NFL Draft Prospects Preview: Quarterback
With the NFL Combine now over and free agency well underway, it is time to focus our attention on the upcoming NFL Draft. Over the next few weeks, we will look at the top fantasy prospects from each position, in the hopes of finding that next rookie that can help you win your league championship next season. Trades and more signings will no doubt impact where some of these prospects end up and which teams draft them. They are listed in expected draft order.
By all measures, this is not the strongest quarterback class we have seen in a draft. On top of that, free agency has already led to the San Francisco 49ers signing Brian Hoyer and the Chicago Bears snagging Mike Glennon. There are still some veteran quarterbacks available on the open market as well, such as Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jay Cutler. In addition, Tony Romo will most likely become available at some point this offseason and Jimmy Garoppolo could still be available via trade with the New England Patriots. There are not a lot of teams in need of a starting quarterback. We shall wait and see how this impacts where the top prospects listed below get picked.
Every year around this time, teams without a franchise quarterback hope that this will be the year they find “their guy” that will lead them to the postseason. Last year, the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles traded up in the first round to select Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. When it comes to this position, in particular, teams have a tendency to over-reach for the player they think will help turn their franchise around and it does not always work out. They end up finding themselves back near the top of the draft for years to come..See the Cleveland Browns. It remains to be seen if a team will trade up in the draft, or if teams will be patient like the Dallas Cowboys were last year and waited until the fourth round before selecting Dak Prescott.
Here is a list of the top five (in order of draft projection) available:
Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina 6-3 220 lbs. (Projected first round)
One thing going for Trubisky is that he is a very accurate passer. In 2016 he completed 68% of his passes for 3,748 yards 30 touchdowns and only six interceptions. During a four-game winning streak last year, Trubisky threw for over 1,500 yards with 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions, including a start against Florida State where he was 31-for-38 for 405 yards, three touchdowns, and no picks. The one knock on him though is that he only started one year in college and he is very inexperienced. He has the tools to play at the next level, but he will most likely be a project that requires patience for any franchise that drafts him.
DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame 6-4 240 lbs. (Projected first round)
Kizer certainly has the measurables to perform well at the next level. The question remains about how good he is. In 2015 Kizer threw 2,884 yards along with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Many of those yards and touchdowns went to last year’s first round pick, WR Will Fuller. Kizer struggled in 2016 though. His completion percentage dipped from 63% to 59% and the Irish offense struggled mightily during the season. How much of that drop off was due to him not having his favorite target around and does he need a star wide receiver in order to be successful at the next level? This is one of those players that because of the position he plays, will be drafted earlier than he probably should be.
Deshaun Watson, Clemson 6-2 205 lbs. (Projected first round)
Heading into last year’s college football season, the hype on Watson was as high as it could get. Coming off a successful 2015 season, which culminated in a loss to Alabama in the National Championship game, many experts had Watson as a virtual lock for the 2016 Heisman Award. His season was marred by inaccuracy and lost offensive opportunities. Despite his inconsistent play from the previous year, Watson still led his team to a rematch with the Crimson Tide and this time around came away with a National title victory. Watson’s ability to play well when the game is on the line makes him the top quarterback in this year’s class. He still needs to develop playing under center and in an NFL style offense, but his ability to make plays both inside and outside the pocket makes him very difficult to defend against. It may take a few years for him to develop, but any team that drafts him knows they are getting a leader both on and off the field.
Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech 6-3 219 lbs. (Projected second or third round)
It is hard to get a good read on just how good the two-year starter will be at the next level. He certainly put up some ridiculous numbers for the Red Raiders while in college. Mahomes completed 66% of his passes for 41 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Those numbers though are heavily predicated on the kind of high-powered, gimmicky offense Texas Tech likes to run. He will not be given those play calls in the pros and a coach will have to decide if he can mold Mahomes into the kind of pocket passer he needs to become, in order to succeed in the NFL. Scouts and mock drafts have had Mahomes going as early as the top half of the second round, to as late as the fourth round. It will be interesting to see which coach/team selects him, but do not expect much, if anything out of him in fantasy, in 2017.
Nathan Peterman, Pittsburgh 6-2 225 lbs. (Projected fourth round)
There is no quarterback generating more buzz right now than Nathan Peterman. Coming off a strong Senior Bowl performance, Peterman is quickly climbing up the draft board ranks. He is currently projected to go in the third round, but that could change very quickly. The Bears coaching staff got a chance to see him up close and personal during Senior Bowl week while coaching the North Team. Chicago currently holds the number three pick in the draft and just signed Glennon While picking him in the first round probably won’t happen, it is possible they take him later in the draft. Peterman could be a dark horse pick that ends up being the first starting QB out of this group. While expectations should be kept in check, he currently stands to be a good pick in dynasty fantasy league.
- Brad Kaaya (Miami)
- Davis Webb (California)