NFL Draft Sleeper Comparison: Quarterback

By Chase Petersen

What classifies as a sleeper, especially at the quarterback position? To me, a sleeper is a player with the possibility of being a day 3 pick that could have NFL starter potential. In the 2022 NFL draft class, two of those players are California QB Chase Garbers and Western Michigan QB Kaleb Eleby. I will break down their strengths and weaknesses, where I would target them as a General Manager, and also which round I think they will ultimately hear their name called in the NFL Draft this April:

Chase Garbers, California

Credit: Kyle Terada (USA Today Sports)


  • Pro Style Offense
  • Short to Intermediate Accuracy
  • Incredibly Experienced 
  • Gets through his Progressions
  • Built like a Linebacker
  • Ability to extend plays


  • Relatively conservative
  • Not an elite athlete
  • Doesn’t have a big arm
  • Fades from Pressure
  • Inconsistent Deep Accuracy

Chase Garbers’ tape is interesting to me for a variety of reasons. When watching him, he looks like an NFL QB to my eyes. However, he has very obvious flaws that will keep him out of the high end QB discussion. He doesn’t have elite arm strength, and his deep ball can float – allowing defenders to be able to make a play on the ball, even if they’re beaten. His off-platform arm strength leaves even more to be desired, as he has a tendency to fade away from pressure. A pro for some, but a con for me, Garbers will take some shots down the field, but opts for an open checkdown or flat route rather than taking a few big risks. Some would call it good decisions; I call it conservative.

For his positives, he has the ability to escape a broken pocket to extend the play. Garbers also doesn’t often break clean pockets, willing to sit in there and get through his reads first before trying to become his own playmaker. With 35 career games, and nearly 1,000 career pass attempts, it will be hard to find a more experienced QB in all of college football. 

Comparison – Kirk Cousins

My Grade – 4th-7th Round

Current Draft Stock –  5th-UDFA

Kaleb Eleby, Western Michigan

Credit: Steve Conner (Associated Press)


  • Very Strong Arm
  • Tough as Nails
  • Great accuracy on 10-20 yard throws
  • Makes the easy reads


  • Not very athletic
  • Very inconsistent deep ball accuracy
  • Throws on the run
  • Creating off script

When Watching Kaleb Eleby, the arm talent is obvious. The velocity he is able to put on his throws is impressive and ranks near the top of this year’s group of QBs. The WMU offense is very RPO heavy, and he has shown the ability to be able to fire strikes over the middle on slants and digs off the back of the run fake. This mastery of the Broncos offense was on display for all to see against Pitt and Michigan.


His athleticism leaves a lot to be desired. He might be able to pick up a first down with his legs, but he isn’t going to burn you with them like a Malik Willis or Matt Corral. When protection breaks down, or Eleby’s first two reads aren’t open, odds are it will result in a sack or a throw away. With QB mobility becoming almost a necessity to be a highly drafted QB in 2022, this will be Eleby’s biggest knock.

Comparison: Late Career Donovan McNabb

My Grade: 4th-6th Round

Current Draft Stock: 6th-UDFA

The Verdict

All in all, both of these prospects are talented football players, and both have different strengths and weaknesses. Eleby has the big arm, Garbers has the ability to extend plays. Both struggle with consistent deep accuracy, but make up for it with their mid range ball placement. With Garbers posting a whole season more of experience, his ability to break the pocket, and playing in a more pro style offense, it would be him as the player I’d rather take my chances on come the NFL Draft. Eleby has the better efficiency numbers, but that  to me is more of a result of him operating an RPO heavy offense, where he was throwing to open receivers a lot.

2022 Best QB Sleeper: Chase Garbers



From just outside Kansas City Missouri, Chase has been obsessed with the NFL Draft for as long as he can remember. An avid Minnesota Vikings and Texas Longhorns fan, connect with Chase on Twitter @SportsTalkCenter