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 early goings of the season have produced minimal surprises by way of who is at the top, with the team that lands the No. 1 overall pick likely choosing the Tigers’ young-buck passer.
The city of New York is in an elite battle for that No. 1 pick, with each team finding new and inventive ways to out-suck the other: Through the first seven weeks of the 2020 season, the Jets have looked wildly non-competitive, resulting in an 0-7 record with a real opportunity at a winless season and rights to the No. 1 pick. Daniel Jones is fumbling or throwing away games for the Giants and seemingly regressing in his second year.
The Jaguars, the early favorites for Lawrence, have jumped right back into the mix and crashed New York’s private party for that No. 1 overall pick.
Whoever ends up with the No. 1 overall pick is going to be crowned le champion of the Tank for Trevor sweepstakes, and while a lot of what Lawrence will be in the NFL is a projection, teams at a crossroads shouldn’t fear the rebuild with the Clemson wunderkind under center.
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 Friday, Oct. 30):
|1||New York Jets||0-7||.592|
|2||New York Giants||1-6||.546|
|4||Miami Dolphins (via Houston)||1-6||.583|
|9||Washington Football Team||2-5||.491|
|10||Los Angeles Chargers||2-4||.453|
No. 1: New York Jets
Current QB: Sam Darnold
Questionable coaching, roster-limiting injuries and mediocre quarterback play have all led to a nasty 0-7 record for the Jets in 2020. While there was a little reason for optimism heading into Year 3 of the Sam Darnold era, the USC product has been hampered by a patchwork receiving corps and Adam Gase, who looks like he’s on his way out at some point. In a matter of weeks, Darnold has gone from franchise savior to one-winged angel.
Still, if the Jets end up with the No. 1 overall pick — a very real possibility, at least at this point in the season — there’s a very real chance that they will move on from Darnold and draft Trevor Lawrence. Drafting Lawrence once again resets the Jets’ clock on a rebuild, gives a potential new head coach a moldable prospect and gives the Jets a rookie contract at QB.
Though, with so much football left to play, wait for the Jets to find a way to blow it. Per usual.
No. 2: New York Giants
Current QB: Daniel Jones
The proud and powerful Giants have played a little better than their record indicates, but Jones’ turnover issues are at the forefront of Big Blue’s offensive woes. Jones has thrown seven interceptions and lost four fumbles through seven games this year, including a game-sealing pick vs. the Rams in Week 4 and a game-ending fumble in Week 7. Jones has seemingly taken a step back under new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, although a fair amount of his non-success in 2020 can be attributed to a less-than-good offensive line and questionable skill position cast.
Still, in a hapless NFC East and with a surprise win here or there, the Giants will likely take themselves out of the Tank for Trevor sweepstakes, giving New York and Jones another year to figure out which way he’s going as a QB. As mentioned, they’ve played better than their record — they secured their first W of the season vs. Washington in Week 6, and if they can continue to progress, then they’ll pick up more wins this year.
No. 3: Jacksonville Jaguars
Current QB: Gardner Minshew
With the Jaguars seemingly nosediving after a surprising Week 1 win over the Colts, the early favorites to secure Lawrence’s services are firmly back in the mix with a 1-6 record.
While Minshew’s mercurial play is exciting to watch, there’s still a question of whether he’s the franchise’s passer of the future. Jacksonville’s very difficult schedule the rest of the season doesn’t paint a rosy picture when it comes to wins, so Jags fans should get ready for a top-three pick if things continue play out the way they are at the moment.
No. 4: Miami Dolphins (via Houston)
Current QB: Tua Tagovailoa
And here are the Dolphins with Houston’s first-round pick for 2021, and they are finally turning to Tua Tagovailoa after the surprise benching of Ryan Fitzpatrick before Week 7.
The Dolphins would be silly to draft Lawrence, obviously, and their fate with this pick is out of their hands. But there will be plenty of playmakers the Phins can take with this pick to complement Tua.
No. 5: Minnesota Vikings
Current QB: Kirk Cousins
Cousins is due big bucks in 2021 thanks to his guaranteed contract, but it’s the last year he’ll be on the books for Minnesota
The Vikings have certainly underperformed this season, but there’s a good chance they’ll finish lower in the draft order than this. They have a fairly soft schedule the rest of the season, and while the team is currently in a bit of turmoil, they’ll be able to eke out a few more wins.
NFL DRAFT BIG BOARD:
Top 50 players in the 2021 draft class
— No. 6: The Cincinnati Bengals have looked pretty bad in a lot of phases of the game this year, but they can take comfort in knowing Joe Burrow is the real deal. The rookie has looked poised behind a bad O-line, and while there have been bumps along the way, he’s been as advertised so far.
— No. 7: The Atlanta Falcons effectively took themselves out of the Tank for Trevor sweepstakes with a surprising “Thursday Night Football” win over the Panthers in Week 8. Matt Ryan will likely be in Atlanta for another year, just given his absurd contract.
— No. 8: The Dallas Cowboys are going to have to figure out the QB position heading into 2021. Do they bring back Dak Prescott at his asking price even though he’ll be coming off a pretty brutal injury? Do they franchise-tag him again? Do they look elsewhere, like, the draft? There are options for Dallas — but who knows if Mike McCarthy will be the one to help figure that out?
— No. 9: The Washington Football Team don’t have their QB of the future on the roster, since it seems they’ve completely soured on Dwayne Haskins in just his second year. A potentially disappointing end for the Buckeye in Washington.
— No. 10: The Los Angeles Chargers look like they have a passer of the future in Justin Herbert. While there are no moral victories in the NFL, LA can take solace in knowing Herbert is legit, especially so after his monster game and win in Week 7.