The 2021 NFL season is still months away, but there is already plenty of excitement building following the NFL Draft a few weeks ago. Plenty of talented players were selected in this year’s draft, including a ton of new quarterbacks.
Five quarterbacks were selected in the first round this year, including the first three picks. Trevor Lawrence will likely be the starter from Day 1 for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Zach Wilson, the No. 2 overall selection, has the inside track to the starting job with the New York Jets.
The other three, Trey Lance at No. 3 to the San Francisco 49ers, Justin Fields at No. 11 to the Chicago Bears and Mac Jones at No. 15 to the New England Patriots, have some work to lock down the starting job.
Will we see them under center in Week 1? Here are three quarterback battles to watch ahead of Week 1.
San Francisco 49ers: Trey Lance vs. Jimmy Garoppolo
It is a matter of when, not if, Trey Lance will replace Jimmy Garoppolo under center for the San Francisco 49ers. Lance seemingly has a steep learning curve ahead of him, only playing 17 games at the 1-AA level and none against Power 5 teams. Despite that, some evaluators believed he was the readiest of the quarterbacks outside of Lawrence.
Lance would bring an added dynamic to the 49ers offense that they have lacked with Jimmy G. He needs to improve on his accuracy, but his athleticism would be an added layer for Kyle Shanahan to play around with.
Garoppolo has failed to cement himself as the 49ers franchise quarterback, with injuries being a major reason why. The 49ers could give Lance a chance to acclimate himself more, but this is a battle that will heat up quickly if Lance is as ready as some people believe he is.
Chicago Bears: Justin Fields vs. Andy Dalton
The Chicago Bears were one of the biggest winners of the 2021 NFL Draft, finally landing who should be their franchise quarterback in Justin Fields. Fields slide down the board gave Chicago an opportunity to address a glaring need and they went for it.
Fans were undoubtedly disappointed when Andy Dalton was the quarterback move made during free agency. He and Nick Foles were set to battle it out in the Windy City for the starting quarterback spot, but now it is Fields that will most likely face off with Dalton.
This is a job that Fields should ultimately win. He is the more talented player and the Bears didn’t trade away prime draft capital for him to sit on the bench for too long, if at all.
With a strong defense, good running game and star wide receiver in Allen Robinson to throw the ball to, whoever wins this battle is in a good position to succeed from the jump.
Denver Broncos: Teddy Bridgewater vs. Drew Lock
The Denver Broncos failed to upgrade the quarterback position this offseason in a major way. The Deshaun Watson situation has closed that avenue and they passed on Justin Fields and Mac Jones in the draft.
Instead, the Broncos landed Teddy Bridgewater in a trade from the Carolina Panthers after Carolina acquired Sam Darnold from the New York Jets. While an argument could be made that he was acquired to supplant Lock under center, this will undoubtedly be a battle to watch throughout the summer.
While Bridgewater filled in admirably for Drew Brees in 2019, going 5-0, nothing he did in 2020 makes him someone who should be handed another starting job in 2021.
Lock hasn’t done much to be handed a starting job either, but this could be the necessary spark to light a fire under him and get him going. The Broncos need improved quarterback play in 2021 to make any noise in what is one of the more challenging divisions in the league.