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2017 QB Rankings

March 21, 2017

Mitch

  1. Mitchell Trubisky North Carolina 6’2 ⅛ 222 Jr. Redshirted one season. Called Mitch throughout his college career, he made the announcement after the season that he will go by Mitchell going forward. He will turn 23 before the start of the season so he’s an older player despite leaving school a year early. He’s a one year starter but made the most of it with a great 2016 (3,748 yds, 68.2%, 30 TD/6 INT, 158 QB Rating). 3rd Team ACC in 2016 due to Lamar Jackson and DeShaun Watson being in his conference (you could argue he was the 3rd best QB in the nation but also the 3rd best in his conference). Despite his age and his lack of experience it takes about 1 minute to see this kid is a 1st rounder. His physical tools are obvious as his 4.67 40 at the Combine translates to the field and he has a solid frame to go with accuracy and arm strength. He’s a good looking kid too and should get a fair amount of attention from the female section of a team’s fanbase. His one flaw is his 9 ½ hand size which is on the small size but at least is ‘9 which tends to be the cutoff for scouts. Their frames are different (he’s thicker and shorter) but Mitch’s game is very similar stylistically and as a prospect to Ryan Tannehill. Both are athletic guys with good arms and good accuracy that you just wish were a little more accurate and had a little more experience (Tannehill was a 2 year starter). Other comps for Trubisky are Carson Wentz and Blake Bortles, all of which emphasize his athleticism and limited starting experience. Trubisky excites me as he has good velocity, is accurate throwing on the run, has elite movement skills for a QB and seems to read the field with ease. He is surprisingly polished with his ball fakes and ball handling on zone reads. He throws a good deep ball. I love his game as he can do the zone read and RPOs (run pass option) which have become so popular in the NFL yet on third and long he can be a quality pocket passer and thread the needle. I also love his completion percentage being 68%. His Florida State game was one I scouted and that defense is full of NFL talent yet he started 19 of 21 in that upset win showing that his high completion percentage isn’t just against poor competition. In 13 games he only had 2 sub 60% completion games, DeShone Kizer had 6 in 12 games to put that in perspective. Mitchell is similar to three QBs I gave 1st round grades to (Tannehill, Wentz, Bortles) yet I like Mitchell the most of the four. I like his athleticism more than Wentz and he doesn’t have the huge jump in competition Wentz had coming from North Dakota State. I like his accuracy more than Tannehill’s and he doesn’t have Ryan’s penchant for choking in the biggest moments. I like his accuracy much more than Bortles and he doesn’t come off like a meathead like Blake did. Mitchell has all the tools you look for in a QB and likely would be a Top 3 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft if he returned to school. Yes, 1 year of experience is worrisome but nonetheless Mitchell seems like a safe pick to me as he has so many plus tools (if we are going to use baseball terms for a minute) that I think he’ll be an average starting QB in the worst case scenario. Top 10 as my #1 QB who has franchise QB level talent 3/20/17.
  2. Patrick Mahomes Texas Tech 6’2 225 Jr. Former elite HS baseball prospect who was expected to be a Top 3 round pick out of HS until he told everyone he was going to college for football. His pitching background shows with his surprising arm strength. He had a 4.80 40 and wowed me with a 4.08 shuttle (1st among 16 QBs and a number that a WR would be fine with) which shows his incredibly quick feet which you see on film. He only has ‘9 ¼ hands which are the smallest in this draft. He reminds me a little of Jimmy Garoppolo but I like Jimmy’s quick release and superior fundamentals more. He only made 2nd Team Big-12 in 2016 despite his amazing numbers (5,052 yds, 65.7%, 41 TD/10 INT). His 2015 season was high volume/low efficiency (4,653 yds, 63.5%, 36 TD/15 INT). He’s a gunslinger and his 29 INTs in 2 ½ seasons is poor for a top QB prospect. He comes from a spread offense that is very gimmicky from how little they run the ball to how wide their OL splits are. Against Oklahoma in 2016 he attempted 88 passes for 734 yards! Again, he comes from a gimmicky offense. He is adept at the short and intermediate passing game with solid timing and accuracy. I love his quick feet as he sets up incredibly quickly after the snap and really uses his feet to get in good positions. That being said he oftentimes is too antsy in the pocket and uses his feet when he should have just stayed motionless. He’s a bit of a scrambler and sometimes reminds me of Jeff Garcia on certain plays. His best attribute is either his quick feet which buy him additional time and let him scramble or his accuracy on the run and his ability to just flick the ball 30-40 yards effortlessly. His arm strength is top notch as he ends warmups by throwing the ball 60-75 yards in the air and can throw the ball +60 yards while he’s on one knee. Mahomes is a gunslinger who has no discipline and could drive a coach crazy with his decision making. That being said he makes some incredible throws and maybe could develop into a gunslinger, franchise QB type. On the negative side, he is barely 6’2, didn’t put up great efficiency numbers (his QB Rating wasn’t in the Top 10 despite his gimmicky offense and insane number of pass attempts) and he’s accurate but not extremely accurate. On the positive is that he probably has the quickest feet of any QB in the draft, has the strongest arm of any QB in this draft and makes throws that I honestly have never seen before. (Side note: I have a feeling that the Arizona Cardinals are drooling over him and will maneuver up from the 2nd or down from the 1st for him). He has some Brett Favre to his game which is incredibly exciting but wow is he raw. I honestly don’t know what to do with him. I like him as a developmental type who has an extremely high ceiling but at what point do you pull the trigger on someone with such a high bust potential and who almost needs to be completely broken down and rebuilt from scratch in terms of technique, footwork and how he plays the position. He’s definitely the wildcard in this QB class. In the end I’d take a chance on him early as his arm talent is elite and some throws of his in the 2016 OU and Baylor games are among the best throws I’ve ever seen a college QB make. Top 20 as my #2 QB who could be a total bust and out of the league in 3 years or on his way to being a Top 5 QB and a perennial Pro Bowler 3/20/17.
  3. DeShaun Watson Clemson 6’2 ½ 221 Jr. He ran a 4.66 40 (3rd best among 16 QBs) and a 6.95 3 cone both of which are very impressive. He was the runner up for the Heisman in 2016 and 3rd in 2015, reminding me of Andrew Luck who was 2nd two straight years. Won the Davey O’Brien Award in 2015. Led his team to the BCS Championship Game vs. Alabama back to back years, barely winning in 2016 and barely losing in 2015 but playing great in both games. His coach compares him to Michael Jordan due to his leadership and his will to win. He’s thickly built and should be able to continue as a dual threat at the next level. He doesn’t have the same speed as Russell Wilson but reminds me of him as a runner stylistically and character wise. Wilson is much shorter, faster and more accurate though so the comparison of the two doesn’t extend to them as passers. His stats are pretty incredible, especially for an underclassmen. He has two +4,000 yard seasons, three seasons of 67% completion and three seasons of +150 QB Rating. He also is a prolific runner and had 9 rushing TDs last year (41 passing). His 5 TDs with 288 yards passing and 85 yards rushing against Virginia Tech is his most underrated game and is even more impressive considering Trubisky had his worst career game by far against that same defense. Watson is a winner and everyone that ever meets the kid raves about his character. His 420 yards passing against Alabama in the come from behind win is a performance for the ages and shows just how clutch he is. Look to his close wins vs. Louisville, NC State and Virginia Tech or his blowout 31-0 win vs. a very good Ohio State team and you can see that Watson is as clutch a prospect as there will ever be. He has a very calm demeanor in games and I think it helps him be clutch as he rarely looks excited or down after plays, he’s very even keeled. That being said there are obvious red flags to his game that weigh him down as a prospect. His 30 INTs the past two years is pretty poor, especially considering how much talent he has around him and the system he is in which gives him a lot of dink and dunk passes. His YPA, TD/INT ratio, QB Rating and QBR all went down from 2015 to 2016 so I didn’t see him progress a lot as a passer like I had hoped. Compare that to Johnny Manziel who had his yards, completion percentage, YPA and QB Rating all go up in his final season and use that as a benchmark of what you are expecting from a dual threat “improving passer.” He isn’t very accurate and throws some ducks at times that make you scratch your head. He is a rhythm passer and sometimes tries to “guide the ball” when he’s out of rhythm which results in some terrible efforts. He’s more athlete than quarterback at this stage of his career so a team that takes him will need to use that athleticism aggressively otherwise he could really struggle at the next level. He was helped tremendously by having Mike Williams’ huge catch radius as there are a lot of balls that he threw low, high or away from him that were completed. He shows touch on jump balls and back shoulder throws. For as good of an athlete as he is, he doesn’t evade rushers that well and struggles within the pocket in terms of escapability. He also isn’t good at reading defenses and often seems to have already decided where to go with the ball before the snap. Some teams evaluate QBs as much on character as they do on tools. Those teams will love Watson as he has a lot of Russell Wilson, Tim Tebow to him in that regard. Others have specific tools they want (arm strength, height, accuracy, etc.). Those teams will pass on Watson as he has some major red flags. I lean more to the latter than the former so it’s not surprising that Watson really concerns me as a prospect. I absolutely love his character, leadership, work ethic and the level of success he had in college but the kid is a VERY raw passer who lacks accuracy, pocket poise and skill at reading a defense. Those are some HUGE red flags in regards to becoming an NFL passer. A team that takes him will need to use zone read and RPOs as I suspect he will never fully develop into a great pocket passer. That being said, the NFL is becoming more open to dual threat QBs all the time and he does pass well enough to fit a Seattle, Carolina, Buffalo type system that doesn’t ask their QBs to pass too often. Late 1st Round as my #3 QB 3/20/17.
  4. Brad Kaaya Miami 6’3 ⅞ 214 Jr. He didn’t workout at the Combine. All-Time passing leader at Miami despite leaving a year early. He’s a three year starter for the Hurricanes who had only slight improvements to his numbers from his freshman to his junior season. That shows consistency (58.5-62.0% all three years, 3,198-3,532 yards, QB Rating 142-150) but also a lack of growth which is a little concerning. The one thing he did improve dramatically on in his last year was his TD/INT ratio as he went from 26/12 as a freshman, 16/5 as a Soph to 27/7 as a Junior basically going from 2 to 1 to 4 to 1. One reason for his lack of growth is likely tied to the fact that he was in three different offensive systems in his three seasons at Miami. Despite being black he’s a pocket passer and had negative rushing yards all three seasons (sacks count against rushing totals in college). He throws a great deep ball and is arguably the reason why Phillip Dorsett became a 1st round pick as he wasn’t considered anything special from 2011-2013 (1,261 yds and 7 TDs COMBINED) and then had a great 2014 season under Kaaya in his freshman year (871 yds, 10 TDs with a 24.2 yards per reception average!). He’s a very tough player that has a lot of film of him standing tall in the pocket and delivering a strike despite a defender in his face. He’s an obvious leader. He has film of threading the needle against good coverage, something few QBs in this class have. He has good velocity on his throws and can really gun it on outside throws. He is skinny and needs to add probably 10 lbs to his frame. He also needs to work on his lower body athleticism as he isn’t fast and isn’t smooth in his rollouts. He goes to his second and third options in the passing game and seems to understand how to read a defense. He is very patient in the pocket and gives his receivers every last second to get open. His accuracy is inconsistent as he sometimes misses easy throws. His throws are not dink and dunkers which also separates him from most of this QB class. Deep ball teams like the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers could fall in love with Kaaya as an heir apparent. He’s a VERY easy kid to like and has an obvious kindness about him that will likely endear him to some coach, GM or owner. I think some team will surprise everyone with how early Brad goes as he’s a perfect grooming candidate: Great character, big arm, good tape, young (21 years old), needs experience. He knocked it out of the park on Gruden’s QB Camp. A bit of a nerd who seems very intent on watching film, another plus for a grooming candidate-his time not playing won’t go to waste. I love Brad and think he’s a legit prospect who could develop into a very good starting QB down the road. I think it would serve him best if he had a redshirt year as a rookie but he seems confident and developed enough that he could play as a rookie if needed. His intangibles are elite, his deep ball is elite and his accuracy and ability to read a defense are solid. I think he’s the steal of this QB class and would target him if I couldn’t get my hands on Trubisky. Early 2nd round as my #4 QB 3/20/17.
  5. Nathan Peterman Pittsburgh 6’2 ½ 226 Sr. Redshirted one season. Five years out of HS so he is an older prospect. He had a 4.82 40 (average), ‘31 vertical (2nd best among 16 QBs) and average agility drills. Signed with Tennessee out of HS as a top recruit. As a freshman he got hurt and then Dobbs the next year replaced him and never gave the job back. After graduating from Tennessee in 3 years he transferred to Pitt where he played his final two seasons. He noticeably improved from 2015 (2,287 yds, 61.5%, 20 TD/8 INT, 138 QB Rating) to 2016 (2,855 yds, 60.5%, 27 TD/7 INT, 163 QB Rating). Last year he was 8th in the nation in QB Rating and puts him in the area where most NFL prospects get to. He had great stats vs. Clemson (308 yds, 5 TD/0 INT in their upset 43-42 win). He looks and has a frame like an NFL QB. He’s smart and agile as a runner so you just wish he was a little faster as it could be a valuable part of his game. I’d get him in a gym with a speed trainer and see if he could become a 4.65 athlete as it’d be a big benefit to his game. He’s tough and fearless in the open field. He had five +20 yard runs in 2016. Nathan is one of those prospects that you just say, “oh so close.” You wish he was just a little taller, a little faster, a little more accurate and a little more experienced. He’s a good prospect the way he is but if he was a little better in any of those areas you’d have a 1st round pick. Instead you have a developmental type that intrigues you but makes you wonder if he is not QUITE there in too many categories. The Clemson game is a good example. He had a nice 9 yard zone read which made him look athletic but he only ran for 18 yards the entire game. He had a few nice thread the needle throws, had a good touch pass to a TE for a TD and an outstanding fade throw against perfect coverage. Yet he missed on a number of deep balls, had a batted ball at the LOS, threw some off target slants and had a lot of misdirection dump offs that gave him easy throws. It was a well called game by the OC and much wasn’t due to the play of Nathan. Interestingly enough he actually reminds me of a poor man’s Mitchell Trubisky. He stays with a play too long and it often costs him with sacks, fumbles and borderline interceptions. He’s very good at improv when the play breaks down. Unfortunately he does it too much and sometimes should just go to his next read and not leave the pocket so much. He ran a simplified system and often only had half the field to read. I like Nathan and could see a team LOVE him. He has a lot of tools to work with and has a chance to develop into a starter. The problem is that he relied a lot on his running in college and I just don’t think he’s athletic enough to continue that in the NFL. He’s fearless in the open field and I worry he’ll have some concussions early in his career until he realizes he can’t play the same way in the pros. As a passer he’s somewhat accurate and has solid velocity but doesn’t seem to have experience reading defenses and isn’t great at any one thing (lacks a cannon of an arm, isn’t amazingly accurate, doesn’t have great touch on the deep ball, etc.). He’s a good developmental prospect as I’d like to see if he can improve on any of his above average tools to become something legit. That being said I worry that he has too many holes in his game and the hope that he can improve dramatically isn’t really valid but is more wishful thinking than reality. Mid 2nd round as my #5 QB 3/20/17.
  6. DeShone Kizer Notre Dame 6’4 ½ 233 Soph Redshirted one season. He ran a 4.83 40 (4th worst among 16 QB), 8’11 vertical (3rd worst), and a 7.40 3 cone (worst) so he didn’t impress athletically. He started each of the past two years and has similar stats with 2,884 yds, 63%, 21/10 and a 150 QB Rating in 2015 followed by 2,925 yds, 58.7%, 26/9 and a 145.6 QB Rating in 2016. The fact that most of his stats regressed a little in year two AND he left school with two years of eligibility remaining is a huge red flag. Does this kid think he’s made it once he’s drafted? It’s even more disconcerting seeing him leave after a 4-8 season. That’s not leadership. He has a great frame and uses it well as a runner, lowering his head for extra yards and showing good strength and toughness. He seems to be faster on film than 4.83 and that number surprises me as he sometimes looks downright fast, especially for his size. Last year he had 6 games of +50 yards rushing and looks like he will be able to continue that at the next level. On a quick glance he looks the part of an NFL QB with his great height and good arm strength. He has a nice, clean delivery. Unfortunately the results aren’t impressive. 6 of his 12 games last year he completed less than 60% of his passes with 2 games being sub 50%. In today’s no defense college football that is atrocious. If you are interested in Kizer it’s for one of two reasons. 1) You are a team that wants a dual threat QB and have a lot of packages that Kizer can implement with RPOs (run pass option) and zone reads being key to your system. 2) You see him as a ball of clay and like his frame, arm and legs. He won’t turn 22 until the NFL playoffs next January so there is a valid argument that he’s far from a finished product. Those are the only two reasons you like Kizer because right now it is obvious that he isn’t accurate, isn’t good at reading defenses, isn’t a dominant QB in college (yet somehow he will be in the NFL?), and he isn’t a leader. I really hate that this kid is leaving 2 years early AFTER a terrible season in which he didn’t perform all that well. I had similar comments about Blaine Gabbert and he was a colossal bust. Stylistically and frame/game wise he’s similar to EJ Manuel, another bust, but at least you can see more talent and youth in Kizer than Manuel. I see the potential with him but don’t like the kid’s film and hate the kid’s decision to leave early and the circumstances around him doing it. Some team will overlook these things and hope he can become a quality starter in a year but I wouldn’t recommend him as he seems like a future bust and, if he does succeed, a team will be stuck with a selfish, me first individual. Early 3rd round as my #6 QB 3/20/17.
  7. Josh Dobbs Tennessee 6’3 ⅜ 216 Sr. He beat out Nathan Peterman for the Tennessee starting job, forcing Peterman to transfer to Pittsburgh, and battled with Justin Worley the next few years for the starting job. A combination of injuries and Worley playing ahead of him kept his stats down in 2013 and 2014 yet in 2015 he was a full time starter with 2,291 yds 59.6% and a 15/5 TD/INT ratio. His QB Rating of 127 isn’t impressive but improved to 150 in 2016 (2,946 yds 63% 27/12). I initially didn’t grade him as saw him as a WR not a QB but after watching the Senior Bowl I realized he has enough touch and accuracy that teams will look at him as a QB so I added him late to the list. He’s an incredibly intelligent person who majored in aerospace and says Math and Physics are his favorite subjects. At this point in his career he’s still more athlete than QB but he’s a tall, strong and fast player with good arm strength and great intelligence so he makes sense as a project for some team. At the Combine he ran a 4.64 40 (2nd among 16 QBs), ‘33 vertical (3rd), 10’2 broad (2nd) and 6.75 3 cone (1st) showing again his great athleticism for a QB. He’s a very strong runner who breaks tackles and plays a lot bigger than his 216 lbs indicates. As a passer he has good arm strength, quick feet in the pocket, and solid accuracy. He is very raw in his footwork, read progressions and overall understanding of passing concepts as Tennessee often had him make one read and then run. He makes sense as a backup for a team like the Seahawks, Bills or Panthers who have an established dual threat QB already in place. His intelligence, height and arm strength should make him a coveted project type for some team. Early 4th round as my #7 QB 4/1/17.
  8. Chad Kelly Ole Miss 6’1 ⅝ 224 Sr. He wasn’t invited to the Combine due to his off the field behaviors (arrested for a bar fight in December 2014, kicked out of Clemson for it, and involved in a brawl October 2016 at his brother’s football game). He’s also coming off a torn ACL and lateral meniscus so there is a lot for scouts to sort through. 2nd Team SEC in 2016 despite missing 3 games (2nd Team SEC in 2015 as well). He’s sub 6’2, doesn’t have a strong arm, comes from a gimmicky offense, relies heavily on his dual threat status which is questionable at the next level, and has off the field issues. Initially it seems like Kelly isn’t worth anyone’s time but I see some NFL potential in him despite all of those negatives. He’s just athletic and tough enough to be capable of pulling off a little dual threat in the pros and he’s good at reading defenses and adjusting on the fly. The fact that the best coach in the game (Nick Saban) couldn’t figure him out two straight years (43 pts in loss in 2016 with 421 yds passing 3TD/0 INT, 43 pts in win in 2015 with 341 yds passing 3 TD/0 INT) shows what kind of talent Kelly has. He’s an accurate passer, makes good decisions and has a very quick release. I personally think he could become an NFL caliber passer if a QB coach worked with him on his fundamentals as his footwork is very inconsistent. I think at worst Kelly projects as a good backup who could surprise defenses with his unique style of play. It wouldn’t shock me though if Kelly developed into a low end starter down the road as he has some impressive tools with his accuracy being underrated. 4th round as my #8 QB 3/20/17.
  9. Davis Webb Cal 6’4 ½ 229 Sr. He had a 4.79 40 which was okay but impressed with a ‘33 vertical (2nd among 16 QBs) and 4.21 shuttle (3rd). He only has ‘9 ¼ hands which are the smallest in this draft. He has a weird journey as he unseated Baker Mayfield at Tech but then was beat out by Patrick Mahomme a few years later, eventually transferring to Tech. In both offenses he was a dink and dunker with little tape of threading the needle or throwing the ball downfield. Despite playing in very QB friendly offenses he never had a QB Rating above 139. He’s one of the tallest and strongest armed Tech QBs so he can’t be discounted on that factor as he doesn’t have a noodle arm by any means. He doesn’t have great velocity on his balls, has a lot of touch, but can throw it deep. I agree with those that see some Nick Foles in him as frame, style and velocity/arm strength it is a fair comparison. There is a lot of film out there which I could point to and say that his accuracy is flat out bad. That is worrisome to me as it’s the single most important characteristic I look for in a QB. There also is some film that makes him look like a 1st rounder as he’s big, throws a good deep ball and looks the part of an NFL QB. He’s an underrated athlete. I don’t like him as a developmental project due to his poor accuracy, experience in two gimmicky offenses and lack of velocity on his balls so I am downgrading him on my board. I suspect he will be drafted higher than this but also suspect he will be a failure as a starter and will quickly join the “career backup” club which should keep him employed in the NFL for 8-12 years. Late 4th round as my #9 QB 3/20/17.
  10. Jerod Evans Virginia Tech 6’2 ¾ 232 Jr. He ran a 4.80 40, had a ‘26 ½ vertical and a 4.41 shuttle. He’s a one year starter but made it count with 3,552 yds, 63.5 completion percentage and a 29/8 TD/INT ratio. As a runner he’s a little like Dak Prescott as he’s thick, strong and quick but isn’t that fast. I question how good he’ll be as a runner at the next level. If he is effective though, he has the body type to do it semi-regularly as his thick body can take a hit. As a passer I don’t like his release point but it seems to work decently for him, accuracy wise. He throws a very catchable ball and is adept at fades and throwing jump balls for his teammates to make a play for him. He doesn’t have a lot of zip on his passes and I question how effective he will be at throwing the comebacks, curls and outside timing routes. I really question why he came out a year early. He only has one season under his belt, he is a very rudimentary passer and he only fits schemes that will accentuate his dual threat abilities, which are borderline at best. Style wise he is eerily similar to Dak but Dak was a long time starter in the SEC and still only was taken in the 4th round. Evans will be lucky for that, though Dak’s success and their similar styles might convince a team to take a shot in the dark on him. I didn’t like Dak last year (mistake obviously) so I’m having trouble not disliking Evans. He does some good things as a passer and is quick and sturdy as a runner but to me he looks like a career backup. 5th round as my #10 QB 3/20/17.
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