NFL Draft 2021: Fields, Wilson and QB Predictions in Latest Expert Mocks

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 27, 2021

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields warms up before the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game against Clemson Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

The biggest thing everyone wants to talk about regarding the 2021 NFL draft is where the top five quarterbacks will land. 

Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Mac Jones and Trey Lance could all be selected in the top 10 on Thursday, and most projections have the early part of the first round dominated by the quintet.

Lawrence and Wilson are locked into the first two positions in every mock draft. Lawrence will go to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Wilson is expected to follow at No. 2 to the New York Jets. 

The uncertainty begins with the San Francisco 49ers. If they do not select a quarterback, it will make the decision to trade up from No. 12 to No. 3 baffling. 

The two signal-callers left after the first three picks may not have to wait long to hear their names called.


Latest Mock Draft Breakdown

Justin Fields and Mac Jones Projected to Go 3rd

Opinions differ on what the 49ers will do when they hit the clock on Thursday. 

Pro Football Focus' Eric Eager and George Chahrouri and CBS Sports' Patrik Walker both have Fields going after Lawrence and Wilson. 

NBC Sports' Peter King and NFL.com's Rhett Lewis projected Jones will go from Alabama to the Bay Area to compete for the starting job. 

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan did not tip his team's decision during a Monday press conference. He stated the team has five guys it will choose from at No. 3. 

On Sunday night, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that the 49ers were down to Jones and Lance. Jones is the only one of the two projected to land at No. 3 in mock drafts. 

Lance is the most developmental quarterback in play in the first round because he only played 19 games at the FCS level with North Dakota State and played in a single exhibition in 2020. 

Jones is far from the perfect product, and one could make the argument he may struggle in an offense with less firepower than the Alabama Crimson Tide had in 2020. Najee Harris, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle could all be first-round picks. 

Fields possesses two full seasons of playing experience at Ohio State, and he took some snaps as a freshman at Georgia. He is more experienced than Jones or Lance, so he could be better placed to take over for Jimmy Garoppolo.

However, if the 49ers turn away from Fields, there could be a free-for-all in the bottom half of the top 10 that leads to a team moving up to land him. 


Experts in Agreement Denver Will Take Quarterback

The Denver Broncos will be waiting from their perch at No. 9 to see which quarterbacks become available after the 49ers find their man. 

The perfect situation for Denver may be to have Fields drop all the way down to No. 9, which is what Lewis projects will happen. 

That scenario seems unlikely because a quarterback-hungry team could trade up above Denver, or the Broncos themselves could make the leap up a few positions. 

The Pro Football Focus mock draft has Denver moving up three positions to No. 6 in a deal with the Miami Dolphins to land Lance. 

Walker and King are in agreement that Denver will wait out the draft process and land Lance at No. 9. That is possible if the Dolphins, Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers address their positional needs with Tua Tagovailoa, Jared Goff and Sam Darnold already atop their respective depth charts at quarterback. 

Denver's biggest fear has to be that a team, such as the New England Patriots, makes a move with one of the three teams in front of it. 

If a trade above them does not occur, the Broncos should be able to land a quarterback in the first two rounds for the second time in three years. Drew Lock, who was a 2019 second-round pick, has not panned out the way the Broncos hoped he would as of yet.