Ok, let’s recap. There are reports that Rosen would grade higher than every QB in this draft. There are reports that Rosen is on the block, but the league is only offering 3rd round value. There are reports that 4 QB’s are destined to be top 20 picks. Does that make any sense to you? It doesn’t even survive 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon. It’s a line of logic that is impossible to navigate. What that says is that teams are once again lining up to desperately flail at a QB in the hopes that their coaches can wave a magic wand over them and fix their issues. It’s a terrible idea that typically ends in wash, rinse, and repeat three to four years later. In 2011 we watched Cam Newton go 1st overall. You can debate this pick’s value but Cam Newton is a starting NFL QB. He was followed by Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder in the top 12 picks. Top 12. The 2019 QB class is almost as problematic and overrated. So if the media is parroting what the NFL has told them it’s time to buckle up as here we go again.
The first QB off the board is simple. He is light years better than Rosen but you can’t blame certain “experts” (who are eating so much crow) continuing to hype Rosen in an attempt to save face. They should brush up on the principle of sunken cost. I called Rosen a bust but that’s a story for another time.
Kyler Murray QB Oklahoma
He will go #1 and he is the 3rd best player in the 2019 draft. He is the best QB in the 2018 and 2019 draft class.
Number 1 QB in the class and by a wide margin. To succeed in the NFL you need to exceed a threshold of combined traits. Each QB has their strengths and flaws but when you add them all up they need to exceed a threshold. In review of Murray, I could only find one trait that I saw as a flaw. In a decaying pocket he gets claustrophobic. His height causes him to lose sight lines when the pocket is compressing and he tries to fix it himself. It’s a lack of patience that shows it ugly head from time to time during a game. One small flaw, and a mountain of pluses. He is a better thrower than Russell Wilson. He operates better in the intermediate areas and makes better decisions than Deshaun Watson. He beats man coverage easier than Baker Mayfield. He is a day 1 starter and should quickly become a top 8 QB in this league. In the last 3 classes there would be a heated debate between Murray, Darnold and Trubisky based on eventual upside. However, Murray is better prepared to start day 1 than any QB in the last three drafts, not named Patrick Mahomes. Murray will succeed at a high level in ANY offense.
Will Grier QB West Virginia
I have no idea where he will go. He is projected to be the 5th to 8th QB off the board. He should be taken by the 15th pick in the draft. Rated behind only Murray, Darnold and Mayfield in the last two classes.
Remember 2011? After Locker, Gabbert, Ponder busted in the top 12, Andy Dalton was taken with the 35th pick in the draft. He’s still starting. I expect the same to happen here. This is not a popular placement by any means as Grier lacks both elite arm talent and mobility. Grier also throws with poor mechanics when he is off platform. Yet, it works for him. His anticipation, ball placement and ability to throw with adaptable mechanics is a very rare combination. Grier can start day 1 as long as he’s had enough reps to build chemistry with his WRs. I have seen a Chad Pennington comparison and that’s about as close as you can get while still being wrong. Pennington was a slightly better athlete, who had a considerably weaker arm and Pennington lacked adaptable mechanics. I see more Brees than Pennington, but comparing a QB to a Hall of Famer when everyone else seemingly hates him is a twig of a branch to pull yourself out on. I’m being conservative here. That being said, one of two things will happen. Grier will “fly up” the boards as the draft approaches, or he will be the steal of this draft. Grier will succeed in any offense. WRs who run great routes and adjust to a ball in the air will get heavily rewarded.
Daniel Jones QB Duke
He should be picked in the top 20 picks and will likely get picked in the top 20 picks. He grades equal to Lamar Jackson and ahead of Josh Allen.
As the season wore on, I was irritated that no one seemed to be talking about Daniel Jones. Now, I’m tapping the brake pedal a bit. Yes, he’s worked with the same coach that worked with the Mannings. Yes, he is incredibly intelligent pre-snap. That doesn’t tell the story of Daniel “Jekyll and Hyde” Jones. For every plus Jones possesses there is a negative to go with it. He is brilliant pre-snap and you cannot fool him with a blitz. He lives on his pre-snap reads and will panic when they don’t come open in timely fashion. He will pat, pat, pat the ball nervously as he waits. He avoids pressure inside the tackles (where he can see it) incredibly well, yet he does not feel the pressure off the edges at all. He will stand there as his tackle gets beat and is oblivious as a DE takes the ball off his load point. He will step up when he sees green grass and also when his internal clock tells him to, even if he’s then moving towards the threat. He throws a beautiful ball when everything goes right (drives his shoulder to the WR) but his throwing motion has a gigantic loop in it (slows down release dramatically), and he releases the ball almost as low as Phillip Rivers. He has a high number of batted balls due to this. He will release a deep ball early but on everything else he likes to be deliberate. Anything intermediate is late. When Duke faced upper ACC completion he struggled with the speed of play. He’s prone to force passes and try to throw through contact and will also wisely kill a play when nothing is available. It’s maddening to see these traits combined in one person. He is the most difficult QB to predict in this draft class. As unorthodox as his mechanics are, they are accurate (if he drives his shoulder at the WR), and he throws well on the move. He is the 3rd most accurate QB of the top rated 5. He is the 2nd best thrower on the move. His pocket mobility is also 2nd despite the blind spot. There is polish to his game, but there are drawbacks. Accept the fact that you will have to live with them. When it’s good, it’s real good. When it’s bad, it’s real bad. Right now, the good outweighs the bad and that should be the goal of the team that takes him. Strive for consistency. Work on honoring progressions and speeding up his reads. He is pre-snap smart, so it should come with time. Work on lessening the loop in his throw. After that leave it alone. It’s never going to be pretty (just like Rivers) but it’s quite functional. If your team doesn’t take Murray or Grier and takes a QB early, this is the gamble you want. It is a gamble. He can do what is required to succeed currently, but the question to ask is, “how often?” He will need at least one year on the bench or he will take some serious rookie lumps. Jones would thrive in a system like Philip Rivers or better yet Deshaun Watson. Lots of deep shots, lots of passes at the LOS. Limit intermediate throws especially to the boundary. You also need to build an OL for him that is elite at the tackle spots for best results.
We enter a land of broken toys. Haskins and Lock are very highly rated according to the pundits but the film does not back it up. These two QBs suffer a myriad of issues that need to be fixed if they are going to succeed on the NFL level. They absolutely cannot start day 1 and they pose the question, “how big of a leap of faith do you want to make with an early draft pick.” I will rate both of these QBs far later than they will be selected. That is where they deserve to go. If your team drafts them, your team is playing with fire and risking your team’s future on a wing and a prayer. Best of luck!
Drew Lock QB Missouri
He should go in the late 2nd round and will likely be taken in the top 15 picks.
I urge you to go back and watch his 2017 season. 2018 was different, as in, dramatically worse. Lock’s mechanics were changed to emphasize velocity and his accuracy suffered greatly. In 2017, Lock let the deep ball fly and in 2018 he wanted the back shoulder throw so badly that he threw it even when the WR had cleanly beaten coverage deep. He was being changed for the worse. Lock never had adaptable mechanics. He can’t throw on the run accurately, nor can he throw off his back foot. His ability to throw with touch is below average and he lacks ball placement instinct. He is a very good athlete, however his mobility in the pocket is non-existent. This is a game manager QB who handles pressure poorly and cannot create. He is a prospect caught in the middle of his mechanics. Inaccurate plus arm or accurate average arm. The 2018 version will put up a better highlight package in between killing drives with awful misses. The 2017 version will not lose the game for you. This year he looks like Brock Osweiler (and Elway likes him) last year he looked like Matt Hasselbeck. Get the picture. I hope he turns back the clock to 2017 and lets his anticipation and vision be his calling card. Even if he can, he’ll be a low level starter that leaves his fan base with a case of QB envy. If he continues down the path he took in 2018, he will be a backup. Lock will require time on the bench to sort out which is the right version. 2017 Lock can play in any offense but his OL needs to be of an elite level to give him a chance. 2018 Lock is a career backup.
Dwayne Haskins QB Ohio St
He should be picked in the early 3rd round and will likely be taken in the top 10 picks.
Hey, you dinosaurs! Remember when you so-called QB gurus used to blast spread QBs for being SYSTEM QBs. You loved to do that before you mislabeled Patrick Mahomes and he turned your little world upside down. Where are you now? Here is your chance. I’m waiting. Go ahead, say it! Well this is an awful time to bite your tongue! I’ll say it for you. Dwayne Haskins is the definition of a SYSTEM QB. I had to say it for them on Mason Rudolph last year and I guess I have to be the one to say it on Haskins this year. Half of Haskins production came from screens or Chip Kelly crossing drag routes. Ohio State’s speed in the slow Big 10 did the rest for him. Easy throws and YAC. He knows how he is supposed to move in the pocket but his athleticism fails him. Unless stepping up in the pocket solves the issue he’s dead to rights. He simply doesn’t move well. That hides the fact that he can’t throw accurately on the move. Then again, he struggles to throw accurately when he’s on platform. Haskins has a weak wrist and the ball wobbles nose to tip on release. It’s traveling fast, but it’s inaccurate and very difficult to catch. His load of the ball is long and slow, his reads are slow, and the ball comes out late and regularly high. He will not let the ball go until the WR is completely out of their break. He gets fooled pre-snap and within the play. His deep ball isn’t a plus. He is raw in every single area and drafting him is an insane leap of faith. Haskins has a naturally plus arm, and physically looks the part, but those are the only two traits Haskins possesses that are NFL ready. He will never fix his mobility. He will never throw well on the move and is prone to “dart throw aim” like Bortles. His flat foot (his attempt at back foot) throws worsen his accuracy and kill his velocity. He needs to fix his mechanics. He needs to speed up his reads. He needs to throw with better anticipation. Despite being big, he’ll have to prove that he won’t get destroyed standing tall in the pocket. Last year. Josh Allen was very raw coming into the draft and he survived by running for his life. Haskins is less developed and cannot run. There are flashes of plus with Haskins (about 4 a game) and his character is not in question. He is tough, he reportedly has good work ethic, leadership and intelligence. For those reasons I will not write him off as a bust but teams need to be realistic. You need to put this kid in a cocoon for 2 years and pray he comes out the other side a butterfly. Now, he looks like Cam Newton without the athleticism. Cam’s defining trait is his athleticism. The “crapshoot” that is the NFL draft is littered with carcasses that look just like this. Playing in a bunch based offense (like Cam) would help him greatly. OL must be plus.
You might have noticed the color scheme. GOLD, GREEN, NEUTRAL, RED and
BUST. When I grade players I place them where their talents should get them selected within the draft. They are then given a color based on how likely it is that they will actually succeed. They are put in a tier of equally talented players, then color coded to show preference. I do not grade players on a numerical grade. I grade value tiers and preferences within those tiers. Example, last year the board was, Darnold in the top 4, Baker in the top 12, Jackson in the top 23, Allen in the next tier. ROSEN was in the middle of the 3rd round. Rudolph in the 5th. Tanner Lee was the last QB on my board as a 7th. Lauletta, White, Falk, Etling, McGough and Woodside did not make the board. They had no chance of starting in this league so they are not worth a pick. 2018s QB class had 5 guys early and then nothing after that. There was no Dak Prescott or even a Joshua Dobbs. 2019 has a sleeper. A very good sleeper.
Easton Stick QB North Dakota State
He should be taken in the early 3rd round to beat other teams to the punch. He is rated all over the draft board from the 4th to the 6th round. Truly, he deserves to be taken as early as Daniel Jones but then he wouldn’t be a sleeper, now would he?
Starting experience helps develop QBs. No matter what level they play on, it helps. Stick has been a 3 year starter at NDSU. Even in 2016 you saw signs that he could play but 2018 ended with a seismic bang. First off, Stick has the best in pocket mobility of any QB in this draft. He is a magician when it comes to buying time. Murray is a better athlete but Stick can make rushers miss while staying in a confined pocket. On top of this, Stick can throw off any platform with accuracy. His mechanics are very adaptable and he has experience with sprint outs both left and right. These are two of the creativity traits you look for. Can you throw on the move? Can you buy yourself time? In both areas, he gets a resounding yes. His ball placement is average. His spatial awareness is average. His arm is average. His size is average. There are a number of traits with Stick that are just average, but there isn’t a single trait that is a negative. That means that his plus traits don’t have anything to overcome. He will need to improve his anticipation but that’s it folks. He can play. There is a crispness to how Stick plays the position and his play-action ball skills are NFL level. However, NDSU had basically dismantled everyone they played. FBS programs had learned it was wise to leave NDSU alone after Stick beat 13th rated Iowa at Iowa in 2016. Stick was able to live on his primary read and life was easy. Then the FCS playoffs started. Montana St, Colgate, SDSU and EWash were a better test. On the season Stick completed 62% of his passes but in the playoffs he went 46-65 661 6-3. 70% completion rate. As competition rose, Stick was forced to run though his progressions and he did not disappoint. He was comfortably scanning the field and finding his 3rd read and check downs. He also transformed as a thrower in 2018 and it became very apparent in the playoffs. Stick always had a good wrist to his throw. His spiral was tight, however in the playoffs it clearly had evolved to another level. Easton Stick has become a ball spinner. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Mitch Trubisky tight spiral throwing ball spinner. That is a rare elite trait. We have a QB with no negative traits who is a ball spinner, pocket mobility magician, adaptable thrower and a plus athlete. Stick is an NFL starter. He can navigate any system and has more experience in traditional WCO looks than any of the other 5 top rated QBs.
If I am sitting in the GM chair, and I do not have the ammo to get Murray, I would be doing my homework to see where the league thinks Grier and Stick will go. Those are the two QBs who appear to present the best value in this draft. They are the two I would be targeting. They are the two who I expect to “fly up” the board. I would be more critical of a franchise taking Haskins and Lock than I would be of one taking Grier or Stick. Truly, I expect 4 QBs to succeed from this draft. Murray, Grier, Jones and Stick have the traits of a starter.
There will be an article on the “stuff” left in the QB prospect group but at this time I want to point at two QBs who have been talked of fondly by our friendly neighborhood “experts” all season.
Jarrett Stidham QB Auburn
He should be taken in the 5th round if you want to develop a backup cheaply.
Since the love for him has cooled I’ll make this quick. Stidham is a combination of average and below average traits. Nothing is plus, nothing is terrible, and if you want to draft Matt Moore go ahead.
And then there is this fella
Ryan Finley QB NC State
I wouldn’t draft him. I had it brought to my attention recently that Chris Simms was on TV calling him a 1st round pick and Finley seems to be in a top 5 QB for a good number of “experts.”
Complete and utter bust. NFL nothing. It’s obvious when you watch the film. His arm is absolutely terrible. Nathan Peterman terrible. It cannot play in the NFL. He is late on every throw that isn’t a bunch formation hitch. He has 3 sets of mechanics. The first works fine. Although it only works in a triangle that spans from his inside slot WR’s to 12 yards ahead of center. Outside of that small area it doesn’t have enough velocity to work. In the intermediate, he has a second version of his mechanics that is less accurate and oddly adds a loop in his throwing motion. The 3rd set is for deep balls, the accuracy falls apart completely but at least the loop lessens! His deep ball makes Deshone Kizer’s look accurate and he cost Kelvin Harmon dearly. His offense is designed to get the ball out early and he is habitually late to routes that are easier than Haskins’. Simms said he looked better on wide and tight than on TV. Ok, he looks at the S as he sets in the gun and then picks a side and does a half field read. That’s good Chris? On top of that, Simms gushes about Finley’s 10 and 15 yard outs. Finley misses his spot on those consistently. If he floated them out to the boundary they would be cut off by CB’s and gone the other way so he throws them at the inside shoulder to force his WR to box the CB out. His accuracy is mediocre as he’s simply throwing on frame. The only thing Simms got correct is that Finley moves well in the pocket. Finley makes terrible decisions throwing on the run and the ball loses shape. We all know Chris Simms wasn’t a good QB in the NFL. He is nothing but a legacy. After seeing that he has Stidham 5th and Finley 4th we’ve found something else he can’t do for the NFL. Scout. Maybe he likes QB’s who remind him of himself. Successful college QB’s who are incapable of playing at the NFL level. It is baffling that a QB who has been around football his whole life could swing and miss as poorly but there is no explanation for the things he said about Finley. They simply do not exist in this world. You don’t want your team drafting Finley. If he plays, ask Buffalo about how it felt to watch your team Peterman around the field.