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2019 NFL Draft Class Preview - Quarterback


Over the last couple of weeks, we've begun previewing the incoming 2019 NFL Draft Class. We started off with the wide receivers and followed it with the running backs.

There's really no sugar-coating this QB class. It's bad. There's no obvious star and, while you'll probably hear it a few times in the lead-up, there's not a single sure thing.

The order shown is based on the rankings at NFL Draft Scout and one additional player who has some sleeper buzz.

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Methodology

QB analysis is slightly less sophisticated than the production analysis of WR or RB. However, there are a few indicators for success. Unsurprisingly, the biggest indicator for fantasy success is draft position so we'll include the NFL Draft Scout rankings and projections in the analysis. Beyond draft position, final season Adjusted Yards per Attempt (AYA) and ball velocity have shown some correlation to success. Beyond those two stats, I'll also take a look at completion percentage and touchdown to interception ratio.

 

Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

Height: 6' 2''
Weight: 220 lbs
Final Season Age: 21.7

Haskins is arguably the only QB in this class with any significant expectations surrounding him. Despite only starting for one season in Columbus, he became the favorite to be the first QB selected before he even officially declared for the draft. He's no stranger to big expectations, however. As a four-star prospect out of Maryland, he made big news the moment he flipped his commitment from Maryland to Ohio State.  For his high school career, Haskins passed for 5,308 yards and 54 touchdowns and was named an Under Armour All-American.

Dwayne Haskins G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int
2017 8 40 57 70.2 565 9.9 10.5 4 1
2018 14 373 533 70 4831 9.1 10.3 50 8
Career 413 590 70 5396 9.1 10.3 54 9

Fans were clamoring for Haskins in 2017 behind veteran J.T. Barrett and when he had an opportunity to play against Michigan, he proved why. Coming in after an injury to Barrett, Haskins threw for 94 yards, rushed for 24 yards, and helped spark the comeback against their rival. The reputation built from that game alone made some fans question whether they'd been starting the wrong QB all season and while Barrett finished out the rest of his senior season, the thought of Haskins had some fans expecting QB improvement the following year. And after a lengthy QB battle between him and eventual LSU starter, Joe Borrow, Haskins first opportunity to lead the Buckeyes had arrived.

Haskins put together arguably the greatest passing season in Ohio State history. He set a school record for passing yards and touchdowns in a single season, as well as setting the single-game passing yards record. His AY/A of 10.3 ranked fourth in the nation and his 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns both led all QBs. From a prospect standpoint, the fact that Haskins will likely be a top 10 pick bodes well for him and while he has a smaller sample size, he was prolific when he was on the field easily eclipsing 7.0 AY/A and putting up a 6.25 to 1 TD to INT ratio. He ends his career with a 70 percent completion percentage.

As a prospect, Haskins has a few significant red flags. He only started 14 games, his downfield accuracy remains a question mark, and he's struggled, at times, with pressure. All but one staff member at The Draft Network ranks Haskins as their top QB. Through their film study, they identified his arm strength as his best trait and noted his poise as a weakness.  While Mitch Trubisky has been relatively successful with a short college career, we're also not that far removed from Mark Sanchez. Neither of these prospects is an identical prospect to Haskins, but they help demonstrate a wide range of outcomes for QBs without a track record of starting. As a dynasty asset, Haskins should be the first QB taken, but unless it's a superflex league, that shouldn't occur until the late-second round.

 

Daniel Jones, Duke

Height: 6' 5''
Weight: 220 lbs
Final Season Age: 21.6

Unlike a few of his peers, Jones wasn't a premier high school prospect, but he developed into a strong starting option for Duke after sitting out his freshman year. Jones was a three-year letterman at Charlotte Latin High School and was selected as captain for both his junior and senior seasons. In those years, he helped the team to two state championship game appearance. He finished his career with 8,344 total offensive yards, including 6,997 passing yards, and 98 total touchdowns.

Daniel Jones G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int
2016 12 270 430 62.8 2836 6.6 6.4 16 9
2017 13 257 453 56.7 2691 5.9 5.5 14 11
2018 11 237 392 60.5 2674 6.8 6.9 22 9
Career 764 1275 59.9 8201 6.4 6.2 52 29

Jones finishes his career at Duke fifth in career passing yards and third in career passing TDs. He also helped lead the team to back-to-back winning seasons and bowl wins in his final two years. 2017 was a clear struggle for Jones after a respectable 2016 campaign. His 1.27 to 1 TD to INT ratio and 56.7 percent completion percentage put a serious damper on his career numbers, but he bounced back in 2018 with a better than 2 to 1 TD to INT ration and raised his completion percentage by nearly four points while nearly matching the yardage in two fewer games.

The biggest red flags for Jones are his completion percentage and AY/A. While he posted two seasons above 60 percent, his career mark is just under. And despite having three seasons as a starter, Jones never finished a season above 7.0 AY/A. His final season 6.9 is ok, but falling below this threshold for three years doesn't bode well for significant improvement at the next level. His ball velocity and draft stock will both be important factors in the remainder of his evaluation.

I'm mixed on Jones as a prospect. When he was a Day 3 projection, I thought he had some upside, but as he trends towards the top of the first round, he becomes increasingly risky. The Draft Network staff largely agrees with his range as two rankers have him as high as four while one has him at nine. They identified his physical stature and ability to pick up yards as a runner as his strength while finding his quick decision-making to be a weakness. If Jones is selected in the first round, then his situation will likely determine his ADP in rookie drafts, however, my best projection would place him in the late-third round.

 

Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

Height: 5' 9''
Weight: 195 lbs
Final Season Age: 21.4

There may be no more exciting possible draft prospect than Kyler Murray, but there's also no bigger question mark. Murray was a five-star QB who committed to play for Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M. In high school, he accumulated a 42-0 record as a starter and led his team to three straight state championships. He was named the Texas Gatorade player of the year and National Gatorade Player of the Year. In addition to being an elite football player, Murray is a high-profile baseball prospect. He was selected ninth overall by the Oakland Athletics in the 2018 MLB draft.

Kyler Murray G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int
2015 8 72 121 59.5 686 5.7 3.9 5 7
2017 7 18 21 85.7 359 17.1 20 3 0
2018 14 260 377 69 4361 11.6 13 42 7
Career 350 519 67.4 5406 10.4 11.1 50 14

Murray spent just one season as the starter in Norman, Oklahoma, but he made the most of his season. On route to a Heisman trophy, Murray led Oklahoma with over 4,000 yards passing and over 40 TDs. He added an additional 1,001 yards rushing and 12 more TDs. For his career, he ends with an AY/A of 11.1, which is incredible, and over 60 total touchdowns.

Murray set the single-season record for AY/A breaking Baker Mayfield's record from 2017 and he did so with a 69 percent completion percentage and 6 to 1 TD to INT ratio. There's really nothing that can be identified as a concern with his final season production. But similar to Haskins, it's just that. He has only one season of significant production and, specifically for Murray, there's another looming option that could hinder his draft stock.

Should Kyler Murray commit to playing football, you could easily make a case that he's the top QB prospect in the draft. The successes of Drew Brees and Russell Wilson have proven that elite talent players can succeed in spite of lacking ideal size. The Draft Network staff ranks Murray as high as QB1 and one ranker chose not to include him in his top 10. His playmaking ability was noted as his biggest strength and his progressions were his biggest weakness based on their film study. Should he choose to be a full-time football player, Murray has the highest ceiling of any QB in the class. If he's taken in the first round of the NFL draft, then he should be taken in the mid-to-late second round of rookie drafts.

 

Drew Lock, Missouri

Height: 6' 4''
Weight: 223 lbs
Final Season Age: 22.2

Drew Lock chose to stay in school to try and improve upon his draft stock rather than enter in the loaded 2018 class. Lock was a four-star prospect out of Missouri. Over his final two years, Lock accounted for 63 passing TDs and just 12 INTs. He was named an Elite 11 prospect and played in the US Army All-American game. In addition to playing football, Lock was a first-team all-state basketball player.

Drew Lock G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int
2015 12 129 263 49 1332 5.1 4 4 8
2016 12 237 434 54.6 3399 7.8 7.9 23 10
2017 13 242 419 57.8 3964 9.5 10.2 44 13
2018 13 275 437 62.9 3498 8 8.5 28 8
Career 883 1553 56.9 12193 7.9 8 99 39

Lock's career numbers appear to be relatively strong in all areas except for completion percentage. His 12,193 passing yards is second to only Chase Daniel and his 99 TDs also rank second in school history. In addition to his production in the passing game, he accounted for over 400 rushing yards. Lock's college apex was clearly his 2017 campaign. The team went just 7-6 but ranked 14th in the country in points per game and averaged more than 300 yards passing per game.

The biggest concern for Lock, statistically, is his accuracy. His career completion percentage is well below 60 and he has 39 career interceptions. While his TD to INT ratio is still over 2.5 to 1, his 39 INTs represents a pick on over two percent of his throws. His career AY/A of 8 is comfortable above the 7 threshold and his final season was a strong 8.5, but it also marked a notable regression from his junior season 10.2 AY/A. Ultimately, in returning to school, Lock showed more signs of regression than significant improvement.

Lock is likely in the top three of most team's QB draft boards and his career averages would point to a player that could be a viable option as a low-end starter in the league. The Draft Network ranks him as high as two and as low as six among QBs.  They found his arm strength to be his best asset and his decision making to be his worst. Lock has been connected to the Broncos in recent weeks, as John Elway is enamored with him. Should he be taken that high, it would likely make him a third-round rookie pick.

 

Will Grier, West Virginia

Height: 6' 2''
Weight: 218 lbs
Final Season Age: 23.8

After his dismissal from the Florida program for PED use, there were plenty of scouts who wrote of Grier as another highly rated prospect to flop in college, but he went on to have a high profile career following his transfer.  Grier was a 4-star prospect and the number 2 Pro-Style QB in the class of 2014. He finished as the 48th overall prospect and over his high school career he accounted for 14,565 passing yards and 195 touchdowns. His highlight moment from his career in setting a national single-game record with 837 yards and 10 touchdowns in the playoffs. He was named a first-team All-American by 247Sports and MaxPreps and was named the Parade National Player of the Year.

Will Grier G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int
2015 6 105 160 65.6 1202 7.5 7.9 10 3
2017 11 250 388 64.4 3490 9 9.4 34 12
2018 11 266 397 67 3864 9.7 10.7 37 8
Career 621 945 65.7 8556 9.1 9.7 81 23

After leaving the Florida program and joining West Virginia, Grier turned into one of the most exciting players in all of college football. With back-to-back seasons over 9.0 AY/A, he's gone a long way to improve his draft profile from upside Day 3 selection into a potential first-round pick. Before being dismissed from the program in 2015, Grier had led the Gators to a 6-0 start and was putting up strong numbers. Once he joined WVU, he took his game to another level with a 9.4 AY/A and over 3,400 yards passing. He improved upon his 2017 campaign by increasing his completion percentage and upping his AY/A to over 10. In most years, Grier would have been a clear Heisman candidate for his 2018 season, but his timing was simply unlucky being matched with three historic seasons.

With a career completion percentage over 65 percent and an AY/A over 9.5, Grier appears to have some potential. Should he perform well in the combine and improve his draft stock, he could be one of the QBs to standout in an underwhelming class. If Grier can impress with his accuracy, mechanics, and arm strength during workouts, there's a chance that a team could take a chance on him in the first.

There's no question that Grier was an exciting college QB and with his high school pedigree, On the high end, the staff at The Draft Network ranks Grier as the third best QB in the class, but on ranker has him at 10. They found Grier's best trait to be his anticipation, but he lacks some mechanics and they believe he'll need to remodel his game in order to reach his potential.

 

Easton Stick, North Dakota State

Height: 6' 7''
Weight: 217 lbs
Final Season Age: 23.3

Easton Stick will always be compared to his predecessor, Carson Wentz, but he has a different prospect profile. While it's different than Wentz, there's a reason why he could be rising up draft boards. Stick was a two-star prospect out of Omaha and only received offers from five schools, with the biggest being Akron.

Easton Stick G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int
2015 11 90 147 61.2 1144 7.8 8.3 13 4
2016 14 169 288 58.7 2331 8.1 8.0 19 9
2017 15 164 264 62.1 2466 9.3 10.1 28 8
2018 15 175 281 62.3 2752 9.8 10.7 28 7
Career 55 598 980 61 8693 8.9 9.4 88 28

Stick started his college career off by leading a 4-2 Bison team to an 8-0 finish and National Championship following the injury to Wentz. He followed it up with a slight step backward as the Bison failed to win the FCS National Championship for the first time since 2010. He rebounded in 2017 taking NDSU back to another National Championship and then finished his career winning it again. The statistical highlights from Stick's career are his 9.4 career AY/A, 10.7 final season AY/A, and his 2,523 career rushing yards.

Stick's career 8,693 yards and 88 touchdowns are impressive, but maintaining a 61 percent completion percentage for his career is the highlight for me. In previous years with small school prospects, the quality of surrounding skill players has been used as an excuse for lower completion rates. Stick has managed to keep his completion percentage above 60 for all but one year at North Dakota State. Pair that with a better than 3 to 1 career TD to INT ratio and Stick could be somewhat interesting.

Stick would be a risky pick for an NFL team in the first round, but there's unlikely to be a player with a higher ceiling beyond the first day. Stick has ideal size and has proven capable of being mobile while remaining an accurate passer. Only one staff member at The Draft Network ranks him inside his top 10 at QB8. Accuracy could be seen as a potential concern, but his ability to throw while in motion will be his biggest strength. Stick has a highly variable draft stock so it's unlikely he'll be worth more than a last-round rookie pick.

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