If Todd McShay's draft grades are any indication, a franchise that lands in the top two of the 2021 NFL draft should have a decadelong turnaround under center.
The ESPN draft guru released his latest rankings Monday, with Clemson's Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State's Justin Fields leading the pack. The quarterbacks are followed by Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell, LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase and Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons.
Sewell, Chase and Parsons all chose to sit out the 2020 college football season over COVID-19 concerns.
McShay's top five seems unlikely to change for the remainder of the season, barring a catastrophic injury. Lawrence, who has missed Clemson's last two games because of COVID-19, has long been seen as the runaway favorite to go No. 1 overall. He's flashed generational talent in three years under head coach Dabo Swinney.
McShay's 97 overall grade for Lawrence is four points higher than any other player. No one had a grade higher than 95 last season.
Fields comes in with a 93 grade, which puts him slightly behind Joe Burrow (94) but in line with Tua Tagovailoa (93) and ahead of Justin Herbert (89).
The Ohio State star has thrown for 908 yards and 11 touchdowns without an interception while completing an absurd 86.7 percent of his throws through the Buckeyes' first three games. His accuracy and his dynamism with his legs make him a near-prototype for the modern quarterback, though he doesn't have Lawrence's downfield zip.
With North Dakota's Trey Lance, Alabama's Mac Jones and BYU's Zach Wilson also receiving significant buzz for their performance this season, the 2021 draft could be one of the greatest for quarterbacks in recent memory.