Over the summer it is important to establish a baseline for the up and coming potential NFL draft class. You scout the players and take notes on what their strengths and weaknesses are as well as what they can improve on to increase their potential draft stock. This is how you can watch a player’s growth over the season and it gives you a better understanding of who they are as a player.
Below I have highlighted my early top five quarterbacks for the 2019 NFL draft going into the college football season. It is important to remember that these rankings are subject to change throughout the season and most definitely will as players either improve or decrease their stock based on in-season performance.
Way Too Early 2019 NFL Draft Quarterback Rankings
Easton Stick, North Dakota State
Yeah, that’s right. The same school that pumped out Carson Wentz now has another player in the midst. After watching Stick, I was very impressed by his leadership and ability to read the defense.
In 2015 when Wentz went down with an injury, Stick stepped in and won the FCS championship as a true freshman. Since then he has been a two-time captain for the team and will be again for the third time this upcoming season.
As stated above, Stick does a good job at processing the field. He can scan the field efficiently and has a good understanding of coverages. That said, his decision making can be spotty at times. He tends to go for the big play over the safe and efficient one. This can be a good thing but can also lead to turnovers and missed chances at the next level.
He could also benefit from learning how to get a better feel the pocket. He tends to stay in the pocket too long and it causes many unwanted sacks that could have been avoided. By getting a better feel for the pocket around him it will teach him when to slide up into the pocket and deliver a throw and when to scramble.
Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
Stidham offers a good combination of size, football I.Q., and overall arm talent. He can make throws on all level of the field. He has average arm strength, but it is enough to make throws on all levels of the field.
His leadership skills are shown on the field as his team looks to continuously rally around him. Stidham also displays good poise. He looks to be able to slow the game down when needed. However, he has a hard time delivering with pressure on him. He is very anxious to leave the pocket at times and many times he bails before the pressure is even there. When he does leave the pocket though he has great ability to throw on the run which bails him out a lot. One thing to improve on is learning to reset his feet when scrambling.
Justin Herbert, Oregon
Many experts around the league have Herbert as the top quarterback, which will lead to a lot of hype around him going into the upcoming college season. After hearing all the hype and watching him I was a little disappointed, however. He does a lot of things well, but I didn’t see any traits that he excelled out or that made him stand out.
Herbert has plus accuracy on all levels of the field and combines that with great ball placement. This allows him to move down the field smoothly and convert many first downs in the process. His ball placement is outstanding, and he can do it even when his footwork is terrible. He has good pocket management and can slide up and down in the pocket when necessary to help avoid sacks.
The biggest flaw in his game is his mechanics. He has a bad drop that causes him to take to many unnecessary footsteps. Herbert also needs to work on slowing the game down and being less sporadic. Often, he will get stuck on his first read and try to force the throw instead of moving onto the next read. He also tries to go for the big risky play instead of the safe play too often. This will lead to turnovers at the next level whether that be failed conversions or interceptions.
Will Grier, West Virginia
After leaving the University of Florida in 2015, Grier was able to revive his college career with the Mountaineers. Grier finished his 2017 season with 3,490 yards to go along with 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He did this while displaying good processing on all levels of the field and above average mobility and pocket management skills.
Grier doesn’t have the greatest arm strength but makes up for it with his smart and safe decision-making skills. He navigates the pocket well and always keeps his eyes downfield even when scrambling. He does a good job processing the field and going through his reads. One area he needs to work on is the touch and velocity he puts on the ball. He tends to sail passes a little too high, especially over the middle of the field, which can turn into turnovers at the next level.
Drew Lock, Missouri
We are just at the beginning of the scouting process, but there have been a lot of Josh Allen comparisons when it comes to Lock. I just don’t see it, however. Sure, many people will point to Lock’s completion percentage, but it goes much deeper than that. Lock’s completion percentage comes from his lack of ability to properly read a field. On many occasions, he consistently fails to go through reads and struggles with defensive coverages and route anticipation.
Lock has the prototypical size that the NFL looks for in a quarterback; he is listed at 6’4” and 225 pounds. He also has above-average arm strength for the position. Lock has all the traits that NFL teams look for in a quarterback but needs to improve on his ability to read the field or he will never make it in the league.
Honorable Mention: Tyree Jackson, Buffalo
Jackson just missed out of my top five quarterbacks. However, he is my favorite of the bunch. Jackson displays a bunch of potential on the field. It’s just a matter of improving on a few things. At this point, Jackson is graded as a third-round pick with great upside.
He has good mobility and an impressive deep ball. His arm strength is above average, and it shows on tape as he consistently makes impressive long distance throws to his receivers with ease.
Jackson has very rough mechanics like a lot of quarterbacks do in college. He tends to only use his upper body when throwing which affects the velocity and touch he puts on the ball. During his drop, he tends to shift his weight from one foot to the other at the top of his drop affecting his throwing motion and touch he puts on the ball. He also has a wind-up type release and throwing motion. Now, this certainly won’t be completely fixed but with proper coaching, he might be able to clean it up a little to better improve his timing on passes.