It's that time of year again, where I have no life outside of grinding through game tape and breaking down draft prospects... Truth be told, I love it, but I would also like some more time to work on my golf game. Anyway, I digress, as we are in store for a fun next three months of NFL Draft hysteria. In this first prospect preview, I will be breaking down the quarterbacks of this 2019 NFL Draft class. In all honesty, this position group isn't as talented or deep as in years past, but I also have to say that I was pleasantly surprised from some of these guys that aren't seeing as much media coverage as say Kyler Murray. With each prospect, I give their name, school, year, height, weight, games of them that I watched, projected draft range, and pro comparison. Keep in mind that the pro comparison is the best case scenario for each prospect... Enjoy!
| Dwayne Haskins | Ohio State | rSO | 6-foot-2 | 215 lbs. |
Projected Draft Range: Top-10
Pro Comparison: Matthew Stafford
– Pros –
Big time arm, both with high velocity and long distance; knows his strength and is not afraid to use it.
Confidence in arm gives confidence in pocket; allows him to hang in there and get rid of the ball on time and on script; focuses on play design and reads rather than pass rush.
Flashes ability to make all NFL throws; varies trajectories based on particular pass needed; shows good accuracy, patience, and composure on throws over the middle of the field.
Built solidly and plays bigger than listed; may measure bigger at combine/pro day.
Completed a high percentage of passes and the number should have been even higher, as his receivers dropped a lot of balls right in their hands.
Incredible production in one year of starting experience (nearly 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns); despite limited exposure as a starter, showed complete command of Ohio State offense.
– Cons –
Inconsistent mechanics, both with pocket footwork and throwing motion; leads to head-scratching inaccuracy at times.
Takes a lot of deep shots and most often greatly overthrows intended target.
Doesn’t appear to be a great athlete; while solidly built, he doesn’t run much at all… When he does take off, he appears to lumber downfield.
Listed measurements are less than ideal for the position; an inch or so too short and listed fairly light. Combine/pro day measurements will likely prove otherwise however, as he looks far bigger on tape.
Rarely throws covered receivers open – a must in the NFL; majority of touchdowns were thrown to wide open receivers. Could production be inflated?
Only one season of starting experience.
– Summary –
In only 14 career starts, Dwayne Haskins has solidified himself as one of the greatest quarterbacks in Ohio State history. In 2018, Haskins set school records for passing yards and touchdowns, while he even placed his name in the top-10 of career numbers, despite playing just one season. All this is for good reason though, as Haskins is inarguably the most talented quarterback to ever play for the Buckeyes. That is saying something considering the Heisman Trophy finalists and winners that have graced their storied halls.
In terms of a quick scouting overview, here’s the skinny on Haskins: He’s solidly built but is currently listed with slightly undersized measurements. That will likely be rectified during his workout weigh-in’s, so I’m not too worried there. As for his skill-set, Haskins is a gifted pocket passer and his biggest problem is that he knows it. I’ll never say that confidence is a bad thing for a quarterback, but because he is aware of how talented his right arm is, Haskins will often attempt throws down the field and over the middle that he shouldn’t, while he’ll also allow his mechanics to get a bit lazy. Where he will lack in mechanical discipline, he will make up for in football IQ and composure. I don’t feel that I am overstating when I say that no quarterback in college football this past season had a better grip for their offense than Haskins. He knew the Ohio State playbook inside and out, rarely making the wrong read and almost never getting fooled on what the defense was throwing at him. He operated so well out of Urban Meyer’s spread offense this season, that it got to the point that I was searching through each tape to find one of his 50 touchdown passes where the receiver was even covered. That is a testament to his recognition and decision making.
To be frank, this quarterback class is below-average at best in comparison to years past, but that won’t stop Haskins from being selected high in April’s draft. He’s arguably the best 2019 has to offer, which regardless of how he compares to quarterbacks from last year or next year, immediately puts a premium on his skill-set.
I really struggled to find a comparison for Haskins because there aren’t many quarterbacks that I can remember that are like him. In all honesty, he’s somewhere Geno Smith and Matthew Stafford in terms of skill-set, college production, and potential. Where he reminds me of Smith is in both his physical build (both around 6-foot-2, 220 lbs.) and his overall production during his final year of college. Like Smith did in 2012, Haskins led the nation in touchdown passes this past season. He also led in passing yards, while Smith finished 2012 in fourth place. Both seemingly came out of nowhere to produce huge statistical seasons in their final years at college, while they did so operating out of a wide-open spread offense.
As for the Matthew Stafford comparison, Haskins is not only the same size as the former Georgia quarterback, but he also possesses a big time arm and knows how good it is. Because of this, he’s rarely afraid to make any throw, however he also can get rather lazy with his mechanics and release point. This leads to unnecessarily erratic throws – particularly on deep shots. Looking positively though, like Stafford, Haskins has the ability to make throws that very few people on the planet can make. He’s willing to take shots down the field and more often than not focuses on play design rather than pressure bearing down on him. Stafford, while he has struggled in recent years, was at one time considered an elite talent at the quarterback position. I believe that Haskins has that same potential, but like Stafford, may struggle at times, allowing his immense talent to get in his own way.
In order to succeed in the NFL, Haskins needs to focus on cleaning up his pocket footwork, his throwing mechanics, and ball placement. My only fear for him as a pro is dealing with pass rush, as he is a limited athlete and was rarely tested in that department when playing behind Ohio State’s talented offensive line. Regardless, he’ll be a top-10 pick and will likely have the chance to start early on in his rookie season. Even in that scenario, I believe Haskins has the confidence and talent to be successful at the professional level.
| Kyler Murray | Oklahoma | rJR | 5-foot-9 | 185 lbs. |
Projected Draft Range: 1st Round
Pro Comparison: Jeff Garcia on adderall
– Pros –
Excellent athleticism for the position; truly an elite level athlete. Can make things happen with his legs both on a scramble and designed runs.
As a runner, he shows explosiveness and multiple gears; legendary breakaway ability at the second level.
While an excellent athlete, remains a “pass first” quarterback.
Shows great patience as a passer; allows receivers to run their full routes; rarely tries to play hero ball and fit passes into windows that aren’t there.
Very accurate thrower with advanced touch inside the red zone.
Strong sideline-to-sideline arm; throws cross-field out routes with ease.
Confident deep ball thrower; Not afraid to give his receivers a chance downfield; very good at leading fly routes and post patterns, providing just the right amount of air under his throws.
– Cons –
Incredibly small for the position; not only short, but extremely slight build as well.
Benefited from revolutionary offensive scheme and was surrounded by elite talent; played behind a nearly impenetrable offensive line and had elite playmakers to get the ball to.
Struggled against top-tier competition.
Only one year of starting experience.
Isn’t the best pre-snap; tends to lock onto reads and doesn’t always identify obvious blitzers.
– Summary –
As if it weren’t hard enough for scouts to judge Kyler due to his size limitations, he then also has to throw out the potential of him jumping ship at any point to go and play baseball for the Oakland Athletics. While at this moment, Murray has made it relatively clear that football is his chosen career path going forward, it will be hard to forget that just one year ago the A’s drafted him in the first round to be a future star outfielder for their organization.
For our purposes here, I’m over it. He said he’s going to play football going forward and I have no reason not to believe him… At this point, I’m going to actually give the kid some added credit for being a professional level athlete in two sports; it further personifies his versatile skill-set.
With that out of the way, we now have the other elephant in the room with young Mr. Murray – his lack of size. It is no secret that you can count on one hand how many successful sub 6-foot quarterbacks there have been in the NFL over it’s 100-year existence. Russell Wilson is consistently an MVP candidate and Doug Flutie bounced around the league for a decade, never fully establishing himself as a true franchise quarterback. That’s it.
I’m going to do us all a favor and nip the Russell Wilson comparisons in the bud. Not because they don’t have some similarities in playing style – they do – or that they aren’t both short quarterbacks – they are – but instead because they are built very differently. When Kyler finally weighs in at the NFL combine, I would be shocked if he is over 190 lbs. On tape, his body appears maxed out. Russell Wilson, on the other hand, plays somewhere around 220 lbs. And carries it well. Despite Wilson’s height limitations, he has shown that he is able to handle the physical nature of an NFL season because he is built with a flak jacket of an NFL running back. Wilson may be short, but he’s not scrawny. This has been key in allowing him to be successful and largely healthy so far in his career. With Murray, I’m not as confident. While he didn’t play enough, nor was he hit enough in college to be injured, I worry about his potential durability at the professional level. Taking his height out of the equation, his build resembles more RGIII than Russell Wilson. With all of this being considered though, I am not willing to punt on Kyler as a prospect. I want to make it clear that aside from his physical concerns, an ultra-dynamic quarterback will be available to every team this draft season…
On the field, there is so much that Kyler does well. He’s the winner of the 2018 Heisman Trophy and he absolutely deserved it. On the year, Murray accounted for 54 touchdowns (42 passing and 12 rushing) and 5,362 yards (4,361 passing and 1,001 rushing). He completed nearly 70-percent of his passes and turned the ball over only eight times (seven interceptions and one fumble). Yes he operated out of the same offense that just a year ago also vaulted Baker Mayfield to a Heisman Trophy, but I would argue that he ran it even better than the eventual first overall pick.
After watching the tape, here’s my impression of Kyler Murray: First and foremost, Murray’s legendary athleticism for the position jumps off the screen. I fully expect him to run in the 4.4’s at the combine. With that physical gift, Murray serves as a very difficult target for defenders to take down. Turn on any of his game tapes or highlights and you will see a nearly impossible quarterback to sack unless you time up and jump the snap perfectly on a blitz. As a runner, Murray shows several accessible gears and knows when to shift. He is elusive downfield and can easily create separation when trying to break one to the house. He enters the NFL immediately as one of the game’s most dangerous running quarterbacks.
As a passer, Murray exudes confidence and poise, either comfortably waiting for passing lanes to develop or by giving his receivers a chance in 1v1 situations. He possesses the arm strength to make all of the throws, including down the field and sideline-to-sideline, while he matches with deft touch inside the red zone.
On the negative side, I think that Kyler has some work to do as a pre-snap analyzer of defenses. He will often lock onto his reads and ignore obvious blitzers or “disguised” coverages. If he can work on that, perhaps interview better than he did on the Dan Patrick Show, and maybe find a way to get to around 205 lbs., I believe that Murray will have a successful NFL career.
After taking a long time to come up with an NFL comparison the name Jeff Garcia came to me. You remember him, right? He was the quarterback that famously replaced Steve Young and went to battle with Terrell Owens through the press. For some reason Garcia is seemingly less famously remembered for being a four-time Pro Bowler, the only 49ers quarterback to throw for 30+ touchdowns in consecutive seasons, the 49ers single-season leader in passing yards, and a quarterback to lead five playoff runs on four different teams. Like Kyler his playing weight hovered around 195-205 lbs., while his height was far less than ideal as well. While Garcia wasn’t nearly the gifted runner than Murray is, he used his plus athleticism to make up for what he lacked in prototypical quarterback build and bulk. Where Garcia had several Pro Bowl appearances, I think that Kyler Murray can be even better. Imagine if Jeff Garcia could run in the 4.4’s?
Even after declaring for football and giving the Athletics their signing bonus back, the projected draft range for Murray still varies on the side of extreme. I’ve seen him anywhere from number one overall to the third round. Ultimately, all it takes is one team to fall in love with him, so I expect that he will end up being drafted somewhere in the first round. Any team that takes Murray will have to commit to transforming their offensive scheme to something similar that he ran at Oklahoma. At barely 5-foot-9, he is simply too short to operate under center. Even when exclusively in shotgun sets, his lack of size showed up in the Alabama game, where I can remember at least three balls being batted down at the line of scrimmage. He can have success in the NFL, but his coaching staff has to be creative and open-minded.
| Daniel Jones | Duke | rJR | 6-foot-5 | 220 lbs. |
Projected Draft Range: 1st/2nd Round
Pro Comparison: Jake Plummer
– Pros –
Well-built; featuring a prototype frame for the quarterback position.
Plus athlete and flashes both good scrambling ability and explosiveness as a runner downfield; even showed examples on tape of separating from defensive backs in open field.
Smart passer, showing advanced cognitive skills pre-snap.
Bounces in the pocket well and is light on his feet; while appearing raw, shows natural quarterback mechanics.
Posted a bad statline against his best competition (Clemson), however he showed a lot of poise, leadership, and toughness; hung in there and delivered throw after throw, despite facing immense pass rush.
– Cons –
Average arm strength; fails to drive the ball consistently down the field and from sideline to sideline.
Downfield accuracy also lacks; often will over and underthrow receivers past 30 yards.
Less than ideal ball position when in the pocket. Tends to allow the ball to hang, leaving himself susceptible to strip sacks.
A ton of dropped passes on tape. This could be a talent issue on Duke, but it could also mean that he doesn’t throw the most catchable ball.
Because of size, isn’t afraid to take a lot of hits as a runner. This will not work in the NFL (see Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger). Needs to slide much more.
Reads defenses well pre-snap, however struggles when under pressure post-snap; internal clock speeds up, appears panicked, deer-in-the-headlights vibe.
– Summary –
A three year starter at Duke, Daniel Jones is the first quarterback in school history to lead two straight teams to postseason bowl victories. Surrounded by little NFL talent, Jones’ statistical totals are far from impressive to scouts, however it should be noted that he did improve each season, finishing his senior season with 2,993 yards (2,674 passing, 319 rushing) and 25 touchdowns (22 passing, three rushing).
Despite serious collegiate production, by most accounts so far, Jones is generating legitimate first round buzz. Determining whether it is warranted or not, is not my job here… After careful review of Jones’ tape, I see a guy with a prototypical build, good instincts, plus athleticism, and an average-at-best arm. Who does that remind you of in the league today? I’m sure a few guys come to mind, but for some reason I keep getting a Jake Plummer vibe. I’ll admit that Plummer was a bit more creative when the play broke down and was a few inches shorter, but Jones’ sneaky athleticism, reckless abandon as a runner, and gunslinger mentality as a thrower reminded me most of Jake the Snake. Some will argue that this is a favorable comparison for Jones. However, others will then question his first round billing. Ultimately, I probably wouldn’t take him in the first, but if you can guarantee a Plummer talent level, then you could certainly do worse at the position going forward. A positive that should be noted about Jones is that he not only was the Senior Bowl MVP this past January, but he also looked incredibly comfortable taking snaps from under center and excelled as a play-action passer in an NFL style game plan. He provides plenty of potential for NFL coaching staffs to work with. However, I fear that his arm strength may be maxed out. Take that for what you will.
| Drew Lock | Missouri | SR | 6-foot-4 | 223 lbs. |
Projected Draft Range: 1st/2nd Round
Pro Comparison: Blake Bortles
– Pros –
Elite arm strength immediately jumps off the screen; arm looks like a rubber slingshot in action and it repeats just as well.
Not necessarily the best athlete, but can certainly move when needed; became a better runner as career went on; had six rushing touchdowns as a senior.
Doesn’t seem to panic under pressure; confidence in arm strength allows him to get rid of the football, regardless of pass rush or coverage.
Shows full trust in receivers; will give them a chance in 1v1 and allows them to run complete route before leading them deep.
– Cons –
Operated out of one-read and shoot offense. Most throws are predetermined before the snap, raising questions about ability to go through progressions; will lock onto single receiver most often.
Confidence in elite arm sometimes caused forced passes and unnecessary turnovers; will try to fit balls into tight coverage.
Tends to stare down intended receiver; needs to learn to defeat defenses with his eyes.
Struggles with touch on throws; seems to rifle ball in when not necessary.
Minimal activity in terms of pocket footwork; lazy mechanics lead to erratic throws and tipped passes at the line; almost never steps up in pocket and instead relies on arm strength. Coming from full spread offense did not do him any favors.
– Summary –
Like Daniel Jones, Drew Lock is another divisive quarterback prospect because a lot of his report is based off of potential and projection. As it sits right now, he’s got the size, the arm, and the collegiate production, however what you see on tape from him is far from a finished product. By my assessment, as a defender, if you can follow his eyes you can tell where he is passing. Lock’s biggest issue right now is that he frequently locks (no pun intended) onto his intended targets and rarely varies. At the NFL level, this will undoubtedly lead to interceptions.
Furthermore, operating out of the spread offense, Lock was asked to make few progressions when dropping back to pass, raising questions about his real IQ for the quarterback position. His pocket mechanics are lazy; almost statue-esque, which leads to too many errant throws and even tipped passes at the line of scrimmage, despite his prototypical height for the position. With all of this being said, Lock was able to be successful as a college quarterback because of his natural arm talent and fearless demeanor when the pressure was bearing down on him. His mobility improved as his college years went on, while as a senior he became a legitimate threat as a runner.
Ultimately, after watching six game tapes, I feel comfortable giving him a Blake Bortles comparison. Like Bortles, Lock will surprise some with his sneaky athleticism, while neither will surprise anyone with their rifle right shoulders. Bortles and Lock are built similarly and both will sacrifice mechanics and fundamentals for confidence in their arms. This can lead to unnecessary interceptions for Lock at the next level, just as it has for Bortles. Considering the natural talent and potential that exists with Lock, I wouldn't be surprised at all if someone gave him a shot in the first round, however any team that takes him needs to understand that they have a lot of work to do going forward in terms of making him an NFL ready quarterback.
| Will Grier | West Virginia | rSR | 6-foot-3 | 218 lbs. |
Projected Draft Range: Day 2
Pro Comparison: Ryan Fitzpatrick
– Pros –
Accurate thrower, both as a drop back passer and on the move.
Good pocket presence; lively footwork and keen instincts when pressure is bearing down on him.
Not necessarily a “mobile quarterback” but is good at escaping sacks.
Rhythm passer; deadly in two-minute drill; is best when running offense on the fly.
Shows trust in receivers, almost to a fault; will always give receivers a chance in 1v1 and has proven deadly accurate in those situations.
Despite coming from spread offense, goes through his full progressions and makes legitimate reads.
– Cons –
Shows inconsistency as passer when defense disrupts his rhythm.
Less than ideal arm strength; struggles leading receivers deep and tends to float passes to opposite sideline.
Plays a lot of hero ball; will try to do too much in situations when ball should just be thrown away.
Needs to work on throwing mechanics; at times will bring the ball very far back before releasing; a fixable issue. Don’t misunderstand as a slow release, but instead as a bit too long.
– Summary –
Grier seems like a guy that I like more than most. His film just screams of a guy who gets the job done. The Texas game in particular was impressive because of his big time comeback and ability to score on the two-point conversion to snag the one-point victory with time expiring. While he will certainly have his issues in the NFL with following script and defeating well-coached defenses, I come away with the feeling that Grier will have ample success because of his mastery in the two-minute drill. When the game is on the line and he can just run rapid fire offense, you will be hard pressed to find a better quarterback. With how close games are in the NFL each Sunday, isn’t that exactly what GM’s should be looking for?
Essentially in Grier, we have a guy who is a proven leader, tough to sack, and deadly accurate when in a rhythm. He shows shades of Baker Mayfield coming out of college last season, but I don’t believe he is as polished or as talented. By that I mean that he doesn’t have the same consistency or natural arm strength as Baker, while he will even try to play hero ball more often. When trying to come up with a pro comparison for Grier, I stumbled upon Ryan Fitzpatrick and after thinking about it for a while, it really started to make sense... Both are built the same, surprise defenses with their sneaky athleticism, and are never afraid to take risks. Neither has the strongest arm, but you could never tell them that, as they wouldn’t have it for a second. Like “FitzMagic” I certainly feel that Grier has some magic in him late in games, and while he may not be a consistent starter in this league, he will always have a job as long as he is healthy.
Grier will certainly have his doubters because of his off-the-field history, less than ideal athletic profile, and risk-taking nature, but in this class of rather underwhelming quarterback prospects, Grier will be ready to start at the NFL level much sooner than most of them. I would be shocked if he lasted into Day 3 of this draft.
| Gardner Minshew II | Washington State | SR | 6-foot-1 | 225 lbs. |
Projected Draft Range: Day 2
Pro Comparison: Energetic Andy Dalton
– Pros –
Quick and compact release; looks like a natural thrower and should save himself a lot of sacks with speedy throwing motion.
Good pocket presence; avoids rush in his face with plus athleticism and uses keen instincts on backside pressure.
Shows crafty body language to manipulate defense; uses shoulder fakes and look off’s to get the matchups he wants.
Shows arm talent on bucket throws and other over-the-middle passes that would necessitate either touch or zip; not something that is easily teachable.
Shows ability and willingness to go through full progressions if necessary; does not instinctively tuck and run or panic if first read isn’t there.
– Cons –
Average-at-best arm; doesn’t wow on deep and sideline throws; throws to wide side of the field tend to float and hang in the air.
Runs hot and cold in terms of accuracy; like Will Grier, works best with a consistent game pace and rhythm.
Will throw behind open receivers more often than he should; these will be INT’s in the NFL.
– Summary –
This was some fun tape to watch – not necessarily because I think Minshew is the hidden gem of this draft, but instead because he’s a rhythmic passer, willing to take chances, and because his play can be so up-and-down at times. Every time he dropped back, you really never knew what you were going to get. In a losing effort, his USC tape was one of the best I watched so far this draft season, while he looked nearly undraftable against Washington. In a game in which he threw for 430 and five touchdowns against Oregon State, I hardly noticed, while his two-pick game against Oregon was far more engaging, despite being far less productive. In today’s collegiate environment of one-read-and-shoot offenses, it was refreshing to see a quarterback that was fully handed over the reins of his offense and subsequently chose to use the full playbook and survey every progression before throwing the ball. I found this as one of Minshew’s more admirable traits. He also impressed with his touch passes and fade routes, while he even showed that he can zip one in between defenders if necessary. It is no secret that he is an excellent “ra-ra” guy in the locker room, and despite being in Washington State for just one year, he was easily the heart and soul of the team. Well hidden about Minshew – if all you knew about him was his former porn star mustache – is that he not only flashes underrated mobility and escapability in the pocket, but he also has a lightning quick release and throwing motion. He will save himself a lot of sacks at the pro level through these traits. Negatively, I don’t think he projects as the most NFL ready thrower – by that I mean that he struggles to make opposite sideline throws and deep passes down the outside the hashes. This will certainly knock his draft stock down a few rounds.
Trying to come up with a comparison for Minshew was tough, as there aren’t too many guys like him in the league. “Poor Man’s” Baker Mayfield crossed my mind, but instead I found a more reasonable comp in Andy Dalton. They not only profile out the same physically, but they both also feature less than ideal arm strengths. While Dalton isn’t known for his locker room energy, that is one of the few areas that they differ. Ultimately, what Dalton has shown at the NFL level is that he can be very good for stretches, but he also has some serious limitations in terms of over-the-middle accuracy and consistency. Most would argue that Minshew is a far better athlete than Dalton, but if you think back to a few years ago when Hue Jackson was running the Bengals offense, you should remember that Dalton proved sneaky fast and elusive when used in any of their then-revolutionary quirky offensive schemes.
I’m not arguing that Minshew is going to be a starter right out of the gate, but in the best case scenario, think of him as a more “ra-ra” version of Andy Dalton. You could certainly do worse at the quarterback position these days.
| Jarrett Stidham | Auburn | rJR | 6-foot-2 | 215 lbs. |
Projected Draft Range: Day 3
Pro Comparison: Mark Sanchez
– Pros –
Very natural looking thrower; looks like he was born with a football in his hand; beautiful spiral.
Good arm strength; can make all of the NFL throws and makes it look easy in the process.
Not the best athlete, but committed runner of the football who does a great job getting his pad level low.
High pre-snap IQ; does a good job of looking off defenders and going through progressions post-snap.
Decent build for position.
– Cons –
Began to look shell shocked as 2018 season went on; will panic under pressure at times.
Inconsistent decision maker post-snap; will second guess himself and play design. This will lead to turnovers at the next level.
Needs polish on deep ball; doesn’t always drive through passes.
Doesn’t possess off-script instincts; gets reckless with ball when forced to scramble.
– Summary –
They come in at just about the same size and have the same potential issue preventing them from being great NFL quarterbacks… I see a lot of Mark Sanchez in Jarrett Stidham and while that seems like a terrible thing, let’s remember the level of prospect that Sanchez was and the level of success that he had early on in his NFL career. Ultimately, after years of abuse with the Jets dumpster fire organization, Sanchez would go on to get the yips under pressure, which is the cardinal sin of being an NFL quarterback. However, outside of that, there wasn’t much that he couldn’t do in terms of executing at the quarterback position. Coming into the league, Sanchez had a natural arm, good and quick release, an incredibly high IQ, and was mobile enough to keep defenses honest.
Jarrett Stidham is also all of those things. He’s a former five-star recruit and was top-10 amongst his freshman class. He was essentially forced to transfer from Baylor after his freshman year, after the catastrophe that was that school’s slew of investigations and scandals. He would eventually end up at Auburn and tore it up in 2017, reaffirming himself as a top quarterback prospect in this 2018 draft.
Then the 2018 season happened. His numbers were down across the board and as was his surrounding talent. While to most it is no wonder that he struggled this past season, it is still alarming to see how uncomfortable he has become when pressure is bearing down on him…
In the best case scenario, Stidham will be drafted by a team that is not going to put too much pressure on him; a good team, with top offensive talent. In this scenario, Stidham will have a chance to get his confidence back and ultimately show the world how gifted of a quarterback he really is. If this doesn’t work out, he will see the pass rush yips rear its ugly head once again. At that point he would be praying to be Mark Sanchez just so that he didn’t end up being called the next Christian Hackenberg.
| Tyree Jackson | Buffalo | SR | 6-foot-7 | 250 lbs. |
Projected Draft Range: Day 3
Pro Comparison: Jamarcus Russell if he cared
– Pros –
MASSIVE build immediately jumps off the screen; this guy is an absolute unit! Think Paul Bunyan in shoulder pads.
Legendary arm strength; looks like he can throw end zone-to-end zone; times on tape where the ball was thrown so hard that it blurred off of my computer screen for a moment.
Better than expected athlete; navigates pocket and moves well considering his enormous size.
– Cons –
Lumbering mechanics; footwork may be too slow with NFL pass rushes bearing down on him.
Abandons play too quickly; relies on size and legs to gain yardage rather than trusting 2nd and 3rd receiving options.
Will drop ball below his waist when taking off; will lead to many strip sacks at the next level.
I mentioned his “legendary arm strength” above as a positive, but with that comes a caveat… he has no clue where the ball is going after he throws it. He needs some serious coaching in that area if he wants to be a successful pro.
Takes too many hits. Most would think that this shouldn’t be a problem considering his size, but keep in mind how often Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger are injured.
– Summary –
There are only so many guys on the planet that are Jackson’s size, let alone that have played the quarterback position at a high level, so my pro comparison pool was understandably shallow. My first instinct was to go with Cardale Jones, but I ultimately settled on Jamarcus Russell because unlike Jones, Jackson has legitimately translatable NFL traits. Say all that you want about Russell and how much he sucked, but in terms of pure talent, there are very few prospects to ever be more gifted.
He simply didn’t give a crap. Jackson may not be the prospect that Russell was, but so far as I know he has a far better commitment to his professional diet and doesn’t brag about skipping film sessions. That should give him a leg up right off the bat. With all of this being said, I guarantee you that there is some GM out there that will see Jackson at the Combine and think “I’m gonna get the next Cam Newton in the fourth round of this thing!” He’s not Cam Newton, but with some effort and good coaching, he could end up being an interested version of Jamarcus Russell. That’s worth a selection for sure.