There have been plenty of controversial takes in this year’s NFL pre-draft mayhem. But, former player and current football analyst Keyshawn Johnson may take the cake with his list of top-five quarterbacks in the 2021 class.
On Friday morning’s edition of Keyshawn, JWill and Zubin on ESPN Radio, the former star wide receiver released quite the contrarian list of QB rankings heading in this month’s draft.
His most notable placement was Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields in the No. 1 position.
“You can say the Jags won’t do it, but this is my list…” Johnson said on the show.
— Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin (@KeyJayandZ) April 16, 2021
For years now, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence has been anointed as the next great NFL quarterback. With that distinction, most analysts have him as far and away the consensus top prospect in the draft. Ever since the draft order was set, the Jacksonville Jaguars have essentially been locked in to select Lawrence with their No. 1 overall pick.
But, for years now, Justin Fields has been right behind the Clemson standout in QB rankings. Entering the collegiate game back in 2018, Fields was ranked as the No. 2 overall prospect in their recruiting class. During the Buckeye’s 2020 season, there were even times when the dual-threat began to pass Lawrence in many analyst’s eyes — most notably after he threw a whopping six touchdowns after taking a blow to the ribs in a Sugar Bowl victory over the Tigers.
Since then though, Fields’ once sky-high stock has inexplicably dropped — many of whom believe for unfair reasons.
The biggest issue analysts have with his game is his perceived inability to work through receiver progression past the first option. In addition to that, the projected first round pick’s work ethic has also been controversially called into question. NFL Network’s Charley Casserly even has Fields dropping all the way down to the No. 24 pick in the draft.
Johnson clearly doesn’t see things this way. The three-time Pro Bowl wideout remembers what Fields’ game had to offer when he was considered an elite NFL prospect earlier this year.
Aside from the glaring Trevor Lawrence at No. 2 take, Johnson has a few other interesting predictions on his list as well.
Zach Wilson, who many believe is essentially a lock to be selected with the New York Jets’ No. 2 overall pick, is listed as No. 4 in Johnson’s rankings behind North Dakota State’s Trey Lance. Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, who many believe is the No. 3-No.4 QB in the draft, didn’t even make the list. Dark-horse option Davis Mills snuck into the final No. 5 position.
What do you think of Johnson’s rankings?