The Tank for Trevor sweepstakes is in full gear.
According to many, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence is the most polished, NFL-ready quarterback the league has seen since Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, leaving teams at the top of the draft order ready to go all out to secure that top pick. To that end, the 2020 NFL season has produced minimal surprises regarding who is at the top, with the team that lands the No. 1 overall pick likely choosing the Tigers’ young-buck passer.
We have a new horse in the lead, and it only took until Week 15: The Jacksonville Jaguars are now back in the No. 1 overall slot for the time being after the Jets inexplicably won, handing the Rams a 23-20 home loss on Sunday afternoon, pushing their record to 1-13. Based on strength of schedule, the Jags now slip into that No. 1 overall spot despite matching New York’s record.
With just two games left to play for both squads, could we see “any given Sunday” play out again, or will Jacksonville and New York hold steady as the season winds down?
Here’s the current top-10 order for the 2021 NFL Draft, and a little bit on each team therein:
NFL Draft order 2021
The current top 10 picks for the 2021 NFL Draft are as follows, courtesy of Tankathon (updated Sunday, Dec. 20):
|2||New York Jets||1-13||.593|
|6||Miami Dolphins (via Houston)||4-10||.548|
|9||Los Angeles Chargers||5-9||.480|
No. 1: Jacksonville Jaguars
Current QB: Gardner Minshew
Record and remaining schedule: 1-13; vs. Bears, at Colts
As it was foretold, the Jacksonville Jaguars are now in the lead for Trevor Lawrence’s services.
Jacksonville is riding a 13-game losing streak after beating the Colts in Week 1 of the 2020 season, and just had to outlast the Jets en route to the No. 1 pick. New York made it tough, going 0-13 until finally winning a game vs. the Rams in Week 15.
There’s really not much doubt that the Jags are in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 pick given their schedule the remainder of the season, but a win could bump them out of the top spot and the Jets back in.
No. 2: New York Jets
Current QB: Sam Darnold
Record and remaining schedule: 1-13; vs. Browns, at Patriots
For the first time in a long time, the Jets are not leaders in the Tank for Trevor sweepstakes, and their sole win comes in a massive upset over the now 9-5 Rams in Los Angeles.
While the No. 1 pick isn’t set in stone yet, should the Jets end up with No. 2, they’ll have some decisions to make: Do they take a quarterback with the No. 2 pick? Do they trade down for more picks and build around Darnold? Do they stand pat and draft Penei Sewell out of Oregon? New York will have no shortage of options, and they’ll know one way or another in the coming weeks which options they’ll be free to pursue.
No. 3: Cincinnati Bengals
Current QB: Ryan Finley
Record and remaining schedule: 2-10-1; vs. Steelers, at Texans, vs. Ravens
A promising rookie season for Joe Burrow came to a crashing halt after he was hit low, destroying his ACL, MCL and causing additional structural damage to his knee. Burrow will be fine, but the line is anything but.
Cincinnati can sit pretty at No. 3 knowing that it will have options at anything but quarterback. If the Bengals finish out the season with the third pick, then Oregon offensive lineman Penei Sewell could be there waiting, giving Burrow a legit force along the offensive line, at least mitigating the odds of a devastating injury happening to the franchise passer in years to come.
No. 4: Carolina Panthers
Current QB: Teddy Bridgewater
Record and remaining schedule: 4-10; at Washington, vs. Saints
The Panthers have certainly showcased a fair amount of moxie and attitude thanks to new head coach Matt Rhule. Where they go at QB in 2021, though, is anyone’s guess.
At 4-10, the Panthers are potentially out of striking distance for the top two quarterbacks — Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields — and some believe that Bridgewater may be the guy entering 2021 should the Panthers not rush to pick a QB this upcoming offseason.
As with any team in the top five, they’ll have options, and they’re more unclear than most.
No. 5: Atlanta Falcons
Current QB: Matt Ryan
Record and remaining schedule: 4-10; at Chiefs, at Buccaneers
The Matt Ryan era in Atlanta kind of feels like it’s ending? It kind of doesn’t feel like it’s ending? Who knows?
Have you seen his contract, though? It’s grotesque — and it might keep him in ATL for a little longer than people expect.
Still, the Falcons will have to look to the future at some point. Ryan, 35, isn’t getting much younger. Atlanta will be on the hunt for a new head coach in the new year, if Raheem Morris doesn’t get tapped for the position. It’s an attractive job, no doubt, but how attractive depends on what the Falcons front office thinks of its QB situation heading into next season.
NFL DRAFT BIG BOARD:
Top 50 players in the 2021 draft class
— No. 6: The Miami Dolphins turned to Tua Tagovailoa, the 2020 No. 5 overall pick, and he’s been very good as a starter for the ‘Phins. There will be offensive playmakers available for Miami, whether it’s this pick or the second of their first-rounders in 2021.
— No. 7: Could Carson Wentz have thrown his last pass for the Philadelphia Eagles? It certainly sounds — and looks — that way, with Jalen Hurts now given the starter keys and performing the way he is.
— No. 8: The Dallas Cowboys have a conundrum on their hands entering 2021 — Do they give Dak Prescott whatever he wants, or do they try and find his replacement? It’s not as simple as you may think.
— No. 9: Justin Herbert is making a case as the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year for the Los Angeles Chargers, so barring something miraculous, expect Herbert to be the guy on the west coast for the foreseeable future.
— No. 10: The Detroit Lions don’t seem long for Matthew Stafford after jettisoning both GM Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia earlier in the year, but can he be moved? Tough to get a read on what the Motor City will do this offseason.