This Week In Scouting: Solidifying The Top Tiers At QB And TE

The worst part about the NFL Combine is it is so easy to get paralyzed by all of the new information. We've seen literally hundreds of guys run and jump over the course of four days. How can you possibly wrap your head around that much information? Here's a tip: don't try to. Break it off into little pieces, which is what I've been doing as I continue to work through my final 100 players of film study.

The result this week? I've finalized the quarterback and tight end positions. I have conducted re-watch sessions of players who tested above or below expectations. I've run the numbers to provide the needed tiebreakers to sort out my positional ranking for players in the same tier of film. It is one of the more fun parts of the process, to step inside the total resume of a player for the first time and see where he falls among his peers. So how do things shake out? Am I surprised by the results?

Today I'll be revealing my finalized grades for my top-5 quarterbacks and tight ends.

Quarterback Rankings

#1. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma Sooners

Listen, I'm not above my fair share of apprehension surrounding Murray. He's no-where near the same prospect as Baker Mayfield, despite what superficial stats would tell you and the fact that he comes from the same offense. But he's really potent as a two-way quarterback. I watched him destroy West Virginia in person with some of the most unbelievable burst and speed I've ever seen from a college prospect, regardless of position. His signature "off-platform" throws are some of the most surreal you'll watch hit the target.

But he's also a big roll of the dice. He's not as consistent and his accuracy isn't as good as the completion percentage would suggest. He does have size limitations regarding how accurate he can be throwing the ball around bodies at the line of scrimmage. He's also a pretty unique personality: that isn't to say it's a good thing or a bad thing. He's just...unique. Murray at his best can be a game-changer. I just not confident we're going to get that at the next level.

Grade: Second Round

#2. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State Buckeyes

Haskins is definitely safer than Murray. He's a "traditional" pocket passer. I really like the anticipation he shows throwing into the middle of the field to thread the needle. But his deep ball isn't as accurate as Kyler's, he's not as mobile and I don't feel as comfortable with how he's dealt with pressure in his limited time as a starting quarterback.

Grade: Second Round

#3. Daniel Jones, Duke Blue Devils

Yuck. The general appeal of this quarterback class is so limited. Jones isn't a player I'd be pounding the table for in any circumstances. That said, I can understand why some team is going to like him and try to peg him as a future starter. He's good in the quick game and would excel with a lot of West Coast concepts. The longer you ask Jones to hold the ball, the worse off he gets. He doesn't have anywhere near the arm of the top two passers.

Grade: Third Round

#4. Drew Lock, Missouri Tigers

Lock is the inverse of Jones. He's all arm. And boy, is his arm nice. On principle I couldn't slot Lock any lower than a Day-2 player based on his natural throwing ability...a lesson I probably would have been well served to apply to Josh Allen last year.

Lock's play against top competition? Abysmal. His ability to handle pressure? Horrifying. There's plenty to like with Drew's game. But there's so much needed improvement in areas that you don't often see a player get better by leaps and bounds.

Grade: Third Round

#5. Will Grier, West Virginia Mountaineers

This spot came down to Will Grier, Brett Rypien and Gardner Minshew, all of whom scored 4th-round film grades. Grier's metrics broke the tie: he's an established 2.5 year starter with phenomenal production and athletic ability. I'm still not sure what kind of system Grier fits best in, as he's a bit of a wild stallion. But he does enough to suggest he's worth trying to develop.

Grade: Fourth Round

Tight End Rankings

#1. Noah Fant, Iowa Hawkeyes

An absolute star in the making, as far as I'm concerned. Fant proved his value as an elite athlete at the NFL Combine by nearly going toe for toe with 2018 2nd-round pick Mike Gesicki for all-time performances at the Combine by a tight end. Just one little difference: Fant is actually good. No, I take that back. He's great.

Grade: Top-10 Overall

#2. T.J. Hockenson, Iowa Hawkeyes

The buzz on Hockenson is so well deserved. Did we jump the shark a little bit with the predictions of his explosiveness before the Combine? Sure. Do I really care? No. I expected high 4.6's for Hockenson and he ran 4.7 flat. Whoop de doo. The guy is an in-line plug and play starter with great ball skills and physicality on his route tree.

Grade: First Round

#3. Irv Smith, Alabama Crimson Tide

If I had to pick just one word to describe Irv Smith, it would be "smooth". He didn't test all that well at the NFL Combine, but he did sneak by my 4th-rated TE by fractions of a point to claim the top spot in the "Early Second Round Grade" bucket. Go back and watch him run the gauntlet drill. I love the confidence he displayed in his hands.

Grade: Early Second Round

#4. Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M Aggies

I was expecting a little more spring out of Sternberger than what we got with his testing. But that's okay, as in re-watching his film I'm still comfortable with how I scored him in areas where his lesser athleticism might have shown up (route running, run after the catch ability, etc.)

Grade: Early Second Round

#5. Dax Raymond, Utah State Aggies

Raymond is a natural receiver with a nose for creating some yardage after the catch. He held off Georgia's Isaac Nauta for this spot in the top-5 Tight Ends of 2019, thanks in large part fo Nauta's nuclear Combine. The two were guys I held in the same light before athletic testing came into play.

Grade: Third Round

Written By:

Kyle Crabbs

Director of Content

Director of Content & Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-host of the Draft Dudes podcast. Former NDT Scouting Overlord.

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