Since the 2001 NFL Draft, there has only been one year (2013) that saw the quarterback position go untouched in the first three picks. Unquestionably the premium position in the NFL today, it has never been safer to assume that at least one quarterback will be gone in the first five picks of the draft, with a strong chance that two come off the board in that range.
The potential 2019 class is currently lacking one thing: any established, consensus order or value amongst the quarterbacks. We’ve got edge pass rushers, interior defensive linemen and offensive tackles that would be first round picks if the draft started today, but the quarterback room hasn’t been this up-in-the-air for a long time.
Each week I’ll be looking at the quarterbacks with potential to be high draft picks in the 2019 class, evaluating where their stock has moved based on their performance the previous week, and highlighting the important upcoming matchups for their evaluation that should be on our radar.
Drew Lock, Missouri
After wrecking Tennessee-Martin, I was excited for Lock to get a much better challenge against a Wyoming defense with a couple NFL talents. He was good, not great, and I still find myself waiting to see him take a big next step. After reviewing the tape, Lock made a couple high degree of difficulty throws, but also put the ball in harm’s way a few times.
Lock has to do a better job of moving through progressions and not locking on to receivers off the snap. His ability to test tight windows with velocity and a quick release is a huge plus, but the eye manipulation and pre-snap recognition of potential coverages/pressures has to improve.
Will Grier, WVU
Hop on board, because Will Grier’s whole season and probably his pre-draft process is going to be a wild ride. In the first six minutes against Youngstown State, Grier threw three passes that could have been intercepted (one was) and held the ball painfully long for a sack where he was nearly stripped.
Later in the game Grier dropped some dimes, but he has been a seesaw through two weeks. It will be very interesting to see how he fares when the competition heats up, although I’m not sure anyone is afraid of N.C. State, Kansas State, Texas Tech or Kansas – Grier’s next four opponents – right now.
Ryan Finley, N.C. State
Finley’s fourth pass of the game was a dropped interception that would almost unquestionably have been a pick six. Other than that, most of what I saw re-watching his performance was more stellar than a week ago, especially when Finley got outside of the pocket.
Georgia State is not a formidable opponent, and Finley’s receivers made a lot of plays for him when the ball went deeper than ten yards. His placement was improved on Saturday, but a test against West Virginia’s defense next week should give us a much better look at Finley.
Sleeper: Brett Rypien, QB, Boise State
Ok, so drubbing UCONN into the ground isn’t exactly beating Alabama, but Rypien made some THROWS in this game, finishing 21-28 passing for 362 yards and three scores. He has a plus arm and has shown good accuracy to all three levels of the field during the Broncos 2-0 start. A date against 24th-ranked Oklahoma State this Saturday should show how for real Rypien (and his team) is.
The Redshirt Juniors
Brian Lewerke, Michigan State
Lewerke’s ability to find receivers on the scramble drill is truly impressive, but he also threw a costly red zone interception in the same manner. Still, the Spartans disappointing loss is difficult to put on Lewerke’s shoulders. During one second half stretch, three of four passes were dropped by his receivers.
Lewerke did miss some open receivers, but I still love his serenity in the pocket and the fact that he doesn’t panic under pressure. There are some real traits worth developing with Lewerke. He’s not a finished product, but he’s looked like one of the top quarterbacks in the class through two weeks.
Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
Stidham only threw 11 passes against Alabama State, completing six of them for 103 yards and a score. We’ll learn a lot more about him against LSU this week, a team that he wilted against down the stretch last season. Can Stidham be “the guy” in a big game for Auburn?
Sleeper: Daniel Jones, Duke
Jones was balling against Northwestern on Saturday, completing 16 of 22 passes for 192 yards and three touchdowns. But then a shoulder injury knocked him out of the game and out of the lineup for the foreseeable future. I hope he can find his way back to the field this season, as the buzz surrounding his name had picked up in recent weeks. Could he possibly return to the lineup in time for a trip to Clemson on November 17?
Justin Herbert, Oregon
A 20-26 showing for 250 yards and four touchdowns looks good on the box score and looked just as good on the field too. It may have been against Portland State, but Herbert was absolutely slinging the rock early on, despite his first three passes of the game being dropped.
Herbert hasn’t played anyone, but he has the best tools, arm talent and ability to vary touch and velocity in the class. We have to see him against better competition before we make any definitive statements, especially since Herbert’s ability to recognize coverages and handle pressure are two of his biggest concerns. One more cupcake before Herbert faces a real test in Stanford in two weeks.
Shea Patterson, Michigan
It was a dink-and-dunk fest for Patterson, who completed 12 of 17 passes for 125 yards and three touchdowns against Western Michigan. Most of the good stuff came on simple passes underneath to wide open receivers, or on play-action rollouts to the flat. Patterson’s one deep shot was woefully underthrown, but caught anyway for a touchdown on a blown coverage.
Patterson still only looks truly comfortable outside of the pocket, which isn’t a great recipe for NFL success. He’s got time to settle in however, with the big games still several weeks away.
Nate Stanley, Iowa
Talk about dink-and-dunk, Iowa’s offense is hard to watch right now. Stanley is still processing slowly and locking onto his first read too soon, but his tools are worth noting. He hasn’t looked ready to be considered amongst the top quarterbacks in the class so far this season, that’s for sure. If that continues to be the case, I’ll be shocked if Stanley declares.
Sleeper: Tyree Jackson, Buffalo
Jackson made some outstanding throws in a big win against Temple, showing off his cannon for an arm, even when off-platform. His stock is going to pick up steam during the draft process because of his size and arm strength, but his accuracy and decision-making have to improve moving forward.
The Redshirt Sophomore
Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
Haskins was almost flawless against Rutgers. He’s looked like one of the top quarterbacks in college football the past two weeks, but a big test comes up in TCU on the road this week. If Haskins continues to look like he has in the Buckeyes’ first two contests, the buzz on him will reach new heights on Saturday.