NFL comparisons are something that we love to have fun with. From labeling a quarterback as the next Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning to denouncing some of them only because of the helmet and jersey they wear and the previous failures of their predecessors. I am here to remind you to scout the name and not the helmet logo. Also that comparisons are for analyzing similar playing styles and not predicting future career outcomes.
With that being said, here are some of my comparisons for a few names that sit atop of the quarterback draft board through the early stages of November.
1. Joe Burrow, LSU (6-4, 216, Sr.)
NFL Comparison: Tony Romo
No matter the side of the ball, there isn't a prospect that's helped themselves more this season than Burrow. Labeled as an "early Day 3 selection" coming into the year, he has arguably entrenched himself atop the quarterback rankings and there's a clear leader in the clubhouse for the Heisman Trophy. After a standout performance in a 46-41 win against Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Burrow showed to be unfazed by the moment and remained poised throughout the entire game.
The most impressive aspect overall for him this season has been the extreme uptick in his development. The perfect mixture with passing game coordinator Joe Brady, the two have reformed the identity of a team that's historically been a laughing stock in the passing department into one of the best attacks in the country. Burrow's ability to work and maneuver in the pocket and fearlessness with climbing into the eye of the storm have helped him surge to the top of many draft boards and deemed him worthy of being compared to former Dallas Cowboys signal-caller Tony Romo. His magical run has already helped him run away with the LSU single-season passing touchdowns record and he has the program off to a 9-0 start.
2. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama (6-0, 219, Jr.)
NFL Comparison: Steve Young / Russell Wilson
Coming into the season, Tagovailoa was labeled as a "can't miss" prospect and one that teams seemed to be blatantly positioning themselves for. Already the programs career leader in passing touchdowns with 85, he has already surpassed many all-time greats. The first asset that's always brought up about the Tide leader is his accuracy. To all three levels of the field, he is supremely accurate. Tagovailoa isn't often required to throw in the deeper portions of the field because the scheme is so effective in the underneath areas.
With his pinpoint accuracy, the way he's able to improvise while also still being able to maintain his levels of accuracy, he is a perfect fit for today's NFL. A comparison that seems fit is his similarities to Steve Young. Tua isn't nearly the athlete that Young or Russell Wilson are, but they all won in comparable ways. Beating defenses from inside the pocket and also out on the exterior, the Alabama star is destined to become a top pick next April. The biggest question remains with his durability. Now, having had an operation on both ankles during his career, the question marks surrounding that issue remain valid.
3. Justin Herbert, Oregon (6-6, 240, Sr.)
NFL Comparison: TBD
However you felt about Herbert coming into this season is probably the exact same way that you feel about him presently. Even though he's thrown for 24 touchdowns and only two interceptions, the same question marks still there with him. That involves raising his playing levels against upper tier opponents, poise against pressure, and throws within a collapsing pocket. We're still waiting on Herbert's "big moment" and there doesn't seem to be many possibilities left on the schedule. Still, the positives remain with his overall arm talent, off the charts character, and high valleys of peak plays that will have you drooling over his potential in another system.
Ryan Tannehill and Carson Wentz have been the two most common comparisons and while I do see a mixture of both in his game, there's no need to force a comparison if there isn't one that's deemed worthy. The potential of Herbert, his high football intelligence, and character will always keep evaluators intrigued with what he could eventually become down the road outside of Eugene.
4. Jordan Love, Utah State (6-4, 225, Jr.)
NFL Comparison: Jimmy Garoppolo
Exiting the 2018 season, Love generated plenty of buzz entering this season. Entering the final portions of his junior year, the Aggies QB has put his believers to the ultimate test. A microcosm of his season to date, he's a walking roller coaster of highs and lows, but the peaks are what makes some remain a believer. Love will make a jaw dropping throw, but he will quickly follow it up with a head scratching decision. Love is in a similar situation that Josh Allen was faced with during his final season at Wyoming. Fighting through the battles of losing his top five targets from a season ago. the new members have battled drops all year.
As prospects, he compares favorably to Jimmy Garoppolo. While Love's arm is stronger than the 49ers thrower, the ingredients outside of that are eerily similar. The lightning quick release, ability to work the pocket, and making off platform throws look routine are what makes the two similar. Like Garoppolo, landing spot, proper coaching, and surrounding personnel could make or break his career as a whole.
5. Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma (6-2, 225, Sr.)
NFL Comparison: Dak Prescott
There aren't enough positive things to mention about Hurts to this point. From accepting his reduced role at Alabama to being the next in line for the Sooners, he has firmly thrust himself into the early Day 2 discussions and possibly becoming a first-round selection. Like Prescott, even though he was involved in a run heavy offense (Alabama), a common misconception was formed about him in that they were attempting to hide his deficiencies when in fact that was one of his biggest assets.
Under the tutelage of Lincoln Riley, his passing potential has been on full display. Hurts has shown accuracy, touch down the field, but also how much of a threat he can as a runner to help him become incorporated into games. Similar to the Cowboys QB, he will need an offense tailor made to his skill set that enables him to be a thrower and a runner when necessary. Hurts natural leadership abilities will be a welcome addition to any huddle, but his ability to continue to progress as a thrower will be the ultimate litmus test.
6. Jacob Eason, Washington (6-6, 227, Jr.)
NFL Comparison: Matthew Stafford
After being on the outs at Georgia, there was plenty of hype surrounding Eason entering this season. While there are arguments for both sides on if he's lived up to it, one thing is apparent, he has a very lively arm. Possessing that true gunslinger mentality, he's unafraid to test tight windows no matter how timely the throw may be. Having the confidence of being able to fit a football through a coin slot has been a gift and a curse for him.
The matchup against Oregon was one of his better games of the season, but he followed that up with an inconsistent performance against Utah, which has been the story in Eason's first season with the Huskies. A valid comparison to Stafford as he isn't the most nimble athlete, but the near elite levels of arm strength, funky arm angle throws and upside help make him an intriguing option.
7. Jake Fromm, Georgia (6-2, 221, Jr.)
NFL Comparison: Kirk Cousins / Andy Dalton
Game manager is a popular label that will be pegged beside Fromm's name and that is okay because he fits perfectly with what he's asked to do at Georgia. Crunched directly in the middle of a solid rushing attack as well as endless weapons on the perimeter, he simply has to keep the luxury car in between the lane on the highway. Periodically asked to switch lanes of gears can cause problems and that's what we've seen from Fromm throughout his career, but there's plenty to like. His combination of accuracy, smarts, and poise help him becoming one of the safer options in this class.
Comparing favorably to Kirk Cousins and Andy Dalton, he's a signal-caller that will be the sum of his parts and not one that can uplift the supporting cast that surrounds him. When forced to take action or place things on his shoulders, we witness Fromm get out of character due to him being in a foreign position.