The 2021 NFL Draft is still a year away as it is scheduled for April 29-May 1, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. But as early as now, the betting odds for the 2021 NFL draft are already out.
Through the 2020 NFL Draft, there have been a total of 85 #1 picks. 33 of those were quarterbacks, the most for any position. The last three #1 picks have been quarterbacks, including Joe Burrow who was selected first overall in the recent 2020 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. Of the last 10 top picks, only Defensive Ends Jadeveon Clowney and Myles Garrett were the non-quarterbacks.
For 2021, the current odds on favorite to be picked first in next year’s NFL draft is junior quarterback Trevor Lawrence of the Clemson Tigers. The 20-year old from Knoxville, Tennessee was the 2018 ACC Rookie of the Year and the 2018 CFP National Championship Offensive MVP after leading the Tigers to the 2018 CFP National title. He led Clemson to an undefeated season in 2019 and an ACC title for the second straight season. He suffered his first career loss when Joe Burrow and LSU beat Clemson 42-25 in the 2019 CFP Championship Game.
Here are the current betting favorites to be picked first overall in the 2021 NFL draft. These odds were taken from the online sportsbook Bovada as of 06/09/2020:
Trevor Lawrence has been one of the best quarterbacks in college football since the first half of his freshman season in 2018 when he led the Clemson Tigers to the National title. Lawrence has thrown a total of 6,945 yards with 66 touchdowns with 12 interceptions while completing 65.5% of his passes. Despite his disappointing two-interception performance against Joe Burrow’s LSU Tigers in the 2019 title game, Lawrence is still the favorite to be drafted first overall in 2021.
Justin Fields made the smooth transition from Georgia to Ohio State and became a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2019. He passed for 43 touchdowns with only three interceptions while also serving as a dual-threat with 484 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. The 2019 Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year was also earned an All-American Second Team selection in 2019.
Penei Sewell is the best tackle in college football. He won the 2019 Outland Trophy as the best interior lineman in college football and was a First Team All-American selection in 2019. The 6-3 325 pound tackle continues to improve under former offensive lineman Mario Cristobal and would be an interesting top pick especially if the team drafting at #1 already has a franchise quarterback.
D’Eriq King is the current quarterback of the University of Miami Hurricanes who previously played for the Houston Cougars. He began his collegiate career as a wide receiver but ultimately became the starter for Houston. He passed for 2,982 yards with 36 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions while also rushing for 14 TDs during a knee injury-shortened junior season in 2018 that limited him to only 11 games. King redshirted in 2019 before announcing his transfer last January.
Micah Parsons was one of the most highly recruited high school stars in 2017. The 21-year old defensive end and linebacker for the Penn State Nittany Lions. Parsons recorded 109 tackles, 5 sacks, 3 deflected passes, and three forced fumbles during his sophomore season. He was named as the Big Ten Linebacker of the Year and a consensus All-American in 2019. He was also the Defensive MVP of the 2019 Cotton Bowl.
Trevor Lawrence’s resume is just as impressive as his talent level. The 20-year old signal-caller has the words “franchise quarterback” written all over his back, and some NFL teams are already talking about picking him next year. Except for his dismal outing at the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship, Lawrence has had a spectacular college career, and right now, he is the best quarterback prospect in the NCAA.
Next to Lawrence is the man behind him in the odds board. Justin Fields is coming off a great season and his seamless transition to Ryan Day’s offense has seen him become the #2 quarterback prospect in the 2021 NFL draft. If Fields continues to improve as a passer and if he can perhaps beat Lawrence and the Tigers in the NCAA College Football playoffs, his pure athleticism and arm talent to push him to the top spot.
Sewell is an interesting player in the odds board because no offensive tackle has been picked first overall since Eric Fisher in 2013. But considering how the offensive tackles performed at the 2020 NFL Draft Combine, he has his work cut out for him. I think he will be the top tackle in next year’s draft and if the owner of the #1 pick already has a young franchise quarterback, he could be worth the top pick.
We’ve seen quarterbacks go first overall in recent years. And there are just too many teams in the NFL which need young quarterbacks right now. That said, I think that the top pick for 2021 will be a quarterback, given the talent on the odds board. When it comes to picking right now, it’s going to be a big gamble.
We saw how Joe Burrow develop from a potential fifth-rounder one year ago to the top pick in 2020. It just takes one spectacular season to change one’s fortunes. It can be recalled that Burrow flourished in his final season at LSU, leading the Tigers to an undefeated record, SEC title, and National Championship while picking up the Heisman Trophy by the largest margin in the history of the award.
If you want to make a pick right now, I think Trevor Lawrence is a cut above the rest. Barring any unfortunate incident during the coming college football season, I think he will be the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
PREDICTION: TREVOR LAWRENCE
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