Predicting the Career Outcomes of the Five First Round Quarterbacks
5. Mac Jones Patriots
You want your quarterbacks to be one of the guys. Two weeks into training camp, Mac Jones has proven to be "one of the guys". His teammates love him and he's a huge locker room guy. That's a phenomenal way to start your career and that's how you stay in the league for a long time. On top of being a likable person, Jones has a high football IQ and is being coached by the greatest of all time, Bill Belichick. With that being said, I expect Jones' athletic and arm limitations to hinder him. There is a lack of playmaking ability that comes with Jones and for those reasons I can't see him ever being one of those elite quarterbacks. While Belichick is the greatest of all time, he isn't known for being the easiest to work with. It's fair to say that at Alabama with Jaylen Waddle, Devonta Smith, Najee Harris, and an offensive line that's filled with five stars, Jones had a better supporting cast than he has with now the Patriots. I expect Jones to stay in that middle to lower end tier of starting quarterbacks in the NFL. I didn't see Jones as a first round caliber quarterback and I don't expect him to play like a first round quarterback in the NFL.
4. Zach Wilson Jets
I was always confused as to why Zach Wilson was looked at as superior to Trey Lance and Justin Fields in the pre-draft process. I do think he's a really good quarterback, but I never thought he was on the same level as Fields and Lance. I don't expect immediate success out of Wilson, but I do think he'll be a good quarterback for the Jets. Wilson's arm is effortless. He's got a wicked "flick" and the ball shoots out of his hands. Athletically, Wilson can make plays on the move and is phenomenal at throwing on the run. He's a perfect fit in Mike LaFleur's offense and will be utilizing a lot of play action passing and bootlegs. The best thing that the Jets did this offseason to help Wilson was draft Elijah Moore. I love when teams pair quarterbacks up with receivers in the same draft. I expect Moore to be a top three receiver in this year's draft and bring out the best in Wilson. I see Wilson staying in the Baker Mayfield range of quarterbacks which is really good, but I see the three quarterbacks rated above Wilson as great.
3. Trevor Lawrence Jaguars
This may be a little confusing because Trevor Lawrence was my number one rated quarterback coming out of the draft, but this list also has a lot to do with where all these quarterbacks landed. Lawrence has it all... there is nothing that you can't like about his game. He looks like a stallion under center, he's got a cannon for an arm, his long legs help him out run defenders, and he's arguably the most accurate quarterback in the draft. He was damn near a perfect prospect and the obvious number one pick. I just have disagreed with Urban Meyer's coaching philosophy as an NFL coach and I don't think he's setting Lawrence up to be a successful pro. With that being said, I actually do like his receiving core: Marvin Jones, Laviska Shenault, and DJ Chark all have legitimate talent and can score in bunches. The Jaguars also have a star-studded, young running back duo with Travis Etienne and James Robinson. Unfortunately, I expect Lawrence to have a similar career trajectory to Matthew Stafford. He's going to be really good, probably elite, but will be held back by the organization he plays for.
2. Justin Fields Bears
Certain players have the "it factor" where their tape may not be flawless, but there is a type of confidence, swagger, and talent, where you just know they will be really good. I had a similar feeling with Deshaun Watson coming out of Clemson. This may sound like an exaggeration given that Justin Fields hasn't even played his first pre-season game yet, but I think he will end up as the greatest quarterback Bears history. I'm not sold on Matt Nagy as the Bears coach, but I do think Fields will make him look really good. The toughness and moxie that Fields plays with made me fall in love with his game. I expect Fields to dethrone Andy Dalton by the Bears' week 9 bye and bring a winning culture back to the Windy City. I could see Fields having an impact on the city of Chicago similar to what Russell Wilson has done for Seattle. Justin Fields is really, really good and with Aaron Rodgers' tenure coming to an end in Green Bay, Chicago may take the reigns in the NFC North. With David Montgomery, Allen Robinson, and Darnell Mooney, the Bears offense can be super explosive once Fields takes over. My expectations for Justin Fields are through the roof.
1. Trey Lance 49ers
Justin Jefferson, Saquon Barkley, and Trey Lance are the three players who have literally made me stand out of my seat when evaluating their tape coming out of college. I legitimately get so excited thinking about Lance play and what he can do with the 49ers. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I see legitimate MVP potential from him in Kyle Shanahan's offense. The combination of Lance's arm strength and mobility can bring out another dimension in Kyle Shanahan's offense. With Lance under center, defensive coordinators will be having nightmares about what this team can do. I still believe the 49ers are missing a true number three receiver, but with George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, and Trey Sermon/Raheem Mostert, this offense is going to be lethal. I need to cool my expectations of Lance, because I've gotten to a point where I bring up my excitement for him comes into conversations on dates and with people who know absolutely nothing about football. Lance paired with Shanahan is a match made in heaven and I can't wait to see what he does in the Bay.