“He’s clearly No. 1 for me. Clearly. And there is space between him and Trevor Lawrence.” – Simms on Ranking Zach Wilson over Trevor Lawrence
“I feel like I’m back watching almost a Patrick Mahomes again. That’s how I feel when I’m watching him. It’s Aaron Rodgers-ish…He’s got the best arm in the draft.” – Simms on Wilson
“The talent is there, there’s no doubt, and to add on top of that, there’s untapped talent still here too…(He) has some inconsistencies, in my opinion, in his mechanics and throwing.” – Simms on Lawrence
“He’s a Top 10 pick, there’s no doubt in my mind.” – Simms on Mac Jones
STAMFORD, Conn. – March 4, 2021 – NBC Sports’ Chris Simms unveiled his quarterback draft rankings, discussing this year’s top QB prospects heading into the 2021 NFL Draft, on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast, listing BYU QB Zach Wilson No. 1. In the episode, Simms ranks and breaks down Wilson, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Alabama’s Mac Jones, Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.
Simms, a third-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2003 NFL Draft who played eight NFL seasons, is joined by NBC Sports’ Paul Burmeister on the podcast. The two offer in-depth breakdowns, rankings, and NFL comparisons for this year’s top quarterback prospects.
“I’m excited about this. I’m not one really to change my rankings a whole lot,” Simms said about evaluating this year’s quarterback draft class. “Last year I did get a little infatuated with Jordan Love early in the process, and I had him above Tua (Tagovailoa). I ultimately ended up switching them. I don’t think I’m going to have any switching this year. I really don’t. It’s been a good 10 days of really me just studying quarterbacks. I feel extremely confident…I’m excited about this whole class.”
Simms, who has had recent success in projecting college quarterbacks – including naming Patrick Mahomes as his most exciting prospect in 2017, listing Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen as his top-two QBs in 2018, and having Justin Herbert as his No. 2 QB last year – has ranked Wilson as his No. 1 quarterback in this year’s class, above presumptive No. 1 pick Lawrence.
“As I watched, and I watched every throw of the season, to me there’s distance between one and two here,” Simms said about Wilson. “I’m sorry. He’s clearly No. 1 for me. Clearly. And there is space between him and Trevor Lawrence.”
In the lead up to April’s NFL Draft, Simms will rank and break down every position group, provide a list of mid-late round sleeper prospects, and issue a final mock draft.
Simms’ Top Six QB prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft:
|1.||Zach Wilson, BYU|
|2.||Trevor Lawrence, Clemson|
|3.||Mac Jones, Alabama|
|4.||Kellen Mond, Texas A&M|
|5.||Justin Fields, Ohio State|
|6||Trey Lance, North Dakota State|
The following are highlights from Simms’ QB draft rankings:
No. 1: Zach Wilson, BYU
“I’m blown away by Zach Wilson. I feel like I’m back watching almost a Patrick Mahomes again. That’s how I feel when I’m watching him. It’s Aaron Rodgers-ish…His throwing is exceptional, ok? The consistency of the throwing right off the bat…He’s got the best arm in the draft…His arm is special, and his accuracy is special. He takes advantage of all that’s there to be had, but it’s the other aspect of his game that also blows me away when there is nothing there…It’s off the charts, it’s wow. I knew the kid had talent. I did not expect to see what I saw, where it was just one consistent highlight show game after game after game after game…He’s a very good athlete. His feet are off-the-charts good. I guess what I come down to with him, the only negative is maybe I wish he was a little bigger.”
Simms on why he ranked Wilson above Lawrence
“Trevor Lawrence, we’re talking long career. He has Hall of Fame-type talent and ability, all of those things. I’m not knocking him. I’m just saying the guy I see right now at No. 1 is really superstar special talent and NFL-ready right now.”
No. 2: Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
“Amazing. Big, strong arm. He’s played in a lot of big-time college football. The talent is there, there’s no doubt, and to add on top of that, there’s untapped talent still here too. There are things that could be fixed in his football game. The one thing that I came away with with Trevor Lawrence – and listen, there’s a lot of plays where I go, ‘Oh good throw, great throw,’ – I always say size is a skill. He has that over Zach Wilson…Trevor Lawrence’s running is special, but when it comes to just pure throwing, and even the decision-making, Zach Wilson’s offense is pro-ish…Trevor Lawrence is not quite there yet. It’s real good, there’s no doubt. But it’s a very college-y offense too. Again, the raw talent is really real, and he’s definitely worthy of the No. 1 pick. If Jacksonville wants to take him No. 1, you’re not going to sit here and see me go, ‘That’s so stupid. That’s ridiculous.’ No. I see it, it’s real. But what I’ll say to you is he’s not as good a thrower as Justin Herbert was last year…The one thing that I think jumped out to me and maybe I didn’t even realize when I’m watching on TV because they’re Clemson and they still win and they put up points and yards and things like that, but there are a number of easy throws delivered to him…and then he gets to throw to a lot of wide open people too, and I have no issue with that. But there’s also a number of throws where, and this is where I think I was a little taken aback by it, where I just go, ‘That ball is off-target. He’s wide open and he missed it.’ … Trevor Lawrence has some inconsistencies, in my opinion, in his mechanics and throwing.”
No. 3: Mac Jones, Alabama
“Him and Zach Wilson are more consistent throwing the ball than Trevor Lawrence, but his top-end talent and potential is not Trevor Lawrence. So that’s why I don’t have him here, but if you just asked me right now at this second who can hit the most bullseyes? I’m going to go Mac Jones is going to hit more bullseyes than Trevor Lawrence. He is. Mac Jones is another one I was secretly blown away by as I started to watch him…There are so many big-time NFL throws, it is unreal…His feet are extremely quick, he is unbelievable in the pocket, and he can move plenty well-enough to avoid traffic and make throws on the run and do all of that. I really was kind of blown away by Mac Jones because it was more than I was expecting…He has every throw in the book…He’s the quickest decision-maker that I’ve ever seen. He’s right on with Joe Burrow. That’s where he is special…He’s a Top 10 pick, there’s no doubt in my mind.”
No. 4: Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
“This is the guy that’s not even on the radar to where you just go…nobody’s talking about this guy? It’s a machine throwing the ball, like Mac Jones. I don’t understand why there’s no talk about this guy…I promise you this is the guy I’m going to get calls from my NFL friends today going, ‘Oh, I wish you wouldn’t have said anything about him!’ … He has got an unbelievable release, has great command of the ball. As a pure, consistent thrower, it’s better than Trevor Lawrence just as a pure, ‘Every throw on the money, perfect spiral.’ I don’t know why he’s not getting more hype…The mechanics are perfect every time, and like a Mac Jones, it doesn’t matter what the throw is, he is within the realm of his mechanics.”
No. 5: Justin Fields, Ohio State
“I’ve got more notes on Justin Fields than anybody in here because there’s things I like – he’s got elite traits, he’s got elite arm strength, pure power in his arm…I think the number one thing I would look at is he’s built like Cam Newton except he’s two inches shorter, and he’s special that way. His running is better than I think I realized…There is raw ability there, there is no doubt about that. The arm is big-time when he pieces it together, and that’s the problem I have, ‘when he pieces it together.’ Very, very inconsistent that way…He throws it good on the run but not great because it goes back to some of the technique issues and there’s inconsistency. He just tries to do it with pure talent sometimes…There’s a lot of technique issues that he has. He’s a little bit of a project in terms of throwing the football.”
No. 6: Trey Lance, North Dakota State
“I like the raw talent, I do. He has more consistency in his mechanics than Justin Fields. Really, as a thrower, I like him better than Justin Fields. The biggest thing and the biggest negative with Trey Lance right off the bat is just he hasn’t played enough…He’s a phenomenal runner. He’s probably the best, most-gifted runner of the group…That’s going to be his issue I think as people dive in more and more, they’re just going to go, ‘He just hasn’t thrown enough, he hasn’t played enough.’ I don’t get to see enough evidence to go, ‘Oh I can buy into him being a Top 15 or Top 20 pick.’”
To hear the full episode with full prospect breakdowns, click here.
The Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast is available for download on all major podcast platforms including: NBCSports.com/podcasts, NBC Sports’ Scores app, Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and iHeart.