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 six weeks of the 2020 season, the Jets have looked wildly non-competitive, resulting in an 0-6 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.
With another loss on Sunday, the Washington Football Team has crashed New York’s private party, entering their name in the race for the Clemson Tiger.
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 Sunday, Oct. 18):
|1||New York Jets||0-6||.593|
|2||Washington Football Team||1-5||.494|
|3||New York Giants||1-5||.533|
|7||Miami Dolphins (via Houston)||1-5||.601|
|8||Los Angeles Chargers||1-4||.466|
No. 1: New York Jets
Current QB: Sam Darnold
Questionable coaching, roster-limiting injuries and mediocre quarterback play have all led to a nasty 0-6 start for the Jets in 2020. While there was a little reason for optimism heading into Year 3 of the 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. 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 — they’re going to face a difficult decision: Do they stick with Darnold and trade the No. 1 pick for a franchise-altering haul, passing on Lawrence, or do they take Lawrence and restart the clock on a rebuild and get what they can for Darnold in a trade? The decision isn’t clear — at least not yet. What is clear is that they’ll at least be in the mix come Week 17 this season.
There’s one thing that came from Darnold’s shoulder injury this year, and that is the offense under Joe Flacco still looks anemic, pointing the finger a bit more at Gase and coaching than Darnold.
No. 2: Washington Football Team
Current QB: Kyle Allen? Alex Smith? Dwayne Haskins?
Washington seems ready to move on from 2019 first-round pick Haskins, with the quarterback being demoted to third on the depth chart, and now they’re firmly in the Tank for Trevor sweepstakes.
To close the book on the former Ohio State Buckeye seems very unfair to Haskins, considering the instability he walked into and a new head coach this year in Ron Rivera. But Rivera has seemingly been unimpressed and the … Team could look to the future in the upcoming draft.
NFL franchises have moved on from quarterbacks for much less, and the working relationship between the two sides could end in and benefit from a change of scenery.
No. 3: 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 five interceptions and lost three fumbles through five games this year, including a game-sealing pick vs. the Rams in Week 4. Jones has seemingly taken a step back under new 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. They’ve played better than their record indicates — they secured their first W of the season versus Washington in Week 6, and if they can continue to progress, then they’ll pick up more wins this year.
No. 4: Atlanta Falcons
Current QB: Matt Ryan
The Falcons aren’t moving on from Ryan anytime soon — have you seen his contract? — but with a new head coach in 2021 and a likely top-five pick, Atlanta will have its choice of quarterback for the future.
Let’s play fantasy football: There’s arguably no better fit in Atlanta than Eric Bieniemy as head coach, and imagine pairing him with the limitless talent of Justin Fields a few years down the line. It would be nearly an identical situation to the Alex Smith-to-Patrick Mahomes handoff in Kansas City, for which Bieniemy had a front-row seat. It sounds all too perfect a scenario for the Falcons — so don’t be surprised when they somehow blow it.
With Dan Quinn out in Hotlanta, also don’t be surprised if the ice-cold Falcons end up with some more wins vs. a soft schedule in the coming weeks. That was true for at least one week, with the Falcons notching their first win of the season over the Vikings in Week 6.
No. 5: Jacksonville Jaguars
Current QB: Gardner Minshew
With the Jaguars seemingly nosediving after a surprising Week 1 win over the Colts, the once-favorite to land Trevor Lawrence’s services are now firmly back in the mix with a 1-5 start.
While Minshew’s mercurial play is exciting to watch, there’s still question of whether or not he’s the 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. 6: The Minnesota Vikings are still in win-now mode, so don’t expect them to figure out the QB position in the draft. They’ll finish much lower than this. It is surprising to see them start 1-5, though.
— No. 7: Tua Tagovailoa made his first appearance for the Miami Dolphins in their 24-0 win over the Jets in Week 6, reliving Ryan Fitzpatrick in garbage time. The team still believes him Tua, so they won’t end up with Lawrence, unless something devastating happens. Also, this pick doesn’t even belong to them — it’s via Houston.
— No. 8: 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.
— No. 9: A new team enters the top 10 this week, and it’s the Philadelphia Eagles. Injuries have, once again, ruined the Eagles’ chance to compete, at least at this point. There are some questions of Carson Wentz’ future in Philly, but even if he is replaced, Jalen Hurts will get an opportunity before Wentz is removed.
— No. 10: 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.