The NFL is a quarterback-driven league. By the time April rolls around, there will be many new quarterbacks looking to make history. Behold the 2021 NFL Draft and its crop of quarterbacks. There is a possibility that once the first round concludes, six quarterbacks could come off the board.
That accomplishment would tie the 1983 NFL Draft record that produced the six quarterbacks, three Hall of Famers. John Elway, Jim Kelly, and Dan Marino were all part of that legendary crew. In fact, of that class, four quarterbacks went on to start in a Super Bowl, the Hall of Famers previously mentioned, and the Patriots’ Tony Eason, who never truly matured into an NFL star. However, with any quarterback class comes players who do not pan out. The Jets and the Chiefs learned this the hard way when they selected Ken O’Brien and Todd Blackledge.
The 2021 NFL Draft Reminds Us History Can Repeat Itself
Coming in second place is the tie of 1999 and 2018. Both classes had five quarterbacks taken off the board in the first round, each with mixed results. In 1999, only one of the signal-callers had any success while the rest severely underachieved. Only Syracuses’ Donovan McNabb, drafted by Philadelphia, impacted the league for positive reasons. The rest, including Tim Couch, Cade McNown, Akili Smith, and Daunte Culpepper, never sustained long-term success. Culpepper, however, deserves the benefit of the doubt due to an injury.
In 2018, we saw Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, and former league MVP Lamar Jackson hear their names called on Day 1, and each one outside of Rosen is still starting for their respective teams. On the other hand, Darnold may be on his way out pending what the Jets decide to do in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Rookie Quarterbacks Will Have the Opportunity to be Faces of the League.
Going into this NFL Draft, there are six potential first-round targets. None more obvious than Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. There is a strong possibility close enough to an absolute certainty that the Jacksonville Jaguars will select Lawrence as their franchise quarterback. The next team likely to take a quarterback would be, as previously mentioned, the New York Jets.
New York had an opportunity to earn the top overall pick, only to squander the dream with back to back victories after starting 0-13. That said, they may settle in with Ohio State’s Justin Fields, although given the history of Ohio State quarterbacks in the NFL, they must solidify their roster to give him the best chance to succeed. Following Fields, BYU’s Zach Wilson, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, Florida’s Kyle Trask, and Alabama’s Mac Jones. All of whom have good qualities that warrant an investment, but that would fall on the team.
Teams Need Quarterbacks, This May be Their Best Chance
Franchises such as the Bears, Patriots, and the Colts are in a position where their quarterback play this season has the fanbase looking towards the future for a signal-caller. It may take a trade on draft night to the point of possibly mortgaging of the future. Nonetheless, the 2021 NFL Draft class of quarterbacks have a chance to join NFL History.
Embed from Getty Images