New York Giants 2016 NFL Draft Preview: Quarterbacks
by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56
*These rankings and grades are based somewhat on NYG schemes and perspective.
WHERE THEY STAND
Eli Manning is signed through 2018, when he will be 38 years old. Fortunately the hire of former Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo to head coach will keep Manning in the same system. Arguably he looks more comfortable in this attack than any other scheme he’s played in since being with NYG. Backup Ryan Nassib hasn’t seen any legit time since being traded up for 2013. He is a free agent next year and some are expecting the league to be somewhat aggressive with him on the market.
TOP 10 GRADES AND ANALYSIS
1 – JARED GOFF – 6’4/215 – California: 86
Third year junior. Two time team captain. Semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Quarterback Award in 2015. Has started all 38 possible games over his three year career. Goff has been re-writing the California record book since the day he stepped on campus. He checks off almost every box on the list when it comes ability, leadership, and off-field behavior. He has elite-level accuracy and touch in addition to consistent lower body mechanics and release points. Goff is as poised and as tough as it gets. His only main drawback a lack of bulk. He will need to gain weight and strength to ensure he can bounce back from the increasing physical nature of the game. There is a sense of smoothness, toughness, and patience here that is tough to find wrapped up in to one QB. While the frame concerns me like it did with Sam Bradford a few years ago, I think Goff will be able to handle the hits and stay on track. All in all, Goff will be one of the class’ elite prospects and very possibly the first quarterback taken.
Upside Pro Comparison: Aaron Rodgers – GB
2 – CARSON WENTZ – 6’5/237 – North Dakota State: 82
2 year starter at the FCS level. Missed 2 months in 2015 with a broken wrist. So we are talking about a guy with a lack of starting experience in general, and that experience being at a lower level of college football. There are a ton of pro-ready and attractive traits to his game, but he may be more developmental than most think. Wentz is a tremendous athlete. Tough kid. Takes over a room the second he walks in and has a passion for the game. Very clean off the field. Wentz plays almost too confident. He forces throws and lowers his shoulder when he probably shouldn’t. He may learn the hard way that his approach in the NFL will need to change. I think most people will like Wentz more because of what the end-upside is. I fear it a little because there is a lot more that needs to happen progression wise than Goff. Still a very good grade here but not as high as Goff.
Upside Pro Comparison: Ryan Tannehill – MIA
3 – DAK PRESCOTT – 6’2/226 – MISSISSIPPI STATE: 78
2 time All-SEC QB that turned the Mississippi State program essentially all by himself. Prescott has a running back build with a strong torso and overly thick legs. When the team needed tough yards between the tackle, he got them. When the team needed big plays downfield, he threw them. Prescott is much more than a running QB. Very quick release and puts all the zip one needs on the ball. He makes players around him better. Good student of the game with leadership qualities. Prescott’s main negatives revolve around footwork mechanics that ultimately lead to inconsistent accuracy. He misses really easy throws too often. He may have a hard time adjusting to NFL schemes as well, both as leader of the offense and reader of the defense. If he cleans that up he can be a quality starter. I’ve always seen some Donovan McNabb in him.
Upside Pro Comparison: Donovan McNabb – PHI
4 – PAXTON LYNCH – 6’7/244 – MEMPHIS: 75
Three year starter that surprised some when he declared a year early. He hadn’t exactly had a big time career but the tools are intriguing and borderline rare for the position. It’s hard to find QBs this big with this kind of athletic ability. Lynch had a stretch through the 2015 season where everyone was trying to label him a potential number one pick. I never saw it. He came down to earth late in the year with poor performances where the pressure got put on and he lost track of simple reads and mechanics. Negatives aside, Lynch is intriguing when you look at him as a developmental prospect. He can rifle the ball. He can run. He can break tackles and stand strong in the pocket. Lynch understands ball protection and has the proper blend of aggression and patience. I think he can be a quick thinker but there is more development and learning that needs to be done here than any other QB in this class. He is a guy that likely needs 2+ years on the bench. But there are tools here that none of these guys will ever have.
Upside Pro Comparison: Joe Flacco – BAL
5 – CHRISTIAN HACKENBURG – 6’4/223 – PENN STATE: 74
Third year junior. Started all 38 games of his career. Arrived to Penn State with huge expectations and hype but he never quite reached the level many were thinking he would. Hackbenberg checks off most of the initial boxes. Good height, weight, and speed. Tremendous work ethic. Great genetics. The mechanics and arm strength look elite during workouts. However his career was very underwhelming for a variety of reasons. He was sacked over 100 times in his three years, underwent a coaching change that did not suit his abilities, and lacked true star power around him. There are whispers that he is a “me” guy. He throws others under the bus when things go south, which you never want to hear. Hackenberg has the talent to succeed in the NFL and his learning curve won’t be as steep as some others. The questions with him revolve around confidence, leadership qualities, and a consistent approach. Three essentials of being an NFL QB.
Upside Pro Comparison – Mark Sanchez – DEN
6 – CODY KESSLER – 6’1/220 – USC: 74
Coming in to the year, I had Kessler near the top of my QB ratings. I kept seeing Drew Brees when watching him in 2014. He is consistently accurate all over the field. Short, medium, deep, left, right…he can put the ball where it needs to be. Very controlled passer. One of the few prospects that came from a pro style offense. Has patience and assertion. Very protective of the ball. In his 3 years as the starter, he threw 88 TDs and 19 INTs. Kessler has a feel in the pocket that is hard to find. His lack of height doesn’t appear to be the issue that some make it out to be. He naturally moves in and out of pockets to find his throwing lanes. Very smart kid, too. I watched a lot of Kessler in 2015 and had to keep my bias aside. I just didn’t see the difference maker in him this year. He was bailed out by some big time plays from his supporting cast. He wasn’t making things happen the way I want a college prospect to. Personally I would love to draft this kid and feel good about my backup, but I’m not sure I would draft him expecting starter upside.
Upside Pro Comparison – Brian Hoyer – HOU
7 – JAKE COKER – 6’5/236 – ALABAMA: 71
Started off at Florida State, sitting behind EJ Manuel and Jameis Winston, both 1st round picks. In his one year as starter for the Crimson Tide, he steadily improved as thr weeks went by and won the National Championship. If there is one late round QB that I think comes out of nowhere and ends up a top 10 NFL QB, it’s Coker. I think there is still a good amount of the unknown with him. Really good deep ball thrower. Really good size and room for more bulk. Tough and smart. He looked nervous and uneasy during the beginning of the season but he has a different look about himself towards the end of the year when the pressure was really on. If Coker had another year of eligibility, I think he’d be in contention for 1st round talk in 2017. He isn’t overly impressive when it comes to arm strength and athletic ability. He may never be a dominant guy but NYG fans, I see some Manning in him.
Upside Pro Comparison: Eli Manning – NYG
8 – CONNOR COOK – 6’4/217 – MICHIGAN STATE: 70
Big 10 QB of the Year in 2015. Three year starter that set several school records. Came in to 2015 as a candidate for being the top QB of the class. If you watch the right tape, you can certainly see why. Cook has a smooth, quick release with plenty of zip Easy flick of the wrist and he can send the ball 50 yards downfield. Protected the ball very well throughout his whole career. Pure pocket passer with good feel in and out of pressure. Cook had a somewhat rough season though, and each time I watched him there were a few things missing. I question his toughness. I question his ability to process information with the blitz bearing down on him. He wasn’t voted team captain and honestly, that is a big deal to me. The QB is almost always a team captain. What gives there? I don’t have all the necessary information with him to fully evaluate who he is off the field but I’ve always hated how he carried himself on the sidelines. You can piece together a few things and come up with the assumption he probably isn’t the guy you want playing the most important and influential position on the field. Talented? Yes. But not enough so to look past the other stuff.
Upside Pro Comparison – Nick Foles – LA
9 – BRANDON ALLEN – 6’1/217 – ARKANSAS: 69
Three year starter. Was an after thought in the scouting community until 2015. He kept getting better and better against some really tough situations. Allen is as tough as they come. A pure gamer. He got the most out of himself and the players around him. Very smart and aware. Plays fast and will hit his target more often than not. Allen has less than ideal size, strength, and athletic ability. Some wonder if his performance was a direct result of no pressure being put on him. He had a very solid offensive line and a running game that opponents were constantly focusing on. That could very well be the case. I wouldn’t mind having a guy like Allen back my QB up though. You know he is going to be ready if his number is called and he won’t back away from the challenge. You can’t say that about everyone. Allen probably doesn’t have starter upside but that doesn’t mean he can’t be drafted.
Upside Pro Comparison – Ryan Fitzpatrick – NYJ
10 – JEFF DRISKEL – 6’4/234 – LOUISIANA TECH
You can look at Driskel one of two ways. Classic overhyped high school recruit that failed to use his tools to mold himself in to a quality football player or a guy that just got the raw end of the deal at Florida. I go back and forth with him. Driskel has an impressive physical package. He’s big, strong, and fast. He is a power player one drive and a finesse guy on the next. I think he can wear several hats. The broken leg and unstable coaching staff at Florida really hurt his chances at progressing there. Playing for Louisiana Tech may have been the best thing that ever happened to him. I know guys that think he is a top 5 QB in this class. He does have the upside to be called that. His issues revolve around touch and accuracy. He struggles to complete the tough throws. He is often a step behind or in front of his target, both physically and mentally. I think he is a guy worth trying to develop. He has talent that some guys on this list will never have.
Upside Pro Comparison – Blake Bortles – JAC
BEST OF THE REST (11-15)
11 – CARDALE JONES – 6’5/253 – OHIO STATE: 69
12 – JACOBY BRISSETT – 6’4/231 – NC STATE: 66
13 – JOEL STAVE – 6’5/236 – WISCONSIN: 65
14 – NATE SUDFELD – 6’6/234 – INDIANA – 64
15 – VERNON ADAMS – 5’11/200 – OREGON – 63
The next NYG draft pick QB is coming. Maybe not this year but if not, it will be in 2017. Ryan Nassib hasn’t seen the field, obviously a good thing., but after what will be 4 seasons in the league and demand for his services, I expect him to be playing elsewhere next year. I am always a supporter of the notion that Manning needs a very capable backup. Not because he has an injury tendency, but because he is approaching his upper 30s and this team needs to be ready for when he’s done and/or when he gets hurt. Not having a quality backup has ruined so many teams with otherwise solid rosters. The draft is the best way to do it for financial reasoning. There is chatter among some that they will use a top 100 pick on one if the value presents itself. I don’t think so. If Nassib is gone at this time next year, I could see it being the case. But as long as he is here, NYG will only consider the position late if a value drops. I think the team will like Coker and Driskel.