Quarterbacks

Grading system:

A – Top tier

B – Starter

C – Backup

D – Practice Squad

Recent Prospect Grade Comparison: Andrew Luck, A+

1. Josh Rosen – Easily the most refined passer I’ve seen in the past few years, Rosen’s talent throwing the ball is undeniable. He has prolific accuracy passing on all three levels of the field, exhibiting excellent timing and the ability to throw his receivers open in tight windows. He has enough arm strength to make all the throws at an NFL level, and exceptional footwork in the pocket. He is highly regarded as one of the smartest quarterback prospects in recent years, showing the ability to fully absorb any playbook and make correct reads. A major knock on him was his ability to produce when a play breaks down, however his pocket movement when avoiding pressure is very smooth and subtle. He has outstanding footwork, a major contributor to his pinpoint accuracy. Many of his interceptions were due to either pressure or his trying to do too much, as he had relatively little help but was still able to elevate his team. However, there is still a major concern about his character that could end up as a problem. His outspoken personality, intelligence, and arrogance have caused problems, but that are also seen as a positive by some teams. He is a prototypical pocket passer with the skill set to step in and excel immediately.

Grade: A+/A

2. Baker Mayfield – One of the most controversial players in the draft, Mayfield is seen as a boom or bust prospect. Mayfield’s height is not a problem, as he should continue to be able to find good passing lanes and throw with timing and anticipation. Although he is seen by some as a primarily mobile quarterback, he displays the pocket presence to drive down the field with pinpoint accuracy. His biggest strength is how careful he is with the football, throwing accurate passes and limiting turnovers. While his footwork within the pocket is exceptionally sloppy when pressured, Mayfield plays at an extremely fast pace. His talent at playing both inside the pocket and on the move is special, as he makes plays constantly. His ability to extend plays should not be understated, and he is an extreme competitor. While he generally goes through his reads before starting to scramble, Mayfield sometimes panics and will take bad sacks. His ability to drop balls over defenders is amazing, and he is quick to find open players. Although he has had some on and off the field issues, he is a fiery leader who can rally his teammates very well. He also shows the clutch ability to finish games against tough opponents, although it is worrisome that his coach declined to put the game in his hands in overtime against Georgia. If paired with a coach that can correct his flaws, Mayfield can be a difference maker on the NFL level.

Grade: A

3. Sam Darnold – Seen by many as the safest quarterback prospect in the draft, Darnold is what you look for in a modern NFL quarterback. His playmaking ability and outstanding poise are highlights of his play, while his intangibles make him a great fit in any locker room. He has above average arm talent and mobility, while also showing the ability to make consistent accurate throws. He is at his best on the move and uses this to make splash plays down field. Additionally, his ability to make off platform throws is top tier, and he excels at maneuvering in the pocket. Darnold is far from a finished product, as tends to lock onto receivers at times, but he generally goes through his reads quickly and is outstanding at finding open areas of the field. He has a substantial fumble problem that is the result of failing to keep both hands on the ball, and his gunslinger mentality causes some interceptions on throws he believes he can make. However, he also completes a good deal of these throws. He has the temperament of an elite quarterback and is rarely shaken. He is an impeccable scrambler who has an aptitude for making plays in tough situations. He is extremely humble and has the team first mentality wanted in a franchise player.

Grade: A/A-

4. Luke Falk – One of the most accurate passers in college football, Falk’s style is reminiscent of Tom Brady. He goes through his reads extremely fluently and rarely locks onto targets or forces throws, although a lack of receiver talent failed him at times.  His pocket awareness is outstanding, and he is especially diligent in finding his checkdowns when the pocket starts to collapse. He is very accurate on short and intermediate rhythm throws, showing great timing and a quick release on such throws. However, his average arm strength limits his upside on deep balls, although he displays good accuracy on perimeter throws and seam routes. The lack of throwing velocity doesn’t seem to be a problem on short passes unless he is forced to throw off his back foot, at which time many of the balls are thrown away or thrown up to be picked off. However, his footwork and drop back is on par with the top quarterbacks. He is especially adept at dropping the ball over defenders and into tight windows. He has prototypical size for an NFL quarterback with average athleticism. Falk’s intangibles are what elevates his game; he has a great football IQ and can command an offense with audibles and pre-snap adjustments.

Grade: B+

5. Lamar Jackson – The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner is without a doubt one of the best athletes in the draft, but is still the ultimate boom or bust prospect. As a runner, Lamar Jackson is exceptional, displaying the elusiveness, speed, and toughness of a running back. His scrambling is very good due to his athletic ability, and he always poses a a threat to score when given an open running lane. Although he was able to avoid throwing many interceptions – a credit to his good decision making – his accuracy is a clear work in progress. Although Jackson can stay in the pocket and make throws, he usually takes off and runs at the smallest sign of pressure. His footwork in the pocket is also sloppy. Thus, one has to wonder about how hard he would be to gameplan against, especially with questions about his ability to read defenses. However, it is very rare that he is fully eliminated from games due to his athletic ability, and it is common for him to take over games. He has an incredibly strong arm, and can complete some good deep throws downfield. While he remains inconsistent as a threat throwing the ball, he is adept at finding his checkdowns quickly when needed. In the right system, he has the most upside of any quarterback in the draft, but he shouldn’t be mistaken for someone who can turn a franchise around immediately.

B+

6. Kyle Lauletta – A small school quarterback, Lauletta showed that he could play with higher competition with his outstanding play at the Senior Bowl. He is a bit on the smaller side, and plays very similar to how Case Keenum has played this past wyear. He is a good scrambler who throws very well on the run. As a runner, he is quick and surprisingly scrappy, often fighting through contact to gain extra yards. He displays good pocket awareness, however he tends to take off when forced out of the pocket rather than keeping his eyes downfield. Generally, Lauletta goes through his progressions well, and is adept at finding both his easy checkdowns and big plays in the defense’s gaps. He has very good short accuracy, although the occasional ball will sail or slip on him. He has a very good deep ball as well, although his arm strength is merely average. Due to this, he can sometimes get baited and the softer thrown balls can get picked off. However, he can also throw with anticipation, which minimizes the opportunities of defenders. He doesn’t make many mistakes, and can drive down the field with quick throws inside the numbers. He has solid leadership ability, and is often compared to Jimmy Garrapolo.

Grade: B+/B

7. Mason Rudolph – With prototypical size for an NFL quarterback, Mason Rudolph passes the eye test as a prospect. He has average athleticism but is able to use his size to his full advantage when running or maneuvering in the pocket. His poise in the pocket is outstanding, and he can deliver accurately while getting hit as long as he has a solid base. However, his short accuracy can be shaky if he is not comfortable and has not established a rhythm. He has the ability to sustain drives by leading his receivers and working his checkdowns. Additionally, he has very good intangibles and is able to work through his reads efficiently and make pre snap reads. Although his arm is reasonably strong, he tends to let balls hang a bit when throwing outside the numbers. However, he throws a beautiful deep ball with good air under it. His leadership abilities are shaky, but he could very well start without much development. Rudolph has a pretty good football IQ, regardless of the system that he played in. He lacks the elite physical traits of many of the other quarterbacks in this draft, but can step in and be solid.

Grade: B

8. Josh Allen, Wyoming – Widely considered more of a developmental prospect, many are intrigued by Josh Allen’s upside due to his physical attributes. He has outstanding arm strength, boasting the strongest arm in the draft. While this pairs with his size and speed to allow him to extend plays downfield, it also has become something that he tends to rely on. As such, he has numerous ill-advised throws and doesn’t play the game with the requisite decision making. As a result, he generally doesn’t go through his reads until he is forced out of the pocket, at which time he looks for the big play downfield. Although his incredible arm strength helps him complete a good amount of these passes, relying purely on arm strength will become a problem against NFL talent. Josh Allen is commonly compared to a young Ben Roethlisberger, an apt comparison when taking into account his penchant for throwing deep balls and scrambling. He is adept at working his checkdowns and completing sideline throws, the result of playing in a pro-style offense. However, many of his throws will sail and he struggles throwing accurately, making his floor as drastic as his upside. Additionally, he has struggled playing against upper tier competition.

Grade: B

 

9. Kurt Benkert – Coming from Virginia, Benkert became a somewhat popular sleeper prospect after a hot start to the season. Although he displays outstanding physical traits that would allow him to excel in the NFL, he lacks the ability to read the field. He has a very strong arm, but his accuracy is suspect. Benkert has the arm talent to compete with top tier college defenses when he is hot, particularly when throwing his beautiful deep balls. However, he has trouble completing short throws with consistency and seems unable to sustain drives. He has excellent pocket mobility, and is especially adept at finding creases in the pocket to escape sacks. He tends to rely on this too much at times, scrambling before the play even breaks down. Although he can make accurate big play throws while doing this, it is not something he should be doing so often. Adding to this, the system he played in only required him to make half field reads, something that is a major red flag. Benkert is a highly developmental prospect who could become a solid backup if taught the mental aspect of the game.

Grade: C

10. Mike White – Mike White is a potential sleeper due to his considerable arm strength, but is not prepared to be a starter at the NFL level. His arm strength contributes to his very good deep ball, which he can generally throw accurately and to the receiver in stride. He throws the ball with good spin and velocity on all his throws, and is good throwing into tight windows. He has limited progressions and is uneasy going through his reads. Additionally, he has good short and intermediate accuracy to go along with solid footwork. However, all of White’s positive traits are for naught when he faces any pressure whatsoever. He has bad awareness in the pocket and will fall apart under pressure. When faced with pressure or moved off his launch spot, his accuracy will worsen considerably and his movement will become panicked. With some upside due to his arm strength, White is not starter quality.

Grade: C-

 

 

 

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