NFL DRAFT PROSPECTS - QUARTERBACK
Click on the names of the prospects below to see their draft profiles:
Height: 6’3”. Weight: 215lbs
PRO’S: Has an elite understanding of the quarterback position. Innate feel for the game- knows exactly what is required on any given snap. Ideal height & weight for the NFL with a robust physique. Ultra-smart QB and elite reader of defenses. Routinely takes advantage of mismatches once he’s diagnosed the opposition’s intentions. Able to manipulate safeties with his eyes. Has plenty of experience in a pro-style offense and is comfortable under center or in the shotgun. Shown evidence of changing plays at the line of scrimmage and altering protections which will impress scouts. Pocket movement might be the best in this draft class - subtle footwork and climbing the pocket as the pressure mounts is impressive. Put on the 2019 Alabama tape for evidence. Keeps his eyes downfield even under duress and will patiently stand in there & wait for the play to develop. Ultra-productive against some of the elite teams in college football. Has good accuracy on throws of all levels and can fit the ball into the tightest of windows. Mechanics are clean and release is quick. Able to scramble for first downs with some comfort.
CON’S: Body of work is probably the biggest concern; Burrow transferred from Ohio State and only has one full year of elite game tape. Surrounded by playmaking talent could raise questions as to whether he’s just a one year wonder. Arm strength is fine but not elite, and sometimes has to float deep balls rather than drive them downfield. Against pro-calibre defenses this could give safeties that extra time to make a play on the football. Accuracy and arm strength drops a touch when throwing on the move. Has enough about him to break contain & scramble, but athleticism is not a game-changing attribute.
SIMON CARROLL: “With Tua’s injury concerns, Joe Burrow is odds on at being the first name called out in the 2019 NFL Draft. With a litany of pro-style traits it’s easy to imagine him making the jump relatively quickly. There’s no better candidate in this draft class for teams looking for their next franchise quarterback”.
NFL COMPARISON: MATT RYAN WITH MOBILITY
PREDICTION: TOP THREE PICK
Height: 6’1”. Weight: 219lbs
PRO’S: Transcendent talent. Strong arm with elite accuracy inside or outside of the pocket. Throws with good timing and anticipation. Can gun the pass into tight windows when necessary. Has ice in his veins under pressure; is able to deliver the football in the face of a pass rush with no dropoff in accuracy. Excellent touch on intermediary and long throws. Escapability as the pocket disintegrates is unparalleled. Eyes remain active downfield on every pass. Able to improvise & create plays when there seems to be no hope. High football IQ with the ability to diagnose defenses and coverages quickly. Understands blocking assignments and where the pressure is coming from. Plus athleticism that makes him a danger when he takes off. Magnetic personality, true team leader and ideal face of an NFL franchise.
CON’S: Durability is the biggest concern. In the last two seasons he’s had a broken finger, sprained knee, quad injury and two ankle injuries that required surgery. He’s been limited in or missed key games because of his body. In November 2019, Tagovailoa dislocated his hip and required surgery. This injury ruled him out of the rest of the season, and casts doubt not only on his availablility for 2020 but his pro career as a whole. As such, his draft status and range are very much unpredictable at this point. Has underwhelmed on the big stage, been replaced by Jalen Hurts in the SEC title game and struggled mightily against Clemson in the National Championship game. Stats skewed due to dominance over subpar opponents. Sometimes too confident in his arm, making dangerous throws. Benefitted from being surrounded by incomparable talent. Locks on to his primary receiver on occasion.
SIMON CARROLL: “Tua has been the consensus #1 Quarterback - not just of this draft class but of this decade - for so long it seems odd to pick holes in his game. And there aren’t many. NFL franchises have been tanking since midway through the 2018 season for a shot at drafting this guy, for good reason. Quarterbacks this good just don’t appear that often. Until we know more about the recovery from the serious hip injury then it is very difficult to decipher where he lands in the draft, or whether he even declares this year at all. On talent alone, he is a first round pick with the game and skillset to fit in any offense”.
NFL COMPARISON: AARON RODGERS
PREDICTION: 1ST ROUND PICK
Height: 6’6”. Weight: 235lbs
PRO’S: Big-time arm. Strongest arm of all the top tier QB’s in this class. Can make any throw off any platform. Impressive velocity on throws. Able to side-arm passes with zip when in confined quarters. Clutch passer on key downs and big games. Gets the ball out of his hands quickly on each dropback, and rarely chooses the wrong receiver. Classic NFL quarterback measurables with the body type to add more mass for durability. Calm and composed under pressure, and willing to take a big lick in order for his passing window to open. Predominantly used in the shotgun but has taken plenty of plays under center. Remarkably athletic for tall build and frequently moves the chains with his feet.
CON’S: Some faulty lower-body mechanics that can see his passes get away from him. Has bouts of poor accuracy within games (see Cal 2019) that seems to affect confidence. Willingness to take a hit is admirable but has a lengthy injury history. Scouts concerned about his durability over an NFL career. Absolutely chaotic output when confronted by consistent pressure. Poor pass protection sees him skittish and hurry the play. Not yet demonstrated consistent understanding of where the blitz is coming from. Rarely manipulates the offensive line to account for said pressure. Telegraphs his intentions to the defense on occasion.
SIMON CARROLL: “The idea of Justin Herbert is almost better than the actual Justin Herbert. He has everything you need to be a successful quarterback in today’s NFL; size, arm strength and athleticism. Teams will need to decide if the deficiencies to his game are correctable, for they will be exposed far more at the next level. Despite four years at college will probably need some time to acclimate and be put in a situation with a strong offensive line. If he is comfortable he can tear teams apart”.
NFL COMPARISON: CARSON WENTZ
PREDICTION: TOP TEN PICK
Height: 6’3”. Weight: 210lbs
PRO’S: Ultra-athletic quarterback who, despite being pass-first, has the wheels to cripple opposing defenses. Beautiful touch on intermediate to deep passes that possess the wow factor. Effortless throwing motion that has the ball come out quick with just a flick of the wrist. Able to drive the ball through tight windows or float it into receivers hands dependant on what is required. Calculated risk taker who throws with anticipation. Not afraid to attempt the tough pass when it’s the right thing to do, and gets back on the horse quick after mistakes. Quickly identifies mismatches and attacks vulnerabilities on a defense. Throwing on the move is almost as good as when his feet are set. Pocket awareness is good and he’s able to step up into the eye as the pressure rounds on him. Effective execution of RPO’s and play action.
CON’S: Operates exclusively out of the shotgun. Limited authority at the line of scrimmage - plays come in from the sideline and Love simply relays changes to his teammates. Fails to see subtle adjustments from defenses and often throws head scratching interceptions as a result. Doesn’t exactly lock on to his receiver but will zone in on a mismatch he expects to develop well. In this regard his eyes betray his intentions to a defense. Limited number of progressions on each play will have scouts pegging him as a ‘half-field reader’. Games where Utah State are trailing can get wildly out of hand as Love tries to push the envelope and take shots that simply aren’t there.
SIMON CARROLL: “Love’s effortless and exciting brand of football is easy on the eye but the transition from college to the pro’s will not be instantaneous. Any team buying in will need a plan to marry an obvious physical skillset with a growth in the mental aspects of the game. If Love is able to be redshirted for a year and given an offense tailored to his athleticism and deep threat ability, he could be a devastatingly effective NFL quarterback”.
NFL COMPARISON: COLIN KAEPERNICK
PREDICTION: 1st ROUND PICK
Height: 6’2”. Weight: 218lbs
PRO’S: Run heavy, mobile quarterback who excels in RPO football. Disguises intentions with football well. Good decision maker adept at reading pursuit quickly and choosing to hand off or keep the ball as a result. Throwing motion smooth with a nice spiral. Able to lead receivers with his throws. Picks apart zone coverage and works the middle of the field ruthlessly. Nice accuracy and is particularly impressive throwing off his back foot. Has plus athleticism and frequently moves the chains when running the football. Refuses to leave yards on the field and does a good job of avoiding hits and squeezing through gaps. Selfless quarterback with a team first attitude. Teammates gravitate to his leadership and play hard for him. Big game mentality.
CON’S: Arm strength average. Has to put more air on intermediate and deep balls, particularly out-breaking routes. Encourages opposing DB’s to make plays on the football. Throwing motion a tick slow. Has little to no experience of taking snaps under center. Outside of handoffs had very limited play-adjusting responsibility at Oklahoma. Simply will not step up in the pocket, preferring to back off and scramble out if necessary. Feels the pass rush too quickly and struggles to keep his eyes downfield. Needs to understand when to throw the ball away - has repeated examples of taking sacks with huge loss of yards as he tries to dance his way out of trouble.
SIMON CARROLL: “People are going to see the rise in athletic NFL quarterbacks, get excited by Hurts’ style of play and assume he’s going to be a successful pro QB. It’s not as simple as that. At Alabama & Oklahoma he benefited from elite offensive lines and weapons to operate with, something he likely won’t be blessed with at the next level. Hurts has some very blatant holes to his game that teams will have to believe they can either fix or work around. That being said, he’s a born winner and scouts will love his leadership. Expect him to come off the board day two and spend a year developing his game”.
NFL COMPARISON: CAM NEWTON
PREDICTION: 2ND ROUND PICK
Height: 6’2”. Weight: 220lbs
PRO’S: Solid, durable body. Looks every inch the NFL Quarterback. High football IQ - enters every game fully prepared with extensive knowledge of his opposition. Shows a lot of mental pro traits already - diagnosing defenses, manipulating protection at the line of scrimmage, and making whole field reads. Extremely accurate thrower of the football, constantly hitting his receivers in stride. Clever ball placement, giving his target every opportunity to make the catch and minimising the chances of the defender. Expert technician of the back shoulder throw. Innate feel and timing of delivery aids his accuracy. Nice touch on the football and understands the different situations and what is required of his delivery. Very careful with the football - turnovers are rarely of his own doing, although mistakes have increased in 2019. A natural leader with a self-assured demeanour that instills confidence in the rest of his team.
CON’S: Arm strength is underrated but not elite. Throwing motion much longer on deep throws to compensate for this. Throwing on the move is less accurate the further the pass. Able to scramble when necessary but by no means an athletic Quarterback. Prefers to throw into zones rather than against man coverage despite his accuracy. Hasn’t quite mastered the art of stepping up into the pocket, preferring to sit back or float left or right to give himself time. Performances dropped significantly in 2019, particularly at the end of the season. Felt like Georgia were winning despite Fromm, not due to Fromm.
SIMON CARROLL: “Fromm’s large body of work in a pro-style offense could make him an attractive late day one/early day two prospect for teams looking for a high ceiling, low floor quarterback. Some of his perceived deep ball issues can be corrected with better pocket movement and scouts will be confident they can fix that. Beyond that he’s almost the complete package. An ideal fit in a west coast offense where he’s able to make reads at the line and get the ball out to his playmakers quickly”.
NFL COMPARISON: DREW BREES
PREDICTION: 2ND ROUND PICK
For a complete draft profile of Jake Fromm, click here:
Height: 6’5”. Weight: 235lbs
PRO’S: Fantastic arm strength. No matter the distance of throw can put it on the money with velocity. Good ball placement in general - throws with anticipation and leads his receivers. Accuracy on deep ball is very good. Able to drop balls over cornerbacks and into buckets when necessary. Ideal height & weight for pro football. Good pocket presence - able to adjust and deliver under pressure. Tough and willing to take a hit to deliver the football. Proficient in the shotgun and under center. Excellent deception on play-action. Shown propensity to adjust play at line of scrimmage. Composed quarterback who has elevated his game against better opposition.
CON’S: Inconsistent performances from one week to the next. Continually throws short of the line of scrimmage despite his big arm - drag routes and slants are his bread & butter and defenses know it. Puts too much heat on short passes on occasion leading to poor accuracy stats, although his receivers have criminally hamstrung him with drop after drop. Locks on to his intended receiver too often. Often fails to recognise safety rotation and throws into double coverage when he believes it to be single. Huge questions about his work ethic & playbook knowledge. Had a knee injury at Georgia that scouts will need to investigate. Once recovered, he failed to get his job back from Jake Fromm & ended up transferring to Washington.
SIMON CARROLL: “Which version of Jacob Eason will we see in the NFL? The one who went toe to toe with Oregon or the one who threw the game away against Utah? The arm strength and the traits are there for him to be a starting quarterback at the next level but the reports about his commitment and work ethic give some possible explanation for his inconsistency, and could scare some front offices away. The flashes of obvious talent should be enough to see him come off the board in the second round”.
NFL COMPARISON: BYRON LEFTWICH
PREDICTION: 2ND ROUND PICK
Height: 6’3”. Weight: 189lbs
PRO’S: Big arm and can make all the throws. Ultra-productive in his one year as a starter in Pullman. Plus accuracy, but more impressive is his ball placement. Leads his receivers to gain maximum yardage on every throw. Fearless when it comes to throwing downfield, and rarely settles for the easy yards when more are available. Commits to his throws and shows little self doubt. Beautiful touch on his deep ball. Puts good velocity on the football and can thread the needle. Demonstrates knowledge of defensive coverages and enjoys attacking the seams. Goes through his progressions and makes smart choices. Composed in the pocket and trusts his line to allow him to deliver the football.
CON’S: Inflated stats due to pass-heavy air raid offense at Washington State. Receivers have often made him look good, making tacklers miss on short passes for big gains. Not particularly athletic quarterback who will be the prototypical pocket passer in an NFL embracing more dynamic offenses. Somewhat slight frame for his height. Sloppy footwork on his dropbacks and pocket movement is limited. No experience of taking snaps under center. Just one year of production after spending three seasons behind Luke Falk & Gardner Minshew.
SIMON CARROLL: “Projecting quarterbacks from air raid offenses to the NFL is always tricky. Gordon has the arm strength and accuracy that gives you confidence he can make the leap. There’ll be a learning curve for him and he’ll probably need an o-line that will afford him time to deliver the ball. But out of all the day three QB’s in this draft class Gordon is the one that has the tape to suggest he could be a successful starter at the next level”
NFL COMPARISON: TEDDY BRIDGEWATER
PREDICTION: 4TH ROUND PICK
Height: 6’1”. Weight: 205lbs
PRO’S: Mobile quarterback who understands the pass first, run second concept. Strong enough arm for the NFL, particularly on the move. Accuracy is good to very good dependant on distance. Has good touch on deep balls and sideline routes. Knows how to put the ball where only his receiver can make a play. Thrives against man coverage. Quick feet in and out of the pocket, minimising sacks. Elite speed when scrambling out of the pocket. Elusive and knows where the chains are. Dangerous in the RPO game. A competitor who won’t shy away from adversity. Teammates love him and rally around his feisty on-field demeanour.
CON’S: Has plenty of work to do on the mental aspects of the game. Reading of defenses pre-snap is sub par, and when they show him something different to what he expects post-snap the results aren’t good. Turnover prone in multiple ways. Poor decision-making saw a rise in turnovers in 2019 against better competition (USC, Oregon). Alarming distance between ball and body when scrambling. Has jittery feet in the pocket which hinder his lower body mechanics on throws. Doesn’t stick around if his first or second read isn’t open. Needs to learn to let plays develop more.
SIMON CARROLL: “Watching Tyler Huntley play football can be both thrilling and agonising. He will frustrate you with silly turnovers and wow you with big plays in key moments. I’m inclined to believe there’s a lot of things to his game that scouts will be able to correct. Huntley could develop into a high-upside backup quarterback, who with a limited and bespoke playbook can win you games in a pinch”.
PRO COMPARISON: TYROD TAYLOR
PREDICTION: 4TH ROUND PICK
Height: 6’4”. Weight: 213lbs
PRO’S: Prototypical pocket passer with a cannon for an arm and big hands to rip the football. Master of movement within the pocket - climbs with comfort and can slide to avoid arm contact. Will stay in the pocket as long as it takes to deliver the football. Tough as nails and willing to take a hit. Arm strength is elite and effortless. Throws with good anticipation, leading his receivers. Eyes stay downfield under pressure and he works through his progressions religiously. Safe quarterback with good awareness to throw the ball away or get rid of it before surrendering a sack. Has enough athleticism and arm strength to throw on the move.
CON’S: Narrow lower body means all his juice comes from his arm. This leads to accuracy issues downfield when he really needs to rifle it. Passes float on him at times for the same reason. Preoccupied with gunning the ball in, even when unnecessary. Lack of athleticism makes him relatively low danger when he breaks contain - he’s certainly not a runner with the football. Unusual throwing motion - the ball comes out quick once he begins but arm Is more horizontal than ideal. Processing speed a tick slow.
SIMON CARROLL: “Much like Anthony Gordon, Morgan has the traits that suggest potential starter material down the line. But he’s a fair way off that yet and it will take some patience to allow him to develop his mental quickness and unorthodox mechanics. He possesses what you can’t teach - arm strength, grit and pocket awareness - and someone is going to bet on their ability to coach him up and get excellent return on an early day-three investment”.
PREDICTION: 4TH ROUND PICK
Height: 6’5”. Weight: 230lbs
PRO’S: Physically gifted quarterback. Ideal size and weight for the NFL, with a strong arm that allows him to make all the throws with ease. Can really zip it to his receivers, and loses no accuracy when he forces it in at speed. Throwing on the move is exceptional. Smooth, quick throwing motion. Smart quarterback with pro-style offense experience. Has shown he can change plays and protections at the line of scrimmage. Knows where pressure is coming from pre-snap, and adjusts positioning accordingly. Good understanding of defenses in front of him and can attack the seams in zone. Moves around the pocket comfortably and can break contain if necessary. Will move the chains with his legs when he has to.
CON’S: Accuracy needs to be better downfield to make full use of his arm strength. Not every pass has to be drilled in - needs to learn when more touch is required. Footwork is sloppy, and that’s being kind. Dropbacks are ungainly and slow. Decision making with the ball in his hand is sometimes reckless. Panics under pressure, particularly from the interior when he can’t step up into the pocket. Lingers too long if his hot read doesn’t develop, leading to high sack numbers. Has refused to come off his first read on occasion, choosing instead to force the pass and risk a turnover. Average athletic ability, despite his willingness to run for the marker.
SIMON CARROLL: “Similar in profile to Nate Stanley, Montez may be more attractive a prospect due to his elite physical traits and comfort with adjustments. Having said that, there is a lack of composure to his game that will have scouts concerned over his ability to process under pressure at the next level. You have to wonder just how productive Montez would have been without elite receiver Laviska Shenault to throw to during his time in Boulder”.
NFL COMPARISON: RYAN MALLETT
PREDICTION: 5TH ROUND PICK
Height: 6’4”. Weight: 243lbs
PRO’S: Ideal physical composition for an NFL quarterback - tall & thick with good durability. Short to intermediate accuracy is his calling card. Delivers the football with good velocity and is brave enough to make the tough throws in tight windows. Intuitive pocket presence allows him to maintain eyes downfield for as long as possible. Subtle, clever footwork in the pocket. Very deliberate mechanics on his delivery and his dropbacks. Proficient at selling the play action, and has enough mobility to roll out and deliver the football. When he has time, his technique allows him to make all the throws with enough juice to spare. Ultra productive over the middle of the field. Shows nice touch on his passes and almost always leads his receivers. Locker room leader and respected by his peers.
CON’S: Somewhat robotic quarterback - follows the script to a tee on most plays. When the play breaks down he’s in trouble. Any remote sense of pressure affects his delivery. Accuracy downfield poor compared to short and intermediate accuracy. Accuracy on the move drops off a cliff. Limited athleticism means he offers virtually nothing in terms of RPO’s, designed QB runs or scrambles. Struggles to extend plays if the pocket collapses. Has a quick release but the ball trajectory is unusual, seemingly always heading downwards from his tall frame on bullet passes. Often makes receivers work on what should be simple completions.
SIMON CARROLL: “Watch the Ohio State tape from 2017 or the USC bowl game in December and you’ll be forgiven for thinking Stanley is a top-tier QB in this draft class, but those big time moments are few and far between. Stanley is a consummate professional who is attentive and diligent in his craft, and will work his socks off for his teammates. Sadly, work ethic and reliability aren’t quite matched by natural talent. He has a chance of making a roster and being a valued backup or practice squad quarterback at the next level”.
NFL COMPARISON:KIRK COUSINS
PREDICTION: 5TH ROUND PICK
Height: 6’4”. Weight: 220lbs
PRO’S: Dangerous quarterback who is fun to watch and has prospered in the run and shoot Hawaii offense. Can sling it - strong arm and puts some juice on his passes too. Accurate on his spot or on the move at all levels. When he gets into a rhythm he’s difficult for defenses to stop. Rapid throwing motion, the ball coming out quickly and cleanly. Able to make one or two reads a play and make the right decision with the football. Utilises his torque to beat teams deep when the opportunity arises. Able to break contain and punish opponents with his legs if they sit deep on him.
CON’S: Has spells of self doubt and a lack of confidence, and his performances can tank as a result. If the offense fails to get into it’s groove then McDonald will struggle for consistency. Any basic form of disguise from a defense can confuse him, and he has no plan B to counter with. His inconsistent play saw him benched twice by Hawaii this year, although he has bounced back nicely and put in a dominant performance in the bowl game against BYU. Interception prone, particularly on the move.
SIMON CARROLL: “Deciphering just how good a quarterback who hails from the run & shoot or air raid offense is can be difficult. McDonald had an excellent collegiate career and, despite moments of adversity in 2019 finished the season strongly. His measurables, arm and skllset will intrigue scouts, but he will have a lot to prove in the pre-draft process if he wants to hear his name called on day three”.
PREDICTION: 6th Round Pick
Height: 6’2”. Weight: 215lbs
PRO’S: Electrifying dual-threat athlete who is fun to watch. Natural, effortless arm strength in the pocket or on the move. Velocity comes from lower body much like DeShaun Watson. Creative sandbox quarterback who can make plays out of nothing. If there’s a big play downfield, he’ll find it and make it. Comfortable at reading zone defense and where he should look to with the football. Experienced in different offenses. Hard to combat his ability to both run and pass outside of the pocket. Will murder defenses with his legs if they give him the opportunity. Set the FBS quarterback rushing record with 327 yards.
CON’S: Inconsistent. Never seemed to quite reach the heights of the promise he showed as a Sophomore. Lacks the discipline to remain in the pocket and will break contain far too early. Much more comfortable playing on the fly which will infuriate NFL coaches. Little to no anticipation - he has to see his man open to throw the football. Fails to figure out pressure pre-snap and can end up running right into it. Poor footwork on dropbacks loses him time to digest the game in front of him. Clings on to the football far too long and will take big sacks rather than get rid of the football.
SIMON CARROLL: “ Khalil Tate’s astonishing athletic ability simply does not mask his poor technique or lack of attention to detail. It’s almost as if his college coaches haven’t bothered to help him improve his game, instead relying solely on the magic moments to help them win football games. In the NFL, those moments will be far too few. May be a project that even the most patient of teams will not want to commit to”.
PRO COMPARISON: JOHNNY MANZIEL
PREDICTION: 6th Round Pick
Height: 6’2”. Weight: 234lbs
Pros: Though he played at the Division 2 level, Rivers has put himself on the NFL radar. His exceptional production included a ridiculous 52:7 TD to INT ratio as he tore up D2 defenses. That led to the Valdosta State transfer winning the D2 Heisman equivalent by taking the Harlon Hill trophy. While he didn’t land at one of the top All-Star events, he was able to prove himself against higher competition at the Gridiron Showcase event. Rivers ticks a lot of boxes physically, with a thick powerful frame and a cannon of an arm. His mobility features legit ability with the ball in his hands when the play breaks down. He can extend plays or take off himself as a physical runner with a full back build. Mentally, Rivers generally shows sound and quick decision making. He’s not afraid to launch it downfield with his deep ball velocity, without doing so recklessly. There’s some inconsistency of the accuracy with those deep shots but is capable of some impressive completions down the field. The threat of the big play itself keeps secondaries thinking. Rivers’ mechanics feature an over-the-top release with effortless zip on his passes. There are no throws in the playbook that are off the table from a physical standpoint. That was never more obvious than his D2 playoff outing in a snowstorm versus Minnesota State this past season. His dominant season included the 52 passing TDs, along with 4460 pass yards at 67% completion rate. He added 700 yards on the ground with 9 rushing scores.
Cons: Prior to his transfer from Valdosta State, Rivers missed the 2017 season with a torn labrum that required surgery on his throwing shoulder. While Rivers’ interception numbers were low, his film does feature some throws that he was lucky to get away with. Some examples of incorrect reads and coverage recognition gave opportunities to linebackers to make a play on the ball that sometimes went unpunished. There’s a work-in-progress in his reads that will also have to take on a step up in competition and defensive athleticism that will likely be challenging.
Rebecca Rennie: “One of the more intriguing and potentially exciting developmental QB prospects in this class, taking a shot on Rivers ought to be far more appealing than some of the uninspiring Day 3 names that underwhelmed at big-time programs. It could go either way, but there’s legitimate upside with enticing physical traits and mental character to give himself a chance.”
Prediction: 6th Round
Height: 5’11”. Weight: 190lbs
PRO’S: Instinctive, read and react quarterback who identifies his target and gets the ball out fast. Solid throwing motion with a vertical arm that somewhat mitigates his height. Throws with good anticipation, particularly across the middle on slant patterns. Rarely sacked and smart with the football, throwing it away if there’s nothing available. Proficient in play-action - bootlegs nicely, can throw on the run and is willing to tuck it and run for the line to gain. Shows nice touch on deep sideline passes, and can drop it in the bucket.
CON’S: Small. There’s no other way to say it. Fine isn’t only short, his frame will be considered too lightweight for the NFL. Has an alarming number of balls batted down at the line of scrimmage - raising further questions about his height. Arm strength is okay but needs to put a lot of juice on his deep balls to get them home. If he’s off base he’ll struggle with the big throws. Sometimes too careful and fails to pull the trigger on a home run hit. Didn’t show the same promise last year as he did in 2018.
SIMON CARROLL: “The physical limitations of Mason Fine mean teams will need to be blown away with the rest of his game. And whilst he’s a safe pair of hands and can make the throws, his over cautious attitude puts a cap on how good he can be. A high floor, low ceiling prospect who could turn into a game-managing backup if any NFL teams are willing to take a chance on him”.
PRO COMPARISON: Chase Daniel
PREDICTION: 7th Round Pick
Height: 6’6”. Weight: 225lbs
PRO’S: Tall quarterback with good field vision. Has the mindset of a professional who has maximised the tangibles you can control. Neal is ultra consistent, alluding to his dedication to the playbook and film room. Rarely turns the football over. Competent in defense diagnosis at the line of scrimmage. Plus accuracy on most routes, and is adept at placing the football where only the receiver can get it. Plays good situational football to keep the chains moving. Has enough athleticism to move out of the pocket if necessary and can throw on the run.
CON’S: Deep arm strength is lacking. He really needs to wind up to make the big bombs. Lacks touch on passes, preferring to gun them in. Sometimes too safe with the football when it’s time to roll the dice. Itches to get out of the pocket rather than stand in there and make the play. Won’t throw the ball away, and when he’s contained will eat sacks. Doesn’t climb the pocket well.
SIMON CARROLL: “The quintessential game manager, Neal is the ideal backup quarterback in the NFL. His football IQ and dedication will give scouts confidence that with decent talent around him he could step in for the team in a pinch. The ceiling is low due to his underwhelming arm strength and conservative brand of football, but there’s plenty of those QB’s who have had long NFL careers”.
PRO COMPARISON: RYAN FINLEY
PREDICTION: 7TH ROUND PICK
Height: 6’3”. Weight: 215lbs
PRO’S: Dual-threat quarterback who can punish teams on the ground or through the air. Well proportioned for a mobile quarterback with a durable body. Has decent accuracy at all levels, with a beautiful drop ball on deep passes. Able to show deft touch on some passes and high velocity on others. Unfazed under pressure and maintains eyes downfield. Generally a throw first, run second quarterback. An absolute nightmare to bring down when scrambling around - the play never seems to be over.
CON’S: Wildly inconsistent performances from game to game, but also in-game as well. Maddening decision making at times. Despite his plus athleticism it seems he lumbers around rather than getting downhill. Will throw into heavy traffic rather than work through his progressions. Frequently throws behind receiver on crossing patterns rather than leading them. Slow to process blitzes. Arm strength just mediocre.
SIMON CARROLL: “Despite leading an average Virginia side to the ACC Championship Game and a decent showing against Florida in the Orange Bowl, Perkins’ limitations will stand out more than his attributes do in the NFL. His decision-making under pressure can be worse than poor. He brings the x-factor but may struggle to hold down a backup job due to his inability to game manage. Could be a useful practice squad player for teams looking to combat opponents with a dual threat QB”.
NFL COMPARISON: EJ MANUEL
PREDICTION: 7TH ROUND PICK
Height: 6’3”. Weight: 215lbs
Pros: While his college career has been significantly hampered by injury, the traits are there to work with as a developmental project. He deserves a lot of credit to the resiliency and competitiveness to keep working through rehab and returning after multiple season-ending injuries. The one thing Knipp seems certain not to receive any red flags on will be his impeccable character and toughness. The Bears have had a dire win-loss record in recent years, but the blame doesn’t lie with Knipp. The team wins and some of his stats have been held back by teammates not at his level. Struggles on the O-line to give Knipp a clean pocket combined with receiver drops and balls batted in the air for interceptions are factors. The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl player impresses with his upper body technique. The throwing mechanics features a quick motion and release, generating easy velocity. Able to throw off platform, his accuracy remains when not stepping into throws. Knipp is a fast mental processor and makes quick, reliable decisions. He takes full advantage of what the defenses give him, takes available yardage underneath, finds his checkdowns and hot reads as required, while taking shots deep when the opportunities are there. Excellent overall ball placement and accuracy to all levels of the field. His film features some beautiful touch throws, including deep. There’s plenty evidence of high football IQ, instincts and overall feel for the position. While not an explosive athlete, Knipp shows enough mobility to run bootlegs, extend plays and escape the pocket.
Cons: The injury red flags are unavoidable and concerning. Three consecutive season-ending injuries, all early into each season and all to the same non-throwing shoulder, has seen Knipp’s college career extend into a 6th season in 2019. The disruptions have stalled his development and also results in being a little older than many rookies. The lower body technique isn’t quite as ideal as his upper body. Knipp doesn’t step into his throws conventionally, though it doesn’t seem to affect his accuracy or velocity. Maybe the footwork just works for him and doesn’t require changing but is notable on film. While he was not helped by his offensive line, Knipp did struggle in limited playing time during the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl game. He had issues handling the heavy pressure he was under. In fairness, he looks much more composed in his game film.
Rebecca Rennie: “While his college career has been significantly hampered by injury, the skill set is good enough such that there’s future starting potential should he reach his ceiling. That developmental upside makes Knipp worthy of a late round flier despite his durability troubles. His accuracy and natural feel for the position are above that of many more well-known QBs expected to be targeted in the latter portion of the draft. He drew plenty of interest at his pro day, positive signs that he’ll be coveted, even if it’s ultimately as a priority free agent”
Prediction: 7th Round
Height: 6’4”. Weight: 224lbs
Pros: The Ivy League passer features a tall, sturdy frame and strong arm. Those physical traits remain appealing in the eyes of many pro scouts. He led a good Princeton team to a 7-0 start, before he and the Tigers faltered to an 8-2 finish. His numbers included 66.8% completions and 20 touchdowns to 6 interceptions. It should be noted that his TD numbers were aided by an outlier 7 TD performance against Bucknell. When provided with time in a clean pocket, Davidson distributes the ball well to every level of the field. His strong arm stands out to hit on impressive throws. He displays good ball placement and the timing to hit in stride within favourable windows. He can generate good velocity through his upper body when unable to fully step into some throws. He has regularly shown a lot of toughness in the pocket to take hits. All indications are that Davidson brings plenty of positive character and work ethic traits.
Cons: Davidson struggled down the stretch, including a 2:4 TD to INT ratio over the final 4 games. That run included games against some of the better opposition faced over the season. Davidson’s throwing motion isn’t overly compact, and his general mental processing speed can be a little slower than ideal. A bit of a statue in the pocket, his tendency to hold onto the ball a bit too long sees him take too many hits and sacks. That may in part factor in O-line protection but regardless, Davidson’s notably limited mobility won’t see him evade pressure often. Davidson not only competed at a lower level but was only a one-season starter. While his minimal experience as a starter factors in, the Tigers QB shows some questionable decision making. The viability of some of his attempts into double coverage raises concerns over his reading of the defense and willingness to disengage from his primary receiver. Working through his progressions is either not present or slow, giving rushers that extra time required to get home. On a final note, take hand size concerns for what you will, but 8 ¼ hands is relatively small.
Rebecca Rennie: “While Davidson ticks off some traditional boxes, his significant lack of mobility to buy time, overall pocket presence and processing speed suggests a longer-term developmental project with a potentially low ceiling as the pay-off. That said, his ideal frame, good mechanics and arm strength are appealing base traits.”
NFL Comparison: Tom Savage
Prediction: 7th Round.
Height: 6’3”. Weight: 227lbs
PRO’S: Smart quarterback who allows plays to develop and throws with anticipation. Good accuracy on short to intermediate throws, leading his receivers. Had an excellent completion rate at Clemson. Nice touch on passes. Understands the subtle nuances when attacking zone vs man defense and isn’t afraid to test the opposition deep. Has excellent athleticism and can be used in a multitude of offenses at the next level. Despite comfort on the move prefers to stay within the pocket and on script. Excels on short dropbacks where he can get the ball out quick.
CON’S: Lost his place to true freshman Trevor Lawrence and couldn’t get it back. Left Clemson for Missouri and failed to replicate his 2017 form. Struggled to make an impact with a dropoff in the talent around him. Can diagnose a defense but fails to acknowledge adjustments and rotation in coverage. No experience in a pro style offense or taking snaps under center. Feels the pressure all too quickly. Internal clock speeds up if first read isn’t available. Lack of composure when defenses remove his ability to scramble. Self-confidence drops in times of adversity.
SIMON CARROLL: “College Football fans hoping for the Kelly Bryant they remember from 2017 were left disappointed as his time in Missouri failed to hit the heights expected. Scouts will be impressed with his football knowledge, but there’s a lot to develop before he takes an NFL snap, if ever”.
Height: 6’5”. Weight: 217lbs
PRO’S: Aggressive quarterback who loves nothing more than attacking defenses vertically. Big time arm and can make all the throws with ease. Good velocity on his ball and able to fire it into tight windows. Smart enough to sense the pass rush, and has suprisingly quick feet to make subtle pocket moves and avoid it. Good footwork on his dropbacks and nice timing to his release. Reasonable athleticism that allows him to scramble out of trouble if necessary.
CON’S: Makes catastrophic errors that cost his team on frequent occasions. Holds on to the ball far too long and eats drive-killing sacks as a result. If a game is going bad, it can get out of control fast. Has a penchant for making awful decisions under duress. His gunslinger attitude gets reckless when chasing games. Not as comfortable on sideline routes as you’d like. Throwing motion slightly elongated. Accuracy a problem when under duress - balls often thrown towards the feet of his receivers.
SIMON CARROLL: “Barnett has the fell of a freshman quarterback who needs gametime to eradicate the silly errors, not a senior hoping to embark on an NFL career. The inexplicable decisions that have hamstrung USF show why he never made the grade at Alabama. I’d be surprised if we saw him in preseason, let alone make the final 53 of an NFL roster”.
Height: 6’2”. Weight: 202lbs
PRO’S: Decent mechanics - the ball comes out quick and clean with considerable zip. Arm strength more than sufficient. Dangerous with his legs and is proficient in the RPO game. Adept at play action and disguising intentions. Has shown on occasion the propensity to manipulate the safety with both his eyes and his pump fake. Reasonable internal clock and knows when the pressure is coming. Has the elusiveness to slip out of the pocket when necessary.
CON’S: Accuracy wildly inconsistent. Any semblance of pressure and the pass is going to be off-target. Gets jittery in the pocket and can’t calm his legs. As a result, his base is rarely set and his passes can fall short. Tries to over compensate for mistakes and just makes more. Relied heavily on Donovan Peoples-Jones & Nico Collins to move the ball downfield. Throws hospital passes and asks a lot of his receivers. Very uncomfortable with interior pressure. Throws the ball away far too often. Not willing to take a hit. Ad libs on too many plays.
SIMON CARROLL: “Shea Patterson is the perfect example of why physical traits don’t mean everything in a quarterback. Three full seasons of being a starting QB with two different coaching staffs have failed to hone his arm strength and athleticism into a reliable product. Instead, Patterson leaves college wondering what might have been. He has high upside, but little chance of reaching it. A career as a backup would surprise me at this point”.
Height: 6’3”. Weight: 216lbs
PRO’S: Driven quarterback who has set multiple records in East Lansing. Excellent throwing technique - ball comes out extremely quick. Good velocity on passes. Plenty of arm strength and can drive the ball to it’s destination. Good timing on passing and shows good touch and choice of pass. Goes through his progressions on every throw. Not scared to throw tough balls into tight windows. A gamer who has no quit in him. Willing to stand in the pocket and take a hit. Plus athleticism and will dive into danger to move the chains.
CON’S: Severe regression in his final year at Michigan State. Accuracy has always been a concern, but it fell off a cliff in 2019. Can put too much air on even the most basic of throws such as screens and flat routes. Reckless with the football. Fails to throw with anticipation. Doesn’t lead the receiver, meaning outstretched arms behind bodies, tipped balls and interceptions. Struggles to feel pressure and shows a lack of composure and pocket presence. Poor footwork belies his natural throwing technique, but is correctable. Operated almost exclusively out of the shotgun at college.
SIMON CARROLL: “Heading into this season there were hopes Lewerke could kick on and establish himself as an NFL Draft prospect. If anything, he’s done the opposite. Some of his flaws can be fixed with good coaching, but there’s simply too many holes to his game to warrant pro teams taking a serious look”.
PRO COMPARISON: CHRISTIAN HACKENBERG
Height: 6’2”. Weight: 210lbs
Pros: The transfer from Pittsburgh improved notably from his junior to senior season. He has reduced (though certainly not eliminated) his propensity for baffling errors, makes more big plays and was much more consistent in general with his ball placement. While not the biggest, DiNucci has enough physical attributes to earn a look at the pro level. He shows decent zip on his generally tight spirals from a fast release, providing catchable passes that arrive on time. He also regularly shows off sufficient mobility that is generally desired from QB prospects in most systems currently. DiNucci can take advantage of space to tuck the ball and run, on broken plays or designed runs. Many of his mistakes come from throwing questionable passes outside of structure, but when he’s keeping the ball himself, he can make positive gains. His overall toughness and competitive shows up in his physical running style. As a passer, DiNucci looks the part from a clean pocket. His polished footwork is evident in his drops and as he steps into his throws consistently. There are flashes of progression work and is trending positively in that area over the last couple seasons. A common feature of the Dukes senior’s play is throwing from multiple arm angles and platforms.
Cons: While he’s improved, there remains a worry that a poor decision is imminent when pressured or forced beyond the play structure. His physicality running the football is great in some respects but is at times a detriment to his body and durability. Though he can flash progression work, DiNucci regularly stares down receivers to telegraph his intensions. His overall eye use to manipulate coverage is infrequent.
Rebecca Rennie: “The progress over his college career is encouraging when considering the James Madison QB for the next level. The mobility and general ball placement are among his more positive traits. His fundamentals are good but proving his football IQ and reading of coverages will be key to earning a late draft pick or making an impact in a training camp.”
NFL Comparison: Brandon Allen
Feature Image Credit: Will Brinson (Twitter)
PREVIOUSLY THE FOUNDER OF NFL DRAFT UK, SIMON HAS BEEN SCOUTING DRAFT PROSPECTS FOR MORE THAN A DECADE. HE FULLY MIGRATED TO THE TOUCHDOWN AS HEAD OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL AND NFL DRAFT CONTENT IN JULY 2019. ALL THE RANKINGS ABOVE ARE HIS OWN, AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE OPINIONS OF ALL THE WRITERS AT THE TOUCHDOWN. FOR DISCUSSION OF ANY OF THE DRAFT PROSPECTS ABOVE, HIT HIM UP ON TWITTER @NFLDRAFTSI.