Who Will Be the Top Rookie Quarterback in Three Years? (2021 Fantasy Football)
Last week our writers covered who the top rookie wide receiver would be three years from now, and today we’re doing the same thing, but for quarterbacks.
Q. 3 years from now, who will be the top QB fantasy asset from the 2021 draft class?
Trevor Lawrence (Clemson)
While I get the allure of going against the grain and picking someone other than Lawrence, I just can’t go against the information we have today. Yes, the Jaguars aren’t exactly built to win now, but drafting a player like Lawrence could turn that entire franchise around, and quickly. The Patriots were a laughingstock until they weren’t. The Buccaneers were terrible for decades, until they got a new coach and offensive scheme. We see this all the time in the NFL. Why not the Jaguars next? From what we’ve seen, Lawrence is truly a special talent who can elevate his entire team around him, making them all that much better. Improving the team also improves their ability to acquire top talent free agents. James Robinson is on a very cheap rookie deal as an undrafted free agent. His contract along with what Lawrence’s should allow the team to spend up elsewhere and build a contender relatively quickly. Or at least it can. Obviously that doesn’t mean they will. But still, in three years time I think we look back at Lawrence as the Patrick Mahomes of this draft and his fellow rookie Justin Fields as the Lamar Jackson. Both will be talented, but I believe Lawrence will be a better QB in terms of talent and opportunity, barring injury or something crazy occurring. No hot take here, just gimme the surest bet we’ve got to lead the pack three years in the future.
– Andrew Hall (@AndrewHallFF)
While his landing spot in Jacksonville isn’t cherry, choosing anyone but Lawerence is overthinking this as he might be the best draft prospect at the position in the last decade. Lawrence threw for over 10,000 yards and 90 touchdowns with just 17 interceptions in three seasons at Clemson. He can extend plays with his legs, which gives him the coveted rushing upside we look for in a fantasy quarterback as well. Urban Meyer should find plenty of ways to exploit his ample talents and if Jacksonville can surround him with some talent beyond DJ Chark and James Robinson, this could be one of the better offenses in the AFC. The questions about his desire and competitive drive are, at best, over analyzing a prospect who could have opted out of the 2020 season and still been the No. 1 overall pick. Lawerence was a huge advocate for the college football season to be played last fall and he worked back from injury to finish the season for the Tigers. He should be the shoo-in top pick in rookie drafts for 2QB dynasty leagues and should be, at worst, a high-end QB2 beginning next fall.
– Jason Kamlowsky (@JasonKamlowsky)
Justin Fields (Ohio State)
The top-heavy 2021 quarterback class provides an array of talent and skill sets that can be developed under the right scheme and roster. A lot of elite players have dominated at the collegiate level but their inability to transition and adapt to the speed of the NFL and pro-style offensive schemes creates significant barriers restricting their ability to develop. Fields appears to possess all of the factors needed to be the top quarterback fantasy asset from the 2021 draft class in three years. As stated earlier, where any of these quarterbacks land is paramount to their ability to thrive and develop into a franchise player. Fields tossed over 5,300 yards and 63 touchdowns through the air in two seasons for Ohio State, including leading the 2021 class for the most completions of 30+ yards. He was a Heisman finalist in his first season at Ohio State under head coach Ryan Day and adds immense value with his rushing ability, totaling 867 yards and 15 touchdowns across two seasons. Fields led the Buckeyes to the postseason in consecutive years and dealt with the adversity of a shortened 2020 season due to COVID-19 protocols while lobbying for its return, displaying a passionate love for the game that outweighs many other top prospects in this draft class. Running a 4.46 40-yard dash showed his blazing speed and dual-threat ability but his photographic memory and recall are rumored to be among the best in the class, comparable only to Alabama’s Mac Jones, who many are linking to Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers. Despite Fields’ chances of falling to several teams with significant holes in their roster, ranging from the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions, to the Carolina Panthers or possibly the Denver Broncos, he will be a quick study with the playbook and will have an elite receiving corps anywhere except in Detroit. The subsequent knock on Fields that focuses on his delayed release and slow progressions can be resolved through coaching. His elite recall and cognitive abilities will help him overcome any early deficiencies to prosper into the top fantasy asset from the 2021 quarterback class in three years.
– Matt MacKay (@Matt_MacKay_)
“San Francisco Quarterback”
I love Trevor Lawrence, but he is going to a Jaguars team that has made the postseason just once since the 2007 season and is coached by Urban Meyer, an all-time great college coach with no NFL coaching experience. They were 1-15 last season and it may take a few years to bring in a supporting cast to allow their quarterback to put up elite fantasy numbers. I love Zach Wilson, but the New York Jets have been down this road before. Sam Darnold, Geno Smith, and Mark Sanchez were all drafted as franchise quarterbacks by the Jets. Instead of being franchise quarterbacks, they ended up being busts, partially due to the chaos that is the New York Jets organization. Then there are the 49ers and Kyle Shanahan, who worked with Matt Schaub as the offensive coordinator in Houston, Robert Griffin III as the offensive coordinator in Washington, Matt Ryan as the offensive coordinator in Atlanta, and Jimmy Garoppolo as the head coach in San Francisco. Shanahan has had success with pocket passers and mobile quarterbacks. Their roster is built to win now. The 49ers have a Top-10 defense, a solid running game, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Brandon Aiyuk. I am not sure if they will go with Justin Fields, Trey Lance, or Mac Jones. Whoever goes there has a chance to contribute immediately, and not have to worry about trying to excel with a head coach that has never been a head coach in the NFL or a franchise that ruins more quarterbacks than develops franchise quarterbacks. The 49ers quarterback may not end up with the best career, but the 49ers quarterback will be ready to be fantasy viable from Day 1 and he has the best chance to join a stable organization. The quarterback with the best career will probably be Trevor Lawrence, I think he is the elite talent in this draft. The quarterback with the most success out of the gate and putting up big fantasy numbers early should be the one that is also joining the best team, the San Francisco 49ers.
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)
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