NFL draft could see record run of quarterbacks taken

Josh Dubow Ap Pro Football Writer
Wednesday, April 28, 2021

As soon as the San Francisco 49ers traded three first round picks to move up to No. 3 overall, it became clear that quarterbacks would come off the board at a record pace at the NFL draft.

While QBs are widely expected to go 1-2-3 for just the third time in the common draft era that started in 1967, there are still questions about how many others will follow in the top 10 and first round.

Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson are expected to be the top two picks, to Jacksonville and the New York Jets, with the Niners likely choosing among Mac Jones, Trey Lance and Justin Fields at No. 3.

That would match 1971 (Jim Plunkett, Archie Manning, Dan Pastorini) and 1999 (Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, Akili Smith) as the only drafts with quarterbacks taken with the top three picks.

A record could be set with four QBs going in the top four if Atlanta drafts the successor to Matt Ryan or trades down to a quarterback-needy team.

If Fields, Jones and Lance all get taken in the top 10, that would also be a first, beating the four top-10 QBs taken in the 2018 draft when Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen all went off the board quickly.

All five of those QBs are almost assuredly first-round picks, something that also happened in 1999 when the five came off in the top 12, and in 2018 when Lamar Jackson was picked 32nd to join the four top-10 QBs.

If somehow, Kyle Trask, Kellen Mond or Davis Mills go off the board late in the first round, the 2021 draft could match the 1983 class with six first-round QBs.

That class that featured Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino, along with Todd Blackledge, Tony Eason and Ken O’Brien, is widely considered the best ever for quarterbacks.

With Lawrence set to be the 26th quarterback to be picked first overall since the merger, quarterbacks will account for exactly half of the top picks since 1970.

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