TDN Mailbag: Re-evaluating Top Of 2019 QB Class

Photo: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

We've got mail! Friday mornings at The Draft Network are one of my favorite times of the week, as we wrap up an awesome week of content with some terrific questions from our readers, while also getting prepared for an exciting slate of college football this weekend.

This week we tackle lots of Senior Bowl questions, break down the top of the quarterback class, talk about if Adrian Peterson would be a top 10 pick today, the annoying Taysom Hill package and evaluating spread quarterbacks to the NFL.

Two quarterbacks have already accepted invitations to the Senior Bowl (Clayton Thorson, Trace McSorley), and the five other invitations are assuredly going to Drew Lock, Ryan Finley, Will Grier, Jarrett Stidham and, if he declares, Daniel Jones.

That leaves one spot available for an eighth quarterback, likely coming down to Gardner Minshew, Brett Rypien, Jordan Ta'amu, Easton Stick, Kyle Shurmur, Nick Fitzgerald and Jake Browning. My guess is the latter five receive some consideration, but ultimately the last spot probably comes down to Minshew or Rypien. I think the Washington State signal caller rides his hot finish to the season into the final spot, while Rypien is pushed to the Shrine Game unless someone drops out.

Obviously the Senior Bowl is a bigger stage against better competition, so I would say that Rypien would be missing out on a prime opportunity to generate more buzz around his name by being relegated to the Shrine Game. Still, if he thrives in St. Pete scouts can go back to the tape and be impressed by how Rypien has grown this season.

The Panthers have received plenty of criticism for bringing Samuel and even D.J. Moore along slowly, but I'm not sure how much of that is fair. I want to see more of them on the field too, but both players entered the league pretty raw (Moore less so), and it took some time for them to find their place on the field.

One of the things that made the Samuel pick so bad to me, was that it would take some creativity to get he and McCaffrey on the field together. The only remedy to that malady was if Samuel became a vertical threat (which he had the speed to do) or a gadget player with a more specialized usage.

The way I saw it, becoming a vertical threat requires so much more than just being fast, as Samuel had to learn releases, defeating press coverage, hand usage, ball tracking, etc. I'd argue that role may never be an ideal one for him, so the Panthers have opted to move him around, playing him mostly outside but also some in the slot.

That's why you don't draft a player with so many limitations and learning curves that high. The Panthers don't have an ideal, every down usage for him, thus the low snap count.

If I'm guessing, cornerback is the top priority on the Steelers board this offseason, and traditionally that has meant they'll turn to the draft to fill the need. At this point, I would be floored if their first round pick wasn't the best available cornerback, similar to how they viewed Artie Burns a few years ago (only hopefully an actual decent player this time).

They know Burns is hopeless and Coty Sensabaugh is a poor stop gap, and Cameron Sutton has given them no reason to believe he should be on the field more. Linebacker needs to be addressed (both spots in my opinion), but nothing compares to cornerback as a need in Pittsburgh. Get two of them this offseason to be honest.

Absolutely top 10. Our opinions on running backs and their value may have changed, but the same can't be said for enough NFL teams to let a talent like his fall out of the top ten. He'd be a no-brainer lock in the eyes of the NFL.

Imagine taking your MVP quarterback off the field for anyone, let alone a "quarterback" who can't throw? I know a couple of teams who have no clue what they are doing allowed Hill to slip a couple of big runs, but he gets easier to solve every game. I'm not a fan, but the Saints are the best team in the NFL, so they can do what they want.

Weeks ago I would have said Justin Herbert was worth that risk, as developmental as he is, and I still think that's the case? Maybe? I don't know.

I need to really study this recent stretch of games from Herbert, but what I've seen has looked like a far more chaotic, spiraling quarterback than I saw early in the season. He's just too all over the map, and the best decision for him might be to return to Oregon, polish up his game and then jump to the NFL as a senior.

If he comes out, he'll still be a high pick, as will Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State. Both players need growth and development, not dissimilar to Mitch Trubisky and Deshone Kizer two years ago. If they land in great spots with offensive minds who know what they are doing, awesome. If not, the likelihood of their careers crashing and burning will go way up.

I'll be stunned if Hunter Renfrow comes off the board before day three, but I think he makes an NFL roster and contributes early on. I just finished up his formal scouting report, with all my thoughts on how his game projects to the NFL.

Absolutely. The problem was never the quarterbacks, it was the coaches. Their stubborn refusal to adapt to a more explosive, innovative style of offense held football back for awhile, and still does in many places. Look at Doug Marrone talking about how teams can still rely primarily on the run and win this week in his presser.

Scouts traits above all else, and you'll find good players. If a a quarterback is accurate, makes good decisions and is a strong mental processor who thrives on the white board as well as on the field, he's probably worth taking a chance on, regardless of what system he comes from.

If all the underclassmen declare, which is obviously a decent-sized 'if', it could be one of the best tight end classes we've ever seen. I reported last week that the first of the bunch is in, as Vandy's Jared Pinkney is planning to declare for the draft, so hopefully more of his peers follow suit.

Tommy Sweeney looks like a day three guy who can block and come up clutch in the red zone, but won't wow athletically or do much between the 20s. He competes and is physical, but there is nothing special about his skill set from what I've seen so far.

Finish 6-10, draft somewhere between 7-13. Biggest needs for the Lions are pass rush, linebacker, another cornerback and a wide receiver. Some of those will get filled in free agency, but I bet they opt for a pass rusher early in the draft, unless Matt Patricia really is dead set against playing anyone whose primary skill isn't defending the run.

If you don't know, you can follow along with up-to-date Senior Bowl invites and accepted invites right here. Seeing Josh Allen in person will be great, but I'll pick two safeties as the players I'm most excited to see out of the 18 accepted invites so far.

Mississippi State's Johnathan Abram has had a couple big weeks in a row with two pass breakups and a tackle-for-loss last night. He's big, physical and pretty athletic, but his game needs polish and how he fares in coverage will be critical to his evaluation.

Delaware's Nasir Adderley has been said to be the top non-FBS prospect in this draft, and Dane Brugler (the best in the business) is a big fan. I've seen a couple highlights of Adderley so far, but I haven't been exposed to him enough to know how good he really is. Mobile should really help with that evaluation.