Lawrence atop most early 2021 NFL mock drafts

By NICHOLAS SULLIVAN
Posted 4/28/20

The first-ever virtual NFL draft wrapped up Saturday after three days and 255 picks. While the hot takes and grades continue to roll in for the 2020 draft classes, several websites have taken the …

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Lawrence atop most early 2021 NFL mock drafts

Posted
The first-ever virtual NFL draft wrapped up Saturday after three days and 255 picks. While the hot takes and grades continue to roll in for the 2020 draft classes, several websites have taken the opportunity to get a jump on next year's event.

Based on an analysis of eight of those way-too-early 2021 mock drafts, Cartersville High product and current Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is the overwhelming presumptive No. 1 pick.

This shouldn't come as much of a surprise for anyone who has followed Lawrence's rise to stardom that saw him become the consensus top high school player in the country.

After leading the Canes to a pair of state championships in four years, Lawrence has amassed a 25-1 record as the Tigers starting QB. He has led Clemson to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in each of his two seasons on campus, winning the title his freshman year.

Now, armchair quarterbacks from across the internet believe Lawrence will be the first player to hear his name called during next year's draft, which is slated to take place in Cleveland.

Obviously, the biggest unknown is what franchise will be making that first pick. Most of the mock drafters used some form of inverted order based on Vegas oddsmakers' betting lines for Super Bowl favorites.

This led to Jacksonville "earning" the No. 1 pick in seven of the eight mocks. (That includes 247Sports, The Athletic, CBS Sports, FOX Sports, SB Nation, Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.) In each of those cases, Lawrence was tabbed as the top overall pick to the Jaguars.

Charles Power of 247Sports said Lawrence "has some of the best arm talent to enter the draft in years and has put together the strongest multi-year body of work of any draft eligible quarterback."

Sporting News' Vinnie Iyer called Lawrence a "no-brainer pick" for the team with the worst record. He later added that Lawrence "has lived up to the hype of being the best college talent at the position since John Elway with his arm, athleticism, accuracy and winning qualities."

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller was the only prognosticator who didn't have Lawrence going No. 1. However, Miller still had Lawrence going to the Jaguars with the third overall pick — likely due to using a different Super Bowl oddsmaker than the rest of his mock drafting brethren.

"Whether it's just a new quarterback or a new regime, starting over with Trevor Lawrence is what many franchises will no doubt be angling to do this coming season," Miller wrote. "One area scout who covers Clemson already told me Lawrence is the best sophomore quarterback since Peyton Manning."

For what it's worth, Lawrence is the heavy betting favorite to be taken with the No. 1 overall selection. According to BetMGM, he's listed at -250, meaning one would need to bet $250 just to win $100.

Ohio State QB Justin Fields is second on the list at +350. A graduate of Cobb County's Harrison High, Fields joined Lawrence, Oregon offensive lineman Penei Sewell, Miami edge rusher Gregory Rousseau and LSU wide receiver Jamar Chase as the most common top-five selections among the mock drafts.

Then again, a lot can change during and after this season, assuming there is one.

At this time last year, nobody would have claimed Joe Burrow would be a top-five pick — let alone the No. 1 overall selection — in 2020. But the LSU QB went out and had a phenomenal year, skyrocketing up draft boards. Burrow became the third straight Heisman Trophy winner to be taken first overall when Cincinnati drafted him Thursday.

While it's entirely possible someone comes out of nowhere this upcoming season to become the sure-fire top pick, Lawrence will remain the projected No. 1 overall selection until further notice. So even with basically 12 months of uncertainty until next year's draft, it's likely #TankForTrevor will be trending most Saturdays and Sundays this fall.