- The four first-round candidates are followed by some interesting second-tier passers in the class of 2019.
MORE POSITION RANKINGS: RUNNING BACKS | WIDE RECEIVERS | TIGHT ENDS | OFFENSIVE LINE | DEFENSIVE LINE/EDGE | LINEBACKERS | DEFENSIVE BACKS
1. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma (Overall Rank: 9)
Height: 5' 101⁄8" | Weight: 207 pounds
Murray is an electrifying talent, breathtaking with the ball in his hands but also a strong-armed, cerebral passer who was able to negotiate throwing lanes within the pocket at the college level and torch defenses downfield when extending plays outside the pocket. He was aided by an outstanding system and superior supporting cast in college, and the geometry of the NFL is different—space is at a premium due to the centered hashmarks and the speed of defenders (not to mention a more evenly dispersed talent pool). Vision from the pocket, the most efficient and effective launching point for pass designs, will be an issue. Of the 37 quarterbacks 6' 1" or shorter to finish top-10 in Heisman voting since Doug Flutie in 1984 not moved off the position before the draft, only nine became NFL starters, and the number who became stars (or are on a trajectory to become stars) can be counted on one hand (Vick, Brees, Wilson, Mayfield). Murray will have to protect himself even more aggressively than Russell Wilson does as his build is not as sturdy. But Murray’s out-of-structure playmaking ability makes him capable of busting the most well-schemed defenses. Leadership remains a question after the combine—Murray didn’t assuage fears about his lack of an alpha personality (a trait that boosted Baker Mayfield, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, among others, in recent years), and there are lingering questions about commitment to football.
2. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State (Overall Rank: 14)
Height: 6' 33⁄8" | Weight: 231 pounds
He’s as much of a classic pocket passer as you’ll find among top QB prospects in this era. Haskins is a power thrower with the willingness to test tight windows, and can get the ball into those tight spots with velocity even after he’s moved off his spot. He’s a quiet mover within the pocket, keeping his eyes downfield and moving through progressions with good tempo. He’s also a serviceable athlete who can pick up yards as an occasional scrambler and can be used—though sparingly—on read-option plays. There’s always concern with one-year starters, as opponents haven’t had a chance to truly dissect their games and scheme to take away their strengths, but Haskins encouragingly bounced back from a mid-season lull and finished strong. Multiple MMQB staffers were told he has been acing chalk-talk sessions.
3. Drew Lock, Missouri (Overall Rank: 21)
Height: 6' 33⁄4" | Weight: 228 pounds
His arm talent is as good as anyone’s in this class; Lock will stress defenses vertically and horizontally with his arm. His athleticism combined with that arm talent give him the Mahomes-ian ability to zip throws from awkward platforms. He can also threaten with his legs, extending plays as a passer and picking up yardage as a runner (867 yards and 6.1 per-rushing attempt for his collegiate career). Shaky receiver play cut into his completion percentage early in his career (54.5% as a freshman through junior, 62.9% last year), but Lock is also streaky due to some bad habits that keep popping up. He has a Flacco/Cutler-like habit to drift back for no particular reason and rely solely on that arm talent. A career 52.5 completion percentage and 13-to-14 TD/INT ratio over 10 career games against ranked opponents is concerning as well.
4. Daniel Jones, Duke (Overall Rank: 26)
Height: 6' 51⁄8" | Weight: 221 pounds
Jones has size and his athleticism shows up in his nimble pocket movement and plays he makes as a runner. He’s also accurate (including as a deep-ball thrower), his numbers skewed playing with a receiving corps that couldn’t create separation. But his arm strength is middling-at-best for an NFL starter. His pedigree as a David Cutcliffe product and connection to the Manning brothers will make teams feel good about his floor. He has some similarities to Mitchell Trubisky, capable of creating with his legs but increasingly inaccurate when moving on to second and third reads and picking up a lot of statistical production on RPOs and screens.
5. Will Grier, West Virginia (Overall Rank: 81)
Height: 6' 21⁄2" | Weight: 217 pounds
A twitchy, athletic, gun-slinging quarterback, Grier can be undisciplined in his mechanics and is often erratic as a decision-maker, but his aggressiveness fits in the current NFL. Teams might not trust him early coming out of a very QB-friendly system at West Virginia, and middling arm strength could cap his long-term upside. He’ll enter the NFL as a backup with a chance to develop into a starter.
6. Jarrett Stidham, Auburn (Overall Rank: 102)
Height: 6' 23⁄8" | Weight: 218 pounds
Victimized last season by horrific offensive line play and an overall dysfunctional passing game, Stidham will need to be rebuilt in the NFL. The tools are there—good arm strength and athleticism with a quick release. He seemed uncomfortable with what he was seeing last year, and that could mean a multi-year rebuild and a lot of bust potential.
7. Clayton Thorson, Northwestern (Overall Rank: 129)
Height: 6' 4" | Weight: 222 pounds
He was not healthy last season after tearing his ACL during the 2017-18 bowl season, so it’s a question of whether teams believe in the 2017 Thorson or the disappointing ’18 version. When healthy, he showed good athleticism, proper touch and good tempo working through progressions. He has enough arm for the next level, the bigger concern is precision accuracy. He could end up a starter if that accuracy is refined, but more likely he ends up a career backup.
8. Tyree Jackson, Buffalo (Overall Rank: 141)
Height: 6' 7" | Weight: 249 pounds
The size is ideal, the arm is top-tier, and Jackson has the athleticism to threaten defenses on designed runs and as a scrambler. But Jackson often looks heavy-footed in the pocket and, likely due to his size, struggles to repeat his throwing mechanics, leading to scattershot accuracy. There’s enough in the toolbox to be worth a couple years of development, but Jackson is a long way from being NFL starting-caliber and it’s far from guaranteed he’ll get there.
9. Ryan Finley, NC State (Overall Rank: 155)
Height: 6' 4" | Weight: 213 pounds
A polished QB from a pro-style system, Finley could probably keep an NFL offense on schedule. He has the size and is a decent enough athlete for the next level, and he makes up for a lack of velocity with good accuracy on his throws. He could very well end up a starter as a low-end game manager, but his upside is limited by an inability to test the tightest windows at the next level.
10. Easton Stick, North Dakota State (Overall Rank: 178)
Height: 6' 11⁄4" | Weight: 224 pounds
Stick took over for Carson Wentz at NDSU and kept the Bison rolling thanks to his athleticism and some savvy playmaking skills. He’s a threat with his legs and proved capable of getting the ball out quickly and accurately when he had defined reads. His arm talent is middling there, and he became more scattershot when working deeper into progressions. His legs make him interesting, but whether Stick has even the slightest potential to become a starter is questionable.
11. Brett Rypien, Boise State (Overall Rank: 205)
12. Gardner Minshew, Washington State (Overall Rank: 230)
13. Jordan Ta'amu, Ole Miss (Overall Rank: 238)
14. Trace McSorley, Penn State (Overall Rank: 246)
15. Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State (Overall Rank: 272)
16. Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt (Overall Rank: 286)
17. Eric Dungey, Syracuse (Overall Rank: 306)
18. Jake Browning, Washington (Overall Rank: 321)
19. Jacob Dolegala, Central Connecticut St. Overall Rank: 372)
20. Jacob Knipp, Northern Colorado (Overall Rank: 383)
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