College football finds itself in a perilous position on the eve of the 2020 season.
If your favourite NFL team is on the lookout for a new quarterback this off-season, get ready to be completely and utterly underwhelmed.
After the 2018 NFL Draft class hatched one of the most highly regarded rookie quarterback groups of the Superbowl era, the 2019 group promises nothing of the sort.
Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson all had varying degrees of success in their first NFL season. The bad news for teams looking towards April’s NFL draft for a new signal caller is this: none of the 2019 quarterbacks are as highly regarded as the QB’s taken in that first round of 2018.
Alternatively, owners and general managers could turn their attention to an intriguing list of free agents or gettable trade options. Players such as former Superbowl MVPs Nick Foles and Joe Flacco, as well as forgotten men Teddy Bridgewater and Tyrod Taylor could all be attractive options if a franchise decides that a first round pick is too high a price to pay for a QB they’re not completely sold on.
Inevitably, there will be teams who trade up to snag who they hope will be their quarterback of the next decade and a half.
If your team appears set to venture down that make-or-break path, here are the names to know three months out from the 2019 NFL Draft.
Dwayne Haskins – Ohio State
Despite only being a one-year starter for Ohio State, Haskins is the consensus number one quarterback of 2019.
His inexperience is a slight concern, however Cam Newton and Mitch Trubisky have set the precedence for “one and done” quarterbacks. At 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds, Haskins is ideal from a size standpoint, goes through his progressions and reads the entire field brilliantly for a one-year starter.
Haskins struggles mightily when protection breaks down in front of him, however from a clean pocket can slaughter teams with accurate passes over the middle of the field. Haskins appears to be the only quarterback worth trading up to pick one for at this stage.
Kyler Murray – Oklahoma
For the second straight year, a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback out of Oklahoma will be taken in the NFL draft (baring a late play from the Oakland Athletics to pinch him away from the big bad National Football League).
A two-sport star, Murray will have all the same physical doubts as former Sooners QB Baker Mayfield, which is understandable given Oklahoma’s website has Murray listed at 5’10” (and that is likely a generous measurement).
Despite his small stature, Murray is a bona fide playmaker with exceptional pocket awareness whom holds defenses accountable across the entire field on every play. Drafting Murray would mean a complete shift in offensive philosophy for whichever team acquires his services.
Drew Lock – Missouri
Lock is the gunslinger of the 2019 crop, boasting a cannon arm that can get away from him at times.
Lock threw a combined 72 touchdowns against 21 interceptions in the SEC over the last two seasons. A senior standing 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, Lock can stretch a defense like nobody else in this draft class, which will no doubt endear him to some evaluators over the coming months.
His anxieties in the pocket also greatly decreased this season. Lock has been compared by some to former Chicago QB Jay Cutler, which will entice some but terrify others. A likely mid first round prospect.
Daniel Jones – Duke
That’s right, Duke play college football too. A small school prospect who cooled somewhat late in the season, Jones is a tall prospect who boasts impressive athletic ability for his size.
Jones put some wonderful downfield throws on tape early this season, however he is still a hot and cold talent in terms of his ability inside the pocket.
Jones will come with three full years of starting experience in the ACC, and has been tutored by David Cutcliffe, who has also coached both Peyton and Eli Manning. At this stage Jones appears likely to be good value as a mid to late first round talent.
Will Grier – West Virginia
Grier will be an interesting quarterback prospect to watch this offseason. Despite not being big by pro quarterback standards and having only an average arm, Grier still masterfully operated the Mountaineers Air Raid offense over the past two seasons.
As a result, Grier racked up impressive numbers, however many who watched Grier on a weekly basis put that down to the talent of the receivers at Grier’s disposal making plays after the catch.
Grier has the moxie of a locker room leader, and certainly flashed some high-end arm talent in college, but as a pro prospect, Grier currently sits in the frame as a fringe first round prospect.
Other sleeper prospects to look out for
Ryan Finley – North Carolina State
Extremely experienced 5-year starter whom possesses arguably the best pocket presence in the draft class, however lacks the arm talent to stretch NFL defenses.
Tyree Jackson – Buffalo
Mammoth 6-foot-7 prospect with a big arm and plenty of highlight reel throws to his name already, Jackson is a raw passer but has enormous upside.
Gardner Minshew – Washington State
Lacks NFL size and arm talent however orchestrated WSU’s Air Raid superbly in 2018 with 38 touchdowns against just nine interceptions.