3 with Minnesota connections who could be high picks in the 2021 NFL Draft

Two of the best quarterbacks in the country play in the Upper Midwest.
Publish date:
Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan.

Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan.

Media coverage of the 2021 NFL Draft could be as exciting as ever for Minnesota sports fans thanks to a trio of players who are already being talked about as potential high picks. 

The most obvious of the college football stars who projects to be a high pick is Gophers wide receiver Rashod Bateman, who was a dominant force in his sophomore season with 60 receptions for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns. 

Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports already has Bateman ranked as the sixth-best prospect for the 2021 NFL Draft. 

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. raved about Bateman and the guy throwing him passes, Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan, in a recent interview with 247Sports about his favorite 2021 draft hopefuls. 

“Good group,” Kiper said. “Justin Fields, Ohio State, is going to be right there. I like Tanner Morgan at Minnesota in terms of quarterbacks but not as a top group. Look at Penei Sewell the offensive tackle at Oregon, Micah Parsons the linebacker from Penn State. Gregory Rousseau if he builds on what we saw at Miami at defensive end last year. He gets after the quarterback. And I like Rashod Bateman, catching those passes from Tanner Morgan, a great receiver at Minnesota.” 

Morgan threw for 3,253 yards with 30 touchdowns and only seven interceptions to help the Gophers go 11-2 and win the Outback Bowl. 

The third player with Minnesota ties who could rise up draft boards over the next 11 months is NDSU quarterback Trey Lance, who is already being regarded as a player to watch. 

Lance, a Marshall, Minnesota, native, led the Bison to another FCS national championship in his first year as starting quarterback while throwing for 2,786 yards with 28 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also rushed for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns. 

ESPN included Lance in a story touting eight quarterback names to know for 2021. 

"At 6-foot-3 and 221 pounds, Lance has physicality and good mobility, and plenty of NFL folks have already taken notice. The question is how his skill set translates to a higher level of competition. He has never thrown a pass against an FBS foe, and his playoff numbers -- 60% completion rate with five passing TDs over four games -- didn't exactly match his regular-season production. Lance, who will be a third-year sophomore, is a wild card, but the upside is tremendous."

The two quarterbacks who are already considered the best entering the 2021 draft are Clemson's Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State's Justin Fields. 

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

Wolves-Grizzlies game off, KAT tests postive for COVID

The Timberwolves star was among several players that are dealing with COVID-related issues.

minnesota state fair

Planning for the 2021 Minnesota State Fair is underway

The fair suffered huge financial losses due to COVID-19, but organizers are moving forward with planning "different scenarios" for this summer.

Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 2.16.44 PM

Heather Brown named as new WCCO 'This Morning' anchor

She will be joining Jason DeRusha on the CBS affiliate's Morning Show.

DPS John Harrington

DPS Commissioner: No credible threats to state Capitol, but ready if something arises

Local and state law enforcement officials have a plan in case a threat arises.

snow, slush (submitted photo, ok to use)

Here are snow totals from Thursday-Friday winter storm

It's a slushy mess in the metro, but snow did pile up in southern counties.

tim walz

Walz fury after report that government's COVID vaccine reserve is nonexistent

The Washington Post reported Friday that the Trump Administration has shipped out all the vaccines it has already, with none in reserve.

closed sign

What's open and closed in Minnesota on MLK Day 2021?

Local government offices will generally be closed on Monday.

BMTN 900x450 (8)

Company that falsely promised student loan forgiveness banned from MN

It's also been ordered to repay $11,499 in fees taken from Minnesotans.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID update for January 15

Hospitalizations are the lowest in Minnesota since October 25.


Osterholm: B117 COVID strain could become major issue in 6-8 weeks

The B117 variant is believed to be more easily transmitted.


Trey Lance

2 locals included in Luke Inman's way-too-early 2021 mock draft

Former Marshall High School star Trey Lance is getting a ton of attention.

Trey Lance

Trey Lance could be top NFL Draft prospect in 2021

The Marshall, Minn. native is starting to gain steam ahead of next season.


How high can Rashod Bateman go in the 2021 NFL Draft?

The Gophers star receiver has plenty of praise heading into next April.

Tanner Morgan

P.J. Fleck believes Tanner Morgan could be a high NFL Draft pick

The Gophers haven't had a quarterback drafted since 1972.

Screen Shot 2019-09-08 at 1.31.57 AM

Double stunner as Gophers rally for double OT win at Fresno State

A crazy finish for the second year in a row between Minnesota and Fresno State.

Rashod Bateman

Gophers' Rashod Bateman opts out of 2020 season to prepare for NFL

Bateman is projected to be a first-round pick next year.

Image from iOS

Gophers reach 9-0 with wire-to-wire win over No. 4 Penn State

Tanner Morgan completed 18-of-20 passes for 339 yards and three touchdowns.

Screen Shot 2019-09-28 at 7.11.20 PM

Will Gophers be without starting QB Tanner Morgan at Northwestern?

Minnesota may have to turn to a true freshman at quarterback.