Building the 2020 Prototype: Quarterback

Photo: USA TODAY Sports - Mark J. Rebilas

Throughout the month of July, I’m going to take a much closer look at some of the 2020 NFL draft’s top prospects. In doing this, I’m creating a new series called “Building the Prototype.” Breaking down each position into five traits I specifically look for, I’m going to match 2020 prospects to those traits. Thus, I am essentially building the perfect draft prospect at each position in the next class. To kick off this new series, I’m starting at none other than the quarterback position.

Arm Talent – Justin Herbert, Oregon

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert has more rough patches in his game than most people want to believe, but one thing I’m sure everyone is unanimous on: His arm talent. When I say “arm talent,” I quite simply mean he can make every throw on the field. The velocity on his throws can knife through the tightest of windows, and he is one of the few quarterbacks in college football who can effortlessly sling the pill 50 yards or more with accuracy. He doesn’t quite have the arm talent of someone like Patrick Mahomes, but he has that same kind of ability to adjust arm angles and still make any throw he wants. It’s just a matter of putting it together mentally for Herbert because he has all the talent you could ask for at the quarterback position.

Accuracy – Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

Anyone who has watched Tua Tagovailoa play over the last two seasons for Alabama knows how special he can be at the next level. He’s not the most physically gifted, but his touch and ball placement at all levels of the field simply pop off the tape each time he drops back. It doesn’t matter if he’s inside the pocket, outside the pocket, or running for his life: Tagovailoa has lethal accuracy. He’s the best left-handed quarterback prospect since Michael Vick, and he has the mental makeup of exactly what you want in a future franchise quarterback.

Pocket Presence – Jacob Eason, Washington

We haven’t actually seen Jacob Eason play college football in a hot minute, but from what he showed at Georgia, he has the tools of everything you look for in an NFL pocket passer. One of the aspects of his game that really stood out to me on film was his overall presence in the pocket, especially as a true freshman in the SEC. His cool demeanor under intense pressure at such a young age was incredibly promising to see, and he is only going to get better with each rep. With his physical tools, arm talent, and flashes of tight-window accuracy, Jacob Eason could make a serious case this year as a top quarterback prospect.  

Decision Making – Jake Fromm, Georgia

Speaking of Georgia quarterbacks, the player I’m picking for this trait is who supplanted Jacob Eason for the Dawgs: Jake Fromm. He may not have Eason’s physical skill set in terms of arm talent, but Fromm is really methodical in how he operates from the pocket. Fromm plays the game controlled and at a high cerebral level, as he rarely forces unnecessary throws. This is evidenced by his touchdown to interception ratios the last two seasons (24-7, 30-6). If Fromm can put together another year of consistency and production, expect his name to be in the early round conversation.

Playmaking Ability – D’Eriq King, Houston

There were a lot of different routes I could have taken with this trait, as Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond and Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts both make great cases for this spot. But in my opinion, Houston’s D’Eriq King is one of the most explosive playmakers in all of college football, let alone just the quarterback position. He is a twitchy athlete who has the same kind of electricity in the open field as 2019 first overall pick Kyler Murray. If this were a piece on overall traits, King would probably be left off the list because I think he has a lot to prove in terms of mechanics and his processing pace. However, if I had to pick the most dynamic and mobile quarterback in college football to create the perfect prospect, King is definitely my guy.