NFL Draft 2021: Analyzing Trevor Lawrence, Penei Sewell Trends from Expert Mocks

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2020

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence passes against LSU during the first half of a NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

The 2020 NFL draft only ended on April 25, but you can bet that NFL teams are already looking ahead to next year's edition. They may not consider tanking for a particular prospect—at least, they won't admit to it—but they can begin mapping out roster strategies for the coming season.

Knowing which positions are likely to be deep in next year's draft can help determine where a team wants to spend on long-term options. This past season, for example, teams could approach the wide receiver position knowing that the looming draft class was likely loaded.

Nailing down which groups will be strong and which players will be available can be difficult, but we can get an early idea by examining early mock drafts from some of the experts. That's precisely what we'll do by digging into early 2021 mocks from Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, CBS Sports' Ryan Wilson, Pro Football Focus' Mike Renner and Fox Sports' Jason McIntyre.

For example, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is trending as a top-three selection in all four of the aforementioned mocks. This shouldn't come as a surprise, as Lawrence has been on the national radar for two years now and is considered one of the best quarterback prospects in recent memory.

"One area scout who covers Clemson already told me Lawrence is the best sophomore quarterback since Peyton Manning," Miller wrote.

While it's far too early to assume that Lawrence's potential will translate into Manning-like pro success, there's no denying that the Tigers star is remarkably close to being a near-perfect prospect.

What's interesting to note is that Lawrence is not the only prospect trending as a top-three pick in all of the examined mocks. Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell is as well, and Miller even has him going No. 1 overall.

Now, it needs to be pointed out that in Miller's mock—which is based on Super Bowl odds—the Cincinnati Bengals are picking first overall. He is not suggesting that Sewell will be drafted over Lawrence if a quarterback-needy team winds up with the top pick.

In terms of a "safe" prospect in the 2021 draft, however, Sewell is indeed atop the list. If Lawrence's stock takes a hit in 2020, Sewell could overtake him as the prospect to get.

"The use of the term 'generational' has gotten out of control. That being said, Sewell is still a generational tackle prospect," Renner wrote. "He'll likely be the best offensive tackle prospect since at least Jake Long, if not Orlando Pace."

Again, we have a 2021 prospect being compared to a Hall of Fame player. It appears that the top end of the talent pool is going to be quite impressive next offseason.


Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

Consensus Top 5

Speaking of the top end, here's the average draft position of the top prospects from each mock to create a consensus top five.

1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

2. Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

3. Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU

4. Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami

5. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State


Another interesting trend here is that LSU's Ja'Marr Chase is the consensus top receiver in next year's draft—at least for now. What's really interesting is that he may be a more coveted prospect than any of the top receivers in the lauded 2020 class.

"Ja'Marr Chase would have been the No. 1 wide receiver off the board in 2020 if he had been eligible," Wilson wrote.

Miami pass-rusher Gregory Rousseau is the consensus edge-defender and is a prospect who could earn Chase Young level hype leading into the pre-draft process.

"Rousseau has almost comical physical tools—it's as if someone built the ideal edge defender body and then said 'more,'" Renner wrote.

Other prospects who cracked the top five in at least one mock are North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons.