With the 2019 NFL Draft nearing, my evaluations are concluding and it’s time to start revealing final rankings for the class. A year after five quarterbacks were selected in the first round, we could still see three or four this year but the caliber of prospects is a steep drop off. This week’s edition of 6-Pack Thursday is dedicated to revealing my final QB rankings and sharing my top takeaways from the crop.
I hope that this column has become a staple for you each week, but just in case you are new, 6-Pack Thursday is my weekly brain dump on six football-related things that involve the NFL, College Football or NFL Draft.
Let’s crack this thing open!
If you told me in December that Kyler Murray would be the No.1 quarterback in my final positional rankings for the class I would have called you a liar but here we are. There’s a lot to be concerned with Murray. At 5-foot-10, he’s in the zero percentile for height when it comes to quarterbacks at the Combine since 2011, and at a suprisingly-good-number-for-him weight of 207 pounds, he’s in eight percentile. In addition, he’s a one-year starter that hasn’t been particularly impressive with media interviews and has been indecisive about even pursuing a career in football until recently. Not necessarily the stuff you want to be talking about with a guy destined to be a high first-round pick if not the No. 1 overall selection.
All that stuff aside, there is so much intrigue when it comes to Murray’s skill set. First of all, he features outstanding arm strength and is generally accurate with his ball placement. He is capable of making every throw and can challenge the deep portions of the field. Secondly, he is a truly dynamic athlete that has the upside to run all over NFL defense. He’s explosive and has outstanding spatial awareness to not take big hits and protect his diminutive frame while ripping off big gains.
There is a natural playmaking skill set present with Murray that is easy to like and he represents the highest upside and is the most dynamic quarterback prospect in this year’s class. The NFL is trending in a way that is favorable to a prospect like Murray to find success and his career will be intriguing to follow.
Lock to Haskins Gap Is Small
I am not high on either Lock or Haskins but they will inevitably become top-15 selections next month. Haskins is so plain and for a statuesque pocket-passer, I don’t love his deep ball placement or mechanical inconsistency. It’s like a quarterback that likes to work off-script and scramble but isn’t athletic. If you are going to be pocket passer then I want smooth and consistent mechanics with the ability to dice up secondaries to every level. I don’t see that in Haskins but he’s relatively inexperienced so perhaps there is room for growth.
While Lock sits one spot below Haskins on my board, they are separated by one hundredth of a point in my numerical grading system. Arguably there are more tools in Lock’s arsenal compared to Haskins, but he has his own share of concerns in terms of handling pressure, mechanics and working progressions. I do like his size, mobility, arm strength and deep ball placement as the foundation to build upon. Despite being a 40+ game starter in the SEC, Lock made positive strides this year in a new system, indicating he isn’t quite a finished product.
Jordan Ta’amu is the Most Interesting Developmental QB
Scouting seven different Ole Miss offensive prospects for this year’s class and a ton of defensive prospects they faced in the SEC, I’ve learned how much I hate the Rebels’ offensive scheme but at the same time, developed an appreciation for Ta’amu’s skill set. Checking the boxes when it comes to size, athletic ability, accuracy, arm strength and intangibles, I am intrigued with Ta’amu’s upside.
Developing his processing skills will be important at the next level where his Ole Miss film revealed inconsistent reads with coverage rotations and questionable field vision, but some of that could be the elementary scheme Ole Miss ran. There’s a big jump ahead for Ta’amu, but I like his foundation of traits to develop.
The Next Taysom Hill
Like it or not, the Taysom Hill role is a thing. The NFL is a copycat league and I anticipate more teams doing what the Saints have done with Hill. That is TERRIFIC news for a few 2019 QB prospects that project quite favorably to that gimmick role.
Hill could become a hero for paving the way for the likes of Easton Stick, Trace McSorley and even Eric Dungey to have a chance to make it at the next level. Otherwise, the developmental appeal as a quarterback is very underwhelming when it comes to the aforementioned prospects.
The Path to Success for Will Grier
Grier is an interesting prospect. Once primed from stardom in the SEC, Grier settled in with Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia and boasted some impressive results.
Grier is at his best when everything is timing-based and kept on-schedule. If he can rock and rip it in rhythm, Grier can keep the chains moving slotting throws in the short to intermediate areas of the field. He isn’t a great vertical passer but he flashes the ability to drop it in the bucket down the field.The train gets off the tracks when Grier is tasked with deeper drops and his protection breaks down. It's then when he drifts in the pocket and makes reckless decisions with the football.
When studying his tape and the four other Mountaineer offensive prospects on my watch list, I couldn’t help but think that if Grier could be paired with Chan Gailey, it would be a match made in Heaven for Grier to reach his potential. Get Grier in a west coast system and I think he could have low-level starter appeal. If not, he’s destined for an unheralded career as a long-term backup.
The NFL Loves Daniel Jones and I am Confused
I remember in great detail being in the press box at Carter-Finley Stadium on September 29th for NC State’s game against Virginia. I was in a circle chatting with scouts from four NFL teams and they were all talking about how excited they were to see Duke QB Daniel Jones play against Virginia Tech later that night, just three weeks removed from fracturing his clavicle.
I asked if they were high on Jones and it was a resounding yes. Somewhat shocked by the giddiness of the scouts, I further questioned the appeal and it was met with rave reviews about his intangibles and leadership. They went on to praise his eye discipline, size and mobility And yes, being a David Cutcliffe disciple came up as well. Like him or not, the league does. It wouldn’t be me investing a high pick on Jones but get ready for it to happen.