2021 NFL Draft predictions for the 2020 Heisman finalists

2021 NFL Draft prospects Mac Jones #10 and DeVonta Smith #6 of the Alabama Crimson Tide (Photo by Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports)
2021 NFL Draft prospects Mac Jones #10 and DeVonta Smith #6 of the Alabama Crimson Tide (Photo by Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports) /
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Trevor Lawrence, 2021 NFL Draft
2021 NFL Draft prospect Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemons Tigers (Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports) /

Preview some early 2021 NFL Draft predictions surrounding the 2020 Heisman finalists.

With the 2020-2021 NFL regular season beginning its final two weeks of play, many teams and fans are turning their attention to the 2021 NFL Draft. There is much excitement this year surrounding many positions, including what appears to be a loaded class at the quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and safety positions. While those positions are considered both deep and immensely talented at the top, other positions such as offensive tackle and linebacker are seen as top-heavy with little depth.

Some of the players that always receive their share of NFL draft hype are the Heisman Trophy finalists from the college football season. While oftentimes these finalists (and winners) are quarterbacks, other offensive skill position players or truly dominant defenders can also be recognized when they have historic and/or undeniably impressive seasons. This year, three of the finalists are indeed quarterbacks while the fourth finalist was a wide receiver.

Before delving into the four 2020 finalists, let’s take a look at the talented young men that placed sixth through tenth in the 2020 Heisman voting:

As you can see, quarterbacks continue to dominate the votes for the awards as three other quarterbacks finished in the top 10 in addition to the three finalists. Aside from the quarterbacks, a pair of impressive running backs in Najee Harris (total of 1578 yards and 27 touchdowns) and Breece Hall (total of 1606 yards and 21 touchdowns) both ran over their competition all year and easily earned their place on this list.

What may be even more impressive however is the fact that Florida tight end Kyle Pitts (770 yards and 12 touchdowns) was able to land himself 10th on the Heisman list. This was the first time since 1977 that a tight end has managed to earn a place among the top-10 Heisman vote-getters (Notre Dame’s Ken McAfee placed third that year).

Moving on to the 2020 Heisman finalists, quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), Mac Jones (Alabama), and Kyle Trask (Florida) finished among the top four in voting. Joining those three quarterbacks will be wide receiver Devonta Smith (Alabama), who was electric and unstoppable all year for the Crimson Tide’s rolling offense. Where will these four talented college players land in the 2021 NFL Draft and what teams might select them? Keep reading to find out.

Trevor Lawrence, Quarterback, Clemson

Season Overview: Some experts and writers around college football believed that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence would not finish as a Heisman finalist this year due to him missing multiple weeks with the COVID-19 infection that has been rampaging across the world. However, despite being infected and missing some time on the field, Lawrence showed enough when on it to punch his ticket to the Heisman finalist show early in January next year.

He was able to secure his ticket by throwing for 2,753 yards and 22 touchdowns while completing 69.2% of his passes and turning the ball over just four times. Lawrence also ran for 211 yards and added seven more touchdowns on the ground. By doing all of this against ACC competition and even after missing a month late in the season due to the virus, the Clemson standout earned his way into the Heisman conversation.

2021 NFL Draft Predictions: This is easily the most obvious call to be made about who will go number one overall in an NFL draft since Andrew Luck went first overall in 2012. Lawrence has dominated his college competition since stepping onto the field as a true freshman years ago and has done it against the elite college defenses as well. He has a winning pedigree dating back to high school and checks every box you want a college quarterback prospect to check.

Clemson’s quarterback can make every throw in the book and can do so with extreme accuracy and impressive ball placement. He brings with him plus pocket movement and awareness and rarely panics under pressure. He’s considered a truly generational talent (not the token yearly ones either, the real legitimate ones) and a can’t miss quarterback prospect.

There’s no guessing where he ends up getting picked in the 2021 NFL draft. Lawrence will be going first overall, no questions asked. The only question now is whether it will be to the Jacksonville Jaguars or the New York Jets and the only way to know will be in two weeks when the NFL regular season ends. Right now, the Jaguars are in the lead for the generational Lawrence.