New York Giants 2017 NFL Draft Preview: Quarterbacks
by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56
WHERE THEY STAND
Eli Manning will begin his 13th season as the week 1 starter, an accomplishment in its own right. His consecutive start streak remains but even his biggest apologists will have to admit there are numerous signs of him slowing down and losing some of his ability. His throws are lacking some zip and he has had trouble driving the ball downfield. Veterans Josh Johnson and Geno Smith will battle it out for backup duty. Both have had their share of opportunities in the league and offer little long term stability.
TOP 10 GRADES AND ANALYSIS
1 – Mitch Trubisky – North Carolina – 6’2/222: 80
Summary: Junior entry. Former blue chip recruit had to wait his turn to get his shot at the helm. In Trubisky’s one full season as a starter, he proved there are top overall pick traits to his game. All of the measureables are there. He throws to the ball hard and accurately, he is a plus-athlete for the position, and he has the strength to take hits and get right back up. His glaring weakness stems from a lack of game experience, always a risky proposition. The lack of quick reactions and inability to see backside coverage could be his kryptonite in the NFL if he doesn’t click. Ideally he is drafted by someone that will look to put him in the mix in 2018. High ceiling prospect.
*Less than 20 career starts is always something that will worry me, thus he finishes with the borderline 1st round grade. I’m glad I’m not a team at the top of the draft looking for a franchise QB because I simply wouldn’t know what to do here. Trubisky was consistent all year…really didn’t have a lot of ups and downs. That steadiness is something that I think will get him drafted in the top 10 but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see him taken in the 20s.
Upside Pro Comparison: Ryan Tannehill – MIA
2 – DeShone Kizer – Notre Dame – 6’4/233: 79
Summary: Third year sophomore entry that was forced in to the starting position week 3 of 2015. Kizer showed immediate talent and upside, but failed to build off a solid redshirt freshman season. His inconsistent play in 2016 put the Notre Dame coaching staff in a position to take him in and out of his role as the lead signal caller. While there were a few outside factors that went against his way, Kizer simply struggled to show a consistent level of play. His talent is undeniable and he is very coachable and intelligent. He needs time to season up his footwork, vision, and pocket presence. Long term upside is there with this kid.
*It took me some time to come around on Kizer. I think he has more “franchise QB” in him than any of the other guys but he was maddening at times in 2016. He caved under pressure and the talent around him was poor. I think he was in a bad situation at Notre Dame and a fresh change of scenery should help. He’s not ready, and won’t be for another year or two. NYG would be a great situation for him, as there are several similarities between him and Manning.
Upside Pro Comparison: Blake Bortles – JAC
3 – Deshaun Watson – Clemson – 6’2/221: 77
Summary: Junior entry. Former blue chip recruit that ended his career being called the “Michael Jordan of Quarterbacks” by his head coach. The 2015 recipient of the Davey O’Brien and Payton Manning awards respectively didn’t quite put the season most were hoping for in 2016, but he did win a National Championship with a stellar late-game performance. Watson has all of the intangibles and physical ability, but his skills as a thrower are lacking when comparing him to past top tier quarterback prospects. His inaccuracy and inconsistent throwing motions could rear their ugly heads in the NFL. He is a developmental player that is at least a year or two away. It would be a tremendous risk to throw all your eggs in this basket.
*For awhile there was a thought that Watson could be the NYG target at #23. I’ve since stepped away from that, as I don’t think he is a 1st round caliber guy. There are too many holes in his game, too many red flags. One thing you know you are getting here though…he’s as good a kid as you are going to find. He has the head and the mindset for New York. And again…a situation that would be ideal for him is 2 years of sitting on the bench.
Upside Pro Comparison: Alex Smith – KC
4 – Nathan Peterman – Pittsburgh – 6’2/226: 76
Summary: Fifth year senior that began his career at Tennessee. Ran in to some tough luck between injuries and the emergence of Josh Dobb, forcing him to transfer. In his two seasons as the starter for Pittsburgh, Peterman showed poise, toughness, and glimpses of domination. He seemed further along than the players he was throwing to and it had a negative impact on his overall numbers. Peterman is smart and aggressive. He understands the little things about reading a defense and moving coverages with his eyes. With more seasoning, he could be a starter in the NFL. He may not possess top tier physical ability, but he has enough.
*There was a time early in the pre draft process where Peterman was in legit contention for the #1 spot on this list. There is a lot of “pro”in him and even though I think his upside is limited, I think he will be a reliable backup in the league. There aren’t enough of these guys and I would be totally fine with NYG using a 3rd rounder on him even though he may never be a big time starter.
Upside Pro Comparison: Matt Moore – MIA
5 – Patrick Mahomes – Texas Tech – 6’2/225: 76
Summary: Junior entry with 2-plus years of starting experience. Led the nation in passing yards and yards per game in 2016, earning him 2nd Team All Big 12 honors. The arm talent of Mahomes is enough to excite anyone, as he possesses the ability to throw the ball 70+ yards in the air. While he may be able to count on one hand how may times he will need to do that in a game over his career, it’s a confirmation that he can throw the rock with anyone. Mahomes comes from the infamous Texas Tech spread attack that will force him in to a full blown student mode for a year or two in the NFL. His mechanics need a lot of work as well, thus he is multiple years away in all likelihood.
*Mahomes is a kid that loves the game, first one in and last one out type. If you had to measure talent with all of these kids, he is probably at the top. But in the same breath I think he is the furthest from being game ready. You will have to commit to him sitting for 2 years and then the thought remains, is that worth a 1st round pick? Tough call.
Upside Pro Comparison: Matthew Stafford – DET
6 – Davis Webb – California – 6’5/229: 74
Summary: Fourth year senior that graduated from Texas Tech early and was able to transfer to California for a graduate season. He earned Honorable Mention All Pac 12 honors in 2017, replacing last year’s top overall pick Jared Goff. Webb took advantage of his opportunity and displayed an NFL ability. His size and easy throwing motion can get you excited, but he has a ways to go in terms of progression and learning. Webb is a couple years away and will have to spend a lot of time correcting elements such as a footwork, lower body mechanics, and reading a defense, among other things. Possible starter down the road, but more likely a backup.
*Webb is a hot name with some of the people I get to talk with…and others think he won’t ever be a starter. Nobody denies the talent, but he has a ways to go. I’ve watched every game of his from 2016 and he does the same things week in and week out that bother me. He has to completely change his game and while I think it is possible, it’s simply unlikely.
Upside Pro Comparison: Brock Osweiler – CLE
7 – Brad Kaaya – Miami – 6’4/214: 74
Summary: Junior entry. Three year starter who missed just one game over his career. Of all the quarterbacks in the class, Kaaya may have the cleanest and most consistent full body mechanics. While he is further along than most in that respect, he may also be closer to his ceiling than the other quarterbacks in this class. His arm strength and athletic ability are limited. His potential to dink and dunk over his career will be harder to accomplish than what he had to deal with in college. He projects as a safe pick for backup duty, but not much more.
*Like Peterman, I like Kaaya but not as a guy as I think will be a big time starter. More like a reliable backup which still has value in the league, but nothing I am going to consider spending a day 2 pick on. I have a hard time liking QBs with such a slight frame and weak arm.
Upside Pro Comparison: Colt McCoy – WAS
8 – Jerod Evans – Virginia Tech – 6’3/232: 71
Summary: Fourth year junior entry. Began his career at Air Force where he tore his ACL in 2013 before transferring to a junior college. Spent one season at Virginia Tech and proved to be one of the top dual threats in the country. Evans is physically gifted with his powerful arm and running ability. He is a ways away from being a professional passer, however. He has a long road ahead but his intangibles and talent can be combined in to a quality backup one day. Higher ceiling than most.
*I really wish this kid went back to school for another year, as I do see some big time traits here. Such an easy, powerful, quick release that you simply can’t teach. Has nice touch on the ball. Big and sturdy frame. Hard worker, very humble. But his learning curve will be as steep as any of the QBs in this class. Huge gamble but huge potential reward.
Upside Pro Comparison: Chad Henne – MIA
9 – CJ Beathard – Iowa – 6’2/219: 70
Summary: Fifth year senior that started for two full seasons. Son of former General Manager Bobby Beathard. The 2015 2nd Team All Big 10 signal caller played in a pro style offense that had him hand the ball off often. He wasn’t challenged that often in terms of having to take over games and lead his team downfield. The game manager shows far-along footwork and overall mechanics, but there is a lack of overall ability and upside. Backup-only type.
*There may not be a QB in the class that had a worse group of players to throw to. Beathard was screwed over by drops and WRs that couldn’t separate all year. There may be something here with this kid that we haven’t quite seen yet. That said, he is a backup type, not a starter.
Upside Pro Comparison: Scott Tolzien – IND
10 – Seth Russell – Baylor – 6’3/213: 68
Summary: Fifth year senior. Both 2015 and 2016 were cut short by severe injuries, one to his neck and one to his ankle. When he was on the field, he was putting out All Big 12 performances in Baylor’s spread attack. His athletic ability and arm strength stand out and could be considered among the best in the class. He will have a steep learning curve and more than anything will need to prove he can recover from his injuries. Late round flier that can make the argument for having as much upside as anyone.
*I simply don’t have a lot to work from in terms of scouting Russell. His tape is limited and these system QBs can be a tough grading process. I will say this about Russell though…he raises everyone’s eyebrows. He may be the best athlete in this group and he throws a really nice ball. I would like to get him in a camp to simply see how he responds to pro style football.
Upside Pro Comparison: Drew Stanton – ARI
BEST OF THE REST
11 – Josh Dobbs – Tennessee – 6’3/216: 67
12 – Chad Kelly – Mississippi – 6’2/224: 67
13 – Alek Torgersen – Pennsylvania – 6’3/230: 65
14 – Wes Lunt – Illinois – 6’5/225: 63
15 – Antonio Pimpkin – Tiffin – 6’1/222: 63
16 – Gunner Kiel – Cincinnati – 6’4/225: 63
17 – Cooper Rush – Central Michigan – 6’3/228: 61
18 – Zach Terrell – Western Michigan – 6’1/209: 61
19 – Sefo Liufau – Colorado – 6’3/232: 59
20 – Mitch Lender – Minnesota – 6’3/226: 59
There isn’t any urgency yet with this position in terms of the draft, but even the biggest Eli Manning fans need to admit the skills and ability are declining. He will be the guy for at least another 2 years, more likely 3 years. But if the decline keeps multiplying as he approach 40 years old, the plan needs to be put in place. I don’t think any of these guys should be a consideration at #23 overall. Too many good players will be available at that spot and I’m not sure I see a sure thing franchise QB in anyone within this group. Once you get to rounds 2 and beyond, I would consider it an option but at the end of that day, I don’t see much here that we won’t see every other year. Kizer intrigues me, I’ll say that. In the right environment, I think he can be the guy. Trubisky has more talent but the lack of experience is such a red flag. I think the approach here should be, if you find someone that looks like a reliable backup type (Peterman/Kaaya) available day 3…I think it’s the best route to take. I would be fine with them overlooking the position in this draft, though.