While the stars of today have Super Bowl 55 in their sights in this weekend’s conference championship games, the stars of tomorrow are busy preparing for the 2021 NFL Draft. The draft is still more than three months away, but draft preparations are in full swing. There are a busy few months ahead for prospects and the teams evaluating them. The Senior Bowl takes place next weekend, followed by an evaluation period that will look a bit different this year due to the pandemic.
When the 2021 NFL Draft festivities get underway on April 29, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be the first team on the clock. The Jaguars finished with a 1-15 record last season to earn the top pick, ahead of the New York Jets. As it stands, there is unlikely to be any drama around their selection, as NFL betting odds see Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence as an overwhelming favorite to be the #1 pick.
Three-time national champion coach Urban Meyer recently ended his second retirement to become the Jaguars’ new head coach. After building a reputation of offensive success on the collegiate level, Meyer will be looking to replicate that success in the NFL with Lawrence.
2021 NFL Draft: Odds to Be Drafted No. 1 Overall
- Trevor Lawrence – QB (Clemson) -6000
- Justin Fields – QB (Ohio State) +1000
- Penei Sewell – OT (Oregon) +1100
- Zach Wilson – QB (BYU) +3000
- Trey Lance – QB (North Dakota State) +6500
Odds via FanDuel as of Friday, January 21 (9:30 am ET)
At one point, there was a serious debate about whether Lawrence, Fields, or someone else would go first. However, that is not the case for now. Lance was unable to enhance his draft stock in the fall due to North Dakota State’s fall season being canceled. Meanwhile, Fields had a stellar season and did not hurt his draft stock, but all of the speculations favor Lawrence.
Last season, Lawrence missed two games after testing positive for COVID, but he still put together a stellar season. He missed out on a second national title but was the Heisman runner-up as Clemson won another ACC title. In 10 games, Lawrence threw for 3,153 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also ran for 203 yards and eight scores.
Lawrence has been touted as a potential No. 1 since coming onto the scene in 2018 and has only strengthened the hype. In three seasons at Clemson, he was 34-2 as a starter and threw for 10,098 yards and 90 touchdowns. Lawrence has the prototypical physical attributes, the arm, and the intangibles and would start from day one.
The 2021 NFL Draft featuring a quarterback going first would continue recent history. In each of the three previous drafts and five of the last six, a quarterback went first. Myles Garrett (Cleveland Browns in 2016) was the only non-QB to go #1 in recent years.
Given the pandemic’s effect on the evaluation period, it seems unlikely that the Jaguars will change their mind. If it does change, a non-quarterback is unlikely. But if they choose to look elsewhere, Sewell could make sense as a big building block at left tackle.