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You think you know who the No. 1 quarterback in the 2021 NFL draft class is, but does everyone agree with you?
We’ve been told for three years that Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence is a football god, sure-fire first overall pick and the best prospect since at least Andrew Luck and maybe since Peyton Manning.
Lawrence is QB1. Or at least that’s what we’ve all been told and all kind of go along with. He’s great. Generational, maybe.
But not everyone sees it this way. In fact, as NFL scouting departments meet to stack their draft boards and discuss the upcoming class, at least one team has Lawrence as QB2.
So who the hell is their QB1?
BYU’s Zach Wilson.
“What he does as a thrower, and as a runner, is exactly where we are as a league right now. He throws some of those 50/50 balls with his shoulders square to the defense after running around in the pocket and I’m seeing Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech all over again.” — NFL College Scouting Director
Wilson, a three-year starter at BYU, improved each year in Provo; going from 11 touchdowns as a freshman to 33 as a junior while becoming one of the most electric players in college football.
A switch was seemingly flipped for Wilson, with the help of offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes (now at Baylor) as he combined to put 43 touchdowns on the board (10 on the ground) and limited his interceptions to just three after tossing nine in his 2019 sophomore season.
Wilson’s rise is not that different from Baker Mayfield (2018), Kyler Murray (2019) and even Joe Burrow (2020). His talent was known to the football world, but things came together for him in his third year as a starter. Football slowed down and his natural talents and tools took over.
But enough to replace Lawrence as the top quarterback in the class?
For at least one team, that’s the case. And maybe this is a club knowing they won’t have the opportunity to draft Lawrence so they’ve already mentally moved on to the next-best thing, but the more scouts talk about Wilson the more love you hear for his game.
Even if it’s something like him being QB1.
When talking about Wilson, there is one recent thing that must be addressed. ESPN’s Todd McShay—who does a wonderful job and is a trailblazer in this industry—said on the network’s Get Up program that Wilson wasn’t a captain at BYU.
The only thing is, Wilson was a captain. This may be a situation of more context being needed, as Wilson was not initially voted as a captain, according to a source with the program, but would go on to earn that title.
It’s right there in the photos. It’s all over the game film. Wilson with a “C” on his chest.
It is silly season in the NFL, though, and no doubt McShay was told by someone he trusts, “hey, did you know Zach Wilson wasn’t voted a captain?” And, while technically true, more information was needed since a comment like that can damage the reputation and draft stock of a player.
After all, we don’t want to spend the next two months wondering which teammates attended Wilson’s birthday party.
Want the rest of the Scouting Notebook, including:
Why Justin Fields is being over-evaluated
Riser - Faller - Sleeper
The Carson Wentz trade market is dead
Where does Sam Darnold land?
Why Kyle Shanahan has to get the QB position right in a hurry
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