Why Simms ranks Wilson as top QB in 2021 NFL Draft class


NBC Sports NFL analyst and former NFL quarterback Chris Simms is going against the general consensus with his quarterback rankings for the 2021 draft.

Simms, speaking on the "Chris Simms Unbuttoned" podcast said he has BYU quarterback Zach Wilson ranked ahead of Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. And Simms said Wilson, for him, is the "clear No. 1."

Lawrence is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars in this year's draft.

Here is what Simms had to say about each of the quarterbacks he has ranked in his top six:

1. Zach Wilson

“I’m blown away by Zach Wilson. I feel like I’m back watching, almost, a Patrick Mahomes again. That’s how I feel when I’m watching him. He’s Aaron Rodgers-ish. First of all, his throwing is exceptional. The consistency of the throwing ... Guys are open, he hits them. It’s on the target all the time. ... Then, you talk about the great talent he has. Listen, he’s got the best arm in the draft. … His arm is special and his accuracy is special.

“But it’s the other aspect of his game that also blows me away. When there is nothing there, or, OK, there is a guy open but the degree of difficulty for that throw, and he’s got people around him, it’s off the charts. I knew the kid had talent. I did not expect to see what I saw. It was one consistent highlight show game after game after game after game.

“As I watched, and I watched every throw of the season … to me, there’s distance between 1 and 2 here. I’m sorry. He’s clearly No. 1 for me. And there’s space between him and Trevor Lawrence, and I really like Trevor Lawrence and think he’s worthy of the No. 1 pick.”

2. Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

“Amazing. Big. Strong arm. Played a lot of big-time college football. The talent is there. There’s no doubt. And to add on top of that, there’s untapped talent here, too. There are things that can be fixed in his football game. … I always say size is a skill. He’s got that over Zach Wilson.

“Trevor Lawrence’s running is special. But when it comes to pure throwing and even the decision-making, Zach Wilson’s offense is pro-ish and has the ability to process to go from one to two to three, and do it seamlessly is really damn good. Trevor Lawrence is not there, yet.

“Trevor Lawrence has some inconsistencies, in my opinion, in his mechanics and throwing.”

3. Mac Jones, Alabama

“One, he is a machine thrower. To me, him and Zach Wilson are more consistent throwing the ball than Trevor Lawrence. But his top end talent and potential is not Trevor Lawrence. So that’s why I don’t have him there (No. 2).

“His feet are extremely quick. He is unbelievable in the pocket. He can move plenty well enough to avoid traffic and make throws on the run and do all of that. ... There are so many throws when guys are covered and he puts it in the right spot. ... He’s a top-10 pick. There is no doubt in my mind.”

4. Kellen Mond, Texas A&M

“It’s a machine throwing the ball, like Mac Jones. It’s a machine. I don’t understand why there is no talk about this guy.

“The big thing is, as a pure thrower, consistency, control of the ball, all of those things, it’s like Mac Jones. And his arm is more powerful than Mac Jones. He has an unbelievable release, has great command of the ball. As a pure consistent thrower, it’s better than Trevor Lawrence. ... He never loses control of the ball. It’s a very explosive arm.

“He’s a little robotic. ... From a delivery standpoint, he almost reminds me of Colin Kaepernick with the way he does it. But he’s more of a complete thrower than Kaepernick was coming out.”

5. Justin Fields, Ohio State

“He’s got elite traits. He’s got elite arm strength, pure power in his arm. He can throw a 70-yard post route. The No. 1 thing is he’s built like Cam Newton, except he’s 2 inches shorter. He’s special that way. His running is better than I think I realized.

“I love the size. I think there’s a presence on the field. The athleticism is really good. He throws it good on the run, but not great. It goes back to some of the technique issues, and there’s inconsistency. He tries to do it with pure talent. ... At this point of his life, he’s a one-read thrower.

“Here’s the other thing that concerns me, when it gets bad throwing, it gets real bad.”

6. Trey Lance, North Dakota State

“I like the raw talent. He has more consistency in his mechanics than Justin Fields. Really, as a thrower, I like him better than Justin Fields.

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"The biggest thing, and the biggest negative with Trey Lance, right off the bat, he hasn’t played enough. One game this year and even the year before, yeah, they played and they were awesome and they dominated in I-AA, it’s not a lot of throws ... And it’s a lot of one-read throws.

“He’s a phenomenal runner. He might be the most-gifted runner of the group. He doesn’t have the size and power Fields has, but, man, it’s pretty damn good. ... His acceleration is real.”

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