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
Bye week for Drew Lock. He gets South Carolina this Saturday.
Will Grier, WVU
I thought Grier made mostly good decisions and had a strong first half against Texas Tech. When his mechanics are right, the ball comes out of his hand beautifully. Grier can throw with velocity and touch, and typically has the ability to vary both at will.
The issue is that his base can be inconsistent, and his release point often alters dramatically. I’m a consistency nut with quarterbacks, but it is still difficult to ignore the strides that Grier has taken this season. I thought he was borderline draftable at best after last year, but he’s become a more composed, in-structure passer this year, albeit playing pretty pathetic defenses.
Ryan Finley, N.C. State
We’re at that point in the season where, watching these guys every week, you start to figure out who has it and who doesn’t. Finley just doesn’t have it, not to be a first round pick anyway. Arm isn’t good enough, ball placement isn’t good enough, doesn’t throw with enough anticipation, and everything vertical is a 50-50 ball. Receivers bailed him out of a couple interceptable throws with great ball skills on Saturday. He’ll be a decent NFL backup, but never a preferable starter.
The Redshirt Juniors
Brian Lewerke, Michigan State
I saw a couple of Lewerke’s throws in this game, asked Kyle about his performance as a whole. I don’t think Michigan State’s supporting cast is great, but I’m not sure Lewerke is pro-ready either. A handful of questionable decisions every game and sloppy mechanics are keeping him from reaching his peak. Going back to school could be the best decision for the redshirt junior.
Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
It was against Southern Mississippi, but Stidham threw the deep ball pretty well and gave his receivers’ chances to make plays down the field, which is more than you’ll typically get from him. His process under pressure isn’t very sustainable in my opinion, but against lower-level competition he often makes it work. Big one coming up for him this week against a Mississippi State team fighting for their season.
Sleeper: Daniel Jones, Duke
This was my first good look at Jones, and I definitely see what some people like. He’s fairly mobile, moves well in the pocket and isn’t afraid to test tight windows. He dropped a couple pretty touch throws against Virginia Tech, showing good range and placement down the field.
Unfortunately Jones arm is just good, not great, and his throwing motion is a little slower than you’d like. He threw late to the boundary a couple times and was nearly intercepted at least twice. Jones has a bad habit of staring targets down and will still need to become a lot more nuanced before he’s ready for starting reps in the NFL.
Justin Herbert, Oregon
Herbert is pulling away as the clear-cut QB1 in the class. Some of the throws he is making are just incredible, high degree of difficulty passes that he’s making with pinpoint accuracy. Yes, some of the mental aspects of the position are still coming along for Herbert, but his toolset is absolutely special. Now we just have to hope he declares.
Shea Patterson, Michigan
I think Patterson has definitely helped his draft stock since Week 1, but enough to leave school early? I don’t know about that. He has more tools than Finley, but doesn’t throw with anticipation very often, leading to a lot of improvised plays or late balls down the field.
Patterson’s ability to make play from the pocket or in scramble drills, without being a chaos-seeking quarterback, will interest NFL teams. How good he can be as an in-structure quarterback will really be tested against Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin. Right now, the processing still isn’t quick enough.
Nate Stanley, Iowa
Bye week for Nate Stanley, who comes back with Minnesota, Indiana and Maryland over the next three weeks. Still not sure I see a player who is likely to declare early in Stanley.
The Redshirt Sophomore
Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
I was really hoping that playing Penn State would provide a strong measuring stick for Haskins, but the tape was disappointing. He definitely wasn’t great when he did go down the field, but it was hard to get a great feel for him when Ohio State’s passing attack was screens, swing passes, curls and drag routes all game long.
I didn’t love how Haskins handled pressure, and at times he did look frenetic moving through his reads. He threw off his back foot several times and the ball floated dangerously on him. Haskins will need to play better than this against Michigan, Wisconsin and others to keep pushing his stock high enough to potentially declare after the season.