The 2018 draft was loaded with quarterback talent. Regardless of how you felt about each player, it is quite impressive that we saw five quarterbacks go in round one. This 2019 class may not be as talented or as top heavy, but it does offer some interesting gunslingers that have first round upside. Anthony Licciardi (@ALicc_Scout) helps me rank and break down 10 draft eligible QBs for this next draft class.
1.) Justin Herbert (Oregon)
Zach: The very early consensus QB1 by many experts, Justin Herbert offers a lot of positive traits that translate well to the NFL. He fits that new mold of tall, athletic, big armed quarterbacks that NFL teams have fallen in love with the last few seasons. Along with that, Herbert is the most advanced passer in this upcoming class in terms of reading a defense and knowing when and how to get out of a collapsing pocket and still make a play. He has some accuracy issues at times and needs to work a bit on his deep ball but there is no quarterback in this early 2019 class that deserves early round hype over Justin Herbert.
Yo what a damn dime from Justin Herbert pic.twitter.com/jneFblutGA
— Ty Wurth (@WurthDraft) September 10, 2017
2.) Will Grier (West Virginia)
Anthony: Grier has emerged as a Heisman candidate for the upcoming college football season, and the hype is more than fair. The West Virginia gunslinger is part of a rare breed of passers with an electric arm and quality intangibles as he flies through progressions and can fit throws into nearly any window. He is aggressive enough and can deal with pressure at an average level, both good signs for a college quarterback. To add, his accuracy down the field and athleticism shows, though at times he is inconsistent on shorter throws. This fault is mainly due to poor mechanics and the tendency to unnecessarily throw off of his back foot, especially outside of the pocket. Despite his age, Grier will be highly-touted by the NFL community due to his arm talent and ability to limit turnovers.
— SpreadOffense.com (@SpreadOffense) September 9, 2017
3.) Jake Bentley (South Carolina)
Zach: Jake Bentley is perhaps the most fun QB to watch for this upcoming class. A pure gunslinger, Bentley believes he can make every single throw on the field (and typically can with his arm talent). He is very raw in many ways as a passer but he does flash the ability to throw with anticipation and hit NFL throws at a consistent level. He excels at manipulating defenders with his eyes and movements in order to get his main target open, which is a huge plus for someone with his age and experience. Where he gets in trouble is trying to force the issue at all times. He has to learn that the big play isn’t always the right play. If he can improve in that area and develop the rest of his game just a bit, the sky is the limit for the 20 year old junior.
I’m not the biggest Bentley fan but this was jaw dropping. Exciting but more enamored with the play strength, arm strength, and deep accuracy as he unloads on the run. pic.twitter.com/CSfXIi9YIV
— Anthony Licciardi (@ALicc_Scout) May 2, 2018
4.) Ryan Finley (North Carolina State)
Anthony: North Carolina State is known for its pipeline of NFL prospects, and that does not stop with Ryan Finley. He may not have the best arm, but he remains a playmaker both in and out of the pocket, with dastardly accuracy on the run and from clean pocket. He has adequate athleticism and fails to falter under pressure. Finley is not asked to do a lot from a decision making standpoint and it shows. However, his clean mechanics, impressive touch, and killer instinct exemplify why his floor his so high and how he can become an immediate starter at the next level.
Ryan Finley and these back shoulder dimes. This is his most comfortable throw. pic.twitter.com/KsFFzqb4Fq
— Jake Burns (@jake_burns18) November 19, 2017
5.) Daniel Jones (Duke)
Zach: Many people may not know the name due to where he plays, but Daniel Jones is a legit quarterback to watch for this 2019 season. Looking the part at 6’5”, 215 pounds, Jones also boast an above average NFL arm with good athleticism. He is at his best when operating from the pocket, boasting perhaps the best pocket presence and awareness of any quarterback on this list that I have watched. He also has a quick release which helps him get the ball out quick and effectively on slants and out routes. Where he really struggles is consistently hitting passes down the field, his accuracy is very sporadic in that department. He also really needs to work on getting through his reads rather than sticking on the primary option. A quarterback can’t survive in the NFL unless they can consistenttly get to their second read or to their check down option promptly. Overall, Jones does need to improve upon a few things in his game but he has the size, arm, and pocket ability to make me a big fan in this early stage of evaluation.
Save your mock drafts and hot takes regarding Shea Patterson and Drew Lock as QB1 for next year. Get yourself a real quarterback and that quarterback is, Daniel Jones out of Duke. RPO concept with a BOMB to the post route. Ground forces the incompletion but Jones is for real. pic.twitter.com/T0K1VpE4ml
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) May 3, 2018
6.) Riley Neal (Ball State)
Anthony: Buried in a small school and a hefty quarterback class, Neal has slipped under the radar thus far, but if he continues this level of play, it won’t stay like that for long. With a big arm, athleticism, and the impeccable ability to break down a defense on the move within the pocket, there is a lot to like. His deep ball is lacking, he tests defensive backs too often, and on the run he is far from great but within structure he is phenomenal. Neal is a big bodied passer who can stand tall in the pocket and take hits. He will have to continue to impress if he wants to get drafted, even is he is a day two talent.
Man a player that really impressed me was Ball State’s QB Riley Neal. Good arm, very accurate. Look at these two NFL level throws here from him pic.twitter.com/hOTxO9pWw9
— Zach Hicks (@ZachHicks2) May 26, 2018
7.) Drew Lock (Missouri)
Zach: Already the most controversial quarterback in this class and has drawn comparisons to the great Blaine Gabbert, I actually like the game of Drew Lock. It’s hard to talk about Lock and not initially bring up the arm talent. He has an absolute cannon and can make any and all throws required at the NFL level. Along with that, Lock throws with anticipation very well and is fearless throwing into coverage and over the middle of the field. His accuracy, which gets knocked a lot when discussing him, is actually pretty decent and when he is in rhythm he rarely misses a pass. He needs to make huge strides in reading defenses, the offense he plays in does no favors for him there, and knowing when to take some heat of his passes. His touch on deep balls is impressive but he really needs to improve his touch on underneath passes and know when to take some steam off those throws. If he can improve in those areas this season, he is a surefire first round player.
Drew Lock has a lot of flaws and shouldn’t be talked about as a first rounder but man he’s gifted. Ball comes out so quick and accurate when he’s in a rhythm pic.twitter.com/W9jckP9FJH
— Zach Hicks (@ZachHicks2) May 25, 2018
8.) Easton Stick (North Dakota State)
Anthony: One small schooler that has not had trouble gaining hype throughout the community is North Dakota State’s Easton Stick. A skilled passer with a big arm, Stick has produced and impressed throughout his college career. Going forward, there are certainly concerns regarding his Darnold-like mechanics and underwhelming intangibles. He folds under pressure and is all to willing to escape the pocket, where his decision making only gets worse. Stick can make plays with the best of them, but will have to be more consistent if he wants to be a day two selection.
I remember this was the first game I watched Easton Stick. This Championship game had a ton of these throws where he threw it with a dude barreling down on him. pic.twitter.com/S6N2vrwcn7
— The Mick Nartin™ (@themicknartin) April 29, 2018
9.) Deondre Francois (Florida State)
Zach: A player that seems to already be the forgotten man in this class is Deondre Francois. He doesn’t really posses any elite traits that will “wow” NFL evaluators but he has an all around solid game. He’s a very developed passer who throws with anticipation at all levels of the field with a very solid arm to boot. The most important thing for his draft stock is just staying healthy this season after missing all of last season with a torn ACL against Alabama in week one. Along with staying healthy, I’d like to see him with a better feel in the pocket and find his outlets more when that pressure is closing in. If Francois can stay healthy this year, I see a solid mid round player who could develop into a low end starter in the NFL.
— Chat Sports (@ChatSports) November 27, 2016
10.) Tyree Jackson (Buffalo)
Anthony: If his size alone does not remind you of a poor man’s Cam Newton, his playstyle will. He has a very live arm, is both athletic and strong, and performs well after the play breaks down, but he is far from perfect. Jackson frequently sticks to his first read, limiting his team’s offensive performance. Moreover, he often puts the ball up so high, he leaves too much time for the defensive back to recover. He often lacks touch on intermediate passes and flaunts poor mechanics, resulting in missed throws. Jackson surely has plenty of talent, but honing his craft is a must going forward.
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) September 9, 2017
Jordan Ta’amu (Ole Miss)
Anthony: A big-school, big-armed quarterback many are sleeping on thus far in the draft process is Jordan Ta’amu. His lightning quick release, riveting arm strength, and well-managed athleticism help him play like a top prospect. His consistency in decision making and accuracy on the run is far from where it needs to be, but his ability to deal with pressure conceals these flaws time and time again. If he continues to produce and develops his mental processing skills, he may be a day two selection.
Another impressive play as he sees his first set of reads aren’t there, escapes pressure and on the run throws it where nobody else is gonna get it. pic.twitter.com/I8dPm3TMZn
— Anthony Licciardi (@ALicc_Scout) May 15, 2018
McKenzie Milton (UCF)
Zach: Milton was a relatively unknown player among draft evaluators until UCF had their historic season last year. Milton possesses a quick release and great short-mid range accuracy which west coast offenses will covet. His athleticism getting out of the pocket is also a big plus. His arm is below average and it’ll be big to see how he performs this year without Scott Frost, who is a top tier play caller in college football, but I expect big things from Milton this year.
— Chat Sports (@ChatSports) January 1, 2018