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NFL Draft

Comparing 2021 QB Class To The Avengers

  • The Draft Network
  • June 1, 2020
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Ever wonder what Thor would look like on a football field? What about Iron Man?

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), much like the rest of the world right now, is currently on hold. Scheduled to hit theatres in November, Black Widow’s solo movie was supposed to be the next comic book spectacle to take place but has unfortunately been pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The NFL meanwhile, is currently in its off-season, with very little happening on a day-by-day basis. With virtually no fresh news arrives on either front, what better way to try and provide some content than mixing the two worlds?

Here’s my best attempt at what an Avengers ensemble might look like out on the gridiron using quarterback prospects eligible for the 2021 draft.

Trevor Lawrence, Clemson: Thor

You don’t have to go much further than the hair on this one, but the comparisons between Thor and Trevor Lawrence go far beyond those luscious blonde locks. 

The God of Thunder, known for being arguably the strongest Avenger, although Scarlet Witch probably takes this mantle, is a physical specimen capable of destroying worlds, killing titans and even ruling kingdoms. Blessed his enchanted hammer, Stormbreaker, he is the type of opponent that keeps enemies up at night panicking and stressing over how they’ll stop such a talented foe.

Lawrence, although not able to summon lightning, offers that same large frame, elite athleticism and tantalizing upside. He’s fitted with a powerful right arm capable of making any throw, his top moments rival not only any college quarterback but also any NFL passer. After a ridiculous freshman campaign that saw him take home a national title, he started the 2019 season kind of rocky by throwing five interceptions in the first three games. But sophomore slumps aren’t exactly an unfamiliar concept for Thor either; not only did his second movie bomb but in “Avengers: Endgame” he was a far cry from his peak “Avengers: Infinity War” self.

What Lawrence did against Alabama in 2018 was essentially a “Wakanda entrance” moment, and it’s that type of play that has NFL organizations so smitten. Quarterbacks will throw interceptions, and although Lawrence has proven consistency isn’t yet his greatest trait, the tools and overall play are more than enough to make him an elite-level prospect.  

Let’s hope this year the Clemson passer lifts Mjolnir, Thor’s other hammer, proves he’s worthy and meets the lofty expectations that have been laid out in front of him.

Justin Fields, Ohio State: Iron Man

He may not be an eccentric billionaire, but Ohio State’s Justin Fields resembles Tony Stark in more ways than one.

Fields is a tough, athletic prospect willing to put his body on the line to make a play and was relegated to a back-up role in his freshman season before a transfer to the Buckeyes changed everything. After putting up Heisman-worthy numbers in his first year as a starter, Fields’ play warranted national buzz and put him squarely on the NFL’s map. As a top recruit coming out of high school, he’s always been considered a prodigy but was finally able to put that talent to good use last season.

Stark, a tech wizard, carried similar hype as a child, mainly due to his father’s immense success. Sacrificing his life on multiple occasions for the Avengers, Stark began his career as a weapons manufacturer but realized he wasn’t achieving his full potential early on. He switched lanes and became Iron Man after a brief stint in an Afghanistan cave; his decision to transfer into the superhero game was the best possible thing he could have done.

Another Justin Fields (not the same one) also worked on concept art for Iron Man 3, further validating this comparison.

That’s right folks, I did my research for this.

Trey Lance, NDSU: Captain America

He may just be a man on steroids with a frisbee, but who doesn’t love Marvel character Steve Rogers? Rogers is the epitome of a leader and maintains a squeaky clean track record as both an Avenger and as a person. He gives his all no matter the odds after growing up as a forgotten child with virtually no muscle mass before becoming arguably the world’s greatest athlete. Now enter Trey Lance.

Lance led the nation’s most successful program, and the NDSU passer was extremely under-recruited coming out of Marshall, Minnesota. But that hasn’t prevented him from defeating the odds and proving to be a legitimate prospect in the process. Blessed with a bazooka arm and terrific running ability, Lance has gained roughly 30 pounds since his final high school season and now stands at approximately 6-foot-4, 225 pounds. He threw zero interceptions in his first year as a starter last season, his ability to limit mistakes is extremely appealing, especially when combined with his ground game prowess.  

Lance is currently a redshirt sophomore and may not enter the 2021 draft, but there’s no doubt he has super serum talent and a heart of pure gold.

Brock Purdy, Iowa State: Hawkeye

Hawkeye isn’t the strongest, fastest or smartest Avenger. What he is, however, is the glue that keeps the team together. The Avengers are undefeated in battle with Clint Barton in the fold, and even though he’s just a man with a bow and arrow, that sparkling win-loss record is indicative of just how important he is. He’s extremely accurate and precise but has suffered a few blemishes throughout his career. Hawkeye, however, always comes back with an inspirational and willing mindset.

Brock Purdy, like Barton, won’t wow with his raw physical tools. He struggles with zip on far hash throws, and his arm strength as a whole is only average. But he’s a smart, accurate player with good ball placement, and the importance of a facilitator with those traits can’t be understated. Purdy helped turn Iowa State from a meager organization into a legitimate program. While his NFL ceiling may be capped, he’s the type of player that could stay in the league for a long, long time given his high IQ and strong processing.

D’Eriq King, Miami: Spider-Man

D’Eriq King is a tricky evaluation.

King, standing at a generous 5-foot-10, certainly doesn’t fit the prototype of the position nor does he play like it. He’s an erratic thrower and needs to become much more consistent as a pure signal-caller. Despite those hiccups, he has a lot of strengths, however, including mesmerizing skills and uncanny stop/start ability. King makes defenders look foolish during scramble drills, while his off-platform ability is especially intriguing given where the NFL is headed at the position.

Peter Parker has a lot of those same characteristics. Parker, who is extremely fun and talented, often makes up for his young, brash decisions with brave efforts of heroism. Only 5-foot-8 on a good day, Spider-Man won’t ever physically impose his enemies, but his wit, charm and youth make him one of Marvel’s most iconic characters.  

Ultimately, both King and Parker display highlight-reel skills and immense creativity but must grow-up and have more success within the confines of their positions to ensure future success.

Jamie Newman, Georgia: Falcon

Sam Wilson — better known as The Falcon — isn’t a household name. Yet.

Wilson, who has been Captain America’s sidekick and nothing more for years, now not only has Cap’s shield after the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” but his prestigious mantle as well. With the leadership skills, mindset and courage to ace the highly-sought-after role, he has a direct pathway to becoming a lead Avenger. It’ll be tricky to live up to Rogers’ reputation, but if anyone can, it’s him.

Newman, a Wake Forest graduate, has a similar opportunity that lays ahead. Hidden with the Demon Deacons for multiple years while displaying NFL tools, his transfer to Georgia has put him squarely in the limelight for all to see. He’ll be adjusting to tougher defenses, but the Bulldogs passer has the athleticism, mental make-up and arm talent to elevate his status and become a top-tier prospect.

Kellen Mond, Texas A&M: Vision

Vision has immense potential that he consistently wastes. He should be putting up triple-doubles on a nightly basis, but the lack of production just isn’t going to cut it.

Mond, despite being able to make the occasional insane throw, represents that same frustrating skillset. He possesses a formidable arm and solid size and strides in the open field. Two years ago in a near-win against Clemson, Mond put forth a Heisman-type performance that could have suggested he was the next big thing at the position. In the many days that have passed, however, he’s done nothing to suggest there was any truth to that bold claim.

Ultimately, Mond has all the traits of a franchise quarterback if he puts it all together, but I just wouldn’t bank on it at this point.

Kyle Trask, Florida: Black Panther

T’Challa is a king, an Avenger and literal trillionaire. Kyle Trask may not have those same attributes, but he does represent the Wakandan ruler in several different facets.

Trask was thrust into a key role last season after Feleipe Franks dislocated his ankle and rose out of relative obscurity to grab Florida’s prized starting quarterback spot as a redshirt junior, proving capable of the prestigious mantle in the process. Trask excels on run-pass-option concepts and within the intermediate portions of the field; his smooth release was extremely appealing to the eye as was his overall play. There’s no doubt that there were some rocky moments, but for a prospect who didn’t even start on his high school team — King actually had the starting spot — Trask showed incredible growth.

Like Trask, T’Challa was forced into a key role after his father (T’Chaka) died in Captain America: Civil War. His responsibilities were quite hefty and seemingly impossible to achieve. Thankfully he rose to the occasion, growing immensely over the course of that movie and his solo film.  

K.J. Costello, Mississippi State: Winter Soldier

Few MCU characters have had more complex and intricate arcs than Bucky Barnes.

Barnes was brought into the universe as Rogers’ best friend before becoming his biggest threat.

Like with Barnes, K.J. Costello’s enigmatic play means you never know which version of him you’re going to get. Costello’s career at Stanford was a mixed bag after inconsistency with his ball placement and possessing a bad tendency to overthrow intermediate passing concepts. He showed the types of traits to be a draftable player but needs to display that same toolbox more consistently if he wants to be seen as a next-level passer. 

Now, in a terrific system with new coach Mike Leach and his patented air-raid system, Costello’s transfer to Mississippi State has given him the perfect opportunity to show his true potential. The hurdles are out of the picture and Captain America’s shield now lays right in front of him. Let’s hope he seizes it.

Levi Lewis, Lousiana: Ant-Man

Serious question. How can you not like Scott Lang, also known as Ant-Man?

Lang’s heist skills and spectacular courage have made him into arguably the world’s most underrated Avenger, especially after his heroic efforts in “Avengers: Endgame.” 

Lewis, pint-sized but playing much bigger than his height indicates like Ant-Man, is very much built from the same mold. He’s a terrific leader who consistently makes plays in scramble situations and his natural accuracy and off-platform ability are both remarkable for a collegiate passer of his stature. Lewis’ pure talent probably isn’t going to wow anyone, but he knows how to play the position and play it well. He may not be drafted due to mediocre arm strength and a small frame, but Lewis is a gamer, and that isn’t something that can ever be taken away from him.

Adrian Martinez, Nebraska: Daredevil

Yes, Matt Murdock a.k.a Daredevil isn’t technically an Avenger in the MCU. After his show was canceled, he’s technically not anything in the MCU. Still, Daredevil is simply too good of a character not to mention in this article.

Murdock, a blind martial arts master with a law degree, has a lot going on in his life, whether it be during his day career or his vigilante efforts at night. Still, he’s able to use his superpowers for good to protect New York.

Adrian Martinez, who possesses an insane running ability and jaw-dropping wheels, represents Daredevil in several different areas. He’s armed with all the physical tools and is arguably the most frustrating QB to watch in this class, mainly due to his vision and processing out on the football field. His inability to read coverages and make quick decisions severely hinders his success, even with the amount of talent he’s been saddled with.

Despite three great seasons on Netflix, Daredevil was benched and thrown to the side. If Martinez isn’t careful, he’ll suffer the same fate.

Shane Buechele, SMU: Professor Hulk

Shane Buechele started his collegiate career at Texas in incredible fashion, winning his first game in a huge start against Notre Dame. His stint with the Longhorns went very poorly after that, however, as he lost his job to Sam Ehlinger and transferred to SMU. Buechele, regrouping after his failed Texas career, has since become one of the nation’s best passers, using his rocket arm and terrific deep-ball ability to put up gaudy passing numbers a season ago.

Like Professor Hulk, the biggest development Buechele has seen is in his on-field intelligence, where he is now much more comfortable in working through his progressions and reading coverages. He’s far from perfect and may not make it at the next level, but, considering what things were like at one point, Buechele has turned from Universal Studios-level Hulk into full-fledged MCU Avenger. That’s progress.

Sam Ehlinger, Texas: Doctor Strange

Texas may not be back when it comes to full-fledged results, but its popularity certainly is. A large portion of that can be credited to Ehlinger. 

Ehlinger is a legitimate Heisman candidate who’s highlight reels are sure to impress any casual viewer. He’s able to make magic out on the field with his toughness, athleticism and gamer mentality. However, Ehlinger is a much better college QB that he is a pro prospect as he’s largely inaccurate and generally exhibits poor ball placement. Ehlinger, who relies heavily on his running ability, just hasn’t done enough as a passer to prove he’s a legitimate next-level quarterback, even with all the wizardry he displays out on the football field.

I hate to bash him because he’s an extremely fun player to watch, but there are not many outcomes, maybe just one in 14 million, where Ehlinger becomes a franchise passer.

Other names to watch: Chase Garber, Hendon Hooker, Tanner Morgan, Zerrick Cooper, Ian Book, Zac Thomas, Eric Barriere, etc.

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The Draft Network