a fourth (Josh Rosen) was taken at No. 10. The 2011 draft came close, with four quarterbacks taken in the first 12 picks of the event. This year's draft is a bit reminiscent of the 1999 affair in which Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, and Akili Smith were the first three picks off the board and all lined up under center.
But five of the first nine picks being quarterbacks hasn't happened this century. It's a once-in-a-generation draft. That doesn't mean it'll be good. Every non-Lawrence QB has legitimate question marks about their game. Franchise quarterbacks, though, have never been more valuable than they are right now. Teams are desperate to find them. This year's draft could go down as a notable one for various reasons, but the QB position will define how we look back on it going forward.