If you (are a bad friend and) haven't listened to the Locked On NFL Draft podcast this week, you wouldn't know that Trevor and I have opened up the can o' worms that is the 2020 NFL Draft class. Exciting times, gang.
This week on "Would You Rather?" I wanted to build out on some of our preliminary QB conversations, by examining some hypotheticals on the class as I currently see it -- seniors and underclassmen -- to talk about who should declare, who should go back, and who to watch moving forward.
Who would you rather draft No. 1 overall, right now: Justin Herbert, Tua Tagovailoa, or Kyler Murray
As it stands, I'm taking Tua. In order of preference, for me it likely goes Tua, then Murray, then Herbert -- but the difference between Herbert and Murray is rather small, and the Oregon QB could easily pass Kyler this season if he turns in a strong senior campaign.
My preference for Tua at this time relies on his creativity outside of the pocket, his subtle management of the pocket, and that shocking maturity he shows in those circumstances. While it's true that Tua hasn't really been tested too much by elite pass rushes or complex coverage shells -- that is, until Clemson came to town -- Tua has clearly demonstrated an ability to adjust his drops to quick pressure, hang in the pocket, and deliver down the field.
That's huge, because Tua also has wonderful athleticism, a great arm on the move, and the ability to make defenders miss in space. Tua could very easily be a one-read-and-tuck QB, and do so successfully -- but he isn't. Herbert and Murray are both closer to that bad habit than he is.
Tua is QB1 for right now, and if I had to put money on a QB going first overall, it's him.
Would you rather Justin Herbert have declared in 2018, or stayed in school, knowing what you know now?
I think there's little doubt that Herbert would have been at least QB2 off the board, if not QB1, had he declared in 2018. I'm also quite certain multiple teams would have preferred him to Kyler, which could have put Arizona in a fascinating spot, in terms of entertaining trade offers for No. 1 overall and potentially keeping Rosen on the roster.
That might be a big "What If?" we look at in 2021 or 2022, when we get a better feel for the career paths of Josh Rosen and Kyler Murray and Justin Herbert. As it stands now, the logic by which Herbert made his choice still stands: he wanted to return to school, he loves playing at Oregon, he gets to play with his brother, and he's still QB2 if not QB1.
Herbert does have the opportunity to really iron out the final, nagging wrinkles in his game before the 2020 draft. Of course, I don't think those current wrinkles would have kept him out of the Top-5 picks -- but it doesn't hurt to take those final strides. From a developmental perspective, Herbert will almost undoubtedly benefit from returning to school.
As long as he stays healthy.
I'm glad that he returned, as he has the potential to get a first-round grade from me when all is said and done -- he wouldn't have off of 2018 film. I hope he stays healthy, and above all, gets his bag when the time comes.
Would you rather bet on Jordan Love or Cole McDonald to play their way into first-round consideration?
Two of the most electric "sleeper" QBs at this stage are Love (Utah State) and McDonald (Hawai'i). Both had significant sophomore explosions in terms of productivity, offensive output, and team success -- that's what gets you on NFL radars. But both also have the film to back up their emergence: Love is a high-quality touch thrower who is unafraid of tight windows against the sideline and between levels of the defense; McDonald is a cannon on legs who can throw from a variety of platforms and arm angles with surprising success.
As it stands, I find myself a bit more staunchly in the Love camp than in the McDonald camp (much to my chagrin, given how fun it is to root for McDonald). The Hawai'i gunslinger is a bit too wild and inconsistent right now, and may never release that high-variance play style -- Love has more traditional and "NFL translatable" traits, off of their 2018 film, and fits the mold of a burgeoning style of QB, in terms of his ability to create outside of the pocket.
Like 'em both; hype 'em both. I'd take the bet on Love.
Who would you rather see declare early, if you could pick only one: Jake Fromm or K.J. Costello
Interesting question here, as I want to get both Fromm and Costello out of their respective offenses. Georgia and Stanford are run-first teams, and accordingly, Costello and Fromm both have limited film in terms of the throws they're asked to execute. Costello is a seam/nine ball king who rarely executes crossing concepts between the numbers; Fromm does a lot of hard play-action to open up deep shots, but lacks a quick/3-step drop game that I think would play to his strengths.
Costello is more toolsy than Fromm, who is only average in terms of size and arm strength. Accordingly, if they were both getting drafted at the same caliber, I think Costello might benefit more from a couple years of NFL attention and coaching, as compared to Fromm, who is a more polished product as it stands. I'd like to see Costello come out accordingly, if a team is willing to invest highly in the exciting, but inconsistent product he's offered thus far.