25 Jan 2020 Quarterback Big Board
The Grading Process Begins
Having had the great opportunity to be down at the Senior Bowl this year, and after a week full of consuming a ton of information about the Quarterbacks, I am ready to release my updated rankings and 2020 Quarterback Big Board. These are my current Top 10 signal callers, with some additional notes about the guys that partook in the Senior Bowl this week, but still did not elevate themselves into this list.
(asterisk denotes Senior Bowl participant)
1. Joe Burrow, LSU
This is an obvious no-brainer after coming off the greatest collegiate season we have ever seen. He has all of the intangibles you want in a quarterback to lead your franchise for the next ten-plus years. He is a leader who is always the first guy to congratulate fellow team members for something they did. He also puts the team on his back and puts pride into taking his team to the next level.
Swagger: Watching him this year, he oozed swagger. He was calm, cool, and collected when under duress. Once he completed the job, he made sure you knew he that he did. But, he does not have the type of swagger that is off-putting, and is not arrogant at all.
Playmaking: He is able to allude pressure, possessing that sixth sense that is not able to be taught. He has the inkling that pressure is coming and makes a move out of the pocket to make the play. He is also able to extend drives with his feet, which is a HUGE need on the NFL level nowadays.
Other notes: Clean mechanics. Quick Release. Short/Intermediate route throws to perfection. Nice touch on his throws deep.
Red Flags: Holds onto the ball too long sometimes. Arm strength is not top level. Takes far too many hits, and needs to slide more.
Ideal fit: Cincinnati Bengals. Looks they are drafting Burrow. End of Story.
2. Justin Herbert, Oregon*
I was intrigued by why we even saw this man down at the Senior Bowl, because he does not have a whole lot left to prove. I think he made this trip to silence the doubters, and did just that. He was light years ahead of the talent around him. I will say the talent level at the QB position at this year’s Senior Bowl was not exactly grand, but he still outshined in every aspect of his game. From his first throw to his last, you could see an NFL Quarterback on that practice field. I was blown away by his touch on the ball, and his ability to also zip it into the wide receivers hands. Another key thing that stood out was his leadership on the field. When he made a throw and a receiver caught it, or made an adjustment for a big play, he ran down the field to share the love with them. It was something you did not always see, and I loved that he did it. Herbert impressed me enough to move into the second spot on my 2020 Quarterback Big Board.
Accuracy: This is a big one for me. In 2018 he struggled a tad with his accuracy and only completed 59% of his passes. Some of the issues were drops, but he was also erratic at times on his own. This year he raised it back up to a respectable 66.8%, and had several big games where he touched 78-80% completion percentage.
Throwing the ball: Ideal ball placement. His ability to fit the ball in tight windows is beautiful. Sometimes you will second guess his decision making at first glance, but when you re-watch, he had perfect ball placement.
Committed to improve: He is not shy to work and improve areas of need. We saw it happen this year as he shied away from staring down receivers, and made significant progress in reading the field.
Red Flags: Can he withstand the hits at the next level? His decision making at times is frustrating, especially under duress. Can be caught staring down receivers.
Ideal fit: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts or Oakland Raiders
3. Tua Tagovaila, Alabama
We saw an injury riddled final season at Alabama for Tua which presents a lot of questions heading into this draft. One big thing I think he benefits from is the lack of positional depth in this class of QBs. Once you get past Burrow, Herbert, and Tagovailoa, the rest are guys with HUGE question marks. Tua does so much right, but watching a lot of his tape, you can see some holes in his body of work that need improving to be a starter in the NFL for years to come.
Leader: This is another trait that makes him stand out amongst this class. He carries himself and uplifts the guys around him to play at the highest levels.
Throw on the run: He is hands down the best QB in this draft when throwing on the run. Watching him avoid pressure within the pocket and make some staggering down field throws was one of the best parts of his tape.
Playmaker: He is not exactly a world beater with his feet, but he can make some plays with them. If you go back to the 2018 game against LSU, you will see an insane 44-yard touchdown run. He read the defense perfectly and just took it to the house.
Others pluses: Two minute offense stud. Deep ball accuracy.
Red Flags: The injury bug. Can he comeback from this hip injury? Struggled in the big games vs Georgia/Clemson in 2018. In the 2019 LSU game, got his team behind early because of miscues he made.
Ideal fit: Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions
4. Jacob Eason, Washington
I think a team will fall in love with Eason through this draft process. He is good, and has the intangibles to be good, but at the same time I get so frustrated watching him throw the football. He easily has the strongest arm of these ten guys, as he just slings the ball with ease down field, and with some fantastic accuracy. He is one of the only guys that can make throws on EVERY level. I am not sure I can find a throw he cannot make. Eason can take a snap under center or in the shotgun, making him immediately adaptable to any system at the next level. His footwork is frustrating and can lead to inconsistent throws. A cannon for an arm is great, but he needs to ease off on the short passes that can lead to balls bouncing out of the receivers hands, or worse, interceptions.
Pros: Strong Arm. Play action fake. Adaptable. Makes all the throws.
Cons: Footwork. Could add some bulk. Inconsistent. Antsy equals erratic. Could use a little swagger.
Ideal fit: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders
5. Jordan Love, Utah State*
My thoughts on Jordan Love, prior to the Senior Bowl, have been very public. I have watched the infamous 2018 tape, I have listened to the likes of Matt Miller praise him, and finally made the decision to go into Mobile with an open mind. I was hoping Love would WOW me, but I left with a mixed bag. At times he was exactly as underwhelming as I thought he would be, and then there were moments where you could see something special. He was very errant at times, especially when throwing the deep ball, and that was somewhat of a shock considering his tape looked good there. Several times he overthrew wide open receivers who had beat the coverage, which just made me shake my head. Then he would redeem himself by throwing a beautiful deep bomb to Antonio Gandy-Golden, who you may know as a favorite of The Devy Delight. Those were the plays everyone keeps focusing on. His intermediate throws were also beautiful, and this is another place he stood out to me in a big way. My thoughts today still stand as I do not believe he is worthy of a first round pick. Love is more of a day two guy that you put behind a veteran and let him learn. I wanted to elevate him higher on my 2020 Quarterback Big Board, but have not seen it yet.
Pros: Ball placement. Throwing on the run. Nice 50/50 Red-Zone ball. Beautiful play-action fake. Quick release.
Cons: Forces the ball between the 20s. Antsy with pressure. Could make quicker decisions. Must get better finding the third and fourth read. Improve on pre-snap reads.
Ideal fit: Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, Tennessee Titans
6. Anthony Gordon, Washington State*
I am an Anthony Gordon guy. I have been for a while. When I spoke to him down at the Senior Bowl I had asked him about throwing the ball in Mike Leach’s offense. He had great things to say about Leach, and how unorthodox the offense is, and his focus on progressive reads. However, despite all of that, he was another of the QBs that really underwhelmed throughout the week. He showed flashes of what I love about him, but not consistently, and did not do a lot to stand out and improve his draft stock. Gordon has intangibles you like to see from a quarterback; super competitive, inspires, and rallies the team around him. He thrives when following the script, and shows majestic accuracy on the deep ball. He may still rise on my 2020 Quarterback Big Board before this thing is over.
Pros: Quick learner. Athletic. Competitive. Natural leader. Accurate on deep ball. Ball placement.
Cons: Consistency. System type of player. In-depth reading of coverage.
Ideal fit: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders, Indianapolis Colts
7. Jake Fromm, Georgia
Weeks go by and Fromm keeps falling down my draft board. I had him as high as #3 in my rankings back in August, to which he has stumbled big. Pre-snap Fromm was great, and you have to win at the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped. He does a really good job in this area, and it was beneficial for him playing in the pro-style offense Georgia employed throughout his career. But, he did nothing to improve his stock throughout the season, and left 2019 the same way he entered. He makes good decisions, and will fit perfectly in an offense that does not ask a lot of him. In a league that is adapting to more quarterbacks that can make plays on their feet, Fromm is not going to be that guy, which could cause teams to skip over him.
Pros: Pre-snap reads. Decision Making. Pocket Awareness.
Cons: Accuracy. Arm Strength. Collapse under pressure. Psychical Ability. Timid.
Ideal fit: Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings
8. Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma*
I walked into Mobile with tempered expectations for Hurts. I have spoken in-depth on the podcast about not being a huge fan, and how he is always ready to tuck it down and run, not seeming to be great with reading the defense. His draft stock for me this week went down in a VERY big way. Hurts is a project, and not much more than that. Like my podcast co-host Stoops mentioned, he is a gadget type player who has a similar track record as Taysom Hill. He is still in the Top 10 of my 2020 Quarterback Big Board, but not sure how much that is a vote of confidence.
Pros: Playmaker. Pocket awareness. Arm strength.
Cons: Attitude. Leadership. Progression on reads. Pre-snap. Accuracy.
Ideal fit: Baltimore Ravens. Kansas City Chiefs. Oakland Raiders
9. Steve Montez, Colorado*
Montez is a wild-card in this draft. A lot of hype surrounded him throughout the years, but nothing ever jumped off the tape to wow you, which is kind of frustrating. He has the size to be able to produce, and is a high character quarterback capable of leading. He is too conservative at times, which is okay, but sometimes you have to be willing to take a risk and take a chance.
Pros: Leader. Intermediate throws. Arm strength. When on, he is on. Eludes pressure.
Cons: Slow. Deep ball accuracy. Inconsistent. Inaccurate when on the run.
Ideal fit: Tennessee Titans. Denver Broncos. Atlanta Falcons
10. Nate Stanley, Iowa
There were a lot of questions surrounding why Stanley did not receive an invite to the Senior Bowl. I know for a fact he did not decline, because Jim Nagy provided the list of declines, and he was not on it. So does that mean teams do not think he has it? Stanley comes from a Pro-style offense, and like Montez could play the wild-card role rather well in the upcoming draft. A late-round guy that gets drafted and shines because of an injury to a team’s starter. He is always smart with the football, is not going to force things into bad coverage, and has solid accuracy on the short to intermediate throw when given a clean pocket. A sneaky name to watch, and why he is on my 2020 Quarterback Big Board.
Pros: Leadership. Pro-style offense ready. Eluding pressure.
Cons: Not athletic. Stares down the reads. Deep ball accuracy.
Ideal fit: Denver Broncos. Atlanta Falcons. Los Angeles Rams
Additional Senior Bowl QB Notes:
Shea Patterson had a great day one, and it was all down hill from there. As a Michigan guy, my frustration with this QB is noted. But, in talking amongst the crowd found out he was working with IMG Academy to improve his mechanics. I loved to hear that he was working on getting better, but it really did not show beyond that first practice. He had several throws that made you think, “this guy won’t even be drafted.” He did nothing for his draft stock this week in Mobile.
Stay tuned as I continue to update my 2020 Quarterback Big Board.