With the draft little more than a week away, now seems like a good time to start revealing my projections for this year’s draft class. Over the next several days, I’ll go over each position group sorted by the day we could hear their name called, the players I think will be good value, and the ones I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.
We’ll start with the quarterback group because, it’s the most important position in football (duh) and because I wrote this part first. So here we go.
Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett, Desmond Ridder, Matt Corral
Bailey Zappe, Carson Strong, Kaleb Eleby, Jack Coan, Skylar Thompson, EJ Perry
What you heard was more than likely right, this is not a good QB class. Mac Jones from the year before would clearly be the top dog and yes now you see why Daniel Jeremiah dropped the nugget of Davis Mills potentially being the favorite if he stayed at Stanford for one more season. Malik Willis could get into the argument because of his skillset, which is his main selling point. Kenny Pickett would also get some hype after his magical season, however the big attraction with Pickett lies in a decent floor with a proven ability to scramble. Ridder is a good athlete with potential for growth but leaves a lot to be desired currently. Then you get to more nice developmental backup types attached to reasonable value. So how is it in this weak quarterback class that we have four potential first round prospects? Desperation can do crazy things to a franchise, I suppose. Personally I don’t see any of these guys as more than a second or third round type pick. There’s a lot of smoke and mirrors this offseason when it comes to quarterback interest and throughout the years most teams have been able to hold their cards close to the proverbial blue puffy vest. The Detroit Lions coaching staff coached Willis at the Senior Bowl but would they take a chance on developing him at second overall as opposed to just drafting an elite pass rusher opposite Romeo Okwara while taking the best of the rest of the quarterbacks who make it to 32? Or would they use their other picks to trade up further into the first? If the Panthers force a quarterback at seven they will not pick again until near the end of round four, well outside of the top 100 prospects. Can a Carolina team that had legit playoff aspirations dancing in their heads after a hot start last season feel comfortable taking a step next year with such little infusion of talent? Regardless of how they feel about Sam Darnold, no prospect would help that team more than a capable left tackle right now. Can’t imagine Atlanta would want to, for all intents and purposes, light the first year of a rookie’s contract on fire and throw a young non-elite quarterback prospect to the wolves on a Falcons team that has little to no support on the roster currently. Seattle and Pittsburgh are very much in play, then you have teams like New Orleans whose trade intentions with Philly are still unclear.
Who I’m High On:
Any Day Three QB
I like Malik Willis and Desmond Ridder but not as much as the media consensus does. If it were up to me, Willis would develop like a Tayson Hill gadget player so he could get accustomed to the speed of the pro game without having as much responsibility on his plate. Zappe has career backup type athleticism and has only seen success within one type of offense following his coach to Western Kentucky from Ouachita Baptist. However Zappe shows some of the better examples of mental processing post snap out of this class. Carson Strong has a quick release, an adequately strong arm, and had the most freedom at the line of scrimmage at Nevada than any signal-calling prospect in this class. The issue lies in a bad knee with conflicting reports on its health. However, considering the tools Strong has to work with, if the knee were fine we’d be hearing his name a lot more in a class starved for a true QB1.
Who I’m Low On:
Corral, Pickett, and Howell
I just don’t see it with these guys. Corral has a great release and some scrambling ability but in order for him to cut down on the turnovers his coach at Ole Miss took the game out of his hands entirely at times. Pickett’s offensive line at Pitt has given him some terrible habits in the pocket to the point where even his high floor is fair to question at the next level. Meanwhile Sam Howell is just a lesser version of Baker Mayfield.
Who do you have going day one? Do you think the Texans might go for a quarterback in day two or three? Would it be good value for them to do so? Sound off in the comments.