The 2021 NFL draft is still almost five months away, but as the 2020 college football season winds down, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay on Wednesday dished their thoughts on a bunch of draft-related topics.
Many of their comments had to do with the quarterbacks who are expected to be taken toward the top of the draft, including BYU’s Zach Wilson (who, of course, has not officially said if he will enter the draft, although it’s widely figured he will).
Calling the quarterback class “much deeper than we expected in the preseason,” McShay put Wilson fourth on his list behind Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.
Rather contrary to mock drafts that have Wilson being among the first players taken, McShay wrote that the Corner Canyon High product has “a shot” at going in the first round, as does Alabama’s Mac Jones.
“Wilson extends plays well and shows excellent deep-ball accuracy,” McShay wrote.
Kiper was more bullish on Wilson, saying he thinks five quarterbacks will be taken in the first round, with Lawrence, Fields, Lance and Wilson all having potential to go in the top 15. He added that the Washington Football Team, Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos are bad teams who could take a quarterback early, with the Dallas Cowboys also a possibility depending on what happens with the injured Dak Prescott.
Elsewhere, McShay wrote that quarterback is the biggest position of need for the New England Patriots, and Lance, Wilson and Jones could be in play since the Patriots will likely pick in the middle of the first round. The two debated whether the New York Giants need a quarterback with Daniel Jones still being young.
Although Wilson has been getting all the buzz, Kiper called former Desert Hills High star offensive lineman Penei Sewell the very best nonquarterback prospect in the class (the consensus is that Lawrence is the best).
“He’s a plug-and-play left tackle in the mold of Orlando Pace, Walter Jones and Anthony Munoz. Yes, I’m saying he’s a Hall of Fame talent, and he’d be in the running for the No. 1 overall pick in most other drafts,” Kiper wrote, adding that although Sewell opted out of this season, there’s enough of a sample size on him to be confident in his ability.
“He’d look great protecting Joe Burrow’s blindside in Cincinnati, with 2019 first-rounder Jonah Williams moving over to right tackle, where he played some at Alabama.”