2021 NFL Draft Round 1, Pick 3
Lawrence to Jacksonville and Fields to Washington were pretty easy selections to make, but things get a bit more difficult here at No. 3. The Carolina Panthers signed Teddy Bridgewater over the offseason and they hope that he can cement himself as their long-term starting quarterback. However, Bridgewater is far from an established star and if they are picking third overall, how good can he have really been?
This choice comes down to two players; Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell and North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance. If head coach Matt Rhule and company feel like Bridgewater is their long-term answer at quarterback, then snagging an elite left tackle prospect like Sewell makes sense. That being said, nothing is more important than having a legitimate franchise quarterback. If they do not believe in Bridgewater at this time next year, Lance has to be the guy.
Lance is not the most experienced or established quarterback prospect. He has only started for one year at North Dakota State and is unlikely to see many games this season. However, he was absolutely dominant during that one season and if he declares for the 2021 NFL Draft, he will be a top-tier prospect in the class.
Similarly to Lawrence and Fields, Lance shows an impressive combination of athleticism and arm talent at the quarterback position. He is a strong decision-maker, accurate passer and has more than enough arm to hit any throw on the field. Lance is also a natural playmaker with the ball in his hands and a massive threat with his legs at all times.
Simply put, Lance has a massive ceiling at the next level. The Panthers could draft him with the intention of allowing him to sit behind Bridgewater for a year before taking over during the 2022 season. This is not an easy or obvious pick, but Lance is the kind of talent who you bet on every single time.