Category: Quarterback

QB Danny Etling, Louisiana St.

6’3” – 222 lbs. – 4.76

Profile:

  • Originally attended Purdue, and started seven of eight games played as a true freshman. Started the first five games of the subsequent season, but struggled and ended up losing the starting job. Transferred to Louisiana St., sitting out a year, and then started ten games as a junior and all thirteen as a senior, enjoying his most efficient season.

Positives:

  • Started thirty-five games over four seasons; has a pretty good growth trajectory, improving in each of the last two seasons. Looked a little bit thin on tape, but size and bulk are adequate for a pro passer. Worked primarily out of the shotgun but appears to have pretty clean footwork on his three-step dropbacks. Able to get the ball out quickly on predetermined reads when working the short passing/screen game. Throws a soft, catchable ball with appropriate touch, including downfield. Has a good feel for timing with his deep throws and was able to feed D.J. Chark downfield. Able to drop his arm angle if needed. Did a good job of protecting the ball this past year. Flashes the ability to climb the pocket or extend the play. Has enough athleticism to pick up the occasional first-down on designed quarterback runs, or to roll out on bootlegs and find receivers in the short passing game.

Negatives:

  • Checkdown-heavy passer who relies on timing instead of raw arm strength. Doesn’t always step into his throws. Accuracy/ball placement is questionable at best, especially the further his throws are from the line of scrimmage. Even when presented with a clean pocket, has a tendency to overthrow receivers, and struggled to complete passes on the run during the games reviewed. Only topped 60% completion percentage in one season, although his accuracy ticked upward in his final two seasons. Eats a lot of sacks for a quarterback who rarely throws the ball. Very inconsistent on a game-to-game basis.

Summary:

  • Game-manager type who was able to limit mistakes and protect the football this past season, but who projects as a career backup because he is a frustratingly inaccurate and inconsistent passer, especially for someone who throws most of his balls less than ten yards downfield. Projects as more of a practice-squad/number three option with a somewhat low ceiling.
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QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville*

6’2” – 216 lbs. – 4.40e

Profile:

  • Started nine games as a freshman. Won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore, totaling over five thousand combined yards and fifty-one touchdowns. Went over five thousand yards again as a junior, totaling forty-five touchdowns but finishing behind Baker Mayfield in Heisman voting. Decided to forego his senior season in order to declare for the draft.

Positives:

  • Has a reasonable combination of height and bulk for a pro quarterback. A true dual threat who dominated college football over the past two seasons as both a passer and a runner. Electric athlete with outstanding elusiveness and speed; can often escape from pressure and create something out of nothing. Was able to create with his legs on designed draws and read options, plays which constituted a major part of his offense. Has some experience going through progressions. Has a quick release, throwing darts with a three-quarters delivery. Excellent raw arm talent; possesses effortless arm strength to flick the ball downfield with velocity using his wrist. Deep balls can sail on the outside but exhibits the ability to drop in some passes with touch down the field. Considered to be very humble off the field.

Negatives:

  • Frame looks a little bit thin. Does his work from the pistol and shotgun and will have to adjust to taking snaps from under center at the next level. Accuracy is the major question mark about his game, however; really suffers to throw the ball outside the hashes, spraying it around. Could take something off of his shorter throws. Forces receivers to adjust to his throws, limiting opportunities to generate yards after the catch. Doesn’t always open up and step into throws, passing from a narrow base at times. Has a tendency to stare down targets and makes some questionable decisions to throw the ball into tight coverage. A tougher runner than anticipated, but has a thin frame and subjects it to a lot of big hits, which could create question marks about his ability to withstand the punishment of the pro game. Wonderlic score of 13. Teams will probably need to tailor an offense around his particular strengths and limitations, rather than inserting him into a traditional pro-style offense.

Summary:

  • Sure to be a polarizing prospect because he doesn’t fit the traditional mold of a pro quarterback. Has a highly intriguing combination of athleticism and arm strength which made him one of the most exciting college quarterbacks in recent memory, but also has accuracy struggles and scheme fit questions which make him a significant gamble. Will probably go in the first round for a team willing to roll the dice.

QB Josh Rosen, UCLA*

6’4” – 226 lbs. – 4.92

Profile:

  • First UCLA quarterback to start the first game of his career. Enjoyed a highly productive freshman campaign, but sophomore season ended after six games due to a throwing-shoulder injury. Missed two games as a junior due to separate concussions, but put together his most productive season overall. Decided to forego his senior season to declare for the draft.

Positives:

  • Tall, confident quarterback with three years of starting experience for a major program. Very good mechanics. Has experience working from under center, and exhibits pretty clean footwork when dropping back, and shows the ability to transfer weight and drive into throws. Was asked to go through progressions in college, which should smooth his transition to the NFL; shows the ability to look off safeties in order to enable downfield shots. Has a quick delivery and the ball really jumps out of his hands. Possesses very good arm strength and gets plenty of zip on the ball. Is very confident in his arm, making a lot of impressive throws into tight windows. Pretty accurate ball placement from within the pocket. Demonstrates the ability to climb the pocket and buy time for his receivers, keeping his eyes downfield. Throws a lot of screen passes and gets the ball out quickly in order to facilitate yards after the catch.

Negatives:

  • Decision making and mechanics evaporate under pressure too frequently. Has a tendency to bird-dog his receivers, leading to turnovers. Favors throws over the middle of the field, even when doing so calls for him to try and squeeze balls into dangerously tight coverage. Tends to miss high rather than low, with intermittent ball placement issues cropping up. Hangs some of his receivers out to dry over the middle of the field. Not very accurate once he’s fled the pocket, and doesn’t have much athleticism to challenge defenses with his legs. Character will require further investigation, as it’s been rumored that he is not very popular with teammates, and there are some questions about how much he loves football. Throwing-shoulder injury sustained as a sophomore and two concussions sustained last season raise medical flags.

Summary:

  • Among the quarterback prospects in this year’s draft, is possibly the most pro-ready option by virtue of having played for three years under former pro head coach Jim Mora. He has all of the tools teams look for, experience in a pro-style offense, and sound throwing mechanics. A first-round lock who may fall behind some of the other passers because of questions about his character and durability.

 

QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

6’1″ – 215 lbs. – 4.84

Was originally a walk-on at Texas Tech, starting seven of eight games played as a freshman, but transferred rather than compete with other players for the starting role in 2014. Sat out that season, then put together three highly productive seasons for the Sooners, culminating with being awarded the Heisman Trophy this past season. Gunslinger who plays with plenty of swagger (some would say too much); leadership qualities are highly-regarded. Comes from a beautiful shotgun spread offense which asked him to make a lot of throws over the middle of the field and on shorter swing passes, screens, etc. designed to facilitate yards after the catch. Some teams may have system concerns given that he didn’t have to make a lot of reads in college, and many of his throws were shorter passes to primary targets that turned into big runs. Throwing motion is a little bit inconsistent but has a quick, compact delivery. There’s some inconsistency in his game in terms of weight transfer and throwing from a stable platform as well; made a lot of throws off of his back foot, but was able to step into throws further downfield to avoid underthrowing passes during the games reviewed. Has very good ball placement and timing, including on throws down the field and toward the sidelines; in terms of accuracy, stands at the top of this year’s class. Provides a catchable ball with good touch, facilitating the yards after the catch which were critical to his team’s success. Also throws with good velocity and has the confidence to take chances into tight coverage; solid arm strength overall. Very good at extending the play, with good pocket movement to escape the rush. Does a good job of keeping his eyes downfield when the play breaks down, although he’s also able to pick up some first downs with his feet. Also carried the ball on some designed runs and flashes a good stiff arm and plenty of competitiveness. Antics on and off the field require scrutiny; was arrested for public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest in 2017. There’s a lot to like about his cocky style of play, accurate passing, and ability to throw the ball down the field, traits which have generated comparisons to former first-round pick Johnny Manziel; like Manizel, it’s possible that Mayfield’s success will depend as much on his character as on his football ability.

QB Josh Allen, Wyoming

6’5″ – 237 lbs. – 4.75

Spent one season at Reedley Community College in 2014, then transferred to North Dakota St. and started one game the following season before taking over full-time starting duties the following year, a role which he reprised this past season. Humble, competitive demeanor. Big quarterback who played in a pro-style offense which asked him to work from under center on a regular basis. Footwork can be a little bit lackadaisical at times, but exhibits the ability to make drops and transfer weight effectively. Has experience going through progressions when his first read is well-covered. Throws with a three-quarters release point. Has a strong, rifle arm and is confident in his ability to make throws into tight windows; able to fit the ball in with raw arm strength even on off-platform throws. Uses appropriate touch on his passes. Throws passes to the sidelines and down the field like a pro quarterback. Major question mark is his accuracy and the overall consistency of his output; will miss some passes because he doesn’t have his feet set, and his deep balls can sail on him at times. Looks like he has the potential to clean up his footwork and make strides, but historically accuracy has been difficult to improve as college quarterbacks transition to the pro game. A true dual-threat quarterback who did a good job of extending the play and keeping his eyes downfield to buy time for his receivers. Escapes from the pocket well, but not unnecessarily; will stand in and take a hit in order to complete a pass. Able to complete throws while rolling out; was asked to do so frequently off of play action. Very tough player who doesn’t shy away from contact and can be a little bit chippy. Can shrug off opponents in the pocket like Ben Roethlisberger. Also converted some first downs with his feet on designed runs, and was a short-yardage and goal-line option for his team as well. Changes speeds on draws; long-strider with some elusiveness who’s capable of picking up chunks of yardage. Huge paws give him good ball security; able to hang onto the ball even when blindsided by opposing rushers. Has some injury concerns; broke his collarbone in 2015, and hurt his throwing shoulder this past year. Perhaps the draft’s greatest mystery; has outstanding tools for a pro quarterback and perhaps this class’s highest ceiling at the position, but wasn’t able to consistently put it together over the course of his college career.

QB Kyle Lauletta, Richmond

6’3″ – 222 lbs. – 4.81

Appeared in four games in a reserve capacity in 2013, then redshirted before taking over as the team’s starting quarterback in 2015. Spent the past three seasons as Richmond’s starting quarterback, making his senior campaign his most productive en route to a Senior Bowl invitation. Team captain. Pretty well-built quarterback with adequate height and bulk for a pro passer. Played in a shotgun offense which featured a lot of predetermined, rhythm-based throws. Has adequate footwork and weight transfer when throwing the ball, and manages to get it out quick with a three-quarters release point. A pretty accurate passer who will let passes sail when throwing down the field but generally throws a catchable ball with touch on the shorter throws which make up most of his attempts. Wasn’t asked to really see the whole field and work through progressions very often, but didn’t take unnecessary risks with the ball; got himself into trouble more by missing high down the field than by making poor decisions. Can look off opponents playing in zone coverage. Also has enough athletic ability to roll out to either side of the field and complete passes, or keep the ball and run for occasional first downs on designed quarterback keepers. Pretty tough player who also has some escapability in the pocket when pressured; however, could do a better job of keeping his eyes downfield and looking for targets when the play breaks down. Biggest limitation is his arm strength, which is on the borderline of what’s acceptable at the pro level. Doesn’t throw a particularly tight spiral and lacks the ability to rifle passes with velocity, which will limit the windows he’s able to throw into at the next level. Furthermore, as mentioned previously he also struggles with his accuracy down the field, constraining his ability to win with ball placement. If he’s able to overcome the significant jump in the level of competition he’s playing against, learn to operate from under center, and learn to read opposing defenses, then, he may still be limited to more of a dink-and-dunk passing game which will allow opponents to crowd the line of scrimmage. Low ceiling may limit him to more of a backup role, and consequently is probably more likely to be a mid-round pick, beginning his career as a practice-squad option or third quarterback.

QB Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma St.

6’5″ – 235 lbs. – 4.90

Father was also a college football player at the University of North Carolina. Started two of three games played in his first season with the Cowboys, then took over the starting role in 2015 and enjoyed three highly-productive seasons with escalating output to conclude his college career, culminating in passing for nearly five thousands yards this past season. Easygoing, approachable demeanor off the field. Tall, well-built passer who plays in a shotgun spread offense featuring package plays. Wasn’t really asked to drop back so he’ll have to make an adjustment to working from under center in terms of his footwork and in terms of reading defenses. Flashes the ability to read the whole field, albeit not consistently. Does a good job of utilizing his checkdown options and not taking unnecessary risks with the ball. Gets the ball out quickly with a high release point to avoid batted balls, but could do a better job of transferring his weight to generate velocity. One of the most accurate passers in this year’s class. Was asked to make a lot of pro-style, “big boy” throws down the field and toward the boundaries; racked up far more yardage on downfield passes than other highly-ranked quarterbacks in this year’s class. However, the ball doesn’t always have a ton of life coming out of his hand, which forced him to use anticipation to complete passes at times. Has very good placement, including downfield, where he displays the ability to drop it into a bucket with touch; intermediate passes near the sidelines have a slight tendency to sail on him. Will throw some fifty-fifty passes down the field. Did a good job of protecting the football in college, throwing just twenty-two interceptions over three seasons in the starting lineup despite playing in an offense which called for him to attempt plenty of throws. Has had a little bit of success running the ball on play-fakes or read options, but is not very mobile and doesn’t buy a lot of time with his feet when the protection breaks down. Considered one of the more polarizing quarterback prospects in this year’s class, but has almost all of the tools teams look for in a pocket passer and was asked to do a lot of the things pro teams ask of their quarterbacks in terms of going through progressions, throwing the ball outside the hashes and down the field, and anticipating throws.

QB Sam Darnold, Southern California*

6’3″ – 221 lbs. – 4.85

Redshirted in 2015. Following Cody Kessler’s graduation (third round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2016), won the starting job from Max Browne during the subsequent season, starting nine of thirteen games played as a redshirt freshman. Earned first-team all-conference honors this past season and decided to forego his final two seasons of eligibility to declare for the draft. Has good size for his position. Something of a hard-nosed, throwback quarterback temperamentally; desirable mental makeup for a pro passer. Worked out of the shotgun in college and will need to adjust to taking snaps from under center in terms of his footwork and in terms of turning his back to the defense. Lets the ball dip a little bit in his release, which looks similar to Russell Wilson’s. Despite some inconsistencies in his footwork and weight transfer, is a good rhythm passer who throws with accuracy, even when throwing downfield or outside the hashes; makes some beautiful throws down the sidelines. Uses appropriate touch/velocity on his throws, with a catchable ball. Has a strong enough arm to complete passes outside the hashes. Willing to take chances downfield, but generally those are calculated risks, with decision-making issues cropping up only occasionally. Able to see the whole field with vision/awareness; showed that he is capable of manipulating safeties with his eyes. Not a great athlete but has enough speed to pick up first downs when given a clear lane; able to put his head down and fight for yardage. Is able to complete passes on the run; although his accuracy is generally good when outside the pocket, however, decision-making can suffer. Has a tendency to hold onto the ball and flee the pocket prematurely rather than climbing against outside pressure. Had some issues with both fumbles and interceptions last season. Tough demeanor, combined with broken foot sustained in high school, could create some minor concerns about his durability. Possibly the safest prospect in this year’s quarterback crop, given that he was asked to go through progressions, make pro-style throws outside the hashes and down the field, and offers a good temperament for a pro quarterback. Those traits should make him one of the first players off the board this year, although some of his competitors for number one overall, namely Josh Allen and Josh Rosen, may have somewhat higher upside. Ability to protect the football will determine how successful he becomes at the next level.

QB BRAXTON MILLER, OHIO ST.

QB #5 BRAXTON MILLER, OHIO ST.

6’2” – 215 lbs. – 4.65e

Took over the starting role four games into his true freshman season; has been highly productive at the helm of Urban Meyer’s offenses. Has adequate height and a thick build. Operates out of the shotgun; will have to adjust to making drops from under center and re-reading defenses after turning his back. Footwork on his drops will need some further refinement, but is serviceable; however, despite stepping into his throws, doesn’t effectively transfer his weight onto the front foot, which limits his velocity. Throws a tight spiral and a very catchable ball overall; fairly accurate passer, although he tends to miss high rather than low. However, didn’t have to make many pro-style throws at the intermediate level and may lack the arm strength to fit the ball into tight windows. Uses more of a three-quarters delivery, which leads to some of his passes being batted down at the line; arm angle also tends to drop on shorter throws. Hasn’t been asked to function as an anticipatory thrower, but will need to become one at the pro level, especially given his average arm strength. Production has been inflated by a high volume of predetermined short-yardage passes including screens, although he did make some strides from 2012 to 2013 in terms of making secondary reads. Effective running the read-option; follows his blocks well. Elusive in the open field, with the ability to make the first man miss. Mobile enough to take advantage of an open rushing lane, but generally tries to keep his eyes downfield and find receivers when evading rushers; brilliant ability to extend the play versus pressure. Can throw on the run. Tough runner who is willing to play hurt. However, needs to do a better job of protecting his body by sliding to avoid hits; had surgery on his throwing shoulder following the 2013 season and will miss the 2014 season after re-injuring it. A more polished prospect than former Buckeye Terrelle Pryor, Miller’s footwork, albeit from out of the shotgun, is actually fairly advanced, and he throws a nice football. However, will need to become accustomed to working from under center, reading defenses, working through multiple progressions, and anticipating throws, in addition to making more pro-style throws; consequently, profiles more as a developmental backup than a legitimate starting option.

Games watched: Iowa (’13), Michigan St. (’13), Wisconsin (’13)

QB SHANE CARDEN, EAST CAROLINA

QB #5 SHANE CARDEN, EAST CAROLINA

6’2” – 221 lbs. – 4.80e

Redshirted in 2010, then appeared in one game at wide receiver in 2011 before succeeding Dominique Davis in 2012; will enter the draft with three years of starting experience. Possesses adequate height and a relatively thick build for a pro quarterback prospect. Operates out of the shotgun. Awkward sidearm/three-quarters motion, albeit with a quick release. Mechanics tend to deteriorate versus pressure, but flashes the ability to climb the pocket given outside pressure. Occasionally runs himself into trouble when his protection is still well-positioned. Footwork is very poor at this stage; throws without setting his feet or transferring weight, which has a deleterious effect on his accuracy. Sprays the ball all over the field; mediocre ball placement downfield somewhat diminishes the value offered by his arm strength. Nonetheless, despite poor weight transfer, gets great velocity on his passes, with a tight spiral; applies appropriate touch. Can fit the ball into tight windows. Confident passer, but a bit of a gunslinger who attempts passes he shouldn’t. Has some experience working through progressions and looking off safeties on his deep throws. Not much of a runner, but does have a little bit of experience carrying the ball on designed runs such as draws or read-option plays; has scored a handful of goal-line touchdowns each year. Reasonably accurate making throws when rolling to his right. Has some upside due to his impressive arm and ability to manipulate defensive backs with his eyes, but his footwork, his weight transfer, and his throwing motion are all in need of significant improvement; additionally, he will need to transition from passing exclusively out of the shotgun to lining up under center. Teams will be forced to determine whether or not his extensive starting experience has fossilized his poor technique, or whether he would be able to make significant strides by working with a pro quarterbacks coach; successfully overhauling his footwork in particular would go a long way toward mitigating his accuracy issues. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he could develop into a starter, but at this point he projects as more of a career reserve.

Games watched: North Carolina (’13), North Carolina St. (’13), Ohio (’13)