Trevor Lawrence, Joe Burrow Top Mel Kiper Jr.'s QB Rankings from Last 2 Drafts

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2021

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) warms up before the start of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
Brian Blanco/Associated Press

Clemson star Trevor Lawrence eclipses 2019 Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow as an NFL draft prospect in the eyes of ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.

In a mailbag piece for ESPN.com, Kiper responded to a question about how the 2021 quarterback class stacks up against its 2020 counterpart.

"[Lawrence] is going to have one of the highest grades I've ever given (more on that Wednesday); he's the clear No. 1," he wrote. "And [Burrow] was head and shoulders above the rest of last year's class."

Kiper proceeded to put Miami Dolphins star Tua Tagovailoa and Los Angeles Chargers star Justin Herbert ahead of the next closest 2021 prospect, BYU's Zach Wilson, though he acknowledged the gap between Nos. 4 and 5 was "very close."

From the moment he arrived at Clemson, Lawrence was probably on the radar of NFL teams. The Tennessee native was the No. 1 recruit in the country in 2018, per 247Sports' composite rankings

Then Lawrence threw for 3,280 yards, 30 touchdowns and four interceptions as a true freshman, helping the Tigers win a national championship. He might've been the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft if he had been eligible to make the jump.

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Burrow, by comparison, had a pretty nondescript college career until his final season at LSU. He finished with 5,671 passing yards and 60 touchdowns as a senior, with his draft stock basically doing the equivalent of the stonks meme.

Before his major knee injury, Burrow was living up to the hype as a rookie. He had thrown for 2,688 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions through 10 games with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Kiper's comments still speak to how highly Lawrence is rated and how much he could be a generational draft prospect similar to Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning. In B/R's first big board, the 6'6" signal-caller received a grade of 9.5, which equates to a Hall of Fame-level talent