The top of the 2021 NFL Draft is starting to clear up. For the past couple of months, we’ve been pretty darn sure that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is going to the Jacksonville Jaguars and BYU quarterback Zach Wilson is going to the Jets next. The hangup has been with the San Francisco 49ers, who recently traded to the third overall pick. They’re almost certainly going to pick a quarterback, but which one?
This week, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport provided some clarity, noting that their choice is currently between Alabama’s Mac Jones and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.
That leaves Ohio State’s Justin Fields as the odd man out. And with Florida tight end Kyle Pitts starting to become the consensus pick at No. 4, one has to wonder how far Fields will fall and if the Detroit Lions will potentially have a shot at him.
Schefter tackled this exact topic on “The Adam Schefter Podcast” this week. Schefter invited ESPN’s analytics expert Evan Kaplan on the show to discuss the network’s draft day predictor, which measures the probability a prospect is still available by pick in the draft. For example, here’s that predictor measuring the likelihood that Penn State Micah Parsons is available at each selection in the top 26 picks:
While we don’t have the exact chart for Fields, here’s what Kaplan had to say about the Ohio State quarterback.
“83 percent chance he’s there at pick six,” Kaplan said. “That drops to 51 percent chance by pick eight. 25 (percent) by (pick) nine.”
Kaplan also notes that there’s a 70 percent probability that Lance is available by the Lions’ seventh overall pick.
But Schefter interjected. His numbers were a little more pronounced for each quarterback, in opposite directions.
“I would say Justin Fields has a 85, 90 percent chance of being there at Pick 6 or 7. Maybe 95 percent. How about that?” Schefter added.
As for Lance, Schefter believes the chances of him being available at seven are much lower than the model projects. Whereas the model showed Lance having an 85 percent chance of being available at pick six, Schefter said that number should be “much lower.”
As a Lions fan, that 85-95 percent number for Fields has to put a smile on your face. Fields is a prospect that could have very well gone first overall in a different draft class. So whether you’re of the belief that the Lions should take a quarterback with their first-round pick or think they would kick off the rebuild best by trading down and accumulating picks, this is fantastic news for the Lions... if it’s actually true.