To QB or not to QB

By | January 29, 2019

This article actually started out as a mock of the 2019 draft. Trouble, was though that we couldn’t get past the first half dozen or so picks because we just don’t have a clue what is going to happen with the top QB prospects for the upcoming draft. And the reason we don’t have a clue how the QBs are going to fall out on April 25th is that, at least at this point in the process, the league itself really isn’t quite sure what to make of this year’s prospects at the position.

There does seem to be a growing consensus around the league, though, that Ohio State redshirt sophomore Dwayne Haskins is a legit top -5 type prospect for the upcoming draft. Haskins isn’t the most athletic QB out there; he’s also just a one-year starter at Ohio State with limited experience. However, he is a prototype pocket passer with the arm talent to make all the throws at the next level who comps to guys like Matt Ryan of Atlanta and/or Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston, both of whom were top 3 picks. Interestingly, the sense one gets talking to NFL people is that Haskins would actually have been the first player off the board at the 2018 draft had been eligible this past spring. At the same time, though, there is also a sense that Haskins would only have been the 4th or 5th rated passer in the loaded 2020 draft if he had stayed in school for his junior campaign next fall.

The real QB wild card for the 2019 draft, though, is Oklahoma junior Kyler Murray, this year’s Heisman Trophy winner, who decided late in the year to stick with football despite the fact that he already has a big contract with MLB’s Oakland As. The sense one gets regarding Murray, who threw for almost 4,400 yards and 50 TDs, while rushing for another 1,000 yards and 12 scores, but is barely 5-10, is that the NFL simply does not know what to make of him. No question that Murray is a rare talent with track speed and quickness as well as elite arm strength, but there simply never been a QB at that size to compare him to.  It does appear, though, that there is a growing number of teams who have been rethinking their size/speed requirements for other positions and it is not unreasonable to suspect that there are at least some teams that could extend that approach to their QB parameters. Time will tell!

At the same time, Missouri senior Drew Lock looks to be another wild card at QB for the 2019 draft. Lock, who is coming off a disappointing senior season, got mixed reviews at last week’s Senior Bowl, but there are reports that there are teams out there that do in fact consider him to be a legitimate top 10 candidate. Reports in the Denver media, for example, that John Elway and the Broncos really like Lock and will consider him with the 10th pick overall; indeed, part of the debate in Denver right now is whether the Broncos need to trade up to get Lock. What does appear to have happened in recent weeks, is that at least for now, Lock has put some distance between himself and the rest of rest of the second-tier QBs. Again, time will tell!

In fact, we may not know until April 25th just how the league – or at least the teams thought to be looking at a QB upgrade this year – really feel about this year’s QB crop. Remember the debate at this time last year regarding the 2018 QB group was which of Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Josh Allen was the legitimate top QB prospect and the presumptive #1 pick this past April. Turns out that none of the three were the first pick overall and indeed two the three were even top 5 picks despite the fact that just about every team with an early pick had major issues at the position. As we say stay tuned!