Todd McShay is buying into the quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft class in a big way. The long-time ESPN analyst dropped a new mock draft on Friday and went big right off the top. McShay projects quarterbacks being selected with the first four picks and five being taken in the top nine.
He went with the obvious pick up top and had the Jacksonville Jaguars selecting Trevor Lawrence and essentially putting it as a mortal lock. And, as many others have, McShay sent BYU quarterback Zach Wilson to the New York Jets at No. 2. That's when things got interesting.
At No.3, he had the Carolina Panthers trading up from No. 8 to take the Miami Dolphins' spot. In that position, he has Matt Rhule's team selecting Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. McShay believes an adequate package for that pick would be the eighth pick, Carolina's second-rounder (No. 39) and a future first-rounder. After Teddy Bridgewater struggled in 2020, the Panthers appear ready to move on and build around someone else.
In McShay's version of events, the Atlanta Falcons then follow that pick up by selecting Trey Lance at No. 4. Lance could sit behind Matt Ryan for a year and learn while adjusting to the huge gap between the FCS and NFL. Lance has a ton of talent but just needs to harness it.
So that's four picks and four quarterbacks.
Later on in the round McShay has the San Francisco 49ers trading up to No. 9 to select Alabama quarterback Mac Jones. In that scenario the 49ers would send the 12th pick, the 43rd pick and a future first- or second-rounder to the Denver Broncos. This would ultimately all depend on whether the 49ers can find a quarterback elsewhere this offseason. If not, Jones could be a really nice fit in Kyle Shanahan's system.
If that entire scenario plays out on draft night it would be wild. It goes to show you how much value experts are placing on this year's quarterback class. Five could legitimately go in the top 10.