This year’s Quarterback crop is not one of the better ones, but what makes it interesting is how many guys are borderline and the fact that drafting any of these guys in the top ten would be a huge risk, and trading up for one of these guys would be crazy! You know somebody will trade up in hopes of catching lightning in a bottle, however.
1) Kyler Murray, Oklahoma Sooners
Wherever Murray goes the offense will have to be designed to fit his strengths. This means shotgun spread. He would not be well-suited to a quick three-step drop passing game. He was a one-year starter at Oklahoma and that is a concern more to me than his height. Last year Murray completed 69 percent of his passes for 4,361 yards with 42 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. That means Murray was an accurate passer and has a quality arm to go along with special athleticism and elite ability to make plays happen with his feet.
Another problem with building your team around Murray is that the team that selects him will have to have a backup Quarterback with a similar skill set to back him up. Most people in the know view Murray as a solid leader and a winner. The fact that I rank him number one here does not mean I think he will be a great starter. I really think that if one guy on this list becomes a big-time starter that it would be a small surprise to me. People say that Kliff Kingsbury’s offense in Arizona would be perfect for him, but Kingsbury won’t be in Arizona very long and the talent around him would not be enough to compensate for Kingsbury being the coach. On the bright side, if he goes to Arizona they will have cell phone breaks so that the Oakland A’s can call him!
2) Ryan Finley, N.C. State Wolfpack
I was surprised when watching the film. When you break Finley down he does a lot of things well. Finley translates fine to the NFL. The most important trait for any quarterback is accuracy, which Finley has. Finley consistently demonstrates good ball placement to complete passes and keeps the ball away from the defense. Finley makes good decisions and shows impressive ball security. He is adept at making smart plays and avoiding interceptions and rarely makes mistakes from being overly aggressive. Finley has the innate ability to let the game come to him instead of forcing a throw.
The former Captain has a tendency to stare down receivers and he will have to fix that, but as the Wolfpack signal caller the last few years he has shown significant improvement in his game each year. Whoever drafts Finley could be getting the steal of the draft.
3) Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State Buckeyes
Dwayne Haskins flashes the ability to be an NFL quarterback, but he needs to become more consistent. What you get from Haskins is a sometimes NFL quality starter. In 2018, he completed 70 percent of his passes for 4,831 yards with 50 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He struggled at times as a pocket passer against teams like Penn State but dominated Michigan’s tough defense. The difference between the Penn State and the Michigan game was that Michigan mainly played man coverage and didn’t really throw many different looks at him, while Penn State threw a lot of zones at him and that seemed to confuse Haskins.
Another concern with Haskins is that outside of 4 games where he saw spot action this past year it’s the only year he was a starting Quarterback. The struggle against zone defenses kind of brought back memories of Oregon’s one-year wonder Akili Smith.
Haskins has a strong arm with the potential to be a pocket passer who hurts defenses. He has talent, but there are stretches during which everything is just a little bit off with him. His decision-making is not consistent, and he makes some bad plays in terms of ball security. Haskins’ field vision needs to improve and he has to get faster at working through his progressions. His footwork also needs improvement, and his ball placement can be off.
Another reason everything doesn’t click for Haskins is because his feet do not move in coordination with his eyes, as his eyes have a tendency to get ahead of his feet. He is a physical specimen with a canon but if I am drafting in the first round I would have great concerns on how quickly or even if he can develop into a franchise Quarterback.
In the end, if you are looking for a sure-fire franchise Quarterback and want to pick one at the top of this draft, I would say stay clear of Haskins because he will need a ton of work and great coaching privately with the team that chooses to try and develop him into a top-flight starter. I think he is more of a second or third round project than a first-round stud.
4) Daniel Jones, Duke Blue Devils
Daniel Jones looks the part of an NFL quarterback. He has good footwork and command of the offense. He’s a tough competitor who is willing to stand in the pocket and deliver the football while taking a big hit. He didn’t have the greatest showing at the combine but he came back very strong at his pro day, having one of the best pro days of any of the QBs coming out in this year’s draft. He shows the ability to work within an NFL scheme with his timing and footwork. He throws with great touch and shows enough athleticism to buy time outside of the pocket to make plays. Jones cannot only operate an NFL system but he will be able to execute it as well. The only question with Jones will be how high a level he can execute it? I think he can be a capable starter but most likely a long time backup in the NFL.
My biggest concern is that Jones doesn’t have the biggest arm and the ball tends to flutter at times coming off of his hand. He drifts to the left at times while waiting to throw the football and there is shorter windows to throw in at the NFL level and therefore he may need to shorten his release a little. Overall he looks the part, but looks don’t mean much and with Jones, I like the intelligence and the toughness, but too many questions exist to draft him in the first round, but somebody will.
5) Drew Lock, Missouri Tigers
Drew Lock is a gunslinger-style quarterback who has a big arm with the ability to throw any pass anywhere on the field, which is a huge thing with NFL scouts. A big issue is the speed with which he works through his progression and his accuracy and field vision that all suffer because of the slow reading. Lock is prone to overthrows, plus he can put too much heat on some passes and in a lot of instances lacks touch. That is a problem with “gunslinger” type Quarterbacks who have a tendency to try to force the ball instead of pass the ball.
Lock has good size and can fit the pass into tight windows. He throws the ball well downfield and shows some timing and anticipation. Lock does have the propensity to force throws to covered wideouts, occasionally trusting his arm too much to beat tight coverage. He also can pull the ball down and take off when the need arises. Combine that with his arm strength and he has the makings of an NFL Quarterback. Who coaches him is going to be the biggest issue, as at times his feet in the pocket have a tendency to be a little slow.
My biggest concern from a lot of people in-the-know is the fact that they are worried about Lock’s leadership abilities because he is not a demonstrative vocal leader. He reminds me a lot in demeanor of New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning.
Leadership, in my opinion, is the biggest part of being a Quarterback and Lock seems to lack this very important trait. It has worked for Eli Manning, who during his career, has developed into a quiet leader. I want a player with an attitude more like Baker Mayfield if I am drafting a Quarterback in the first half of the first round, however. In the right situation, Lock could be worth a late first round pick, but overall he is a mid-second to early third round selection.