Top 20 QB Ranks
After the success of my first Mock Draft with What’s On Draft, I am now sharing with you my first finalized positional ranks. Unfortunately, I will only be able to get my QB ranks out before I turn my attention to the 2020 Draft and begin the deep dive into the players that I will be covering over the next year. The quarterback class is not as loaded as the one last year but has some solid players that if put in the right situation may be able to succeed in the NFL. Below are 20 of the QB’s that I watched and ranked, this is not a ranking of all of the quarterbacks but it is 20 of the most notable and the ones that are most talked about. If I missed your guy or there is someone on here I should take a look at let me know! Comments and Feedback are always appreciated.
1. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma: There should be no debate in my opinion about Murray being the number one quarterback in the class. No one can match him in terms of all-around polish and athleticism. The size concerns seemed to die down once he weighed in at 207 pounds at the combine. I still have reservations about his size mainly due to the fact that he looked to run a lot at Oklahoma and will have to learn to be more disciplined in that regard in the NFL. But let me be clear, that is the only thing his height makes me pause for. He has arm strength that looks downright unnatural for a guy that is of his size, he can make every throw accurately that is asked of him. Murray is one of the most dynamic players to come into the league even more so than Lamar Jackson last year. He has speed that can rival some of the receivers in this class and he can make anyone miss at any time. I have concerns about the MLB questions that will loom. If he gets stuck behind a poor offensive line and is taking hits all year, what’s to stop him from leaving and going to play for the A’s. If he is fully committed there should be no reason he isn’t taken in the top 5 of this draft.
2. Daniel Jones, Duke: You either love him or you hate him, that seems to be the philosophy behind the Duke prospect. I fall more towards the love side although I am not without my concerns. First of all, he lacks the top end arm strength that teams may covet in a top 15 quarterback. Second of all he does tend to sail some throws in the middle of the field or when throwing deeper down the field, and again this can stem from the arm strength issue. But he has a lot to like and I think he is a surer thing than a lot of the other players in this class. I know the David Cutcliffe connection is alive and well and it is used far too often as a positive for Jones but it does show in his game. He has great footwork and mechanics and may be the most pro-ready out of him, Haskins, and Lock. Jones can pick teams apart with his accuracy between 5 to 15 yards. Teams will also love that he can add another dimension with his legs, while he is not a dynamic runner by any stretch he can move around and make plays on the run or pick up first downs on the ground.
3. Drew Lock, Missouri: Lock’s ceiling is astronomical, when we look back on this class in five years Lock will either been seen as one of the best picks or be a total bust. He has all the physical tools that teams look for in franchise quarterbacks. His arm strength is second only to Tyree Jackson (more on him later) and he can make things happen with his legs. The Missouri product shows the ability to stand in and deliver throws or escape the pocket and extend the play. If he is allowed to set and throw he can make throws that are downright beautiful. That is only when he remembers to set his feet and then throw. There are multiple instances on film where he throws off his back foot and it can lead to some very poor throws or easy interceptions. In the NFL, teams will feast on those throws. A team would have to commit to fixing his decision-making as well as working on the footwork issues that he showed. He will most likely need a year (or two) behind an established veteran (Philip Rivers says hello), but the tools he does have should get him drafted inside the top 20.
4. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State: This will be one of the lower rankings where you see Haskins. I’m not a believer in the top 10, even the top 20 hype (although I do think he will end up going in that 10-20 range) that he is getting, is too rich in my opinion. Ranking Haskins this low is also not a response to reports about his stock being “media-created”, I just don’t see him as having the same upside as the guys ranked ahead of him. Haskins does have a decent floor, but really only has the upside to be an average to a below average starter. Some say that he lacks arm strength, it’s not that he lacks arm strength it is more than he doesn’t show any ability to be accurate when he is asked to take deep shots. The Ohio State offense also manufactured short open catch and run throws to guys like Terry McLaurin and Parris Campbell. This is not something Haskins will be able to rely on at the next level. Haskins also struggles to throw on the run, he makes erratic throws when forced to move out of the pocket. On the bright side, he is accurate within 20 yards and can make every throw from in the pocket. He also good touch throwing into tighter windows. The fact that he is a one-year starter at Ohio State does mean he would, like Drew Lock, benefit from a year behind a starter he can learn from. While Haskins is far from a bad prospect he is simply overrated in my opinion.
5. Tyree Jackson, Buffalo: Jackson is one of the rawest players at any position in the class, but boy does he have the traits of a do-it-all franchise quarterback. He stands at a menacing 6’7”, 249 pounds and ran a 4.59 40 yard dash to go along with another stellar testing. He has a howitzer for an arm. Jackson can make every throw with ease and shows consistently why he is one of the most gifted quarterbacks in the class. He is like I said earlier very raw, he is highly inaccurate and misses some of the most routine throws. Playing for Buffalo there are concerns about the level of competition he faced, but this should not be a concern if he is given time to develop. Other main concerns I have with him is his lazy footwork, it can lead to missed throws that may lead to interceptions at the next level. He can be very reliant on his athleticism and arm strength which will need to be worked out in the NFL. Overall Jackson would have benefitted from staying another year in college and transferring to a school that could have developed his gifts, but a team with an established aging quarterback should take a chance on him in the early second (possibly late first) in hopes he can hit his massive ceiling.
6. Ryan Finley, North Carolina State: Finley is one of the most solid players in this crop of quarterbacks. He won’t impress you in any area physically but he is one of the best decision-makers and has the mental aspect of the game as a huge positive. An NFL team will love his maturity and ability to lead a team when it counts. He does have limitations in that he doesn’t have the strength to push the ball down the field with consistency. He thrives between the numbers and with short and intermediate throws. Finley can also get frantic when pressured which can lead to some long sacks. When he is able to play in a clean pocket his excellent footwork and mechanics shine through and he can take command of an offense. While he will most likely never be a star in the NFL, he has the ceiling of a below average starter or at worst a top backup. This should be what teams are looking for in a quarterback that should be taken in the late second or early third round.
7. Brett Rypien, Boise State: Now that we are out of the top 6 guys it starts to get to guys that are more based on personal preference. Rypien can make most throws that team will ask, he looks great when throwing in rhythm. He can make plays in from 20 yards and in with great consistency. He does not lack arm strength, he just doesn't show the ability to be accurate when throwing deep. Receivers are consistently overthrown when looking past that 20-yard mark. Rypien also struggles to throw on the run which NFL teams may knock him for. Rypien will not wow testing-wise but can make plays with his legs when really needed. There is a lot to like besides what was mentioned earlier. He has a quick release and rarely makes throws that put the ball in danger of being turned over. Another aspect of Rypien’s game that shows on film is his touch, he can put the ball almost wherever he wants especially floating the ball between defenders.
8. Jordan Ta’amu, Ole Miss: There is a lot to like about Ta’amu’s game, he has the arm strength and above average athleticism that makes him a very intriguing mid-round option for a team to possibly develop into a starter. Some of the negatives I’ve seen with him is the Ole Miss offense didn’t require him to make any complex reads, a fair amount of throws came on short dump offs to AJ Brown or deep shots to DK Metcalf who are both NFL first-round talents. That leads right into my next problem with him, the offense that was around him was insanely talented. His wide receivers consisted or DK Metcalf, AJ Brown, Damarkus Lodge, and tight end Dawson Knox who will all be playing at the next level in 2019, while this was not something that he could control, but he will need to learn to play with a supporting cast that may not be as talented compared to the team they are playing. Ta’amu also has some issues with overthrows and underthrown balls. He seems to struggle to know how much to take off or to put on a ball and that can lead to passes thrown at receivers feet or out of their reach. A team should be willing to take a chance on him in the 3rd round as a developmental player for his combination of arm strength and athleticism.
9. Jarrett Stidham, Auburn: Some are much higher on Stidham than I am, I see the ceiling that others point to as upside but when watching him it is clear there is a lot that he needs to work on. He has the prototype size and arm strength. The weaknesses that he does have are things that bring down his pro projection. He is not athletic (although he can move in the pocket), his ball placement is very poor which can lead to easy missed throws. The main concern that I do have is accuracy, he missed short passes and intermediate passes frequently. His poor mechanics can force Stidham to throw from awkward arm angles and this again can lead to missed throws. A team would need to have patience with him in order to develop him. There is no doubt that he has the base to be a possible starter for a team if they draft him in the mid-rounds.
10. Manny Wilkins, Arizona State: Wilkins seems to be underrated by most, I think he would be one of the intriguing mid-round quarterbacks. He has above average arm strength and can make plays with his legs, he could even add a designed run element to an NFL teams playbook. He did struggles throwing into tight windows which may hurt him since he primarily wins on short slants and passes over the middle. He can struggle when the play breaks down, at Arizona he did not have a solid offensive line around him which meant he was constantly under pressure. He does not handle that pressure well all of the time as he seemed to force throws and can get indecisive when forced to improvise. I see Wilkins a potential sleeper in the quarterback and could possibly have a Dak Prescott type (this not a comparison in terms of traits, but just situational impact) on a team if he is given the chance to start.
11. Taylor Cornelius, Oklahoma State: Cornelius has a lot of flaws as a player but can make up for them with prototypical arm strength and size. The players that are left all have massive flaws in their game and most will probably never start an NFL game. What I look for in a later round quarterback is someone with upside or traits that could give them a chance to develop into a backup or possible starter. Cornelius has those traits, as mentioned before he has the arm strength that teams will look for and has the ability to move outside of the pocket. He was used as a runner at Oklahoma State but that part of his game will likely not translate as he does not look athletic in the slightest. In terms of levels of the field, he thrives within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage but past that he has some issues. Once he reaches the 15+ yard range he can struggle with poor ball placement and on deep passes, he will just heave the ball up for grabs. So while he has the traits teams will covet he will need to be developed from the air raid quarterback that he is into an NFL type player.
12. Will Grier, West Virginia: The fact that Grier has recently been hyped as a second (even possible first round) pick is somewhat baffling to me. Watching his game film is painful, there is no doubt he put up great numbers for WVU and that always means something, but he lacks top end arm strength, is not the athlete that one might think, and is not accurate when throwing down the field. There are some things to like, he has great velocity on his throws which teams will like as well as he is touted as a great leader and locker room presence. In terms of actually getting on the field, he will have his work cut out for him. Grier will need to rework his mechanics as he has an elongated release that leads to awkward throwing angles. He also tries to often to make something out of nothing which can lead to big losses instead of simply throwing the ball away. In my opinion, Grier is no more than a Day 3 flier that has a chance at being a solid backup option.
13. Easton Stick, North Dakota State: I came into Stick’s evaluation with low expectations and came out very impressed. He will never be someone that will be an NFL starter but if a team needs an athletic backup that could spot start when needed, Stick could fit that role. He comes from North Dakota State, the same school that produced former first-round pick, Carson Wentz. At NDSU they run a very pro friendly system. He will not have as much of a learning curve in terms of the schematics during his transition to the pros. He does have concerns that may never allow him to have success in the NFL. He has an elongated release that may allow defenses to jump his routes. Stick also struggles to make throws on the run. Accuracy is also another concern, he misses tight window throws and while he has passable arm strength he will never make big plays down the field. So while Stick has some draftable traits it will be up to teams to determine whether he is worth the pick.
14. Clayton Thorson, Northwestern: It seems like everyone is divided on Thorson, some feel he is worth a mid-round pick and some don’t see that. I fall on the extreme end, I think he is worth a 7th round pick at maximum. He offers little to no upside. Thorson has all the tools of a low-quality backup, he has the footwork, mechanics, and decision making to be someone that a team would want. In my mind those are guys you don’t spend a draft pick on, I would rather have someone that can be developed into an above average player. He struggles with below average arm strength and limited mobility. He doesn’t make plays outside of the pocket which is required for most successful NFL QB’s. Overall Thorson can make short plays from the pocket but struggled on intermediate or deep throws.
15. Gardner Minshew, Washington State: First off, Minshew’s story is great and he has shown in his only year at Washington State that he is a winner. He knows what it takes to succeed and would be a great locker room leader for a team, but he has some serious limitations that could keep him from getting drafted. My only real positives when watching him were that he was accurate on short throws and he showed good touch, especially on fade routes. Coming from the Mike Leach Air Raid most of his throws were either short or high percentage. He never had to make complex reads or work through progressions. This resulted in inflated numbers that mask the flaws of his game. When not throwing short he tends to overthrow his receivers and can make poor decisions that lead to easy interceptions. He will need to change his mentality in the pocket, once the first read was covered he seemed to get frantic and wanted to take off and run, this will not fly in the NFL and he will need to change that habit.
16. Jake Browning, Washington: Browning like Minshew knows how to succeed. He had stellar receivers in Dante Pettis and John Ross during his successful years at Washington, but there is not a lot to like in his game. He throws with decent velocity and knows how to fire short throws, but he struggles in just about every other aspect of the game. He throws off of poor platforms which is a sign of poor footwork and mechanics which both show up on tape. Ball security is also an issue for Browning, he struggles with fumbles and also doesn’t always make good decisions throwing the ball. Browning struggles outside of the pocket and doesn’t make plays with his legs. Browning lacks the requisite arm strength and decision-making to be drafted in the NFL.
17. Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State: Fitzgerald is not a QB prospect but since he is going into the draft as one I will rank him here due to his potential at another position or as a utility player. Fitzgerald should be thanking Saints “quarterback” Taysom Hill for improving his chances at getting drafted. He has great athleticism for a player of his size and runs hard for a quarterback. Fitzgerald was asked to work out as a tight end at the combine. Playing him in a flex tight end role could serve him well due to his size and 4.64 speed. The main reasons he is not considered as a quarterback is he struggles mightily with his accuracy and with decision-making. Some of the throws he made at Mississippi State make you scratch your head. So while you won’t be seeing Fitzgerald at quarterback if you can get him the ball 5 times per game in different ways he can add a different dimension to an offense.
18. Eric Dungey, Syracuse: Eric Dungey broke onto the scene this year with the success that Syracuse had but he does not strike me as an NFL talent. Dungey has solid arm strength and can make most throws that are asked of him. He does struggles with working through progressions. He is a “look for his first read and then takes off type player”. This will limit his ability in the NFL as that will not fly with teams. I do have some accuracy concerns with Dungey, he seems to have the arm strength but struggles to put the ball in spots where his receiver can get it. Dungey will be a good camp body that could get some meaningful development and reps in the preseason.
19. Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt: Shurmur is a very similar prospect in terms of things I like to Clayton Thorson. He has the cerebral part of the game covered, he plays like the coach's son that he is (son of Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur). He has been developed well in terms of his footwork and mechanics. Shurmur shows the ability to work through progressions and understands how to make adjustments at the line of scrimmage. His limitations put him well below the NFL thresholds in some areas. He will not “wow” you with his arm and he isn’t overly accurate. He also adds nothing athletically and has a poor pocket presence. He often doesn’t sense rush coming and will go down very quickly. Shurmur may latch onto a team in the preseason but shouldn't make a roster or be drafted.
20. Trace McSorley, Penn State: Let’s start with the understatement of the draft. McSorley will NOT play quarterback in the NFL. His only redeeming quality is his clear ability as a winner and the fact that would be a good locker room presence for a team. He is a good athlete but not in the way that would translate to the quarterback position. He has well below average arms strength and some of the decisions he makes are baffling for even a college quarterback. McSorley’s athleticism may allow him to latch on with a team at a different position. He could play wide receiver if a team is patient with him, but the most likely switch is to safety. He was asked to work out in that position at the combine. He played safety in high school so he has experience at the position, but no team should spend a draft pick in hopes that he can play there. He will need to impress in training camp to have an NFL career.