Once again we have a QB issue in the NFL Draft. This time however, it is not so much which one is going to be picked first out of two, or that one QB is being targeted by several teams. This year it is more of 5 QBs; Mitch Trubisky, Deshone Kizer, Desean Watson, Patrick Mahomes and Brad Kaaya that no one can figure out if any or all are true 1st round QB`s. Now, lets be clear there is a wide difference between what is a 1st-round QB based on need vs a franchise QB. I think all of these Qb`s could be picked in the first round based on need as several teams need a QB in general and others need a back up now who will start within 1-3 years such as; Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, New York Jets, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, and Kansas City Chiefs.
Right there I listed off 8 teams who need a QB right now or need one in a few years due to a retiring QB or one who will be salary cap casualty.
That does not count several teams who have an issue at QB with new regimes coming in or current ones regimes trying to keep their jobs and the following teams fall into that category; Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Houston Texans. All in all you could make the case 10-12 teams could draft a QB within the first 3 rounds based on need alone. While this is not the first time this has happened this is more common than you would think. This year might be one of the first times we have seen this scenario when there are no franchise Qb`s. However, the five we mentioned in the start of this article could all be in the mix for a pick as early as the 1st and as late as early the 4th round.
Lets take a look at the physical traits and stats of all 5 Qb`s before we go much further:
6`3 220lbs, UNC.
Passing- 4,762 yards 41TD 10INT. 157.6 Rating, 67.5 comp% in 31 games. Only 1 full season as a starter
Rushing- 438 yards 8 TD 3.9 avg.
6`5 220lbs, Notre Dame.
Passing- 5,805 yards 47 TD 19 INT. 147.7 Rating, 60.7 comp% in 25 games over 2 years.
Rushing- 997 yards 18 TD 3.8 avg.
6`3 215lbs, Clemson
Passing- 10,168 yards 90TD 32 INT. 157.5 Rating, 67.4 comp% in 38 games over 3 years.
Rushing- 1,934 yards 26 TD 4.4 avg.
6`4 215lbs, Miami
Passing- 9,968 yards 69 TD 24 INT. 146.2 Rating, 60.6 comp% in 38 games over 3 years.
Rushing- -386 yards (remember in college a sack counts as negative rush yards.)
6`3 230lbs, Texas Tech
Passing- 11,252 yards 93 TD 29 INT. 152.0 Rating, 63.5 comp% in 32 games over 3 years.
Rushing- 845 yards 22 TD 2.7 avg
The stats sure paint an interesting story about Watson and Mahomes with some eye popping numbers. Mahomes by him self averaged 2.9 TD`s a game. All of these Qb`s have found a way to score effectively one way or another. Some were great rushers like Watson and others had a pure pocket game like Kaaya. One thing is for sure numbers alone will not tell us which one of these Qb`s should be in the first or at least taken first. The most common ranking out there is; Watson, Kizer, Trubisky, Mahomes then Kaaya. Which when you look at the stats you could see how that ranking would pan out.
When you look at the tape for all 5 none of them show amazing mechanics and all have holes in their game most of it stemming from reading defenses and game management ability.
Here is some of my insight on the Qb`s:
Best Arm- Kizer
Best upside- Kizer
Best starter in 2017- Watson
Best utility- Watson
Biggest project- Mahomes
Most likely over drafted- Mahomes
Best vision- Mahomes
Game management- Kaaya
Best accuracy- Kizer/Trubisky
So, as you can see even in my rankings I am all over the board and can not come together on one lock in for who would be the best pick.
Kizer to me is the best of the bunch. However, Kizer to me needs at least 2-years before he will truly be ready to take the starting job and stay consistent and progressing forward. He has the highest ceiling of what I think is an above-average player just outside of top tier. His arm talent alone can not be denied. He would have benefited the most out of all 5 if he went back to school for another year, but its easy to see why he did not as Notre Dame seems to be going no where very quickly. He will have elite arm talent at the next level and some ability to be mobile in the pocket as well. Once he gets his reads down and manages the game better I think he will end up being the best of the bunch, there is a lot to like here. There are also some creeping concerns about leadership ability.
Watson would be my number two out of this class. While he does not have any pure elite trait I think he is the most pro-ready. He has been in some big games and based on who you ask either he did well or he could have done better. Either way he beat Alabama in dramatic fashion which is not very common. His legs will be valuable at the next level as well, while the read-option phase has sort of faded away, being mobile is always a positive thing. Watson has the arm ability to be an average Qb at the next level, it will all depend on how he develops mentally and how the team chooses to use him. If they put him as a straight pocket QB he wont last long, if they make him more of an RG3 I think he will end up more gimmicky or Tyrod Taylor like than a true QB. They need to find a happy medium similar to how Wilson or Aaron Rodgers is used. Watson’s ceiling should be a mid-tier starter with some explosive play making ability.
Patrick Mahomes is my 3rd QB in this draft, which is much higher than most have. I think Mahomes has a ton of work to do at the next level similar to Bryce Petty when he came out. But, when he does get his mechanical concerns all fixed and nailed down I think he could surpass Watson in this class by way of effectiveness. Even with poor mechanics at times he is another elite arm talent and is also mobile. When he finally gets it all together and corrects his footwork issues I think he could be a low-end version of Aaron Rodgers. I think the game will not be too fast for him even though he ran an air-raid type offense, he rarely turned the ball over and had several games with numbers that would win your fantasy match up if you only started him. There is a lot to like in Mahomes, but there are also enough flaws and questions to create one of the biggest risk-reward picks at QB in several years.
Mitch Trubisky is my 4th QB in this class my major issue with him was the fact he only had one year of starting time. Go ahead and burn me if you want, but I always have been a believer in if you draft a QB in the first round body of work is just as important as intangibles and always will be. There have been plenty of one-year-wonder NFL Qb`s to think the same can not happen in college is just foolish. Trubisky also came from a down-field passing offense similar to Mahomes just a bit less aggressive. While there are things to like here including size and accuracy it is also tough to tell how much he can or will progress, as his spots starts earlier in his career were sometimes hit or miss. There has also been serious leadership questions and info coming out of UNC and captaincy issues. One of the other ones you hear a lot is his lackluster play in bad weather, all of those things are big red flags for any team who is looking for a franchise Qb that is not currently a top-end team. While there seems to be as many questions surrounding Trubisky as a Jeopardy board, the one thing we do know is on tape in his one year he did show flashes that he could be a viable starter at the next level.
Brad Kaaya is my last QB in this list, which is odd due to the fact if you asked me this question the same time last year he was at the top of my list. He failed to wow scouts this year on tape, while he did progress every year he was in college there are some stat questions. We have seen several times players in Miami make a ton of yards on short passes and screen plays, so it makes it hard to accurately judge his stats, with so many of his total yards coming post-catch. Kaaya is the rawest out of the bunch but was consistent in college and has a good eye for the defense while having good size, he is by far the most traditional pocket passer out of the bunch in this class, so if a running QB is not your think Kaaya is your guy. Kaaya along with Watson might be one of the more ready QB`s to start next season, what you will get out of him I am not sure as I see him as more of a West Coast Qb/Chad Pennington type guy. Kaaya could be a good pick up late and end up a spot-starter or lower-end starter his first few seasons. If he can get in the right system that will play to his strengths as I think he has one of the weaker arms, but some good accuracy and pop within 15 yards he will do well. Kaaya is the biggest question mark in this class as he fell from grace much farther than Kizer. I will say this though over the past few years if Kaaya goes in the 4th round he will be the most talented pro-ready QB in the 4th round any team has drafted, excluding Dak Prescott in 2016.
Watson 2nd to San Francisco 49ers
Kizer 12th to Cleveland Browns
Mitch Trubisky 35th to Chicago Bears
Patrick Mahomes 59th to Kansas City Chiefs
Brad Kaaya 3rd-4th round to either Bills, Jaguars, Redskins, or Texans