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Feb 27, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Quarterbacks wait to participate in workout drills during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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Pre-Combine Position Rankings: Quarterback


January 31, 2017

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The next stop for the NFL draft process will be the combine which is scheduled to take place in about a month. I figured the best way to spend some of that time is by creating position rankings, and I’ll be starting with the quarterback position. This year’s class doesn’t appear to have great late-round value but appears to be significantly more top-heavy.

1. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech

Despite some technical and mechanical flaws, Mahomes’ ceiling is the highest in this class. His solid decision making, rare velocity should impress NFL scouts. His tape convinced me that he can be a good decision maker next year and if NFL coaching can offer him the slightest bit of refinement, he could be a special player.

Valuation: 1st round (Top 10)

2. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

Watson had an eventful year at Clemson in route to a national title, his best traits are his intermediate accuracy, pocket presence, and arm strength. I think his placement on deep throws is a little more inconsistent than I’d like for a first-round quarterback, but that’s my biggest criticism. I’m not sold on the narrative that he’s “running quarterback” or anything related to that line of thinking. I think the more fair critique is a mental grasp of the game and decision making as his interception number was quite high, regardless I wouldn’t worry too much about this.

Valuation: 1st round (Top 10)

3. DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame

Starting under the watch of the “fiery” Brian Kelly, Kizer didn’t have much room for error at Notre Dame and his tape was impressive. Kizer has the live arm and toughness to hang in the pocket that many older scouts find enticing. I have questions about his nuance as a passer: avoids check-down throws, can be a little erratic at times, and occasionally a little heavy footed when manipulating the pocket. To this point, he appears to be a solid prospect but not the “sure thing” some might believe

Valuation: 1st-2nd Round

4. Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

Trubisky’s accuracy and arm strength appear to be NFL caliber, he also had very few turnovers in 2016. His flaws look to be fixable with more experience:  will hold on to the ball a little longer than necessary, a little slow moving through progressions, struggles feeling pressure. However, the truth is that some of these flaws could stick with him throughout his career. NFL owners and GM’s need to be aware of the risk they are taking when selecting him with a top-30 pick.

Valuation: 2nd Round


5. Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami,

In 2015, Kaaya was one of my favorite future prospects, but unfortunately, he didn’t develop as I had hoped. He’s not the best passer under duress: accuracy can falter when he’s pressure, his ability to sense pressure, and doesn’t always sense pressure well. Despite those shortcomings, his mechanics look good and he has impressive deep and intermediate accuracy.

Valuation: 2nd-3rd round

6. Davis Webb, QB, California

Webb showcasing some of his best traits at the Senior Bowl performance could offer a boost to his draft stock. Great size, velocity, and his placement on deep throws are the best in this class. His big issue is decision making and may cost him a chance to gain some looks as a potential starter. Webb forces his throws too often, and he hasn’t demonstrated adequate ability to really read defenses. He’ll need plenty of work on the mental aspect of the game.

Valuation: 3rd-4th round

7. Seth Russell, QB, Baylor

Russell suffered a severe neck injury in 2015 and a broken ankle in 2016, but he is scheduled to be a combine participant. Any medical flags or a poor showing certainly takes him out of contention, but his tape wasn’t bad. Russell’s arm strength, decision making, and intermediate accuracy are not bad.

Valuation: 5th round

8. Zach Terrell, QB, Western Michigan

Terrell has a slight frame, but arm strength should be pretty close to average. I’ll be curious about where he stands in terms of velocity over the coming months, but he makes intelligent decisions with the football. I think any teams that run a West Coast offense will like him.

Valuation: 5th round

9. Chad Kelly, QB, Ole Miss

On the mend from a torn ACL and after already being under fire for character issues, Kelly has an uphill battle from this point forward. His velocity, pre-injury, looked pretty good, but he’ll need a lot of work in many key areas to contribute to a team

Valuation: 5th round


10. Alex Torgersen, QB, Penn

Torgersen’s tape was a pleasant surprise for me. I encourage more people to take a look at his tape and scout him. His arm strength is above average and he plays in a similar system to many guys in this class and executed it well.

Valuation: 5th-round

11. Jerod Evans, QB, Virginia Tech

If he stayed in school, this time next year he’d be ranked way higher for me. However, I’m just not yet sold, he does have good arm strength but isn’t a savvy quarterback. He will stare down targets, occasionally not go through all progressions, but his short and intermediate accuracy might land him a job as a backup somewhere.

Valuation: 5th-6th round

11. Cooper Rush, QB, Central Michigan

Rush does things applicable to a west coast offense, but his arm strength and decision making skills appear to be sub-par. I could be wrong, but right now he’s a late round quarterback.

Valuation: 5th-6th round

12.  C.J. Beathard, QB, Iowa

Beathard was a quarterback I really pulled for this year, but he simply couldn’t get it done. I think this is in part due to some mental struggles he’s had poor accuracy and simply too many turnovers for someone with a limited role in their offense.

Valuation: 7- UDFA

Follow Montel Hardy on Twitter @MontelNF

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