NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
I thought I would deviate from the scouting reports today and pull the curtain back on how I have ranked some of these players by position. I will do this periodically throughout the draft season, but today I thought I would start with the most important position on the field, but probably not the highest priority for the Patriots come April.
Right off the bat, I will tell you that this Quarterback class is underwhelming to say the least. That could be a good thing for the Patriots however. Teams that are desperate for a QB are going to look at this class and have to make a decision on whether they want to risk drafting and developing one of these guys, or give up the necessary draft capital to get Jimmy Garoppolo. I might be a bit biased here, but if I was one of those teams, I would have no issue giving up a high draft pick(s) to get Jimmy G over any of the guys in this draft class. To me, there is not a single prospect that deserves a first round grade. Now we all know that QB’s get pushed up draft boards, but teams who decide to risk it could be in big trouble next year and beyond. Here is how I rank out the class.
- DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame: Kizer has all the physical attributes teams look for in a franchise QB. He has a strong arm and has shown the ability to make all the throws necessary to be successful in the NFL. He has good touch on his deep ball and shows good pocket presence. He keeps his eyes downfield even when there is trash around his feet. Kizer is young with some mechanical issues, but they are minor and look fixable. He was benched multiple times late in games and confidence may be an issue. Footwork and reading defenses needs development. Kizer needs to work on his touch and ball placement in the short to intermediate routes and he must learn to get rid of the ball quicker.(2nd round)
- Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech: Mohomes has a rocket for an arm and can make every NFL throw from day one. He is an accurate passer from the pocket as well as on the move. He shows the ability to change arm angles and ball speed depending on the situations. He reads defenses well and has no fear trying to fit the ball into tight windows. Mahomes is athletic and can make plays with his feet. He has a good feel for pressure and does a nice job of manipulating defenses with his eyes. He played in the Air Raid Offense and seemed to be playing back yard football most of the time rather than in a structured offense. He has no consistency in his mechanics because of his rogue style. He is always looking for the home run rather than the smart check down, which lead to turnovers. He will need time to learn and play within a structured offense and he may not have the temperament to do so. (2nd round)
- Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina: Trubisky has a good combination of size and athleticism for the position. While he won’t be considered a dual threat QB, he has the athleticism to extend drives with his legs if need be. He is a smart player that shows good pocket awareness. He senses pressure and moves within the pocket while maintaining his focus downfield. He is a consistent passer with accuracy to all three levels of the field. Trubisky is a smart player and a leader despite only being a one year starter. He needs to improve on his ability to manipulate defenses as he tends to stare down his intended receiver. He only has 13 career starts and is still learning how to play the position. Almost every facet of his game needs more time to develop before he can be counted on as an every week starter in the NFL. (2nd/3rd round)
- DeShaun Watson, Clemson: Watson is a gifted athlete who showed in college he can do just as much damage with his feet as he can with his arm. He is the consummate winner and shows fantastic natural leadership ability. Seems to have the “it” factor despite his physical limitations. He throws a good deep ball, showing the ability to drop it into receivers hands on a consistent basis. He lacks the ideal physical attributes NFL teams look for and I am concerned he will not hold up in the NFL if he does use his legs too often. His accuracy is inconsistent due to his mechanics and footwork. Watson was not asked to read or manipulate defenses and he will have to make a big jump from a learning standpoint to understand and run a more complex offense in the NFL. (3rd round)
- Nathan Peterman, Pittsburgh: Peterman is a smart player with decent size. He will not wow you like the names above from an athletic standpoint. Peterman ran a pro style offense and is ahead of the curve in that respect. He shows good anticipation, throwing receivers open rather than the other way around. He does a nice job of reading defenses and has the ability to look defenders off. He is an accurate passer to all three levels of the field. He does not have the strongest arm, but has excellent timing and anticipation on his throws. His footwork will breakdown when pressured, leading to errant throws. He may not have a ton of upside, but could be an excellent backup or spot starter and win a team some games. (4th round)
- Brad Kaaya, Miami: I had a lot of hope for Kaaya when I saw him as a freshman on a Thursday night game against Virginia Tech I believe. Unfortunately, his game didn’t develop over the next 3 years like I thought it would. He has okay size for the position, but needs to continue to get stronger. He has an good arm, but not great. He relied more on touch and anticipation rather than arm strength to complete his passes. He needs to be quicker with his decisions and must learn to read defenses. He took a lot of hits at Miami and has had some injuries, but he played with toughness and was always willing to stand in and take a hit. (4th round)
- Davis Webb, California: Webb is a tall QB with a big frame. He has good mechanics and throws a pretty ball. He is willing to stand in the pocket and allow his receivers time to get open. Webb shows good footwork to shuffle around in the pocket. He has a strong arm but did not use it a lot in college. Webb is slow to read defenses and late on throws. He played in an offense where most his passes were shorter than 10 yards. He played in a similar style offense to Mahomes and will need time to develop. (5th round)
- Jerod Evans, Virginia Tech: Evans has an intriguing combination of size, athleticism and arm talent. He has a big arm that can throw anyone open downfield. He showed nice touch on his deep balls as well. He has the athletic ability to make plays with his legs when needed. Evans won with athleticism more than anything and he needs time to develop his footwork and mechanics. Evans would have benefited from another year in college the team that drafts him will be looking at a long term project with upside. There is raw talent there and he is one of the more athletically gifted QB’s in this class, it just needs to be developed. If a team has patience with him, they could be rewarded. (5th/6th round)
- Josh Dobbs, Tennessee: Dobbs is a very smart player. He showed that he can read defenses and go through his progressions when his initial read is not open. Dobbs is an above average athlete and is a threat as a runner. He is very thin and needs to add bulk if he is going to survive in the NFL. He showed good touch and accuracy on his deep balls, but is inconsistent on the short to intermediate throws. It seems he does not always trust what he sees, leading to late and inaccurate throws. He needs to get quicker at everything. (7th round)
- Chad Kelly, Mississippi: I would have had Kelly a little higher on this list, but on and off field issues push him down. Kelly has decent size for the position, but he probably has one of the best arms of any QB in this class. He throws an effortless ball that come out with good zip. He showed in college he could make every NFL throw with ease. He also did a nice job of throwing with good anticipation. He is a fierce competitor. His mechanics need work and he relied more on his arm strength than technique. Kelly needs to work on his poise in the pocket as well. He made some bad decisions, throwing into tight spots and getting burned for doing so. He has had a laundry list of injuries that will need to be checked out as well as several run ins with coaches and other off field issues that might make it tough for any team to draft him. If he can get his emotions under control, he has the talent to out perform where he gets drafted, but it is going to take a team with a strong locker room to feel comfortable bringing him in. (7th round)
Like I said earlier, this QB class is underwhelming. A team expecting any of these guys to come in and change the fate of there franchise in year one is going to be very disappointed. I don’t see any of these guys ready to compete for a starting job in their first year. Unfortunately, teams are desperate and will ask one or two of these guys to do just that, and most likely they will not have the desired results they were looking for. I like what I saw from Trubisky on film, but I think he goes much higher (probably top 10) than I would want to pick him. Peterman could be an intriguing selection, but I think his upside is limited and I would not feel comfortable thinking he could be any more than a quality backup.