The Tank for Trevor sweepstakes is in full gear.
According to many, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence is the most polished, NFL-ready quarterback the league has seen since Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, leaving teams at the top of the draft order ready to go all out to secure that top pick. To that end, the 2020 NFL season has produced minimal surprises regarding who is at the top, with the team that lands the No. 1 overall pick likely choosing the Tigers’ young-buck passer.
The Jets are elite when it comes to being awful: Currently in the lead for that No. 1 pick, New York has looked wildly non-competitive, resulting in an 0-12 record and a real opportunity at both a winless season and the rights to Lawrence. Hot on their tail are the 1-11 Jaguars, who have jumped back into the mix for No. 1 after being the early favorites to get Lawrence.
Both the Jets and Jaguars have very difficult schedules remaining, with few winnable games left on either slate. While results are uncertain, one thing is for sure: Whoever ends up with the No. 1 overall pick is going to be crowned le champion of the Tank for Trevor sweepstakes, and while a lot of what Lawrence will be in the NFL is a projection, teams at a crossroads shouldn’t fear the rebuild with the Clemson wunderkind under center.
The race is definitely getting tight at the top, but with four weeks remaining in the regular season, it looks like this race is going to come down to the Jets and the Jaguars, as it was always foretold.
Here’s the current top-10 order for the 2021 NFL Draft, and a little bit on each team therein:
NFL MOCK DRAFT 2021:
Trevor Lawrence goes to Jets; Broncos, Vikings also grab franchise QBs in top five
NFL Draft order 2021
The current top 10 picks for the 2021 NFL Draft are as follows, courtesy of Tankathon (updated Monday, Dec. 7):
|1||New York Jets||0-12||.598|
|4||Los Angeles Chargers||3-9||.495|
|9||Miami Dolphins (via Houston)||4-8||.550|
MORE: The 10 best fits for Trevor Lawrence in the NFL
No. 1: New York Jets
Current QB: Sam Darnold
Record and remaining schedule: 0-12; at Seahawks, at Rams, vs. Browns, at Patriots
Questionable coaching, roster-limiting injuries and mediocre quarterback play have all led to a nasty 0-12 record. While there was a little reason for optimism heading into Year 3 of the Darnold era, the USC product has been hampered by injuries, a patchwork receiving corps and coach Adam Gase, who looks like he’s on his way out of New York — whether that’s during the season or after it remains to be seen. Jets fans, who once heralded Darnold as franchise savior, have started to look at him as a one-winged angel, instead.
If the Jets end up with the No. 1 overall pick — a very real possibility, at least at this point in the season — it’s almost certain that they would take Lawrence (who wouldn’t?) and trade Darnold to a quarterback-starved team. Drafting Lawrence would once again reset the Jets’ clock on a rebuild, give a potential new head coach a moldable prospect and give the Jets a controllable, affordable contract at QB.
At the moment, the Jets aren’t only winless, but they’re historically bad and en route to a hapless season. Though, with so much football left to play, expect the Jets to find a way to blow it. Per usual.
No. 2: Jacksonville Jaguars
Current QB: Mike Glennon (Gardner Minshew injured)
Record and remaining schedule: 1-11; vs. Titans, at Ravens, vs. Bears, at Colts
The early favorites to secure Lawrence’s services have crashed New York’s private party thanks to their nosedive after a surprising Week 1 win over the Colts.
While Minshew’s mercurial play is exciting to watch, there’s still a question of whether he’s the franchise’s passer of the future, and his thumb injury has thrown water on Minshew Mania. Jacksonville’s very difficult remaining schedule doesn’t paint a rosy picture when it comes to wins, so Jags fans should get ready for a top-three pick if things continue play out the way they have.
Jacksonville has played very close and competitive games in four of the past five weeks. If the Jags continue punching above their weight, they might be able to squeak out another win before the end of the season.
No. 3: Cincinnati Bengals
Current QB: Ryan Finley
Record and remaining schedule: 2-9-1; vs. Cowboys, vs. Steelers, at Texans, vs. Ravens
A promising rookie season for Joe Burrow came to a crashing halt after he was hit low, destroying his ACL, MCL and causing additional structural damage to his knee. Burrow will be fine, but the line is anything but.
Cincinnati can sit pretty at No. 3 knowing that it will have options at anything but quarterback. If the Bengals finish out the season with the third pick, then Oregon offensive lineman Penei Sewell could be there waiting, giving Burrow a legit force along the offensive line, at least mitigating the odds of a devastating injury happening to the franchise passer in years to come.
No. 4: Los Angeles Chargers
Current QB: Justin Herbert
Record and remaining schedule: 3-9; vs. Falcons, at Raiders, vs. Broncos, at Chiefs
The Chargers are sitting pretty with probable NFL Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert, who has dazzled in his debut season. Suffice it to say, they will not be selecting a quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft.
But landing this high in the 2021 draft order is going to have its benefits. Whether its Anthony Lynn or another head coach, whoever is calling plays in 2021 will have a chance at a great playmaker this high in the order. Good thing for LA, though, is that the playmaker will come at pretty much any position that isn’t quarterback.
NFL DRAFT BIG BOARD:
Top 50 players in the 2021 draft class
No. 5: Dallas Cowboys
Current QB: Andy Dalton
Record and remaining schedule: 3-8; at Ravens, at Bengals, vs. 49ers, vs. Eagles, at Giants
The Cowboys are going to have to figure out the QB position heading into 2021. Do they bring back Dak Prescott at his asking price even though he’ll be coming off a brutal injury? Do they franchise-tag him for a second time? Do they look elsewhere, like the draft? Dallas and Prescott were apparently extremely far apart in contract talks last offseason, so it’s interesting to see where, if anywhere, those talks go this offseason.
Dallas has options, but who knows what head coach Mike McCarthy is thinking — and whether he will even be the one to help figure that out.
Jerry Jones and son Stephen have been adamant that Dak Prescott is the future at quarterback with the Cowboys, so it doesn’t look like they’ll select a QB with their top pick in the draft, but sitting at No. 5 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft order after 12 weeks, Dallas could end up with a quarterback of its choosing — if that’s the route it chooses to go.
— No. 6: Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles have, like, a lot of problems, man. Whether it’s offensive line play, play-calling or injuries, the Eagles have had a ton to navigate in 2020. Will they opt for a QB in the 2021 NFL Draft? Probably not, especially after a year in which they took Jalen Hurts in the second round — perhaps tapping him to start in the coming weeks.
— No. 7: The Carolina Panthers gave Teddy Bridgewater a ton of money this offseason, and even if Bridgewater is a bridge quarterback for whoever might be the future in Carolina under Matt Rhule, it feels as if the team is a season or two away from figuring out the QB position.
— No. 8: A new quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons? Potentially: They’re likely out of striking distance for either Lawrence or Justin Fields, but between Trey Lance and other signal-callers solidifying first-round status, they could have options.
— No. 9: The Miami Dolphins turned to Tua Tagovailoa, the 2020 No. 5 overall pick, and he’s been very good as a starter for them. There will be offensive playmakers available for Miami, whether it’s this pick or the second of their first-rounders in 2021.
— No. 10: Another year, another quarterback, another miss for John Elway and the Denver Broncos. Drew Lock doesn’t seem to be the answer in Denver, leaving the organization — again — searching for another quarterback.