CFN 2017 NFL Draft Analysis & Rankings: Quarterbacks

CFN 2017 NFL Draft Analysis & Rankings: Quarterbacks

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CFN 2017 NFL Draft Analysis & Rankings: Quarterbacks

CFN 2017 NFL Draft Analysis & Rankings: Quarterbacks


From the college football perspective, who are the top quarterbacks in the 2017 NFL Draft?


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It’s the most fascinating aspect of the 2017 NFL Draft – which of the flawed quarterback prospects will rise up and be a star?

The talent dries up really, really fast after the top guys, but about those top guys …

GMs will be fired because of this draft depending on making the right or wrong call on Deshaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes and DeShone Kizer.

So what’s the college football analysis and take on the 2017 NFL Draft quarterback class? Who can play, and who can’t? It’s this simple – who are the ones who matter, and who are the ones who are just guys who’ll make it if someone gets lucky?

After seeing and covering these guys from recruiting until completion, from the college football perspective …

2017 NFL Draft: Quarterbacks

1. DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame

It’s the He’s-Been-My-No. 1-QB-Prospect-For-Over-A-Year-And-Can’t-Bail-Now call.

He’s supposedly not mature enough. His own coach was less the glowing. He’s been called, of all things, a “millennial” – and not in a young, hip sort of way. He dared to be confident enough to say he thinks/wants to be a combination of Tom Brady and Cam Newton, and he’s probably not going to be a Day One star right out of the box.

But he’s also the most talented quarterback in the draft.

The throwing mechanics are right on – or close to it – he’s mobile, strong, has the arm to hit all the throws, the size, and the smarts to be fantastic. No, he’s not a Newton or a Luck in terms of sure-thing skills, but when it comes to what you want in an NFL quarterback’s skills, there’s nothing missing.

Now, what’s not leaking out by teams is his ability to handle himself in questioning and the board when challenged, and it’s possible he turned some people off with his style, but in a class full of question mark quarterbacks – as the NBA draft saying goes – if you’re going to miss, miss big.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 2nd Round

2. Deshaun Watson, Clemson

Don’t get caught up in what he did vs. Alabama – Johnny Manziel lit up Nick Saban, too. So did Trevor Knight in the 2014 Sugar Bowl. Care more about what he did to be the main man to take Clemson over the top over the last few seasons in an improved ACC world that he was able to navigate through.

The ultimate quarterback in terms of leadership skills, smarts, and big-play toughness, he’s got all the intangibles as a winner. However, he’s got just an okay deep arm, threw too many bad interceptions, and he’s got the one problem that’ll be impossible to overcome.

He’s built like a punter.

Aaron Rodgers is only 6-2 and 225 pounds, and he’s been able to survive just fine, and Mitchell Trubisky, apparently, has great size at 6-2 and around 220 pounds. But the 6-2, 221-pound Watson has a different body type – he isn’t built to take too much of a pounding, if any.

Unless you’re put together like Cam Newton, or even with a running back-build like Russell Wilson, mobility at the NFL level isn’t always a major plus considering the shots taken in the open field.

But here’s the thing. Beyond all the knocks and all the concerns, if you’re looking for one quarterback in this draft who could be THE guy to instantly crank up life into your franchise, here you go. If you take Kizer, Trubisky, Mahomes, or one the other iffy prospects, you’re going to be knocked for not seeing it coming. If you take Watson, and he doesn’t work out, you took a shot for the stars.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 1st Round

3. Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina

Very athletic and with good bulk – he’s put together a bit differently than Deshaun Watson, who has roughly the same height and weight – he’s quick, has the arm, and has the pro-style skills to be just about everything the pro types want.

However, he needs a lot more at bats after just starting one year. Kizer and Watson have been through the wars over the last few seasons, while Trubisky needs more seasoning and needs to prove he can process a game at a lightning pace – that only comes with more time.

More of a project than anyone who takes him might like, he’s going to be a massive call considering he’ll probably end up going in the top five. There’s nothing sure-thing about him – he’s more of a project than many might like.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 1st Round

4. Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech

Arm, arm, arm. A power pitcher – literally – he has the pop in his passes missing from everyone else in the draft. The gun can make up for a slew of issues, but in time, there’s going to be a lot to like. He’s quick, mobile, and he obviously knows how to throw coming from the Texas Tech system.

No, Red Raider quarterbacks haven’t been able to translate to the next level, but Mahomes is different with an actual NFL skill set – he wasn’t just a system QB. He’ll make a ton of mistakes trying to make throws that might not be there, but he’ll also make the passes that few NFL passers can think about attempting.

He might need to be broken down a bit by a pro offensive coordinator and built back up, but he’s going to be a whole lot of fun for the team that’s ready to take the ride.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 1st Round

NFL Draft: Dumb Luck If Any Of These Quarterbacks Are NFL-Good Starters

5. Brad Kaaya, Miami

A bit too tall and rangy, he’s a 6-4, 215-pounder who needs to add a little more bulk and size. Throw that in with his mediocre arm strength and total lack of mobility, and there’s a lot not to like. However, he’s smart as a whip and should instantly take to an NFL playbook. Yeah, he doesn’t have a cannon, but he’s got a good enough arm to get by.

To damn with faint praise, he’s the ideal backup. He might not be the next Tom Brady, but he’s going to be really, really rich with a long career bouncing around the league as a dream of a No. 2 if he doesn’t turn into a franchise star.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 3rd Round

6. Davis Webb, California

There’s a chance, in time, he could blossom as the star of the class if he falls into the right system. He’s got the size, he’s one of the best athletes among the quarterbacks, and he’s got the passing game down after starting out at Texas Tech and finishing at Cal. He needs to read Ds better, and he’s not going to bomb downfield, but he’s got unteachable accuracy. Let him develop for a few years, and he could be an ultra-productive starter.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 3rd Round

7. Chad Kelly, Ole Miss

A baller’s baller, he’s a feisty gunslinger who can run, is fearless at pushing the ball down the field, and with one of the best arms in the draft. While everyone is in love with Deshaun Watson for what he did against Alabama, Kelly ripped up the Crimson Tide over the last two years, too. He’ll get knocked for his lack of NFL size, but he’s about as big as Mitchell Trubisky – he’s fine.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 5th Round

8. Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee

With peerless smarts and leadership skills, to go along with incredible athleticism and tons of experience, he can step in right away and handle an NFL playbook. He’s too thin and isn’t built to take an NFL pounding, and he’s way too inconsistent a passer, but he’s just good enough to develop.

On the low side, he’ll go somewhere where he can get two years to develop a bit more and hit the weights, and he could be a mid-round steal. On the roll-the-dice dream side, he’s this year’s mid-round Dak Prescott.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 4th Round

9. Nathan Peterman, Pitt

Everyone wants to make him a possible NFL starter because 1) he rocked in the win over Clemson and 2) Tom Savage came out of Pitt and turned into an okay pro passer. He’s a baller who could be a cheap flier after the first wave of quarterbacks comes off the board, but he doesn’t have elite NFL skills. However, he’ll make tens of millions of dollars as a decent starter and longtime backup.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 3rd Round

10. Jerod Evans, Virginia Tech

It would’ve been interesting to have seen where he’d have gone with one more year under Justin Fuente – he could’ve been one of the hot quarterbacks coming out next year. He needs more throws, more time logged in, and he needs to be more of a consistent midrange passer, but he’s an interesting prospect with great size, a live arm, and a world of upside. Give him a few years and he could turn out to be a find.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 5th Round

NFL Draft: Draft Them. Don’t. Whatever.

11. Cooper Rush, Central Michigan

The spotlight was on this season to see if he could potentially grow into a high-riser of a prospect. He’s got the size, he’s got the experience, and he can be deadly accurate, but he doesn’t have a big-time arm. He’ll get into a camp and should find a longtime role as a ready-to-roll backup option after getting a few looks at a starting gig.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: Free Agent

12. C.J. Beathard, Iowa

There’s upside to hang around a roster for a long time. The spotlight was in in the scouting world, but he didn’t come through with a good year, struggling with his accuracy and regressing overall. Even so, he’s a pro-style quarterback who could bounce around the league for a while holding a clipboard.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 7th Round

13. Sefo Liufau, Colorado

When he was healthy, he turned the Colorado offense into something great last season. But he could never seem to stay in one piece with foot and ankle problems that kept him down. He’s a great leader and he’ll take a pounding, but he’s a camp guy who’ll always be prepared. You want guys like him in your meeting room.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: Free Agent

14. Zach Terrell, Western Michigan

Way too small, doesn’t have the arm, and won’t be able to push a ball deep. However, he’s deadly accurate on short-to-midrange throws, is a tremendous leader, and he’s smart enough to bounce around for a long, long time as a decent backup who can step in and help you survive.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: Free Agent

15. Seth Russell, Baylor

How much can he do after all of the injuries? He could be an interesting camp flier with his combination of size, speed and passing skills. This might sound like it doesn’t matter, but he might stick around as a whale of a scout team passer.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: Free Agent

16. Mitch Leidner, Minnesota

Can he switch positions? At 6-3 and 226 pound with elite leaping ability and great quickness, maybe he can be a mid-range tight end as well as a No. 3 quarterback? All the NFL quarterback tools are there, but he’s not accurate or consistent enough.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: Free Agent

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