Updated: Apr 28
Disclaimer - quarterbacks are split into 2 primary types/schemes ("west coast" & "vertical"). In rare cases, players will be ("scramblers.") I put ( * ) next to players that are likely Saints scheme fits & targets. I put (+) next to players that are scheme fits, but not necessarily players I think we'll target.
*Kenny Pickett Pittsburgh
Mechanically, beautiful. Movement, mechanics both throwing and running are smooth, natural and quick. Flashes nice agility and explosive leaping ability as an athlete. Moves really well in the pocket. A plus athlete for QB. Throws with a very quick release. Dynamic arm. Arm leans slightly more touch thrower than power thrower, but he can do both. Can make just about any throw. He's the most scheme diverse QB in this class where you could fit him into virtually any offense. I really like his footwork in the pocket, where he's decisive and fast. His upper body and lower body stay connected. When Josh Rosen came out of the draft someone said he had a good "kinetic chain." As a descriptor, that's what Pickett has, a beautiful kinetic chain. From top to bottom, petty throwing mechanics. There's a grace to his movement, a fluidity & connectedness. With that in mind, Rosen went mid 1st. Pickett could go higher. He flashes enough to be the top QB in this class. He looks the part in form and frame and production. I'd be shocked if Matt Corral went ahead of him (which is what all the pre-draft rankings currently indicate). The one thing that really separates Pickett is his release, especially on deep throws. He has a fast, flexible release. A lot of guys when throwing deep, need time to wind up, not him. His release deep is just as fast as short. It's fast, still fluid. Fluidity allows him to make throws from any platform and be accurate on the move. He's got a dynamic set of tools, and could be 'pro ready' as in able to contribute immediately. All things considered I think he could have Jimmy G to Carson Wentz type impact. As far as pro comps, I think he looks a lot like Jeff Blake (similar frame, mobility). The main knock on Pickett is he performed well for 3 years but was pretty middle of the pack, than he really exploded as a 5th yr SR. Teams may wonder about the developmental curve, but I'm not as concerned. Joe Burrow and many others had similar developmental curves.
Scout Grade - Late 1st/Early 2nd Round Scout Comp - Jeff Blake (w/ slightly higher ceiling)
Carson Strong Nevada
Very fast release. Entire throwing motion is fastest in class. It's top heavy (arm driven, not as much movement in legs) but natural. Not a mobile athlete. An icewagon. Pocket style QB when given protection can make ANY throw. His deep ball is prettiest in the class. The further a pass travels downfield, the smaller the margin of error. It's why you see so many deep passes either overthrown or slightly underthrown. The timing required is nuanced. He makes it look easy. 60 yard passes into double coverage that literally "drop into the bucket" and could not be thrown better. Throws with great anticipation. Could do a slightly better job stepping into the pocket especially when speed rush closes around him. In his defense, his interior offense line had lapses in pass pro. Some of his "bad" plays may have different results with better surrounding cast. Takes some unnecessary sacks where he could've thrown the ball away. Mechanically he's an odd prospect because his throwing motion is all upper body and arm. His hips are really stiff and don't move like I'm used to seeing. The ball comes out quick and consistent though so I don't know what to make of it. Likely goes late 2nd or 3rd. Has a brain. Keeps his eyes downfield and constantly reads looking for opportunities. Isn't as accurate (consistency-wise) as you'd like, but I think some of it can improve with better protection and some coaching on his footwork. When he misses throws, they tend to be overthrown. Strong has potential but needs work. Best fit would be somewhere where he would not need to start right away. He's more QB2 at this point. (edit: following portion of profile adjusted on 4/28 before draft) It turns out that Strong was playing on a bum knee. I initially thought it was a mechanical issue with footwork or lack of mobility, so assumed he'd be a 3rd/4th rd grade, however after I saw his earlier 2019 and 2020 tape where he was more balanced, mobile, & healthy, it was like night and day. I went from liking him to loving his potential. This is an Aaron Rodgers type velocity & arm talent. I'd love to see him go to the Saints where he could rehab for a year and sit behind Winston & Dalton via redshirt. Strong will enter the NFL with top 4 or 5 arm strength in the league. If he'd been healthy he would've been a late 1st/early 2nd rd pick. I see major upside and he's worth the injury risk. Even though he's not super athletic, I think he processes information really well, can make any throw, and navigates the pocket surprisingly well through instincts.
Scout Grade - Early 2nd Round
Scout Comp - Aaron Rodgers arm talent but without mobility, unique player w/o a true comp. It's almost like watching Tom Brady late in his career. Tall, pocket QB who lacks athleticism but can make any throw w/ high IQ.
Sam Howell (+) North Carolina
Howell is an early entrant as a JR, who's lost steam in the scouting community because his numbers dipped from year 2 to 3. His team lost a lot of weapons; it's likely a byproduct of surrounding cast more so than an indictment on him (pass protection from his line was inconsistent, drops). Howell fights hard for yards on his scrambles and converts into a physical runner. He'll need to be smart as a pro, limit hits on scrambling, learn to avoid contact. Makes some gorgeous throws at all 3 levels of the field. Just enough arm strength to make tight window throws and is just fast enough to make you respect him as a runner. He's not the type of runner you scheme an entire gameplan around in the pros, but he is dangerous in the red zone and on 3rd downs. Athletically, he has above average speed, good burst/short area acceleration, great strength, but not particularly agile laterally. As a thrower he has a quick release, navigates the pocket well, recognizes pressure, and makes "the easy plays." You don't see him missing open throws, so he's a reliable prospect especially for an early entrant QB. He'd do best in a west coast offense. He will need to grow in his ability to "look off" DBs. There are flashes of ability to go through progressions, but has too many examples of "staring down his receiver" for too long thus opening opportunities for the defense to jump passes. A lot of what might be considered negatives are all coachable: (as a runner) he needs to protect himself better because he takes way too many avoidable hits & (as a passer) he needs to use his eyes better to manipulate defenders, and not stare down his primary target. There's pedigree here. As far as pro comparisons (biomechanically, athletically) he's similar to Rodney Peete but as a thrower he's much more accurate with arm talent closer in style to Baker Mayfield i.e., generally a touch thrower but can put enough heat on it when needed (not Baker level heat, but enough). All things considered, his upside and overall comp is Jake Plummer (in his Denver days). Howell may be the best QB in this class. I've oscillated between him and Pickett for "who's 1?" Howell has a backyard swagger and awareness that is hard not too like. It's tight between him and Pickett. I like that Howell was dominant in high school than dominant as a true FR & SO. Football is a team sport. Much like his comp Jake Plummer, surrounding cast has a lot to do with play. That said, Howell is the type of prospect that might not go too early in the draft...to a bad team...because we've already seen that in college he needs a good team around him to really excel. If he falls to mid/late round 1, it might make the most sense for his potential as a prospect and for the drafting team. Go to a team with a quality offensive line and RB core.
Scout Grade - 2nd Round
Scout Comp - Jake Plummer (w/ lower floor)
Matt Corral (+) Ole Miss
When the pre-draft process started, Corral was a 3rd round prospect. That was great value. 1 month later, he's climbed to the #1 overall pick. That's where it gets complicated. For a player moving on the draft board that dramatically, it's important to disregard what you hear and default solely to what we can see on tape. He's below average in size but not worrying. Results in some passes batted at the line. He stands firm in the pocket (sometimes too firm, which I'll explain later) and explodes out of a standstill quickly. His agility in his quick "first step" is his best athletic attribute and gives him escape-ability in the pocket to dodge blitzers. More college mobile than a pro rushing threat (reminiscent of Teddy Bridgewater while at Louisville), but enough to provide value on broken plays and 3rd downs. He's an above average athlete, but not the type of mobile you scheme around to aim for 100 yard rushing days. His mobility will be best utilized as a passer, where offenses can move the pocket to create throwing lanes. His feet are athletic but his footwork in the pocket is inconsistent. On some plays he'll flash active 'bouncy' feet, but on other plays he'll stand in the pocket like his feet seem glued to the turf. Corral needs to respect front line defenders more. We often hear about a QB's ability to "read a defense" yet watching Corral makes you realize that "reading a defense" doesn't just mean DBs & the backend, but also means reading the front 7 & pass rush. He isn't unaware of pressure, rather he can be too nonchalant about pressure. If a defender is closing in on a sack, don't disregard the defender. The awareness to spot the blitzer and the toughness to keep eyes downfield are both good qualities, however on the pro level he'll need to respect the fact that 5 yards of distance will be closed a lot quicker and decisions need to be made a.s.a.p. He can improve in being more decisive, more quickly or else teams will blitz him into oblivion. Projecting him as a pro I have more concerns with how he handles pressure, sacks & fumbles in the pocket than I do with how he reads secondaries & DBs. Ole Miss ran a lot of read option from the spread where he has some beautiful execution on play action. He sells play action as well as anyone in the class. He's a west coast style QB who'll do best game managing in the short and intermediate. He reads through progressions, reads the field well and has generally good instincts as a passer. Some of that changes when confronted with pressure. You worry about his lack of arm strength. Most of his passes are lofted and there aren't any examples of the ball being thrown "on a line." I think offenses can scheme around it because he still has enough arm to chunk downfield, but there are some intermediate throws to the outside where the ball takes way too long to get to it's destination. Offenses need to build around his skill set, and if asked to do traditional power throws, it opens him up to potential INTs. One other concern that's a bit unique is I worry about durability to his lower body and legs. At the end of scrambles, there are a few too many ugly slides and endings to plays where he could protect himself much better. A slide in the open field shouldn't look like you're crashing into the turf. So there's a minor question about natural coordination when finishing scrambles. Matt Corral has a lot of tools that fit the modern game, but needs an offense to build around him: use his mobility to move the pocket, spread the field, lots of short passes & play action to open up opportunities deep. He is not a mistake free player by any means, and the only way I'd draft him is if I know I can trust my o-line to pass block. Yes, that applies to all QBs, but especially here because he is not the type of QB that's a "blitz beater." Most of his turnovers are a result of 2 things: late/poor response to pressure or lack of zip on the pass. He did improve with turnovers from Jr to Sr (14 INTs down to 4 INTs) but we can't simply overlook the Jr tape. I'll admit this is a really hard prospect to grade. You see a well rounded blend of toughness, athleticism, & awareness to make for a good dual threat player but there's enough bad moments (especially as a Jr) and limitations in arm strength to include risk. He'll have to improve leading receivers when he throws deep and he'll need to protect himself better, otherwise there's risk of becoming a reckless player capable of multi turnover games.
Scout Grade - 2nd/3rd Round
Scout Comp - Brian Sipe (w/ higher risk of durability issues)
Malik Willis (+) Liberty
Small school dual threat QB who's currently limited as a passer but has upside in both facets of the game. Transferred from Auburn (where he didn't play as a FR) to Liberty (where he started 2 years as SO and JR). As a SO he had 2,200 YD, 20 TD, 6 INT at 64%. As a JR his efficiency dipped to 2,600 YD, 24 TD, 12 INT, 60%. Level of competition will require time to adjust to pro speed. Willis is very athletic, one of the fastest on the field. If he gets drafted high, it's based on his mobility more than passing (i.e., Michael Vick, Lamar Jackson). He is 4.4 fast with open field vision and agility, and could project to being a 1,000 yard rusher. As a passer it's a different story. Liberty to pro is a big jump, plus he's leaving a year early. Would've liked to see him get more efficient in his 2 yrs, not less. As a passer, he has good balance and moves well in the pocket. Feels pressure and evades naturally. Most passing plays were single read. He is a "see open" than "throw open" player at this point. Even in the short game, like on bubble screens, his team's offense is slowed slightly as you see him recognizing "open" instead of letting it rip. Processing time is slower than you'd like and would need to improve. Good QBs anticipate and are able to "throw receivers open." I'm not sure he has that anticipation. Anticipation comes in 2 forms. He has the type where he can lead a WR (throw to where they're going instead of where they are) however he doesn't show the ability to anticipate in the sense of throwing receivers open/"manipulating defenses." The "see open before throwing" issue gives defenses too much of an advantage. Even small schools like Campell were able to disguise coverage and bait him into bad throws by showing him "open receivers." He has the arm talent to put the "ball on a line" and hit all 3 levels of the field, but I wouldn't call him a power thrower. His arm strength is above average and looks best in the intermediate; accuracy looks best in that part of the field too. He's better at throwing to the outside than he is throwing to the middle. His best work will come on 10 to 20 yard throws on the outside. If the Seahawks or Packers lose Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers to free agency, those 2 teams may be his best fits. Some people have been allured by the athleticism and therefore projected Willis to be a 1st round pick. I'm not there. The talent is evident, but he needs a lot of work on his mental processing in the passing game. The offense Liberty ran was limited too and not pro style. If I'm going to take a chance on a 2 way developmental project QB like this for upside, I have to pay attention to how much draft capital is required. If he falls to the 3rd round or maybe 2nd, the value would become more alluring. Too much earlier feels risky because he needs so much work in the passing game. Than again I thought the same thing on Lamar Jackson and he's developed more as a passer than I anticipated. Still, I think Willis is slightly overrated. At a school like Liberty, he should be progressing in efficiency not regressing. The jump in competition from that level to pro isn't as easy for a QB either (compared to Louisville or Virginia Tech for example - where Vick & Lamar Jackson went). Those players also started early and had a lot more experience. Lamar is an okay comparison because he was a big time project when he came out who needed a ton of work. Willis is a similar prospect who's slightly better as a passer, slightly less dynamic as a runner.
Scout Grade - 2nd/3rd Round
Scout Comp - Jalen Hurts (w/ longer developmental timeline)
Desmond Ridder (+) Cincinnati
6'4 215 Productive, relatively efficient, dual threat QB & 4 year starter for a historically good Cincinnati team. He's helped their entire program turn around. When you see the resume, Ridder is the type of player that you really want to like. When you watch the tape though he's not an easy player to grade. His release and mechanics are inconsistent, and it makes his ball placement inconsistent. Even on many completions, the ball isn't delivered to the best possible place for his receivers. On short throws his release is too slow and the ball takes too long to get to the target. Underthrows too many deep passes. He moves really well in the pocket and does a fantastic job both feeling and escaping pressure. He's also athletic enough to have some rushing upside. As a prospect he reminds me of a blend of Aaron Brooks and Colin Kaepernick, but Ridder is slightly less speedy. He's a graceful runner. Great lateral athlete and agility. Ridder was great in college, and you can't always argue with a QB who wins. He got Cincinnati ranked near top. But overall for the pro level, I worry about his ball placement/accuracy. I don't think he projects to be consistently naturally accurate. He has the tools to develop into a QB1 but requires a lot of growth. After 4 years of starting, I'd like to have seen more of that growth as a pocket passer by now. He did run less as a SR and try to be more of a pocket passer as a SR (with some success), but you would've liked to see that mindset all 4 years. As a developmental prospect, there's value, but it'd be hard to justify taking him before the 2nd round. Even than, you'd be picking him with the intention to stash and develop, and you wouldn't be drafting him with the intention to start him immediately with an expectation that he's the "guy." Because of his mobility and experience winning , some teams may see him as a Jalen Hurts upside type prospect; so he likely gets drafted higher than his actual grade because of it. He will be picked more on potential than ability. Will have to go to a technician of a coach to really make it work. They'd have to spend a lot of time on his mechanics. The pocket IQ and sense of pressure is a good place to start though. He does have some things that can't be taught.
Scout Grade - 2nd/3rd Round
Scout Comp - Aaron Brooks (w/ worse accuracy but better intangibles)
*Nick Starkel San Jose State/Texas A&M/Arkansas
Strong dynamic armed QB who's feet move in sync well with his throws. Kinetic chain is clean. Ran a spread offense and actually is one of the few players who consistently shows ability to read through progressions. In his best performance vs Boise State you see all kind of upside. You see him scanning the field for opportunities and he delivers money throws on all 3 levels of the field. Transferred from 2 other programs before arriving to San Jose State. Questions with Starkel are not talent, because he looks like a pro level QB, it's more to do with his resume. Why so little performance earlier in his collegiate career? Why transfer through so many programs? I'll need to do deeper dive into Starkel as we get closer to draft because his arm talent definitely looks like a draftable grade, and he's one of the more intriguing options in this class. When you factor pre-draft rankings have him ranked undrafted, universally, it catches my attention. His stats look like an undrafted guy but his tape doesn't. Compared to players like Bailey Zappe who some people think is a mid-round talent, Starkel looks leaps and bounds more "talented" (in tools, at least). So why no draft grades anywhere? Has to be a story here or something off-field because he has some 2nd/3rd round traits. His arm, for perspective, is dynamic. A lot of throws look similar, and stylistically he is similar, to Derek Carr. He's not that level of prospect but you see a similarly dynamic arm that can make just about any throw on the field. His resume is sort of the tale of two players. For example this past year as a 5th yr SR he was bad: 1645 YD at 51% w/ 9 TD & 7 INT (in 7 games). The year before as a 4th yr SR he had 2174 YD at 64% w/ 17 TD & 7 INT. His worst moments are bad but there may a 64% player in there somewhere; that's what catches my eye. As a priority free agent, it's about all the upside you could ask for.
Scout Grade - 7th Round/UDFA
Scout Comp - Felipe Franks (w/ surprisingly higher upside but also lower floor)
4 year dual threat, highly productive player who had 5,070 YD, 46 TD & 8 INT as a SR . Finished career with 120 TDs to 28 INTs at 62% CMP. Added 358 carries for 1537 YDs & 21 TDs rushing (4.2 YPC). Not a big player. Looks slightly thinner than listed 210 weight. Limber athlete (built more like a DB in frame). Mechanically, his release is fluid. There's a slight hitch in the back end of his release (when he winds up the ball slightly pauses at the back of the release/apex, than proceeds forward, instead of one fluid motion; it's very slight though). It's unconventional, but he throws a catchable ball with velocity. His throwing motion reminds me of Teddy Bridgewater; personally I can put form aside too because even Mahomes fell in his class because he threw "unconventionally." Barriere is becoming one of my favorite QBs in this class. There's not much tape but from what I can find, he appears to have one of the higher IQs in this class. He reads the field well. I kept noticing other QBs are mostly single read players coming from single read offenses, and very few guys have that old school cerebral backyard awareness. There are tons of instances of him reading through multiple progressions 'on the fly,' and I just didn't see that same ability from other prospects in this class, even some of the top guys. He has the brain for QB. He's mostly a touch thrower, but can put the ball on a line. Not a power thrower on NFL standards, but flashes enough arm strength in the intermediate. The ball gets there more accurately, with more zip than his form and frame might have you think. He'll do best to develop in a west coast scheme. There are real tools here and the "undrafted" projections really surprise me. He has ability to make things happen on broken plays; he moves well in the pocket, he steps up into the pocket, and he reads the field well. I think there's a possibility of developing into a pro QB, maybe even QB1. High IQ at this position is so rare; his awareness alone gives him a chance. In fairness his tools are not what you'd consider definite pro traits, but if you had to define his game simply, it's escapability & IQ. He's really overlooked. If I were building a team, he'd be my primary target at QB (especially value adjusted - considering draft capital required to get him). I think there's enough here to warrant a draft pick. Even as high as 4th or 5th round. However, his name isn't listed on most draft outlets, and I've not seen him with a draftable grade anywhere. My grade so far is the only place that thinks of him as legitimately draftable pro prospect whereas most see him as a priority UDFA. As far as pro comps, I went through all the best undrafted QBs to ever do it, and the one thing most had in common was "limited arm strength, high IQ" (with exception of Moon & Warner). Barrier's escapability, frame, and west coast arm...are reminiscent of Jeff Garcia. I think he could have a Jeff Garcia or Teddy Bridgewater type ceiling & impact. They're thin frame, touch throwers, with pocket mobility, IQ, & toughness. That's his upside. Down side is that he lacks the arm strength to play in certain vertical schemes, but the same could be said for some of the top QB prospects in this class (like Corral, Zappe, Eleby). I think teams might be getting too wrapped up in mechanics, forgetting to check the result, which is more often than not a completed pass. This is an experienced player who doesn't make lots of mistakes. Very underrated and it's quite shocking with his resume, experience, production, mobility, and IQ that he hasn't gotten any hype. Not to mention his record. He won games. Record throughout career was 34W & 13L: (3-1, 9-3, 7-5, 5-1, 10-3). If Barriere goes undrafted, it's likely because he played at the D2/FCS level. People say "he's small" and "he lacks arm strength" but he's the same size as Matt Corral and might have a slightly stronger arm, so that can't be the reason. Frankly, I think it's D2 and hype. Having an unconventional release can make a player not "look the part." The inverse is true too, where some guys (Josh Rosen, for example) have the perfect release, yet bust. At the end of the day, QB is more above the neck than below the neck. With that in mind, Barriere offers a ton of potential value. As far as team fits, his overall profile screams New Orleans Saints. They're personnel is constructed to be a spread offense, west coast passing, zone running team. They like mobility at QB (as evident with undrafted player like Taysom Hill playing at QB this year) and their fans/organization understand the value of IQ at the position (due to success with Drew Brees). Even with Sean Payton retired, their city, fans, and organization still view 'Brees traits' as valuable, and Barriere embodies exactly what they'd look for. As a team, they've also had a lot of success with undrafted players, and will be less influenced by bias of draft position and more influenced by what they see in preseason play. Players like Barriere make me realize that the gap between QBs is closing. As prospects the gap between him and Matt Corral isn't as wide as their respective draft rankings might have you believe.
Scout Grade - 5th-7th Round
Scout Comp - Jeff Garcia (w/ lower floor)
*Kaleb Eleby Western Michigan 6'1 210
rsSO declaring early and forgoing last 2 years of eligibility. West Coast style game managing QB who flashes enough short game accuracy to be intriguing. If any 1 QB rises the draft board come draft time, it's likely Eleby. He's currently projected by most outlets between 4th and 7th round. Since the class has a reputation of being weak at the QB position I could see him going near the higher end of that range. He protects the football and finished his season with 3,277 YDs, 23 TD, & 6 INT. He processes the field quickly and generally makes quick accurate decisions. Because he has mental processing capability, he immediately rises up my board. So many guys in this class are coming from single read offenses. At least Eleby shows he can read quickly and deliver accurately. So you really like the above the neck. He is not a power thrower. He's not the guy that's going to split cover 2 or shred the intermediate. He's built more for short passing out of the spread with deep passes sprinkled in. There are moments where I want him to commit faster (trust his instincts) especially when he has space to escape the pocket and pick up yardage with his feet. He'll tend to keep his eyes downfield for too long and compromise his running lanes. Most guys you'd have to coach them to do the opposite though so that's coachable. He's not a top tier athlete, but he's athletic enough to move in the pocket. This is the type of player who might improve at the pro level if surrounded by a better cast. Overall his build reminds me of Chase Daniel. Daniel went undrafted but developed into a viable QB2 & stuck around the league for a long time. Elelby might too. He is a touch thrower, but what makes him a little different and what gives him some upside, is he makes some beautiful touch throws deep not just short. His deep passes float to get there, but so many of them are perfectly thrown 50 yard bombs. His stats can be deceiving too because there are many perfect throws on tape that were dropped by his WRs including some beautiful bombs. This may sound crazy, but as a thrower he is not that much different from Matt Corral who will go rounds ahead of him. Corral may have climbed his way into the 1st round, but teams don't account enough for surrounding cast and situation. No one can tell me that if Eleby was on Ole Miss and if Corral was on Western Michigan that they would've had dramatically different outcomes. He's not mobile like Corral, but as a thrower he may be just as good if not slightly better. What's weird about grading prospects is you have to adjust for value. What I mean is, even though I have Eleby ranked below guys like Corral, Ridder, Willis, & Strong; if I were drafting for a team, I'd likely prefer Eleby late than any of those players early. Risk vs reward. An intriguing prospect. He doesn't wow you with arm strength or athleticism, in fact I'm not even sure if his arm strength is powerful enough to make it in the pros, but he is a 'back yard' style tough QB that reads the field well and makes good decisions. At worst he feels like a reliable backup. At best you get a solid game manager that doesn't cost you games and possibly grows into a starter. He's tough under pressure and takes hits to deliver the pass. He's one of the higher IQ players at the position in a class without too many high IQ QBs. In most years he'd go 7th round, but given the class he could go as high as 4th round. 5th or 6th would be good value.
Scout Grade - 5th-7th Round
Scout Comp - Chase Daniel (w/ higher ceiling)
Western Kentucky/Houston Baptist
My 1st impressions on Zappe were that I didn't like him. I thought he stared his primary receivers too much and didn't manipulate defenders with his eyes enough. But I scouted a lot of defenders in this class (I did defense before offense) and Zappe really jumped off the screen when I was watching quality defensive prospects from programs like UTSA; he looked like the best player on the field. His release is not what you'd draw up as a dream prospect. That's for sure. He has a funky release, that's like semi-sidearmed, comes from down to up (like a golf swing motion more so than a traditional tomahawk motion). It's not also a very strong arm. But he is really accurate. He has great balance in the pocket, maybe the best balance at his position in this class. His footwork is always contained, poised. He flashes ability to find secondary receivers and ability to extend plays with IQ. He needs to step more into the pocket when it's clean. He has a tendency to hang in the back of the pocket and not step up, meaning the ball has to travel further to get to it's destination. He's someone that could grow in time with improved pocket mechanics. The throwing motion I'm not as concerned with. That's how guys used to throw in the 1930's. You notice it with clips of players like Sammy Baugh, who happened to be the best of his generation. Since the NFL is a results driven business, I do tend to weigh production slightly heavier than measurables or technique. Zappe is hard to grade. There's a lot I don't like, but there are definitely high IQ, backyard style 'gamer' traits that are hard to dismiss. Plus the level of production is all time great. He broke Joe Burrow's record and threw for an astounding 5,967 YD, 62 TD, 11 INT w/ 3 TD rushing. Even against good teams like Michigan State, Zappe torched them for 488 and 3 TD at a 72% clip in 64 attempts. It's just his technique is so "unconventional" (for the teams that like him) and "ugly" (for the teams that don't). Fact is he makes really accurate throws in the short game and even touch passes in the intermediate. He'll be a west coast guy. There may also be debate by teams on whether to accept him as is (technique-wise) or whether to reconstruct his throwing mechanics entirely. It's possible with changes in footwork and release that he has some untapped arm strength, but teams may not want to completely change his mechanics, because as it stands he managed a 9-5 team in a really productive efficient offense. That's QB2 upside. Maybe even QB1. Not an easy prospect to grade. I did not like him at 1st, but he's the type of guy that the more I watch, the more I like him. He really just needs to step into the pocket and develop better footwork. He has a tendency to throw from a perpendicular stance instead of parallel. Picture how they instruct a jump shooter in basketball to "square his hips;" on a lot of throws Zappe's body looks like that and gets too square to the target. A lot of the mechanical issues may be "fixable" though. That's where he has some late, long-term intrigue. Probably comes in as QB2 or QB3. Right now he seems like a poor man's Gardner Minshew. In some offenses that can have a lot of value to a rotation. I want my backup QBs to have a backyard style to their game. It's a different role than starters. From backups you want guys that can step in and win you stretches, provide a spark. Some guys can do that from moxie, poise alone. It's possible he has that ability. Best team fit might be somewhere like Jacksonville. The verdict is still out on Trevor Lawrence and they let Gardner Minshew go too soon. I could see them targeting someone like Zappe in order to try to correct that mistake.
Scout Grade - 5th-7th Round
Scout Comp - Trevor Siemien (w/ odder mechanics)
Skylar Thompson (+)
Similar prospect to Dorian Thompson Robinson from UCLA. You could almost read the profile I wrote on DTR and it would apply. Thompson played throughout all 4 years at K State, but wasn't very accurate (around 59%). His last season was a huge improvement up to 69% so that growth forces everyone to take a 2nd look. He's an option QB who finished his career with over 1,000 YD & 26 TDs rushing. The combination of arm strength and mobility are like a poorman's Josh Allen. Thompson is like 80% of Allen so he's not near that ceiling, but he is in that mold or style of QB. He's big, can move for his size, and he has a powerful arm. Thompson can make some big time power throws and he can escape the pocket. He's hard to grade because there's not a lot of game film available so I'll have to check as we get closer to draft time. Production so inconsistent, some teams might look at him as a day 2 pick and others might look at him as undrafted. My guess is day 3. He's not a naturally accurate player (according to his #s), and he reverts to his legs when the play breaks down where you'd like to see him work through progressions and find secondary receivers (from the little bit of tape I could find).1st impressions is he's a developmental pick who will have to work a couple years on a practice squad or as a QB3 in order to develop. As far as tools he reminds me of the former Saints 7th round pick Tommy Stevens. Stevens was off of most people's radars, yet heard his name called late. Thompson has clear pro tools but not enough games available to really assess IQ.
Scout Grade - 6th/7th Round
Scout Comp - Tommy Stevens (w/ better tools)
Jack Coan (+) Notre Dame/Wisconsin
6'3 223 Release seems too inefficient and labored. Too much "windup" makes me worry about potential at the pro level. It's weird because even though there appears to be too much wasted movement, he does go through his long release in a quicker fashion than you'd think possible. Coan is a traditional pocket style QB who as a player looks more collegiate than pro. His feet are kind of plodding/choppy when he moves (think Jameis Winston's style movement). He has pro arm strength but may be too single dimensional for his game to translate to the modern game. There's no particular trait or element of his game that sticks out to me as "must have." At no point did I think, "I want this guy." Admittedly, I've watched the Saints for so long that I may have a slight bias towards west coast style QBs than traditional pocket style QBs. That bias aside, trying to be objective, teams like Colts, Bucs, Chargers, Panthers could all look at Coan as a high upside priority udfa. Teams with a vertical offense might draft him late as a developmental pocket passing prospect. In Coan's defense, he has one of the stronger arms in this class, especially in the intermediate, next to maybe Carson Strong. He also won at 2 different programs and didn't throw many INTs. Both as a JR at Wisconsin and a 5th year SR at ND, he averaged about 3,000 YD, 21 TD & 5 INT at 66%. The numbers can be misleading though because there are quite a few incompletions that looked like they would've been turnovers at the pro level against better DBs. I think he lacks the efficiency & mechanics as a passer to really be efficient as a pro. There are arm strength traits though. Looks like he'll be vying for QB3 & practice squad. He's an average player with above average arm talent. Despite arm strength, he tends to underthrow deep balls and will need to improve downfield accuracy. I could see him going to the Bucs because he utilizes his check downs well.
Scout Grade - 6th/7th Round
Scout Comp - Tim Boyle (w/ higher long term ceiling)
*Aqeel Glass Alabama A&M
Glass is the tale of 2 tapes. I feel like I'm one of the only people that likes him. Maybe my perception was skewed because the first time I saw him play was his best game (a 400 yard performance vs Jackson State). If you watch his best games, he looks like a draftable player and capable west coast QB. He's a decent athlete (for a tall QB) with smooth feet as he drops back into the pocket and really good balance. His worst moments are really ugly though. When he's inaccurate he's usually throwing off of his back foot instead of stepping into his throw. His decision making is up and down too. Very streaky. Things he does well: consistently steps up into the pocket, & he throws a very catchable ball. Throws with just enough heat to make it work, although not much zip. So many of his throws have professional level anticipation and touch. I've seen 1st overall picks that don't have his natural sense of anticipation, so there's a legitimate natural skill here with potential accuracy. Even when guys are covered, he can "throw them open." That's the one part of his game that I really find intriguing. He hits receivers in stride and can throw with touch on all 3 levels. He will hang in the pocket and take hits in order to make plays too so you like his toughness. Overall, he's a project. There's a lot of good, but there is a lot of bad too. I'm not sure even his greatest play is enough to make up for his worst stretches. It's possible with some work that a team can capture his good flashes and lower the mistakes. He'll likely be a late round pick or udfa, and hopefully he'll go to a team with a west coast offense that has a year or two of patience to work with him on the practice squad. If he's able to improve decision making (which isn't necessarily common for QBs), then he has good enough size, accuracy, and potential to develop into an NFL QB. Teams may be willing to take a chance on that upside too because Glass did improve each one of his 3 seasons in college. He was regarded as the top player in his conference (SWAC). Hopefully he continues that trend of growth because he sure throws a pretty ball. If a coach can fix his footwork (by getting him to stop leaning back, and to focus more on his balance and consistency) then there's upside. 4 year starting experience. SR year had 3,568 YD, 36 TD & 7 INT at 62.6% in 10 games. When you look at his game log, he has good than bad every other game early in his career. By the time he was a SR that good to bad ratio became 9 good to 1 bad per 10 games. That's progression that shouldn't be ignored. I also like his potential IQ. He has a natural feel for pressure, and how to move in the pocket. He has "eyes in the back of his head." That awareness allows escapability in the pocket. His best moments look like a 3rd or 4th round pick. His worst moments look like he wouldn't make a practice squad. As far as pro comps, he reminds me a lot of Zac Dysert from Miami OH who was someone I liked a lot more than others at the time. Similar players: tough, back yard style and anticipation. With that said, I could see Elway/Denver Broncos looking at him late or as a priority UDFA.
Scout Grade - 7th Round/UDFA
Scout Comp - Zac Dysert
Dustin Crum (+)
Crum was a 5 year player and 3 year starter who turned some heads early in his career at Kent St. He was dual threat at the college level and finished last year with 3,238 YDs & 20 TDs passing and 703 YDs & 12 TDs rushing. Only had 6 INTs too. Crum is a deceptively mobile athlete who displays ability to step up in the pocket. He does a good job keeping his eyes downfield while he escapes the pocket too. He maintains pretty good balance in his footwork on throws. He's the 1st prospect in this class where you notice his pump fake. His pump fake is emphatic and reminds me of Nick Foles who used to use the pump fake really well. Crum has a slight hitch in his throwing motion. It's a long windup almost like a pitcher, and it's natural, but the windup isn't quite as efficient looking as top tier throwers. The part that makes it hard for Crum is inconsistency in technique and ball placement. Frankly, the same could be said for Desmond Ridder so there's not as much of a gap between Crum and Ridder as rankings would indicate. Ridder might go 1st or 2nd round. Crum probably goes undrafted, maybe 6th or 7th round if he runs well at the 40. He gives the vibe of "great collegiate" but not necessarily good pro, however there are enough tools here to warrant a late round pick and definitely as a priority free agent that you'd try to develop. The lack of arm strength shows on long sideline throws on the other side of the hash where the ball takes a long time to arrive to its destination. I think his pocket awareness, mobility, and toughness might alleviate some of the arm strength concerns though because he can create throwing lanes with his feet. As a prospect, as far as potential upside, think Taylor Heinicke. Heinicke went undrafted but had a similar set of tools and actually developed into a starting QB that could win you some games. Not a gamebreaker by any means, but not bad value for an undrafted QB. Crum requires more development and will have to become more consistent with accuracy, however there are some flashes. His best attribute in 1 word: slippery. The guy breaks tackles when defenders get lazy or underestimate him. He is really slippery consistently. You also can't question his toughness where he doesn't shy away from contact. His pocket awareness and ability to find pressure actually isn't bad either. He navigates the pocket well. On many games that I watched, his offensive line was not great so it was hard to really assess his pocket ability because often he's forced to break the pocket and use his legs. I generally like his ability to read the field, but one thing he'll have to work on is when his primary read isn't open, he tends to run instead of progressing through secondary reads. That is the one reason he might go undrafted. He clearly can read the field well; I just want to see him use it oriented towards the pass not towards the run.
Scout Grade - UDFA
Scout Comp - Taylor Heinicke
Brock Purdy (+) Iowa State
4 year starter and highly efficient dual threat QB with above average arm strength & mobility. Deceptive athleticism, game is predicated on ability to escape the rush, and he makes most of his plays on the move. He throws from the back of the pocket, which is a problem. It might work at the college level, but it certainly can not work at the NFL level because there's too much speed coming around the edge. So he has to learn to "step up" and climb the pocket. Escapability is normally a plus, but in his case it might be a negative. He escapes the pocket almost too much, sometimes when it doesn't seem necessary. You'd also like to see him use his mobility to open up throwing opportunities, not rushing. He needs to keep progressing through reads instead of opting to run when the 1st read isn't open. His footwork is nearly a mess. It stays planted when you'd like to see him repositioning his feet on throws. Footwork is his biggest issue and creates inaccuracy issues (despite the stats showing high CMP %). Needs a lot of work. There are tools here though. He has enough "traits" to be picked as high as 5th to 7th round, but he likely goes undrafted because as it stands now, you couldn't rely on him more than a game or two as a "spark" off the bench. Which that's fine out of a backup QB, but if a team is going to draft a player, they normally want QB1 upside. Purdy has QB1 traits, but a very long way to go in order to develop into one. He's likely a udfa trying to develop into QB2 or QB3. Has balance. His feet and body always feel grounded, balanced. He can throw on the move (to the point where he might prefer it). He can throw from "off platform" (to the point where he might prefer it) and what's odd is sometimes he throws from off platform when it's not even necessary. Some guys can get away with it (Matt Stafford, Pat Mahomes) but that's not a limit you want to try to push. This might sound weird but as a thrower he's too reliant on his arm (instead of repositioning footwork to optimize technique, he'll rely solely on his arm almost like how you can throw a baseball from multiple platforms), yet as an overall player he's too reliant on his legs (often breaking the pocket even if it doesn't seem needed). Purdy's arm strength doesn't jump off the tape at first, but the more I watch him, the more he'll flash unexpected arm strength. He makes pro throws. For example vs ORE in the Fiesta Bowl last year, near the end of the 1st quarter, he split 2 defenders to hit his TE on an out route on the far hash. That one play made me realize, he has a pro arm and some scheme versatility. The production and experience is also intriguing. He average 3,000 YD, 20 TD, & 8 INT at 67.7%. What makes his production unique is his role changed so much. As a FR he was more of a downfield QB averaging 10.2 YPA, yet was efficient. As a SO he was asked to be a volume passer where he had 3,982 YD, 27 TD, & 9 INT. As a JR he had his most efficient rushing year 87 carries for 382 YD & 5 TD at 4.4 YPC. Lastly as a SR he had his most efficient passing performance with 3,188 YD, 19 TD, 8 INT at a whopping 71.7 % completion rate. That's a lot of versatile experience for a QB prospect that may go undrafted. As far as pro comps, as an athlete he reminds me of Geno Smith from WVU.
Scout Grade - UDFA
Scout Comp - David Blough
Chase Garbers (+)
Semi dual threat QB who played all 4 years but really only started his last full SR season. He had a few too many INTs finishing his career with 50 TDs and 24 INTs. When he's at his best you think he might be able to develop into a QB2 for a west coast team that can use his mobility to move the pocket, however Gabers gets rattled too easily by pressure and makes way too many poor decisions. He would be a completely different prospect if he could maintain composure better under pressure. In his defense, he did not have good pass protection. He keeps his eyes downfield and reads the field ok despite that pressure which you like. But overall he's a camp invite that needs a lot of development. There are some likeable traits, even potential pro traits here, but he needs to protect the football better and become more consistent to have a chance. What gives him a chance is there are some beautiful touch passes in the short to intermediate. He stays light on his feet in the pocket, uses his mobility well, and makes some absolutely "pro throws" especially on the outside in the intermediate which is where his best throws usually are. If you just watched his highlights, you'd think you're watching a draftable prospect like day 3 player, but once you dive into the game by game inconsistencies, he comes more problematic. As a developmental udfa, there is some value here. He has traits. What you like most is efficiency in movement and mechanics, which are clean as a runner and thrower. He leads WRs well on the deep ball and will gash you deep if you give him time to throw. Might also run as high as a 4.6 forty yard dash. The "above the neck" decision-making traits are more of what needs to be cleaned up, and historically those things don't change dramatically from college to pro. Guys can become more efficient, but IQ is typically something that I think "you either have it or you don't." It's not something that typically can be learned.
Scout Grade - UDFA
Scout Comp - Danny Etling
One year dual threat starter for the Ducks who played well against poor competition but had his worst outings against the best teams they played. The fact that every time he faced a good defense, he didn't play well, is typically a bad indicator of potential as a pro. His windup is a bit laborious and Brown could develop into a backup but he needs work on accuracy . Ball placement is a bit erratic. He moves well in the pocket, can pick up some yards with his legs, and can make throws in the short game. All things considered he'll be vying for practice squad. Overall he looks more like a collegiate than a pro.
Scout Grade - UDFA
PLAYERS WHO DIDN'T DECLARE EARLY (Keep in mind that the grades below will likely change in between now and next year's draft, depending how each prospect performs in their "senior" season). These are few I began to grade before they announced returning to college.
I had a long film study/profile on McCall, but it's gone so I might've accidentally deleted it by forgetting to click "paste" after a "cut." Either way he's the most efficient QB in college football, even to the point of breaking efficiency records for college football as a FR & SO. Because I'd scouted a few of his teammates (skill position players) like TE Isaiah Likely, WR Jaivon Helleigh, & a RB who's name escapes me; I got to see a good bit of McCall before even diving into QBs. He didn't 'jump off the tape' at 1st, but game in, game out he'd make some absolutely gorgeous, just "perfect" throws that really make you want to press rewind. We causally will toss terms around like "perfect throw" but you really don't realize how overused the term is until you actually see a "perfect throw." McCall makes a lot of them. He had the single most gorgeous pass I watched of any prospect in this class (a 15 yard back shoulder throw while on the move). Carson Strong had a few anticipatory lofts that were up there in this class as "best throw" but McCall can really shred in the short to intermediate, even when he's on the move or under pressure. He has a natural knack for accuracy that can't be taught. I thought he should've declared early because he likely would've climbed this particular class, but he returned to college to continue his development. He's a really interesting prospect for next year's class that could climb dramatically. This year he might've been a 3rd or 4th round player based on upside alone. I won't be surprised if after a good year, he climbs his way into "top of the class" discussions next year. He's someone to watch very closely.
Scout Grade - 3rd Round
*Will Levis Kentucky
Levis hasn't officially declared yet. He'd definitely benefit from returning for his senior season and lowering his INT numbers. However given his physical style of running combined with the fact that this QB class isn't spectacular - Levis will likely declare and be picked. He flashes enough tools to climb boards as we get closer to draft too. Dual threat unrefined talent with powerful mobility, looks to dish contact. Does not go down easily, fights for yards, and will lower his shoulder. Looks like a 4.6 (forty yard dash) type athlete. Good vision and pocket awareness opens up rushing opportunities. He climbs the pocket well and escapes easily. Has a natural throwing motion and enough power to put the ball on a line. His power looks best in short to intermediate more so than chunking downfield. Deep throws are more touch in his case. As both a runner and a thrower you see a ton of tools and dual threat talent, yet as a player he is too quick to tuck and run. You'd like to see him read through progressions and use his feet to open up throws instead of taking off. So many of the QB prospects this year like Levis are hard to grade because they're mainly running single read offense. It's very hard to assess pro potential without knowing the ability or potential to go through progressions. There are some beautiful throws on his tape without a doubt. Especially intermediate throws and throws on the move. He's interesting. I like his toughness, his arm, and his style. Even his throwing mechanics have sort of a "whipping" nature to it that feels natural. It's a bit sidearm, however there a pitcher/baseball feel to his throws. His arm is dynamic enough to deliver from a variety of platforms (rolling right, rolling left, off balance, under pressure, in the pocket). This is a developmental prospect with good dual threat upside. He'll need time. I don't normally like drafting "tools over tape" however in his case there's enough flashes to warrant a pick. There's a lot more to like than dislike. Some of the unknowns with reading defenses could be scheme too. It's possible he's capable, but simply isn't asked to do it much. If not, that's his path to development. QB1 upside if he can get there. He'd fit a few teams, but I'd like to see him get a chance with a team like Carolina Panthers. I like the idea of him working with Joe Brady and think he'd fit well with a Christian McCaffrey style running back.
Scout Grade - 3rd/4th Round
Scout Comp - Kyle Boller (mechanically & athletically they're similar; Levis also has some Taysom Hill to his game; still, those comps don't do him justice because I see more upside as a potential QB than both comps).
*Tyler Shough Texas Tech/Oregon
Powerful enough arm. Ball is on a line. Compact efficient release. Has some big time traits. If you saw his best play only, you'd think you're looking at a day 2 talent. Production has been sparse, and he's dealt with injuries. Coming back for a year and performing well would help him improve draft grade a lot. If he does come out early, he'd be near the top of priority undrafted free agent QBs because of his raw ability/traits. Not sure there's enough production to warrant a draft pick at this point though. Need more tape to really grade. Appears strong, mobile, athletic. Good flashes.
*Taulia Tagovailoa Maryland
Dual threat QB, brother of Tua. Mobility is nice, game manager style player who does best in west coast role. Puts enough zip in short to intermediate but not a downfield power thrower. Decent touch on deep throws though. Overall appears accurate and mobile. Some upside here for sure. Love the pedigree considering his brother who plays the same position was drafted top 10. Need more tape to really grade.
*Spencer Sanders Oklahoma State
6'1 205 Possible early entrant, dual threat. 6 INTs in last 2 games hurt him especially his last game vs Baylor which was a 4 INT game. His mobility is legit and he does a good job extending plays while still looking downfield to throw. Pretty tough, isn't afraid of contact as a rusher and will hang in the pocket and take a hit if's required to deliver the throw. Has about a 55 to 60 yard arm as far as deep ability so he's not a strong arm thrower. His biggest challenge is lack of zip which doesn't matter as much on his deep passes, but it shows in the intermediate when he has to hit guys on the far side of the field, the ball takes too long to arrive. More of a touch arm. However, I think his mobility can open up throwing lanes and gives a cushion to arm strength. For example, Deshaun Watson had one of the "weakest" arms when he entered the draft so there were people in the scouting community who said things like "no player who throws 55 mph or under has ever made it in the NFL." Turns out when you're mobile, you can create throwing lanes that may not exist for a pocket passer. Sanders mobility is real too. He's really fast and very tough. He'll need to be smarter about minimizing contact and sliding more instead playing hero ball which is how he plays. He really doesn't shy away from contact at all and runs more like a RB. Throwing mechanics, he has a hitch in his release. The ball starts low and proceeds up almost like a side arm delivery. It almost has the motion of a golf swing instead of an overhand tomahawk chop. His release is quick despite the awkward motion. Footwork in the pocket is his biggest issue. Sloppy, choppy and inconsistent feet in the pocket. If someone could clean up his footwork, and get him in a west coast system that utilizes his mobility, he has more athletic upside than you normally see in an undrafted free agent or late pick. He's definitely a project, and as it stands he should return to school for another year to improve his footwork. If he declares early, he could be picked late or go undrafted, but even so there's a chance if he continues to improve that he could turn into a QB2. The mobility gives him a real advantage and possible QB1 with enough growth. He's started as a FR & SO where he averaged a hair over 2,000 YD, 15 TD & 10 INT at 63%. As a JR had 2,839 YD, 20 TD & 12 INT at 62%. 1 more year to increase volume and efficiency would help. If not, and if he declares early, there is some intrigue here as a tough, dual threat west coast capable upside prospect.
Dorian Thompson Robinson
Stands tall in the pocket and even flashes some mobility. He's tall and athletic. As far as tools, there are some obvious tools here, but DTR has a tendency to overthrow passes, and he isn't a naturally accurate player. He has draftable tools as far as arm strength, mobility, and toughness in the pocket. It's more of a "tools" prospect at this point than a complete product. I could see a team drafting him late like between 5th - 7th round, however he will need to sit and develop for a couple years. The thing that helps him is arm strength. He can really put the ball on a rope and completes some beautiful passes in the intermediate. Some power throwers don't have capacity for touch passes and timing passes though. For example, Cam Newton was the embodiment of a tools player; he had arm strength and mobility too but never quite developed as a touch passer. DTR has a live arm, but you do wonder if he has the capacity to develop into a touch passer. As a prospect, he's built similarly to Aaron Brooks. Brooks went late in the draft, but did develop into an NFL starter. Brooks was best on 3rd and 10 type down and distance, and similarly DTR looks best on 15 to 20 yard on a rope passes. He has mobility like Brooks too, where he will likely run a fast 40 yard dash. Also like Brooks though, they both aren't natural throwing short. Tendency to overthrow short passes and miss "easy ones." DTR will require patience. That said, a good fit for him might be with Aaron Brooks' old coordinator Mike McCarthy who's now coaching for the Cowboys. A situation like that where he could ride the practice squad and work with pro coaches might do him well. He's an upside pick. You're not expecting him to become your starter or even your backup, but the upside is there to become a viable dual threat QB.
Bo Nix Auburn
Fantastic athlete with nice blend of strength, speed, vision, balance, and top tier runner IQ. Reminds me a lot of Taysom Hill. Powerful runner who dishes contact like Hill. Could fill a similar role. As a thrower he makes plays but is mostly a single read player. Makes some fantastic plays and uses his feet well to create opportunities. You'd like to see him going through progressions and hitting secondary and tertiary receivers. Not consistently accurate. Makes some head scratching INTs. Lacks pocket passer IQ. Delivery and arm talent is actually above average.
Scout Grade - 7th Round (as a "slash" role, not as a full time QB)
Scout Comp - Taysom Hill
Kedon Slovis USC
Pocket style QB with slower feet in the pocket. Athletically his movement reminds me of Eli Manning when he was older in his career. Slovis maintains good balance on throws and shows some ability to read progressions, but generally he's too reliant on single read. He flashes at least ability to use his eyes to look off DBs and find secondary reads. Navigates the pocket pretty well and steps into pocket on majority of throws. Could become more consistent on climbing pocket however because there are plays where he hangs in the back of the pocket when it's clean. Tends to stretch plays for too long and doesn't have natural pressure awareness. A few turnovers happened from blitz that he should have recognized early and thrown the ball away. 20 years ago a player like him would've been drafted higher, but as the game changes towards mobility and speed, you do worry about his athletic limitations. He has a west coast arm too so it's hard to be a pocket style QB with a west coast arm. If a team can protect him, he may be able to give you an accurate performance. He's not a guy you want dealing with pressure though and he's a long way from being pro level starter. With that said, he may do best with a team like Tampa Bay where they have a QB oriented head coach, good pass blocking offensive line, and a similar non-athletic pocket style QB. His arm strength isn't apparent in the short to intermediate, but the further he has to push it downfield the more you'll see flashes of zip. Still, you wouldn't say he has a strong arm. There are too many throws which he lofts that command more heat. As a pro those throws will result in bigger problems than he saw at USC. Slovis can navigate the pocket and step up to create lanes so that gives him a chance. He's relatively accurate, but problems under pressure and lack of mobility are concerning. More so than other prospects, where he lands makes a huge difference on grade. For example, in Tampa Bay, they could draft him between 5th to 7th round. Other teams like Ravens wouldn't have him graded as a priority undrafted free agent. He also is a hard prospect to pinpoint because much like Aqeel Glass, he has accurate moments and stretches where he looks draftable, but he also has throws that mechanically make you think he doesn't have what it takes. He really should return to USC for his senior season and continue to develop. If he could become more consistent, he could improve his stock by 2 or 3 rounds. He really needs to improve his downfield accuracy and consistency. There's QB2 upside if he continues to grow, but he's not someone who jumps off the screen.
Scout Grade - UDFA
Scout Comp - Kyle Orton
Emory Jones Florida
Should've come back to UF for his senior season. Jones is a dual threat QB who can put zip on his passes or take heat off when touch is needed. His arm talent (ability) is good. He has a quick, compact release. His mobility is (actually) good too: nice acceleration, speed, & vision in the open field. As a pro he might have an easier time rushing for 100 yards than he would for throwing for 200 at this point in his development. He only has 1 year of starting experience and threw too many INTs. Even many of his completions didn't have consistent placement. The offense also seemed very restricted. A lot of single read, bubble screens, keeping it simple. So he's very raw. As far as tools & ability go, he has enough raw skills to have allure as a developmental prospect. There are flashes of Tyrod Taylor here so you definitely see the talent, but he would have to improve for 2 or 3 years on a practice squad in order to develop into a Tyrod Taylor type backup. As far as udfa practice squad projects, you could do worse. If he had to pick one attribute to hang his hat on, I'd actually suggest toughness even though most would say mobility or speed. He really will take a lick to get the throw off and he has not problem lowering his shoulder in the red zone to pick up additional yards. He's just so far from being a finished product that I think the early entry could really hurt his chances. Teams may not give him 3 years to work on his craft. If they do, he's a longshot, but he is interesting.
Scout Grade - UDFA
Scout Comp - poor man's Tyrod Taylor
JT Daniels Georgia
Ball comes out with heat. Has a live arm. Pocket style QB. Production is sparse. Started as a true freshman at USC than transferred to UGA. He hasn't officially committed and really should come back to UGA for his senior year in order to show consistency and ability to put it together for an entire season. So far, all we have from Daniels is short stretches and flashes like 4 games here and there. Has some throws into traffic that are concerning. Stares down primary receiver, not many flashes of reading the field to scan progressions. At this point he's a project player with a strong arm and quick release. You can't draft a guy on arm talent alone. You need a brain too. Too many head scratching throws that may be from lack of experience. Practice squad or bench role for 2 or 3 years will be needed if he does declare for the draft. Really shouldn't be leaving early. I'm tempted to give him an undrafted grade, but the arm talent is good enough to warrant a late round flier. He does not show the awareness you'd want to see. He seems like the type of player who was a top recruit based on arm talent but never had the backyard awareness to put it together.
Scout Grade - UDFA
Scout Comp - Jimmy Clausen
Tanner McKee Stanford
Strong armed pocket style QB. His feet look like they're stuck in cement. He makes some beautiful power throws downfield but I really don't like his feet (ability) or footwork (application of ability). The game is changing and it's much harder for the Joe Flacco style QBs to make it in today's NFL. For a pocket style QB to do well, they have to showcase above and beyond processing and pocket presence. They also have to have decent enough footwork to maneuver in the pocket. I don't see that from McKee. I see a statue who throws too much from his top half instead of having fluidity through the entire body. A good contrast is to look at last year's class with Davis Mills. Mills also went to Stanford and was a similar style player who also had limited production. Mills was drafted on arm talent alone, played for the Texans as a rookie, and was awful. Compared to Mills, McKee is less athletic, doesn't have as good of footwork, and needs as much work. He really should return to Stanford to fortify his production. I just don't think teams will rush to select a player who only has 1 season of experience (2,300 YDs, 15 TD, 7 INT) especially after Mills didn't do well as a rookie after coming from the same program.
Scout Grade - UDFA
Sam Hartman Wake Forest
Looks like Chase Daniel in stature and style. Doesn't have the accuracy you'd look for.