The 2021 NFL Draft is going to be a lot more lively than its predecessor. Commissioner Roger Goodell will be back to giving handshakes and bear hugs as most of the athletes have been vaccinated, and fans will be in attendance too. It won’t be the jubilant party that we have seen in the past, but it will be a lot closer to normal than the 2020 NFL Draft.
First Overall Pick
There’s little doubt who the Jacksonville Jaguars will take with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Trevor Lawrence is the surefire first pick off the board. The Clemson product is the most NFL ready quarterback since Andrew Luck almost a decade ago, and there’s no chance Jacksonville passes on the biggest sure thing in this year’s draft.
Second Overall Pick
The New York Jets currently have the No. 2 pick in the draft. Most draftniks have them pegged to take a quarterback, and it looks like BYU’s Zach Wilson will be the selection. Wilson had a great 2020 campaign with the Cougars, but he didn’t play a lot of tough competition. He did not have a solid 2019 season either, so it’s a bit of a surprise to see him vault his way to becoming the second overall pick.
How Many Quarterbacks Will be Taken in the First Round?
There are likely to be at least five quarterbacks selected in the first round of this year’s draft. Lawrence, Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, and Mac Jones are all pegged as first round picks. While there is a lot of consensus on the first two quarterbacks off the board, there is disagreement with who will come off the board next.
Fields is the most likely option given what we saw from him against elite competition at Ohio State. He was given almost as high of a grade out of high school as Lawrence by recruiting services, and he had an excellent 2020 campaign despite not having as much talent around him as he did the previous season.
Jones was able to flourish in his senior year in Tuscaloosa. Jones had the most talented receiving corps in the country and took advantage of it to lead Alabama to a national title. He was not seen as a first round talent until the draft process got underway, but there are some observers that like his polish and appreciate his experience under Nick Saban.
The biggest enigma in the 2021 NFL Draft is Trey Lance. Lance only played one full season at FCS powerhouse North Dakota State, but he lit up opposing defenses. He didn’t throw a single interception in any of his 16 starts during the 2019 season, and he threw for 2,786 yards and 28 touchdowns while running for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Who Will Be the First Non-Quarterback Selected in the 2021 NFL Draft?
We will see a lot of quarterbacks taken early in the first round, but there is a question over who will be the first non-signal caller taken on Thursday. Tight end Kyle Pitts, offensive tackle Penei Sewell, and wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase, Devonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle are all candidates to be the first non-quarterback off the board.
Pitts has a great chance to be the highest tight end selected in NFL Draft history. Vernon Davis was the No. 6 pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, and he currently holds the honor as the earliest tight end to come off the board. Pitts might be the No. 4 or No. 5 pick, so we could see history being made with his selection.
Sewell has been considered the top offensive lineman in this class since last year, and his decision to sit out the 2020 season has not affected his draft stock. He is a potential franchise offensive tackle.
The class of receivers in the 2020 NFL Draft is considered one of the best ever, and this year’s crop isn’t that far off. Chase, Smith, and Waddle are all first round locks, and all three of the receivers could go in the top ten.