A panel of NFL coaches and coordinators dish on their evaluations of the top QBs, and what the numbers say about how many will actually hit. Plus, top story lines for Thursday night, the pace of fifth-year options and more draft notes.Game Plan: Scouting Reports on the Expected First-Round Quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft
The numbers bear that out. Some facts:
• Twenty quarterbacks went in the first round between 2011 and ’17. Eight made it to a second deal (one of those eight, by the way, is Blake Bortles). Two more (Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota) had fifth-year options picked up. Ten either had their fifth-year options declined or didn’t last long enough for their teams to have made that call. And only two of the 20 (Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson) remain with the teams that drafted them.
• Quarterbacks from the first rounds in 2018 (Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen) and 2019 (Dwayne Haskins) have already been jettisoned by the teams that drafted them.
• Looking at a wider time range, Ben Roethlisberger is the longest-tenured former first-rounder still with the team that drafted him—this’ll be his 18th year in Pittsburgh. Aaron Rodgers, in his 17th year in Green Bay, is right behind him. After that? Between 2006 and ’16, 11 draft cycles, 29 quarterbacks went in the first round. Atlanta’s Matt Ryan is the only one left with the team that took him.
And Roethlisberger’s class, really, stands as the last one with more than two bona fide, long-term franchise quarterbacks in it, with Eli Manning and Philip Rivers’s having gone in front of Big Ben in 2004.
Again, this is nothing against Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Mac Jones, Justin Fields or Trey Lance. But the facts here are the facts. There’s a reason why, 38 years later, people still talk about the quarterback class of 1983—because it remains, with all this time passed, the outlier when it comes to the position.
So that’ll be the backdrop as we dive into a study of the five guys who’ll hear their names called on Thursday night. We’re going to give you scouting reports. We’re going to give you fun comps. We’re going to encourage you to embrace the hope that drafting a quarterback pumps into any franchise that takes one that high.
But we’re going to do it with the warning that there’s every bit as good a chance, and probably a better chance, that most of these guys will end up being closer to being Teddy Bridgewater or Mark Sanchez than they do of becoming Mahomes.
It’s the day before the draft, so this week’s GamePlan is going to be draft-heavy. Inside this week’s column, you’ll get …
It is here, my final mock draft before the 2021 NFL Draft. It’s been a long road, filled with a mock draft every week since the start of football season, and I feel like I’m done with the longest marathon race of my life.
This, of course, is a mock as to what I believe will unfold on draft night, which believe it or not, or what Kyle Shanahan tells you, will eventually get here. We know the first two picks (or are at least 99% positive Zach Wilson will land with the Jets at No. 2). After that? Mass chaos.