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2015 Quarterback Rankings

April 30, 2015
Can you elaborate on why nobody likes me?

Can you elaborate on why nobody likes me?

  1. Jameis Winston 6’3 ¾ 231 Soph

Comparison: Steve McNair later in his career after he lost his speed

Stats: ACC

Year Yards % TD INT YPA Rating
2016
2015
2014 3907 65.3 25 18 8.37 145.5
2013 4057 66.9 40 10 10.57 184.8

Combine: He put on a show as his 40 was pretty terrible yet his interview sessions went well and his throwing session made it abundantly obvious that he’s the best passer in this draft, hands down. Going into the Combine I expected Mariota to get a nice bump due to his kind nature and his elite athleticism but the passing session was almost a crowning of a king as he was so much better than every other prospect.

HGT WGT Arms Hands 40 Vert Broad Shuttle 3 Cone
6034 231 32 9.38 4.97 28.5 807 4.36 7.16

Strengths: 1st team ACC in 2013. 1st team All-American in 2013. Heisman Trophy Winner in 2013. Precocious youth (25-27 356 yds 4/0 in his 1st college game!). By the end of the season he, the 18 year old, was the undisputed leader of on the national champion team. He didn’t have a good BCS Championship game but he was clutch in the end on the final drive. He is a clutch player that excels in the 2nd half and 4th quarter of games. He lost one game in two years! He’s a natural leader who players want to follow. He is an emotional and competitive player that demands the best out of his teammates. He is extremely accurate. He is one of the best reader of defenses I’ve scouted in the past decade. I can’t remember a more polished quarterback as a freshman.

Weaknesses: Lacks arm strength as his balls don’t have a lot of zip on them, doesn’t throw consistent spirals and has his fair share of ducks, has a calm demeanor usually but is prone to fits of rage that have plagued him since childhood-a bit of a hothead. In the 2013 Miami game he made nice move on unblocked blitzer to get out of pocket for +15 yds, terrible throw into bracket cov for INT, he made bad throw (behind and too high of TE) for INT on crossing route, fumbled snap.This is my biggest concern about Winston as a prospect as he had 2 INT and a fumbled snap resulting in 2 TOs yet he still led 28-14 at that point and the game slowly moved to a blowout after that. He made a few solid throws but he rarely threaded the needle and has one of the best OL and set of pass catchers in the nation. Without Winston FSU would win 10-11 games in 2013 so it’s hard to judge just how good he is 12/28/13. He has had numerous off the field issues. He was accused of rape yet the charges were never officially filed and it was dismissed after a multi-month investigation in 2013 He was kicked out of a practice leading up to the National Championship Game for being selfish and Jimbo Fisher wanted to make a point that, “it’s not about you.” He was arrested for shoplifting crab legs in the spring of 2014 and was suspended from the baseball team for a few games but not from the football team. He was involved in a BB gun battle that damaged his apartment complex. Later that day he was arrested for carrying a pellet gun near the school campus with his explanation being that he was shooting squirrels. He was suspended for 1 game from the football team for shouting “fuck her straight in her pussy” (an internet meme) while standing on a table in a crowded student center. It initially was a 1st half suspension yet escalated to a full game suspension when school authorities found out that he lied to them about the circumstances around the incident. He doesn’t interview well as he thinks he’s hilarious and smooth yet comes off awkward and kind of creepy. He’s too confident in everything he does. I question how coachable he will be. His interceptions went from 10 to 18 while his TDs went from 40 to 25. His TD/INT ratio went from 4 to 1 to 1.39 to 1. He had some terrible 1st halves in 2014 and was bailed out by how talented the team around him was. He lost around 20 lbs for the Combine which is troubling as it means he was out of shape his entire collegiate career.

Overall: Winston is a franchise QB. I don’t like the kid as a person, I’m a little troubled by his elevated interception rate, I’ve always been worried about his lack of zip on passes and I suspect that he will drag his future franchise in the mud at some point when he does another stupid thing off the field but the kid is a franchise QB. There are very few of them and they play a long time and win a lot of games for whomever is lucky enough to draft them. I love Leonard Williams as a DT prospect and consider him one of the best DTs I’ve ever graded yet Winston, not Williams, is the best player in this draft. Mariota is squeaky clean, is much more athletic and won’t turn the ball over but Winston is a clutch gunslinger that has been dominant throughout his career and can rally his team from any deficit. I expect Winston to immediately be one of the 25 best QBs in the NFL and to steadily make his way into the Top 15. I also think he eventually could be a Top 5 QB once the old guard (Brady, Manning, Brees, Rivers, Romo, Roethlisberger) start falling off or retiring. He’s a polished, experienced player who is only 21 years old. He has an NFL frame, NFL size, very good accuracy, better mobility (due to his size and strength) than his 40 time insinuates, he’s a good leader, he’s elite at reading defenses, he’s incredibly clutch, he’s the most decorated two year quarterback in college football history and he’s a hard worker. I don’t like the kid either and think he’s kind of smarmy but the kid is a franchise QB so we might as well get used to him as he’s going to be around for a long time. Top 5 as my #1 QB and the #1 Overall Player in the 2015 NFL Draft 4/29/15.

  1. Marcus Mariota Oregon 6’3 ¾ 222 Jr. Mariota is one of the most unique quarterbacks to ever come out of college and I think a lot of GMs don’t exactly know what to do with him. Due to his elite speed a lot of comparisons have been made to RGIII and Michael Vick but the guy that Mariota reminds me of the most is Alex Smith. They have similar height and weight as well as the rare ability to avoid turning the ball over. Mariota had only 14 INTs in 3 full seasons. His 105/14 TD/INT ratio (7.5 to 1) is one of the best I’ve ever graded and is a key metric I use in evaluating quarterbacks. I don’t see Mariota ever becoming a gunslinger that can lead the NFL in passing yards or TDs and that is why he ends lower than Winston but I think Mariota can be a very successful QB. Put a good defense and a good run game around him and his running ability, accuracy and low turnover rate will make his team be a consistent playoff contender. Think Alex Smith’s 2011-2014 era and then add to the mix Mariota’s elite athleticism. That is the x factor and I’ll be curious to see how it is used as Smith isn’t a Pro Bowl QB and Mariota can’t be either solely on his arm. If put in the right system where a little zone read is used he could take another step ahead of Smith and become a Top 12 or Top 15 QB. He’s been surprisingly consistent as a runner as in 3 seasons he’s had between 715-770 yards. His yards per carry in 2012 and 2013 were in the +7.0 area yet dropped to 5.7 in 2014 yet his TDs spiked to 15 that year and were only 14 in the previous 2 seasons combined so that likely had a lot to do with it. In college that worked but in the pros I am still on the fence as to whether a QB can really run consistently while staying healthy. Maybe a team will try the experiment with Mariota, maybe they will be conservative and just use him as a passer or maybe they’ll sprinkle it in on key plays or key games (Mariota becomes a run threat in the playoffs only?). It’s all conjecture at this point and as such I’m not putting Mariota’s ceiling as high as some people. Marcus is the nicest guy you’ll ever meet, is the consummate worker, an elite athlete, extremely intelligent, he has underrated accuracy and the uncanny ability to avoid the turnover. All of those traits will allow him to become a good but not great quarterback. If he progresses as a passer or is used in a system which uses him as a run threat he could become an elite quarterback but to me the base case is for Mariota to be a QB in the 15-20 range among NFL starters. That is worth a Top 5 pick, especially considering the kids mental makeup. Top 5 as my #2 QB 4/29/15.
  2. Brett Hundley UCLA 6’3 ¼ 226 Jr. P: He has NFL size at 6’3 222 and fits with the new style of QB as a dual threat. He’s putting up solid numbers for a player as young as he is and is light years ahead of where EJ Manuel was at the same age (very similar size, speed, and style of play). He stays cool under pressure and really impressed me in the 2014 Nebraska game when he led them back despite being behind 18 pts on the road. He ran a 4.63 40 which is impressive for a QB of his stature at the optimal 6’3 225. N: He doesn’t have a cannon and is only average with the zip he puts on throws. He isn’t very accurate and is extremely inaccurate on medium to long throws. He plays in an offense that attacks a defense horizontally so most of his throws are within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage (probably 95% are within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage). O: He reminds me of a combination of Colin Kaepernick and Jake Locker as he has Locker’s frame but more of Kaepernick’s kind of game. Hundley is a tough evaluation as I hated him in 2012 and considered him not even worth a late round draft pick. He’s improved tremendously since then but he’s still incredibly raw and it is obvious that UCLA doesn’t use their entire playbook so that he stays comfortable. He is still extremely raw and if a team needs a QB to start on Day 1 in 2015 I wouldn’t choose Hundley. Yet to me Petty grades out as a low end starter while Hundley has the tools to become much better than that. He has a higher potential to be a bust and never even become a starter but give me a guy that has the tools to be a Top 20 QB over a guy that has a lower ceiling but is more polished. Hundley has good height, good weight, good speed and enough accuracy and arm strength to be a quality starter. Few have him ahead of Petty but I just think his ceiling is too high to keep him below Petty even though he’s an inferior QB right now. It was close between the two of them but I saw enough growth by Hundley the past 3 years to make me think he could realize his immense potential. 2nd round project with a ceiling of a Top 20 QB. 2nd round 4/29/15.
  3. Bryce Petty Baylor 6’2 7/8 230 Sr. Bryce is the future true quarterback prospect to come out of Baylor, RGIII was the dual threat type, and he’ll be a good case study to determine whether future Art Briles signal callers are overlooked ala Mike Leach or if they’re taken seriously as prospects. Petty has prototypical size, weight and arm strength so he checks all the boxes there. He also has underrated mobility on tape and I think he plays a little faster than his 4.89 40 time. Unfortunately he plays in a scheme that has him in the shotgun at all times and looks nothing like a timing based NFL style offense. To say his learning curve will be steep as a rookie is an understatement and it showed at the Senior Bowl practices and games when he didn’t distinguish himself despite being the highest rated QB going into the week. I see a number of things to like about him though as he’s a very good passer when he gets his feet set and can throw it to his first read. He has a live arm, effortlessly throws passes +40 yards in the air and has good mobility. The issue is his transition to a pro style offense, his lack of experience throwing into tight quarters and his terrible accuracy when a defense forces him off his first read. All of those are clear red flags to me which makes me think his ceiling and style is comparable to an Andy Dalton type. I am not a fan of Dalton and do not think you can win a championship with a quarterback of that caliber so I’m not a huge fan of Petty’s either as he is raw and doesn’t seem to have an incredibly high ceiling. Future lower echelon NFL starter. Late 2nd round 4/29/15.
  4. Sean Mannion Oregon State 6’5 5/8 229 The classic statuesque quarterback who has a strong arm but not enough accuracy or pocket awareness to overcome his huge deficiencies in athleticism. He’s a poor man’s Zach Mettenberger or Chad Henne which isn’t good since both of those appear to be headed for the career backup path. Also he has a weaker arm than those two and I really hate how his production took a nosedive last season compared to 2013 when he had Brandin Cooks. He was helped tremendously by the waterbug receiver turning a bunch of bubble screens and short throws into bigger players. I see a good backup in him as he has solid accuracy, good touch, elite height and good but overrated arm strength. He might progress into a bottom of the NFL type starter but I doubt it. Early 4th round 4/29/15.
  5. Cody Fajardo Nevada 6’1 ¼ 223 Sr. The overlooked “runner” in this QB class, Fajardo ran a 4.63 40 and had better rushing stats than every other quarterback, Mariota included. He had 4 seasons of +600 yards rushing and 2 seasons with +1,000 yards rushing putting him on a short list with Tebow, Kaepernick, etc. Unfortunately his offensive system makes the task of scouting him quite difficult if not next to impossible but I see a lot to like in him. He plays like a legit 4.6 guy and has good wiggle to him allowing him to make people miss. I love his toughness as he is not faint of heart and is quite a sturdy kid. I also think his accuracy is pretty solid and he shows glimpses as a passer. Of course the negatives are that he’s only a little taller than 6’1, has mediocre arm strength and reminds me of a poor man’s version of Johnny Manziel who just had a horrific rookie season. I like him as a mid round project type as there is just enough talent to make me think he could maybe MAYBE become a starter so that puts him ahead of the career backup types. Late 4th round 4/29/15.
  6. Shane Carden East Carolina 6’1 7/8 218 Sr. He’s a tough as nails, experienced player that has solid accuracy. He’s more mobile than he’s given credit for and I like his game but he has poor arm strength and isn’t quite 6’2. He projects to me as a career backup that has a little Jeff Garcia in his game and demeanor. 6th round 4/29/15.
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