Ask anyone about the 2020 NFL Draft and the general consensus you'll find is that there are four quality quarterback prospects who could be high end players at the next level. They are:
- Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
- Justin Herbert, Oregon
- Jordan Love, Utah State
- Jake Fromm, Georgia
There are varying degrees of polish and physical skills amongst this group, which provides the needed intrigue for the 2019 college football season -- this collective group is starting at different spots, but who can make the biggest push and separate themselves from the pack? Who can make the biggest jump in play? Who stays the same -- or even worse, who regresses?
In order to know, one has to be aware of where each one of these players is in their own individual developmental curve as we open the 2019 college football season.
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Best: Passing Instincts
Consider this to be a vague statement for a reason. There's a whole lot that Tua does well -- comfort within the pocket, his confidence to step up and avoid the rush while keeping his eyes down field, his accuracy on spot throws, his ability to work through the entire field of play...you name it. Tua is nearly everyone's favorite 2020 quarterback prospect because of how damn easy he makes it look on a regular basis.
Worst: Aggressiveness within the pocket
So with all of these gifts, we see Tua's talents serve as a double edged sword every so often. He can be too eager to make an explosive play happen down the field and hold the ball too long in the pocket, scramble around too much or refuse an easy completion in favor of a shot at something bigger. It's a fine line to walk -- but only the superbly gifted ever have to do it.
Justin Herbert, Oregon
Best: Arm Talent
What is "arm talent"? Some B.S. turn scouts use to describe quarterbacks with a big arm? No, not exactly. You see, Herbert's arm talent extends well beyond arm strength. Sure, the ball explodes off of his hand -- but more importantly you see some phenomenal accuracy from Herbert once he's forced off of his spot or asked to throw on the move. Deliberate accuracy away from tight coverage is routine on Herbert's tape.
Despite a "prototypical build", Justin Herbert has endured some notable injuries over his time in Eugene, OR. A broken collarbone in 2017 and a broken femur in 2014 as a high school junior loom as black marks on Herbert's resume. There are added bumps along the way, but Herbert can help himself by keeping off of the injury report in 2019.
Jordan Love, Utah State
Best: Intermediate Touch
You watch Jordan Love drop balls over the top of the second level and it is poetry in motion. His ability to take something off a throw and drop it into a target in stride between zone defenders is terrific. That kind of arm talent can't be overlooked, particularly when it comes on the move -- which Love does as a passer quite a bit. I appreciate how confident Love is throwing between the hashes, his best balls come routinely over the head of linebackers in this area of the field.
Worst: Read progressions
Love almost got a call-out here for his accuracy deep -- a lot of his downfield passes sail on him. But the biggest area of improvement to look for from Love this year is the pace and consistency of his read progressions. He can do it! But he's too quick at times to fall back on escaping the pocket and looking for easy opportunities to have someone uncover off-script. I'd love nothing more than to see him manipulating the pocket with his athleticism a bit more and breaking contain of the pocket so quickly less in 2019.
Jake Fromm, Georgia
Best: Football Intelligence
Soft spot in coverage? Fromm is going to take it. Guaranteed. He's the easiest projection to the pros -- he's coming from a pro style offense and consistently gets the ball out of his hand quick. His ability to read a defense is paramount to his success -- as we'll talk about momentarily. But Fromm's ready for the NFL between the ears, look for him to continue to thrive among the talented crop of skill players at his disposal.
Worst: Arm strength
It really is a funny world we live in, isn't it? Arguably the sharpest mind of the group has the least amount of physical talent as a passer. And while it hasn't really bit him at the college level, it has the potential to in the NFL -- where everyone is a click faster and windows close a hair sooner. Can Fromm really generate more heat on his passes? Or is he resigned to simply being a quarterback who has less margin for error when it comes to mental mistakes, because he can't drive it home vs. tight coverage?