I usually don’t do draft rankings because time usually limits the amount of content I can produce. But this year I’m just going to go for it. I’ll start with the QBs.
This QB class, as a whole is much stronger than last years group where only Winston, Mariota, Hundley, and Grayson were the only QBs I had with ANY starting potential.
This year I have two QBs in the top 15, (first since 2014). I have 5 QBs with a 2nd round grade, and 3 others with 4th round grade.
Overall I see seven QBs with potential to be a starter whether in year one or later.
- Carson Wentz/North Dakota State
2015 Stats: 8games, 1,651 yards, 17TDs, 4INTs, and 62.5%
Best to Worst Prospect Comparison: Nick Foles to Carson Palmer
Grade: 92/100, Experts: Top 5, My Grade: Top 10
To, the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck, even though Jameis Winston had far superior arm talent. Winston was an 88/100, for a comparison. He did suffer a wrist injury that held him for much of the second half of the 2015 season but he was definitely showing improvement from the previous season where he played 16 games (including FCS playoffs).
What I Like: Wentz is wise beyond his years when it comes to accuracy to his left and in the middle of the field. His football IQ is impressive, also keep in my mind that he made every shift and audible for that offense. The Senior Bowl was a great performance for him.
What I Don’t Like: He’s not quite there on rollouts but that can grow with time. The small-school thing will be noted but there have been some great FCS QBs. Would be much better in a pro-set.
Best Team Fits: Los Angeles, Dallas, and Philadelphia
- Jared Goff/California
2015 Stats: 13 games, 4,719 yards, 43TDs, 13INTs, and 64.2%
Best to Worst Prospect Comparison: Tim Couch to Drew Brees
Grade 89/100, Experts: Top 10, My Grade Top 15
Goff is the definition of a pure passer, he could grow to be a 5,000 yards with the culture of today’s NFL.
What I Like: If you have a coach who likes to sling the ball anywhere he wants. He also had to put the Golden Bears on his back on numerous occasions which may have led to mistakes, like Winston, his mistakes are correctable with patience. His eyes always stay downfield and isn’t gun-shy.
What I Don’t Like: Goff looks extremely skinny for a guy who is 6’4” and I also question the kind of coaching he got at Cal cause Sonny Dykes is eh to me.
Best Team Fits: Cleveland, San Francisco, and New Orleans
- Jeff Driskel/Louisiana Tech
2015 Stats: 13 games 4,033 yards, 27TDs, 8INTs, 62.4%
Best to Worst Comparison: Ryan Mallett to Blake Bortles
Grade: 84/100, Experts: Late 2nd to Early 5th, My Grade: Mid 2nd round
The graduate-transfer rule that benefited Russell Wilson also helped a former #1 QB recruit regain his form after four years of dysfunction at the University of Florida. Driskel looked like a new player for the Bulldogs, but the LA Tech Air-Raid offense is always viewed as a stat-padding offense (it is to an extent.) But many teams run variations of the Air Raid. He’ll go later than most of the guys on this list but I like his future in the right spot.
What I Like: When I watched Blake Bortles as UCF, I thought he was missing some accuracy, turns out all he needed was confidence and some time. Driskel found that at LA Tech, he also has all the physical tools you can ask for, also his running ability. He ran the fastest time among QBs at the combine.
What I Don’t Like: His years at Florida shouldn’t be ignored but he did stink it up and never won the job. I also feel Driskel would need to sit for a year or two before taking over an offense.
Best Team Fits: Miami, Chicago, and San Francisco
- Christian Hackenberg/Penn State
2015 Stats: 13 games, 2,525 yards, 16TDs, 6INTs, and 53.5%
Best to Worst Comparison: Stephen McGee to Matt Hasselbeck
Grade 81/100, Expers: Late 2nd to Mid 4th, My Grade: Mid 2nd round
I once thought Hackenberg would blossom into the top QB prospect in this draft, especially after a fantastic freshman campaign. But Bill O’Brien departed for the Houston Texans and James Franklin just didn’t mesh with Hackenberg’s skills. Like Driskel, he was a top recruit who was in a bad situation.
What I Like: His predraft process gives me the thought that he really has the work ethic to play in the NFL for a long-time, I just think he needs a coach that will work with his skills. I also like that he never threw his teammates under the bus despite struggling. As a backup, I feel he could soak up information like a sponge and be a starter in time.
What I Don’t Like: Cutler Syndrome could develop in the future from being surrounded in a losing environment. I also think his inconsistencies in his accuracy can be corrected with a better O-Line and possibly a go to WR.
Best Team Fits: Houston, Kansas City, and Arizona
- Dak Prescott/Mississippi State
2015 Stats: 13 games, 3,793 yards, 29TDs, 5INTs, and 66.2%
Best to Worst Comparison: Thaddeus Lewis to Donovan McNabb
Grade: 79/100, Experts: 3rd round to 5th round, My Grade: Late 2nd round
Prescott’s DUI was nothing more than something that he’ll learn from and lead with. Otherwise I’ve never been amazed than I was with Dak’s progress from 2014 to 2015, despite the talent that was lost from that team. Prescott is the most talented QB that Dan Mullen has had starting for him and he could shine in time.
What I Like: Work Ethic is unquestioned, his year-to-year improvement is impressive. Strong and powerful runner and could be a weapon for a spread-style team. Also has a strong frame at 6’2” 230lbs.
What I Don’t Like: His downfield passing game needs work and he doesn’t have great speed. He also may need two years on the bench, which in today’s NFL doesn’t allow.
Best Team Fits: San Francisco, Carolina, and Miami
- Paxton Lynch/Memphis
2015 Stats: 13 games, 4,719 yards, 43TDs, 13INTs, 66.8%
Best to Worst Comparison: Mike Glennon to Joe Flacco
Grade: 78/100, Top 10 to Early 2nd, My Grade: Late 2nd
Paxton Lynch’s impressive performance against Ole Miss jumped him into the 1st round, and his potential could be something different than we’ve ever seen. But I’m not buying that he can reach the level that some scouts have for him.
What I Like: He’s huge at 6’7” and like Flacco and slings it a mile, he’s got Colin Kaepernick type athleticism too. Lynch excels in the short passing game.
What I Don’t Like: He’s too raw, he doesn’t have consistent deep accuracy. He also transferred a bunch of different high schools but that might have been questioned. Needs two years before I’d feel comfortable throwing him on the field.
Best Team Fits: Arizona, New England, and Dallas
- Brandon Doughty/Western Kentucky
2015 Stats: 14 games, 5,055 yards, 48TD, 9INTs, 71.9%
Best to Worst Comparison: AJ McCarron to Brad Johnson
Grade: 76/100, Experts: Late round pick, My Grade: 4th round
He’s the kind of guy who displays the potential to be a starter down the road. Doughty played in a scheme that does resemble that of spread/air-raid style. A three-year starter and excelled in the competition he played.
What I Like: Doughty is comfortable moving out of the pocket, something that does bother me with the top QBs of this class, he’s athletic enough to move out of the pocket also. Doesn’t lose focus under duress. Definitely a prospect that I believe will be a starter down the line!
What I Don’t Like: There were a lot of throws behind the line of scrimmage, arm strength isn’t going to WOW anybody. A lot of the offense at WKU looked like predetermined reads, otherwise he ran out of the pocket.
Best Team Fits: New England, Denver, and Arizona
- Brandon Allen/Arkansas
2015 Stats: 13 games, 3,440 yards, 30TD, 8INT, 65.9%
Best to Worst Comparison: Case Keenum to Alex Smith
Brandon Allen is a guy that Mike Mayock loves as a sleeper. I have a friend who believes Allen can be a starter and raves about him. I’ll say that when Arkansas started to win games this past season, I started to like Allen more and more. Allen did have two 1,000 yard RBs but made his name known with 30/8 with nearly 66% completion percentage.
What I Like: He was a three-year starter in the SEC, and had two seasons that the stats line up with how he plays. He makes good decisions and excels in play-action and shows toughness even when he’s getting leveled. Played in a pro-style set where everything is under center.
What I Don’t Like: Average arm talent is the consensus, but he may struggle with the tight windows that exist in the NFL, which ironically is something Alex Smith struggles with even at his age. May end up a backup, but a good, reliable backup like Billy Volek.
Best Team Fits: Buffalo, Jets, Cleveland
- Connor Cook/Michigan State
2015 Stats: 13 games, 3,131 yards, 24TD, 7INTs, 56.1%
Best to Worst Comparison: Drew Stanton to Jay Cutler
Grade: 70/100, Late 1st to Early 4th
Connor Cook and Christian Hackenberg were two of the top three QBs in the NFL Draft heading into the 2015 season. Both Big Ten passers didn’t impress enough to merit the expectations. But Cook may still go early, after all he won a lot of games at Michigan State.
What I Like: In the 4th quarter, he becomes a different player. Even in defeat vs. Nebraska he made some amazing WOW throws to keep them in the game until the bad call in the end. I also commend him for the game vs. Oregon also, very impressive effort from him. His experience in a pro-style keeps him in the conversation.
What I Don’t Like: I question his leadership ability because he was never a captain. His accuracy numbers are awfully low. Like Cody Kessler of USC, Cook’s arm strength isn’t going to impress anybody. The performance against Alabama was downright embarrassing and he looked lost out there. At best, Cook is an average QB.
Best Team Fits: Kansas City, Dallas, and Washington
- Jacoby Brissett/NC State
2015 Stats: 13 games, 2,662 yards, 20TD, 6INT, 60%
Best to Worst Comparison: Jake Locker to Vince Young (Early Titans Young)
Jacoby Brissett once was in a QB battle with Jeff Driskel and neither impressed and both were better for transferring. Brissett put up consistent numbers in two years and kept NC State in games with the lack of mistakes.
What I Like: Brissett isn’t as mobile as either Locker or Young but he can and will scramble for the big play. Good arm strength to make most of the throws you’d like to see a QB make. Good frame like Locker and Young had, tough too.
What I Don’t Like: He was way too passive with his passing ability, I feel confidence is something that’ll need to be developed because he was gun-shy. Ran a lot more than you’d like to see. His mechanics need some major tuning, like Hundley did in last year’s draft. But he’s lower than Hundley because this draft is deeper and he didn’t have a real standout game.
Best Team Fits: Any coach with ability and patience to develop QBs. I think he’s very raw.