<
>
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
Get ESPN+

How good are the 2021 NFL draft quarterbacks? Why this class is one of the most talented ever

play
Are Lawrence and Fields destined to go 1, 2 in NFL draft? (4:12)

Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. give their mock drafts for the top 10 picks in the next NFL draft. (4:12)

The bar for a legendary quarterback class in the NFL draft has been set high for nearly 40 years. The 1983 group is still the gold standard. That's not only true from a performance perspective in the league -- John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino all went on to be Hall of Famers (with Ken O'Brien being no slouch himself) -- but also from a draft perspective as six quarterbacks taken in the first round is still the most of any draft in NFL history.

The 1999 class isn't remembered too fondly for its quarterbacks, but it's the only time in NFL history that quarterbacks went 1-2-3 in the draft. You wouldn't guess it, though, by the subsequent careers of the quarterbacks drafted: Tim Couch (Browns), Donovan McNabb (Eagles) and Akili Smith (Bengals).

The 2018 QB class was billed as the best since the advent of illegal contact penalties in 2004 and the subsequent passing boom. It saw a record four quarterbacks taken in the top 10 (Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen). Three seasons in, and many teams are wishing they had a do-over on the quarterback who fell all the way to No. 32: Lamar Jackson.

While the 2021 quarterback class might not break any of the records set in the drafts above, it has a chance to match the ones set in all three. This year's class offers a little something for everyone. If all of them declare, six quarterbacks will garner serious consideration inside the first round. Let's dive into more detail on each of them and put them into historical context, with stats from Pro Football Focus.

The generational talent: Clemson's Trevor Lawrence