Who are the quarterbacks who’ll matter in the 2021 NFL Draft, and what’s the college perspective on all of the top prospects?


2021 NFL Draft Quarterback Rankings

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Last year was fun for quarterbacks – Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert look like 15-year superstars, and Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts should blow up now that they have the keys to their respective kingdoms – but this is different.

There’s the no-brainer, and then it’s GM-wrecking time.

If you thought taking Mitch-turned-Mitchell Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson was bad – actually, at the moment, maybe it’s not so bad on the latter – that might be nothing compared to what’s coming with the massive calls coming on top QB prospects 2-through-5.

Keeping in mind that Mahomes – and he went 10th – is the only quarterback not named Manning since Troy Aikman went to Dallas in 1989 who was drafted in the top ten and won a Super Bowl for the team that took him …

15. Peyton Ramsey, Northwestern

Size: 6-2, 220

The Good: To go totally cliché considering he’s a Northwestern quarterback, he’s a heady player who has a decent enough arm and the skills to be an emergency game manager at the next level, and that’s not a knock. He doesn’t take a whole lot of chances, he can move just enough to not be a statue.

The Not-So-Good: The accuracy isn’t good enough. He’s too inconsistent, the deep ball ability is fine, but not special, and there were times when he just wasn’t quite right for a Northwestern offense that needed him to be perfect. There were two games last season when he threw no touchdown passes and two picks, and they were the two losses to Michigan State and Ohio State.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: He’s fine. He’ll be a backup who hangs around the league for a while because he has just enough good tools to like, but there’s a problem if he’s your regular starter.

Projected Round: Free Agent


14. Ian Book, Notre Dame

Size: 6-0, 210

The Good: He was a great college quarterback. At times he was a third down conversion machine, he was terrific in the Irish system, and he came through in the clutch more often than he got credit for. He’s a baller who isn’t going to be phased by the moment, and he’s got the chip-on-the-shoulder attitude of a 6-0 quarterback.

The Not-So-Good: He was a great college quarterback. It certainly wasn’t his fault that Notre Dame got bounced out of the College Football Playoff in its two appearances, but the other quarterbacks in those CFPs were … Trevor Lawrence, Tua Tagovailoa, Kyler Murray, Mac Jones, Justin Fields. Book doesn’t have those skills.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: In case you didn’t hear it over and over and over again throughout last year, Book was a great college quarterback. He’s missing the size, passing consistency and tools to be more than a backup, but he’ll be a tough cut in a camp.

Projected Round: Free Agent


13. Shane Buechele, SMU

Size: 6-1, 207

The Good: The guy spent 14 years in college football – there’s nothing he hasn’t seen. There might not be a whole lot of next-level skills to get excited about, but he was good for Texas, great for SMU, and he can step and be an instant leader if needed.

The Not-So-Good: He can move, but he’s not going to be a runner. He’s an underpowered pitcher who can’t really bring the deep ball, and the lack of size is a problem considering his style.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: Think Case Keenum. The tools aren’t there to expect anything amazing, but he can be a solid pro for a long time who can step in and keep things moving if needed.

Projected Round: Fifth


12. Sam Ehlinger, Texas

Size: 6-1, 220

The Good: The guy did a whole lot of things right and managed to win some big games for the Longhorns – at least when it came to the bowls. He’s not all that big, but he’s a bulldozer of a runner with an accurate enough deep arm to press the ball down the field. A tough guy’s tough guy, he’ll do whatever is needed.

The Not-So-Good: The pro passing tools are just okay. He dipped a bit last year when it seemed like the pressure was on to do everything game in and game out, and his running ability isn’t always a plus. The guy took a ton of punishment as it became too easy at times to rely on him running the ball.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: He might be a more interesting call than you’d think. There’s a lot to knock – being a smaller Tim Tebow isn’t a plus – but he could blossom on a team he doesn’t have to carry. If he’s just asked to be a QB in a system, he could be a decent late value get.

Projected Round: Fifth


11. KJ Costello, Mississippi State

Size: 6-5, 225

The Good: In terms or pro passing skills, arm, and style, he’s it. He’s got the 6-5 size, the power arm that can push it deep, and he looked the part of a potential franchise NFL quarterback as a sophomore at Stanford. When the guy was on – like he was in the 623-yard day against LSU last year and in the Pac-12 season of 2018 – he was occasionally as good as any quarterback in college football.

The Not-So-Good: Too many interceptions, too many misfires, too much indecision, and too much work might need to be done to break down his game to build it back up. He got hurt right away as a junior at Stanford and wasn’t right the whole year, and the Mississippi State thing last year was a hot mess after the opener.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: Please forgive this ranking as I try to make a pick work after three years of pumping him up as the next big thing. There are so many issues with his game now, but there’s also too much talent there to not think there’s a special upside if someone wants to take the time to give it a shot.

Projected Round: Free Agent

NEXT: 2021 NFL Draft Quarterback Rankings Top Ten