College Watch List: Quarterbacks

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

With college football right around the corner, it is time to take a look at the players who will be looking to hear their name called in the 2017 NFL Draft. Obviously this list is far from complete. Some players on this list will not live up to expectations while others will pop up throughout the college season to make a name for themselves. This should serve as a guide for any of you who want to get a head start on scouting some of these players. I like to do this exercise so I can plan out which games I want to fill the DVR with and watch as the season progresses. Today, I start with the most important position on the football field, the Quarterbacks.

The NFL Draft can be frustrating and exhilarating at the same time. As a Patriots fan, the frustrating part seems to win out more often than not. Bill Belichick and his staff usually leave us fans scratching our heads after each draft. Belichick’s track record however makes us all realize that he is playing chess while we are all still playing checkers. I thought the team might take a QB in the 2016 draft, but I was thinking a late rounder to develop, not a 3rd round pick. So this year, QB cannot be a high priority, right? Not so fast my friends. Brady will look to continue to defy the odds and play at a high level into his 40’s, but there is not guarantee that will happen. Jimmy G could be moved if he plays well and the price is right. That could mean the Patriots look to add another QB at some point in the draft. Do I think it will be a high priority? No, but I will pay attention more to this year’s class than I did last year. Here are the names I will be keeping an eye on this year.

(note: this list is only Seniors as I am not going to speculate on underclassman)

Josh Dobbs, Tennessee (6’2″, 205 Lbs.)

Chad Kelly, Mississippi (6’2″, 215 Lbs.)

Gunner Kiel, Cincinnatti (6’3″, 208 Lbs.)

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (5’11”, 209 Lbs.)

Mitch Leidner, Minnesota (6’3″, 235 Lbs.)

Wes Lunt, Illinois (6’4″, 215 Lbs.)

Brady Gustafson, Montana (6’6″, 235 Lbs.)

Seth Russell, Baylor (6’2″, 208 Lbs.)

CJ Beathard, Iowa (6’1″, 208 Lbs.)

Zach Terrell, Western Michigan (6’1″, 205 Lbs.)

Cooper Rush, Central Michigan (6’2″, 215 Lbs.)


Overall, this Senior class doesn’t do a lot for me. Dobbs will probably be the highest rated QB in the class, but I don’t see him as a franchise QB at this point. I have heard a lot of positives things on Minnesota’s Mitch Leidner, but he needs to show me more this year. In all honesty, I don’t see a sure fire first rounder at all in this class, not just the Seniors. I am sure one or two of these guys will get pushed up due to the position and need.


If there are any other Seniors you think deserve to be on this list, let me know and I will add them.





26 Responses to “College Watch List: Quarterbacks”

  1. steve earle says:

    Looked to me that Darby played his way onto the 53 barring injury. Made two nice catches in double coverage, one for a TD. He kept catching even the easy ones too. Lots of others are making cuts a real problem for Bill, how terrible, what a nice problem to have.

    • Ryan says:

      Hogan showed up as well. I’m getting pretty confident that we can go 3-1 before Brady returns (the Cardinals are my pick to win the Super Bowl as of now).

    • Jeff says:

      Derby makes a lot of sense as a backup to Gronk and Bennett. If one of them is injured, he should be able to fill some of the pass-catching void better than their other options, allowing them to keep a lot of their 2-TE offense. If they really are going to be running a 2 TE offense most of the time, it wouldn’t be crazy to keep 4 TEs, even if Develin makes the roster at FB. I hope Harbor can start to get involved more now that he’s healthy.

      • steve earle says:

        Your right Jeff, Darby is already looking like a vet out there. I can envision even three TE sets at times. That would give other def’s fits in the red zone I’d think. I’m reall excited about our Offense this year and it’s not just the TE’s. Gaffney is looking really good, Blount is running hard, White looked good and for once we see real depth at WR. If the line stays healthy too we look like a real power.

  2. Jeff says:

    Any chance the Pats bring in Will Beatty late in the process as a replacement for Cannon?

    • GM-in-Training says:

      To all appearances, Cannon is the Swing Tackle covering at LT tonight.
      What is Waddle for?

      • Russell says:

        What I’m hearing is they like Waddle better that Cannon. Look for the kid from Tenn. to get work at ROT, they are hopeing he will stick, over Flemming.

  3. Mike Gerken says:

    I am surprised that a deal has not been done with 1 of the 2 LB’s. I would think the team would want to get a since of how they are going to allocate their money as well as cut down the decision on who to put the franchise tag on if it comes to that. I would wait on Butler for now. He cannot go anywhere next year and I still want to see another year.

    I know it is early and the Patriots rarely make need a priority, but I am looking at OT’s, RB’s, DE’s, CB’s, and LB’s and my main positions to focus on this year.

    • Jeff says:

      With Bennett (and Dobson and Washington, if they make the team) hitting free agency, Amendola again a possible cap casualty, and Edelman increasing in age, I could see WR or TE as a potential high pick for the Pats, especially if they are able to acquire an extra selection or 2 for Jimmy. A 1st/2nd round guy to put with Gronk, Edelman, and Hogan/Mitchell would make a lot of sense.

      Don’t sleep on DT either with Knighton, Branch, Kuhn, and Kearse all hitting free agency. We’ll at least need depth. This might be a position where they sign a free agent, draft a guy early, and pick up another late to play with Brown and Valentine.

  4. GM-in-Training says:

    Here’s another scenario that might have the Pats looking closely at that list of college QB:

    What if Garappolo plays well for the first 4 games of the season, and Brisset develops ok? Could you see the Pats doing an October trade of Garoppolo for a 1-3rd 2017 pick?

    Garoppolo would look like an immediate starter with 1.5 years left on his rookie deal. That could be pretty attractive for a team with immediate need…maybe Houston if Osweiler doesn’t develop, or some other Team with an ex-Patriots coach running a similar system.


    • Russell says:

      only issue with trading Garoppolo mid-season, an injury to Tom, means Brissett is the man.
      “If” your going to trade Garoppolo, next off season before the draft, may be the best time.

    • steve earle says:

      Lots of “ifs and maybes” this time of year but the one thing I’m seeing is the QB class doesn’t impress any of the scouts or pundents, so far anyway. If it remains that way and Garappolo does have a good first four his stock could skyrocket but that has to happen first so your question isn’t answerable. It sure is something everyone will be watching for sure. I kind of think the way russell does about BB keeping Garappolo until the season is over just in case. Guessing which teams may be in the market for a new QB for 17 isn’t easy but I’ll suggest a few and see how folks feel about them.
      Let me offer a surprise team could be the Bengals if Dalton doesn’t get them deep into the play offs. Washington, Oakland, and SF my be in that class too and maybe Chicago too. So what do some of you guys think?

      • Russell says:

        I think there are a few teams that will want a QB next spring. Number one on my list is Detroit , which needs a young guy to develop to follow Stafford. Tampa’s back-up is a free agent at the end of the year, and the Best prospect, but Garoppolo will be cheaper with one year left on his rookie deal “if” traded.
        So “if” I’m Detroit and Garoppolo looks good, I would offer a 2nd pick 2017, and 3d in 2018. Bring him in and get a new 3year extension deal worked out.
        Chicago is number two on my list for a young QB to come in to develop behind Cutler. Same type trade offer, same contract extension idea.

        • steve earle says:

          Right Detriot is so obvious I should have thought of them right off, guess I’m getting old, good idea Russell.

      • Jeff says:

        To me the Bears would be the top candidates to trade for Jimmy. Hopefully he performs well this week and impresses their coaches. Off-season makes the most sense as the team taking him will need time to bring him into their season, and the Pats can make sure Tommy makes it through the season.

  5. GM-in-Training says:

    It’s really hard to predict what the Pat’s greatest areas of need will be next spring. They have so many featured players who need to be extended or replaced…and who knows which it will be.

    Then there’s the question of what 2017 draft capital they will have. They picked up the Sea Hawks’ 4th rounder to replace the pick they forfeited, and they might get a conditional 7th round pick from the Lions (Jon Bostic trade) to replace the pick they traded for Michael Williams awhile back.

    To me, that says the Pats will look to trade some of their depth players in the next 2 weeks. Maybe a DT/DL if they can find a taker for one of their more expensive players.
    Maybe, if they really like a couple of their rookie free agent CB, they would trade Logan Ryan.
    I don’t see anybody bidding on their excess interior OL players, but Stork might be good enough to interest someone else, and just twitchy enough that the Pats are willing to move on.

    After that, it’s a question of how much talent the Pats can stash on their practice squad. Anyplace they’re really deep, with an additional viable guy on the practice squad is a candidate for trading in early October. Usually they do those trades by giving future picks for a guy they need right now (e.g., Akeem Ayers, Akeem Hicks, etc.), but maybe this year they’re so deep they’d move a guy they can live without for a future pick.

    The positions I think they’re most likely to comb the waiver wires for are a veteran run-stuffing LB, or a young 220# RB that can rush between the tackles or block. RB is probably practice squad first, but maybe an exciting one pops up.

    • Russell says:

      Bostic went down with a knee and is done this year, so no 7th pick from Detroit.

    • steve earle says:

      Your mention of Stork brings to my mind that he could be a possable trade given how well Anderson did last year. I also have high hopes for Ted Karris who it looks to me is looking pretty good and could fill the back up OC\OG slot. I’d hate to expose Karris to wavers I think someone would grab him.

      • Russell says:

        I don’t think their is much if any market for Stork with his concussion history. “if” he makes the 53 man roster this year, next year he will be a free agent and let go.
        DE Long will be interesting to watch if he stays healthy, and Ninkovich retires after this year, as a player to resign. Same with Flowers if he does well, Sheard, a free agent will be let go.

        • steve earle says:

          Yea Stork shouldn’t have much value and I would expect any deal for him would be a conditional one. I do believe they will try to move him though just because of the concussion history. Remaines to be seen if that will work out. Given that we expect BB to carry three QB’s this season roster spots becomes more critical I expect so it’s not a lock for Stork to make the 53. Have to wait to see how Karris developes as to get any insight into Storks future.

  6. Russell says:

    Of this group Cooper Rush interests me the most as a latter draft choice. Patriots have some big contracts coming up , Butler, Hightower, Ryan, Collins, Cannon, Sheard. Vollmar, Nickovich, and Slater, will likely retire, with contracts ending this year as well.
    QB Garoppolo’s contract is good until the end of 2017. With Brissett on board as a likely 3d QB on the roster this year, that means one less player at some other position will be gone.
    Offensive Tackle Looks like High need area, Solder’s contract is up soon as well.(2018?)
    I don’t see a Garoppolo trade, but a lot depends on Brissett’s development. I do think you could see a Collins trade, as he will be the most costly to keep. (Dallas for 1st draft choice)
    So I think the 2017 draft;
    It’s early but I like;
    1st- LB Kendell Beckwith, LSU or CB Desmond King Iowa (unlikely available)
    2nd- OT Cole Croston Iowa, or OT Dan Skipper Arkansas
    3d- DE Jeremiah Ledbetter Aransas,

    • jim r says:

      Russell would love to see them grab one of the high profile RB’s this year. This class is loaded at RB

      • Russell says:

        Hi jim r…. They could go get a RB but I don’t think they will, unless they add an early draft choice with a LB Collins trade. There are just to many other areas they will want to add youth.

    • steve earle says:

      Hi Russell, must say I really like some of the RB class this year though don’t think we take one earlier then a 3rd but who knows. Also I like the OT class McDermott\UCLA, McGlinchy\ND and Mason Cole\Mich I’d add to your list of early possable picks next spring. About resigning guys I think/hope Bill finds a way to resign Butler, Collins and Hightower I would hate to lose their experance and brake up the defence. One more question, once again Dobson is looking good thus far in camp, is this the year he keeps himself injury free and becomes the player he was supposed to be?

      • Russell says:

        Butler will be interesting to watch, as a restricted free agent, and could get the Patriots an offer sheet with a late 1st- early 2nd draft pick in 2017.

        • steve earle says:

          Given the difficulty finding really good CB’s it seems to me Butler should be a priority and extending him early might be far more cost effective then waiting, but what do I know of the overall stratagity BB is working under?

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