For our last roundtable of the academic year, the DC Sports Section is looking to the future. With the NFL draft set for the end of this month, it’s about time for people to make their predictions about who will be the booms and busts of this draft class. And given how many talented quarterbacks are set to go early in this one, there’s no better position for us to look at. Will Trevor Lawrence’s talent be enough to make him the next great quarterback in Jacksonville? Or will someone like Mac Jones spend a year on the bench before earning his spot among the best? Today we’ll be giving our takes on which incoming quarterback will have the most successful NFL career. So for the final time, let’s get into it:
There are two main factors that will affect the success of any quarterback: their own talent and the talent around them. I personally think the quarterback in this year’s draft who will have the most success based on these criteria is either Trey Lance or Zach Wilson. If Lance goes to the Broncos, he could find success because they have an elite receiving core in KJ Hamler, Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton that could dominate opposing defensive backs for years to come. For Wilson, many believe he is bringing his interesting talent to the Jets. The Jets have upgraded a little bit over the offseason, and Wilson could be the right guy to succeed in a big market like New York. Again, it all depends on the aforementioned criteria.
I’m picking the favorite in this one, the consensus number one draft pick since his breakout freshman campaign: Trevor Lawrence. When the only quarterback comparisons you hear about this kid are with Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, it’s hard to bet against him. The Jacksonville Jaguars are a team that struggled heavily last season, but they have plenty of key pieces on both sides of the ball with young stars James Robinson, DJ Chark and Josh Allen (the defensive end). New coach Urban Meyer should bring a lot of intensity to this team and get the best out of his players, and that includes (presumably) Lawrence. There will be some struggles out of the gate as expected, but the Jaguars are a team undoubtedly on the upward trend and Lawrence hopes to lead them to the promised land in what will be a historic career.
This is a very interesting draft, with five different quarterbacks who have the potential to be franchise players in the league. I truly believe that where a quarterback ends up is just as important as the quarterback himself. That’s why I’m going with Justin Fields. First of all, he’s an unbelievable talent. He’s a dual threat quarterback with elite running and passing ability, and the NFL is depending more and more on that these days. Second, he played against some great competition in college, and almost never looked overwhelmed. His six-touchdown performance against Clemson in the CFP semifinal was unbelievable, and he even held his own against an unstoppable Alabama defense in the final. Finally, he probably won’t be going to the Jaguars or Jets — they seem to have their hearts set on Lawrence and Wilson. That’s a good thing for Fields because instead of getting thrown into the fire with an inept organization, he may go to the 49ers or even possibly the Patriots if they decide to trade up (please do it Bill). Those well-established organizations will give a raw talent like Fields more of a chance for success, and I think he will run with it. Fields has true MVP potential.