When you think of the most important position in all of football and perhaps all of sports, the quarterback is what immediately comes to mind. They serve as the nucleus of the entire team and are the piece in which it operates through. You’re not going to win any Super Bowls without a blue-chip QB, unless of course your name is Brad Johnson or Trent Dilfer.
As you see it in today’s NFL, teams slither in desperation to land young QBs with promise. Just this offseason we saw the Chicago Bears hand an unproven QB, Mike Glennon, a huge contract in hopes that he can be the savior for their franchise. Even Jimmy Garoppolo has warranted a lot of interest despite starting only 2 games in his young NFL career. Going back to last year’s draft, we saw the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles both trade up to the #1 pick and #2 pick, respectively as they would go on to draft their hopeful franchise QB.
The bottom-line is that the demand on gunslingers is higher than ever. The NFL has transitioned into a passing league, and teams recognize that, which is why they are willing to pay so much whether it’s money or draft capital in order to attain their signal caller.
Typically, you’re better off drafting a QB early. Five of the last eight Super Bowl winning QBs were drafted in the 1st round (six if you want to count Brees who was selected with the #32 overall pick – was a 2nd rounder in 2006). However, that doesn’t translate to a guarantee. In recent years we’ve seen a handful of QBs consume that bust label such as; Johnny Manziel, E.J. Manuel, Brandon Weeden, Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker and Christian Ponder, among many others – all of whom are either backups or out of the league at this point. Even #1 overall pick Jared Goff had a rocky rookie season, but it’s far too premature to judge him just yet.
There’s no exact science in evaluating a QB, but a pivotal point that has come to fruition over time is the necessity to provide your young QB with a reliable supporting cast that he can go through. A good coaching staff helps too, as you can see from Tom Brady’s unmatchable success in New England – although he was a 6th round pick. With that being said, you can find a gem late in the draft, not just at the top, but of course, you have a better chance of seeing Sasquatch.
With all of this chatter out of the way, let’s take a look at this year’s crop of QBs. It’s quite a compelling class. It lacks that true #1; although, it seems like the battle now stands between Deshaun Watson and Mitch Trubisky as the consensus top QB in the class (our rankings say otherwise). Watson built a winning pedigree at Clemson and left as arguably the best QB in college football history. On the other hand, Trubisky was only a one-year starter, but made the most of his opportunity. You also have high upside guys including: DeShone Kizer, Brad Kaaya and Patrick Mahomes. After the top 5-6 guys, the class really lacks depth, but a guy like Nathan Peterman offers a serviceable player who can flourish in the right system with good players around him.
Below we have compiled our consensus QB rankings between our Breaking Football draft team which includes the individual rank from each writer for each player. Let us know what you think in the comments below and follow the rest of our draft team on Twitter @MichaelJKist, @SteveDraft_ , @ZachHicks2
*Note: We understand the scouting report links in the table below aren’t clickable. Simply type “[Player Name] scouting report breaking football” into google and it will be atop your search list. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Small School Sleeper: Antonio Pipkin (Tiffin)
Pipkin finished his college days at Tiffin University as one of the most prolific Division II passers in history, including being the only DII QB to compile 10,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards. Don’t let the running yards fool you, Pipkin will step up in a pocket and bail only when needed. As a surprise Senior Bowl invite, he helped himself that week by improving each day and showing the confidence to learn from and improve on his mistakes. Pipkin measures in at a shade under 6’1″, but he will stick on a roster with a team willing to take a chance.
Biggest Riser: Mitch Trubisky (North Carolina)
This one is undebatable in my mind. Seemingly an unknown prior to the season, Trubisky has catapulted his draft stock all the way into the 1st round, and quite possibly into the top 5 depending on how the draft plays out. He could go as high as #2 to San Francisco.
Biggest Faller: Deshaun Watson (Clemson)
DeShaun Watson is one of the most highly regarded quarterbacks in this class. The one major flaw that scouts have with his game though are his inability to make NFL throws at times or his lack of velocity and power behind his throws. This perceived flaw was only enhanced by the fact that Watson threw a very underwhelming 49 mph in the combine velocity test. For comparison purposes, Pat Mahomes tied a combine record with 60 mph on his throw and Mitchell Trubisky (another QB with a perceived weak arm) threw for the average of 55 mph. The combine’s main function is to eliminate players who miss minimum thresholds and the simple fact of the matter is that quarterbacks who throw under 50 mph typically don’t succeed in the NFL. This is in no way saying that Watson is undraftable or won’t succeed in the NFL, just that scouts and NFL teams will drop Watson as a result of this poor showing of arm strength at the combine.
Risk Factor: DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame)
DeShone Kizer is an extremely talented quarterback who might just have the most upside in the entire draft class. However, after further investigation he also poses huge risk for NFL franchises who are considering drafting him. Kizer has expressed interest in pursuing a career in baseball, which has raised eyes of some NFL teams around the league. Kizer has also openly admitted he struggled with some concepts within the Notre Dame offense which attributed to a lack of confidence. The upside is there with Kizer, but so are the questions. You have to be all in as an NFL quarterback. Is DeShone Kizer all in?