Trevor Lawrence is the presumptive number one pick in the 2021 Draft and has been since his stunning freshman season, guiding the Clemson Tigers to the National Championship.
The Tigers crushed the Alabama Crimson Tide 44-16, inflicting the worst loss on Nick Saban in his illustrious tenure in Tuscaloosa. Lawrence was instrumental throwing three touchdowns in the victory, enhancing his reputation on the big stage following an outstanding debut season.
Lawrence’s standards have not dropped since his breakthrough, although he suffered the first defeat of his college career in the 2020 National Championship Game at the hands of Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers. The 21-year-old remains the overwhelming leader in the American football odds to be the first player to be taken in the 2021 Draft, although there could be a contender to dislodge him.
Last season, Tua Tagovailoa was the presumptive pick to be taken first overall due to his brilliance at the Crimson Tide. However, over the course of the campaign injuries and also the rise to prominence of Burrow at the LSU Tigers resulted in the Cincinnati Bengals selecting Burrow at top spot.
There are viable candidates to make lightning strike twice over the course of the 2020 college season.
Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields can do it all. The 21-year-old was nothing short of sensational after transferring from Georgia in the 2019 season. He threw 41 touchdowns to only three interceptions, along with 484 rushing yards and another 10 scores on the ground. Fields is the leading contender for the Heisman Trophy and another stellar performance could see him move ahead of Lawrence in the minds of NFL teams.
Lawrence does not have the benefit of playing in the SEC as Burrow did in a comparable frame of thought for sides in their evaluation against Tua. The standard of competition in the ACC is arguably inferior to that of the Big 10 where Fields will be participating. The Tigers and the Buckeyes could well be on a collision course in the National Championship Game come January 2021. Their performances in that contest may also sway the minds of quarterback-needy sides.
Trey Lance enjoyed a great first team in playing for the North Dakota State Bison. He has all the measurements you want to see in an NFL quarterback and boasts the dual-threat ability out of the backfield. Lance threw 28 touchdowns to zero interceptions and rushed for 1,100 yards and for another 14 scores on the ground. Those statistics put both Lawrence and Fields into the shade, although the standard of the competition pales into insignificance.
However, playing in the Missouri Valley Football Conference should not knock Lance out of position to be considered the top pick. Carson Wentz was selected second overall, having attended the same college, and should have been picked first based on his performances for the Philadelphia Eagles. Lance will need to maintain a flawless standard as he will be judged differently, but there’s no reason to suggest why he cannot measure up to his counterparts.
Lawrence is the man in possession and it will take a special effort to knock him out of top spot in the minds of the NFL teams, but the two quarterbacks are capable of achieving brilliance on the field and might have x-factor to convince them otherwise.