The Alabama Crimson Tide recently cruised to victory over Ohio State Buckeyes in the College Football National Championship Playoff final on January 11, prevailing 52-24. This game could have ended up having a significant impact on the NLF draft, as it was previously expected that the Buckeyes’ Justin Fields would be one of the first picks. Now, his Alabama rival Mac Jones could have muscled his way in front of Fields in the queue.
Whether this recent playoff final will have major consequences is certainly an interesting question to consider. It has been shown time and again that getting the right quarterback in the draft can be vital. Indeed, there have been various cases over the years when this decision has been the defining aspect of a franchise’s season.
A key example of this was in 2017, when the Chicago Bears drafted Mitchell Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes. It turned out to be a terrible decision, with the Kansas City Chiefs player going on to become one of the league’s best stars. The 25-year-old’s career has gone from strength to strength and, according to the markets at Space Casino, he is the favorite to be MVP at Super Bowl 55 at odds of +250.
Jacksonville Jaguars will have the first choice pick in the 2021 NFL draft, with New York Jets going second. Pundits expect Fields and Jones to be two of the primary picks in this year’s selection process, but it is predicted that the Jaguars will go for Trevor Lawrence. This would mean that the Jets have a difficult decision on their hands when deciding between Fields and Jones.
Prior to Alabama’s victory, Fields was the favorite after Lawrence to get snapped up early in the 2021 draft. But now there are questions as to whether Fields’s counterpart on the victorious side at the playoff final could be a better option.
Todd McShay at ESPN did a mock draft to see how the NFL selection process could shape up. He believes that the Jaguars will go for Lawrence, with Fields and Jones getting snaffled up later in the selection process. He did state, though, that he thought Jones could go on to have the best rookie season of the three if he ended up with the Indianapolis Colts. This is because the Colts don’t have much depth in the position, and whichever quarterback ends up there could see a lot of game time.
The loss in the playoffs could have affected Fields’s reputation at a crucial time. There were question marks over some of his late season performances, and this could have an influence over the draft. Although Jones played a stunning game, the general consensus is that Fields will still get picked before his rival. However, whichever franchise is forced to make that decision may face some serious repercussions later on down the line.