National Football League

Colin Cowherd: Which NFL draft quarterback is the biggest bust risk?

April 22

Selecting any player in the NFL Draft is an inexact science, but quarterback might be the most finicky position of them all.

Quarterbacks taken early are expected to be franchise cornerstones. Fair or not, if they don't reach that threshold, they often are slapped with the "bust" label.

And with five high-profile QBs expected to hear their names called early in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft, the odds that all five will wind up as franchise QBs aren't great.

As Colin Cowherd put it: "At least one of these quarterbacks is going to bust. ... The precedent is there's never been 4-for-4 [successful selections]. It's never happened. Ever."

For Cowherd, the line of demarcation between a QB who is a hit and one who is a miss is clear.

"When a quarterback hits, it means ... you get a second big contract," Cowherd said. "You're either a hit or miss. If you don't get a second contract, you're a miss."

Where the quarterback winds up is also a factor Cowherd takes into consideration.

So, who from this class does Cowherd see as most likely to be a star? He broke it down Wednesday on "The Herd."

Here they are, from most likely to least likely to be a success.

1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson: 90% chance to hit

2020 stats: 3,153 passing yards, 24 passing TDs, 69.2 completion percentage

Cowherd's predicted landing spot: Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 1 overall)

Cowherd's thoughts: "Trevor Lawrence is a 90% hit [that] he gets a big second contract. He could get hurt. Urban Meyer could not like pro football and leave. This organization doesn't have a history of great moves."

2. Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State: 70% chance to hit

2020 stats: 2,786 passing yards, 28 passing TDs, 66.9 completion percentage; 1,100 rushing yards, 6.5 yards per carry, 14 rushing TDs (2020 season canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic)

Cowherd's predicted landing spot: New England Patriots (No. 8 overall, via trade)

Cowherd's thoughts: "Trey Lance, to me, is a 70% hit, and that's because ... where he lands."

3. Mac Jones, QB, Alabama: 60% chance to hit

2020 stats: 4,500 passing yards, 41 passing TDs, 77.4 completion percentage

Cowherd's predicted landing spot: San Francisco 49ers (No. 3 overall)

Cowherd's thoughts: "I think there's about a 60% chance he gets a second contract because it's going to be hard to move off of a guy winning 10 games a year or 11 with that offense. ... It's hard to move off winning."

4. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State: 50% chance to hit

2020 stats: 2,100 passing yards, 22 passing TDs, 70.2 completion percentage

Cowherd's predicted landing spot: Unknown

Cowherd's thoughts: "Justin Fields, to me, is not great enough ⁠— he's not a prodigy ⁠— to overcome a bad organization. And today, I have no idea where he's landing. ... I like him. I think he's a great talent. [If] he ends up in a goofy organization, you don't know what you're getting."

5. Zach Wilson, QB, BYU: 15% chance to hit

2020 stats: 3,692 passing yards, 33 passing TDs, 73.5 completion percentage

Cowherd's predicted landing spot: New York Jets (No. 2 overall)

Cowherd's thoughts: "I think there's so many things he has to overcome. Ownership, O-line, rookie head coach, great defensive division. Just a messy organization."

Check out Cowherd's full breakdown in the video below:

Are there potential red flags for Zach Wilson? Colin Cowherd makes his case for why the BYU QB could struggle if he lands with the New York Jets.

For more up-to-date news on all things "The Herd," click here to register for alerts on the FOX Sports app!

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