2021 NFL Draft Odds: QB

Odds, trends and analysis

The 2021 NFL Draft takes place April 29 to May 1 and will return to some form of familiarity. Last year’s draft happened two months into the COVID-19 pandemic and was relegated to Zoom – removing all in-person aspects like fans, hugs, and the like. Thankfully, the 2021 draft will return with fans and in-person drafting when it takes place in Cleveland, Ohio. The Greater Cleveland Sports Console is taking protocols from Super Bowl LV in Tampa and the NBA Playoff Bubble in Orlando to hold a safe draft that’s as close to normal as possible. With the central focus shifted off the virus, it’s time to take a look at this year’s draft pool at the QB position with odds for where each quarterback will land.

NFL draft odds: First QB drafted

There’s no question who the first quarterback taken off the board will be: Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence (-10000 at DraftKings Sportsbook) has been THE GUY since he was a junior in high school in Georgia. Lawrence has drawn comparisons to Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning with his play, setting lofty expectations for the signal caller. New Jaguars coach Urban Meyer was in attendance at Lawrence’s early Pro Day and was prominently involved in his scouting. While some whispers have risen regarding “some teams” listing BYU’s Zach Wilson (+1000) as their QB1, there haven’t been any signs pointing to Jacksonville holding that sentiment.

Other notable names include Wilson, Ohio State’s Justin Fields (+2000), North Dakota State’s Trey Lance (+2500), and Alabama’s Mac Jones (+3300). Wilson has been deeply associated with the New York Jets at the second spot.

First QB Drafted
Second QB Drafted
Third QB Drafted

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Trevor Lawrence
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-10000
Zach Wilson
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+1000
Justin Fields
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+2000
Trey Lance
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+2500
Mac Jones
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+3300
Kellen Mond
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+25000
Jamie Newman
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+25000
Kyle Trask
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+25000

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Trevor Lawrence
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OTB
Zach Wilson
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OTB
Justin Fields
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OTB
Trey Lance
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OTB
Mac Jones
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OTB

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Trevor Lawrence
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OTB
Zach Wilson
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OTB
Justin Fields
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OTB
Trey Lance
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OTB
Mac Jones
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OTB

How to bet on first QB drafted

When searching your preferred sportsbook for a full slate of NFL Draft odds, find the tab labeled something along the lines of “First Pick By Position.” Here you should be able to select “First QB Drafted” to find the site’s offerings.

NFL Draft: 2021 QB profiles

Trevor Lawrence, Clemson: As mentioned, Lawrence has been crowned the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft since he vaulted himself onto the national stage back in high school at Cartersville (Georgia). He’s got most everything: size (6′ 6″), athleticism (4.7 40-yard dash in high school, 18 rushing touchdowns at Clemson), and the arm talent (66.6% career completion and 164.3 career passer rating). The real love comes with his intangibles, however. Lawrence recorded a 39-2 record at Clemson (no regular season losses) and brought home a National Championship (2018), and is highly respected among teammates and coaches.

So, where’s the weakness in his game? Nowhere, if you ask most scouts. Some trends point toward 6′ 6″ or taller quarterbacks having higher bust rates (notably Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler, JaMarcus Russell) though those stats are speculative. Lawrence possesses both the athleticism and pocket presence that’s not seen in most quarterbacks his size. It’s expected that the Jaguars will craft their system around Lawrence’s skillsets, much like Meyer did at his time coaching college (Bowling Green, Utah, Florida, Ohio State).

Zach Wilson, BYU: For much of the 2020 college season, Wilson was seen as the QB3 on the board. However, reports coming out of Jets camp point toward New York viewing Wilson as the second best quarterback and the likely pick second overall. At this point, the only thing that would interfere with him going to the Jets would be if they landed a high-profile quarterback like Deshaun Watson in the trade market. Are the rumors surrounding Wilson just smoke much like the Dolphins indicating that Justin Herbert was “their guy” in 2020 to prevent a team trading ahead of them? Not likely– there’s no candidate that would move up to the first pick to grab Wilson.

As far as Wilson’s play goes, he’s drawn lofty comparisons that have gone as far as to Patrick Mahomes. His ability to play off-script and make plays happen when the initial play breaks down is truly remarkable. While a full-on Mahomes comparison might be reaching, Wilson does show many of the same characteristics: being able to throw the ball with pressure in his face and at ridiculous angles are uncannily Mahomes-like (for a full display of his skillset, watch his tape against Louisiana Tech). At this point, it would be a surprise for New York to go any route besides Wilson, who is listed as the favorite (-305) to be drafted second overall at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Justin Fields, Ohio State: There’s a lot of stigma regarding Ohio State quarterbacks in the NFL as there’s a real lack in names that have succeeded at the professional level. Recent stars to lead the Buckeyes include Dewayne Haskins, J.T. Barrett, and Braxton Miller; none of which have lived up to their college play (note: Haskins was the only one taken in the first round, which turned out to be a much-maligned decision by Washington). However, there’s never been a quarterback coming out of Ohio State quite like Justin Fields.

Of the top four quarterbacks (Lawrence, Wilson, Fields, and Lance), Fields seems to have the longest list of suitors. The Miami Dolphins sit third in the draft order, a team that’s not in the quarterback draft market. Therefore, they seem like a great trade candidate for teams like Carolina, Washington, even Atlanta (drafting fourth) to move up and take Fields. Carolina was aggressive in the quarterback trade market this offseason, participating in the Matthew Stafford and Deshaun Watson stakes. Having come up empty, Carolina seems like the most plausible trade-up option to take Fields third.

Should he make it past the third spot, Atlanta will likely draft him fourth as they have been reported to be “impressed” with this year’s quarterback class. The question surrounding Fields is surrounding his decisiveness (or lack thereof), which landed him in hot water at Ohio State. However, the combination of his size, arm, and athleticism should withstand the criticism and solidify him as a top-five pick.

Trey Lance, North Dakota State: Lance has the least amount of experience, with really only one full season’s worth of tape being evaluated by scouts. In his time at NDSU, Lance recorded an astounding 28-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio while also rushing for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns his second year in Fargo. The projection surrounding what Lance could be in the NFL is what has driven his draft stock through the roof. He has been projected to be drafted as early as fourth by Atlanta to a more level seventh (potentially in a trade-up) and as far back as the mid-first round.

With the Washington Football Team moving on from Alex Smith, they could be a likely trade-up candidate (potentially with the Lions at seven) to draft Lance. Other common teams he’s been associated with include Atlanta and San Francisco. The risk is high, though; scouting reports have knocked on his level of competition (especially with the ongoing Carson Wentz saga) and his lack of college experience (he played just in 18 games at NDSU). However, it’s expected that Lance will be viewed as a high-level, first-round pick, especially with plenty of quarterback-hungry teams.

Mac Jones, Alabama: No one’s draft stock has risen more this offseason than Mac Jones’. As the weeks roll on, Jones has reportedly grown on many NFL franchises, even being rumored to be potentially taken before the aforementioned Trey Lance. Though his physical traits are defined as “limited” by scouts, it’s the intangibles that make him such an attractive prospect. Initial mock drafts placed him as early as the back of the first round (to teams like Pittsburgh) to the mid-second round. However, recent projections have had teams like New England or Chicago trading up to grab Jones in the early- to mid-first round.

The major knock on Jones has been centered around his weapons surrounding him; Alabama fielded an embarrassment of riches offensively, cruising their way to a National Championship in 2020. Without a superior offensive line and pass catchers, can Jones thrive? Regardless of personal speculation, all signs point toward Jones being a highly-valued target in the first round of the NFL Draft. The current line for number of quarterbacks drafted in the first round at DraftKings Sportsbook has over 4.5 (-670) being an overwhelming favorite, indicating that Jones will be drafted Day 1.

How many QBs drafted in the first round?

Five quarterbacks are expected to be picked in the first round of this year’s draft. Those players are: Lawrence, Wilson, Fields, Lance and Jones. Most mock drafts have Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond and Florida’s Kyle Trask going in the second or third round.

NFL Draft QB history

Here’s a list of the first QB taken in each NFL Draft going back to 2010.

YearTeamPlayerCollegePick (No. overall)
2020CincinnatiJoe BurrowLSU1
2019ArizonaKyler MurrayOklahoma1
2018ClevelandBaker MayfieldOklahoma1
2017ChicagoMitch TrubiskyNorth Carolina2
2016LA RamsJared GoffCal1
2015Tampa BayJameis WinstonFlorida State1
2014JacksonvilleBlake BortlesUCF3
2013BuffaloEJ ManuelFlorida State16
2012IndianapolisAndrew LuckStanford1
2011CarolinaCam NewtonAuburn1
2010St. LouisSam BradfordOklahoma1

NFL Draft strategy and trends

When most piece together a mock draft, it’s hard not to wipe the top four quarterbacks off in the first four picks; Jacksonville (1), New York (2), and Atlanta (4) are all in need of a franchise quarterback and Miami (3) is looking like a prime trade-up spot. However, history will tell you this is unlikely as 2015 and 2016 were the last time quarterbacks were even picked first and second. 1999  was the last time three quarterbacks went in the first three picks (1971 was the only other time) and never before have four quarterbacks been picked with the first four picks. However, the likelihood that four quarterbacks could be drafted with the first eight to ten picks is very real.

As for the entire first round, there’s a clear cutoff after quarterbacks one through five. The next name in line is Florida’s Kyle Trask, who is currently being valued as a third-round or even later selection. Those who take the under on 4.5 first-round quarterbacks will have to rely on Mac Jones slipping into Day 2 or Trey Lance falling on a skid. Should Jones or Lance go into freefall, it’s unlikely that they fall past 19 (Washington) or 20 (Chicago).

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