2021 NFL mock draft: Which QB prospect won’t crack the top 10?

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Luke Easterling
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It’s a great year to need a blue-chip quarterback in the NFL draft, but only if you’ve got a top-10 pick.

At least four of this year’s top passers are expected to come off the board in that range, and a fifth could even sneak in there, depending on how things fall.

That’s bad news for teams like the New England Patriots, Washington Football Team and Chicago Bears, all of who are picking 15th or later, but desperately need a franchise quarterback.

Thankfully for one of them, the latest 2021 NFL mock draft from The Athletic has that fifth quarterback falling right into their lap.

Chris Burke has New England and Washington both passing on Alabama’s Mac Jones, leaving him for the Bears at No. 20 overall:

Jones comes with a mixed bag of opinions about his upside. So, here’s what we know: He played and won on a huge stage (albeit with elite talent around him), he’s a pinpoint passer in short to intermediate windows, and he was phenomenal at the Senior Bowl. This wouldn’t be a sit-and-wait pick. Jones still can step in and compete for the starting gig on Day 1.

Burke’s projection sends the rest of this year’s top quarterbacks to predictable destinations: Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence (No. 1 overall, Jacksonville Jaguars), BYU’s Zach Wilson (No. 2 overall, New York Jets), North Dakota State’s Trey Lance (No. 4 overall, Atlanta Falcons) and Ohio State’s Justin Fields (No. 8 overall, Carolina Panthers).

Two prospects who go later than usual? Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (No. 15 overall, Patriots) and Michigan edge defender Kwity Paye (No. 26 overall, Cleveland Browns).

To check out Burke’s full first-round projection at The Athletic, click here.