Ranking quarterbacks may be the hardest and most important job for any NFL scout, general manager, coach, and franchise. Hitting on a quarterback is the difference between winning Super Bowl trophies and becoming a perennial contender and simply being a bubble team. Simply look at the difference between the Chiefs and Bears to see this. The Chiefs have been to three straight title games, two straight Super Bowls, and have a Super Bowl win because they hit on Mahomes. Meanwhile, the Bears, who undoubtedly have the better roster minus QB, could not even squeeze out a single playoff win during that time with Mitch Trubiksy.
I am breaking the players up into four tiers. The A tier is an All-Pro level of quarterback who has the chance of being top-5 to top-10 in the league, if not better, within the first few seasons of playing. The B tier is solid starters who may have the potential to turn themselves into top QBs further down the road. The C tier is not startable QBs, but guys who may have a chance to start in the future with some development. D tier is a hopeful backup quarterback with upside. Everyone not listed, I do not believe to be worthy of an NFL roster spot.
#1 Trevor Lawrence
>Trevor Lawrence has been the biggest name in draft hype history. The only guys that compare are Manning, Elway, and Luck. However, no one has had this kind of hype since their Sophomore season in high school. Lawrence possesses literally everything you want out of a collegiate prospect. He has ideal size, arm strength, accuracy, mobility, decision making, and leadership.
There are very few knocks on Lawrence, and the only ones could be accuracy concerns when throwing from one hash to the other and some throw-aways that were a bit quick. Other than that, Lawrence was basically built in a lab when it comes to collegiate QB prospects. He has also dealt with the hype around him since high school beautifully, and there are not many worries that the NFL spotlight will phase him.
#2 Zach Wilson
The second-best prospect in this class is undoubtedly Zach Wilson. No other quarterback has really given off the impression that they can be the next Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson like Zach Wilson. His ability to scramble, improvise and throw from all angles reminds you of these elite playmakers. He can flick the ball downfield while on the run. Then, when normally passing in the pocket, he is as accurate if not more accurate than Trevor Lawrence and is simply elite. His release is also the quickest I have ever scouted from an NFL QB.
The only concern with Zach Wilson is that he may hold onto the ball too long, and he did not play elite competition. He is also somewhat of a one-season wonder, as he showcased a completely new level of talent in 2020. His worst tape in 2020, in my opinion, was the Houston game where there were several throws that were simply bad, but still, Zach Wilson is an elite level of prospect.
#3 Trey Lance
Trey Lance is my favorite of the bunch at the B-Tier. Lance has an incredibly similar collegiate-path as his fellow NDSU-star Carson Wentz, and that excites me. Many forget that until injuries derailed Wentz’s career, he was an MVP candidate and a clear top-QB. I believe that between Lance’s power, mobility, and great accuracy that he can be an elite level QB for many offenses, especially west coast offenses.
#4 Mac Jones
Mac Jones is my pick for the best NFL-ready out of these three B-tier QBs, and I love his tape. I do not care that he played with elite teammates at Alabama. You get elite teammates in the NFL. His tape will remind you of Philip Rivers. Not very mobile, weird release, not a ton of arm strength, but accurate and smart. Being accurate and being smart can get you a long way in the NFL, and Mac Jones is clearly a starting-caliber NFL QB.
#5 Justin Fields
Justin Fields is a project, and I also have major bust concerns for him. While it is not fair to Fields to say that no Ohio State QB has ever panned out, so he will not pan out, you can point to his system at Ohio State for making him look good. Fields simply will not throw guys open or attempt a pass without a wide-open WR. This does not work against NFL defenses or good collegiate defenses (See the Northwestern game). I believe that this is why he was not the answer at Georgia and had to move to Ohio State. Tons of talent and upside, but his NFL IQ level is not there yet, and not close to being there.
#6 Davis Mills
Davis Mills is my clear favorite quarterback prospect once you get out of the top-5. Mills is ridiculously good at fitting balls into tight windows and hitting his receivers in the hands. Other than Josh Allen, it is rare to be able to coach-up accuracy, so the fact that this skill is built into his game is great. He simply needs to work on his mobility and pocket presence as well as reads to become a startable NFL QB.
#7 Kellen Mond
Kellen Mond has a lot of natural talent but terrible film. When drafting Kellen Mond, you are hoping that your QB coach and veteran QB presence can instill a ton of knowledge into him and turn Mond into an elite player. Mond is very much a lottery ticket as I do not see him as even a backup quality QB year one. However, he has a higher ceiling than even Mac Jones.
#8 Kyle Trask
Kyle Trask had a productive year in Florida, but so many things scared me on tape. For one, he lacked the ability to move off his first read at all. Second, he missed some extremely easy throws and would get into grooves where he just could not complete a pass. If you look at what happened against Oklahoma in his final game, you will see this clear as day. I think that Trask had a hot streak in college that boosted his value. With time he could develop into a top-20 NFL QB if he fixes these issues.
#9 Jamie Newman
Newman is simply physically talented. This is a project and a half, but it is possible that Newman one day produces. He is my last QB that I would consider rostering or even drafting in 2021, but I would only do so if I had a ton of faith in my QB coach.