Format includes a quick position overview, my grading scale and what the number means, the summary and final grade from my final report on my top 10, a quick additional note on the player, and my ranks 11-20 with grades only.
*I AM NOT DOING NFL COMPARISONS
QUICK POSITION OVERVIEW
Daniel Jones is entering the vital third year. Personally, I view the third year as THE deciding season when it comes to building the franchise. No gray area. After the third year, you decide if this is the guy you are going to extend and build around or start looking elsewhere for the next guy. Is it a black and white situation? No. Of course, he could stink in year three and succeed in year four because “anything can happen.” However, I feel the decision makers need to stay out of the gray area with a quarterback in which they drafted. After three years, he is your guy or not. Jones has had several moments that make me think he can be the guy. He also has had several moments that make me think NYG will be moving on at the end of his rookie contract. The inconsistency has been maddening, but he deserves some slack here because the supporting cast has been among the worst in football. Look around the league and you will have a hard time finding 5 offenses with a worse combination of talent at the skill and line positions together. 2021 is all about Jones and what he can do with an improved arsenal and line (which will likely get stronger over draft weekend).
90+ All Pro Projection
85+: Pro Bowl Projection
81-84: 1st rounder – Should be able to play right away
79-80: 2nd rounder – Should be able to rotate right away – Year 2 starter
77-78: 3rd rounder – Should be able to rotate by end of rookie year – Year 2/3 starter
74-76: Early Day 3 – Special Teams – Future backup/possible starter
71-73: Mid Day 3 – Special Teams – Future backup / gamble starter
68-70: Late Day 3 – Back end of roster / Practice Squad / Development guy
65-67: Preferred UDFA
60-64: Undrafted FA
TOP 10 GRADES AND ANALYSIS
1. Trevor Lawrence / Clemson / 6’6-213
Summary: Junior entry from Cartersville, Georgia. Three-year starter that earned postseason ACC honors all three seasons. He finished 2nd Team All ACC and won the conference rookie of the year award in 2018 before finishing 1st Team All ACC in both 2019 and 2020. Lawrence was also a 3rd Team All American in 2020 and Heisman finalist. The former #1 high school recruit certainly delivered, winning a National Championship as a true freshman and making it back to the big game in 2019. Lawrence has been destined for the #1 pick in the draft for years. He checks all the boxes when it comes to both the on and off field requirements of a franchise QB. His arm talent and precision are top tier, he is an outstanding athlete, and he is a sound decision maker. His slow heartbeat and confident aura will elevate those around him from day one. He is one of the few that will enter the league with legitimate All-Pro expectations.
*I really think Lawrence could have come out after the 2018 season and been the first pick. This kid is a pure gamer in every sense of the word. Yes, his tools are top notch (passing and rushing), his intelligence is top notch, his approach is top notch. However, what do I like most? He brings his level of play to another level when it matters most. I respect that in a quarterback more than anything. It is a rare trait, and it is even more rare that these intangibles are attached to such a talent-filled player. The fluff about him not loving the game is complete nonsense and was created by low level humans that work in the media. Not even going to address that.
2. Justin Fields / Ohio State / 6’3-227
Summary: Junior entry from Kennesaw, Georgia. Spent one season at Georgia, playing in a 1A/1B situation at quarterback with Jake Fromm, although he played lesser snaps by a wide margin. Two-year starter for Ohio State. Won the Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year Award both seasons and was a 2nd Team All American in 2019. Fields made it all the way to the National Championship in 2020 but came up short to Alabama. Fields remains an enigma. He is clearly talented enough on multiple levels to be a big-time pro. He has a tremendous arm, he is one of the best athletes at the position to ever come out, and he plays with a slow heartbeat that exudes confidence. He had multiple games over his final month that created questions about his ability to quickly process information in order to avoid mistakes. He is an ideal fit for redshirt year in the NFL because if he mentally catches up to where he is physically, he can be a Pro Bowler.
*I never even thought about placing Fields in the Lawrence-tier. However, I have had him at since the process began and never really came close to changing it. I like Fields the way I liked Dak Prescott coming out. His running is an asset to his passing game and it will score touchdowns, but he isn’t overly dependent on his legs. He can make every throw, he can change speeds and loft, and can make plays that are off-schedule. The reason I don’t have him higher? His low points (against NFL-style defenses) were really ugly. I don’t expect every young QB to go an entire college career without making mistakes, that isn’t realistic. But when defenses got complex with him, he didn’t respond well. I think he is a great fit for a team that won’t depend on him right away. I would love him in SF, maybe CAR.
3. Zach Wilson / BYU / 6’2-214
Summary: Junior entry from Draper, Utah. Three-year starter that showed flashes in both 2018 and 2019, but truly broke on to the national scene in 2020 as he led BYU to an 11-1 record. Wilson is a new age quarterback that is becoming increasingly popular. He lacks traditional drop back and throwing mechanics, but he has the ability to make off-schedule throws with different arm angles appear natural and easy. He goes against the grain but was woefully accurate and rarely turned the ball over. With that said, he was 2-4 against top 25 teams and didn’t exactly play against the best college football had to offer. He is going to be a boom or bust, one that really only had one very strong season in a year where Covid-19 impacted a lot of it. He is best suited for a year of backup duty before being given the keys to the bus.
*From day one of watching Wilson, the name Tony Romo has always popped into my head. That is who I think he can be. He has a ton of arm talent that revolves around accuracy and innovation more so than power. That is more important. Wilson has the kind of game that can be really frustrating to play against, but also play with. There is a bit too much “backyard football” in his game that I’m not sure will work in the NFL. For every Mahomes, there are going to be a handful that try to be Mahomes and come up short when it comes to being creative and off schedule. Last thing I love about Wilson is the on-field toughness. He will take hit after hit after hit and remain tall. Is he tough enough to handle a New York market? That will be the biggest concern for me. He hasn’t exactly faced a lot of off-field adversity in his life.
4. Mac Jones / Alabama / 6’3-217
Summary: Redshirt junior entry from Jacksonville, Florida. One-year starter that also started 4 games the year prior when Tua Tagovailoa went down with a season ending hip injury. Jones could not have put in a better performance in 2020, earning 1st Team All American and All SEC honors in addition to winning the Davey O’Brien Award. He set an FBS single season record with a 77.4% completion percentage. While Jones doesn’t have a ton pf starting experience in college, it is hard to argue against what he accomplished. He has tremendous accuracy on all levels and is far more advanced when it comes to anticipation and throwing his targets open when comparing him to most college quarterbacks. Jones lacks the ideal body type and playing strength and shows issues against pressure at times. Ideally, he would have another year of starting experience to look back on, but he doesn’t and whoever drafts him will have to take on that risk.
*There are a ton of varying opinions on Jones. You can’t overlook what he did in 2020, as it was one of the more impressive seasons from a QB in my lifetime. However, you have to take into account he was playing with more talent than everybody else and there weren’t a lot of tight-window throws. I don’t want to discount him just because of that, as Joe Burrow was in a similar spot in 2019. Jones’ footwork, intelligence, and accuracy are big time traits. He will fit into a pro offense right away and could start year 1 without a hitch. The upside is where I lose it a bit with him. He will be solid, but I don’t ever see him being great.
5. Trey Lance / North Dakota State / 6’4-224
Summary: Third year sophomore Marshall, Minnesota. One-year starter that lost nearly the entire 2020 season to the Covid-19 pandemic, as North Dakota State played in just one game. In his one season as a starter, Lance won the Walter Payton Award (top player in FCS), the Jerry Rice Award (top FCS freshman), and the Missouri Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year Award. He led the Bison to a National Championship while going the entire year without throwing an interception. Lance is the definition of a risky draft pick. He lacks starting experience, and he didn’t have to throw the ball a ton. There is so much unknown here, but nobody can argue against what he actually put out there when on the field. Lance has an ideal blend of tools and showed really good intelligence. He is advanced on multiple ball handling tactics and his footwork looks natural and easy. Lance has the upside to be one of the best players in this class and he plays the ultimate position. The question will be just how big of a learning and adjustment curve will it be for him, coming from FCS and playing in just one game since the end of the 2019 season.
*Lance is going in the top 10, I think. I won’t dismiss it or “criticize” that at all. This has been such a unique year when it comes to the college football season and scouting process. With the information had (mostly tape), this is the conclusion I came up with. Lance is a really attractive prospect that has a lot of tools. But a QB that played this-little in college, at a lower level mind you, would scare the crap out of me if I am taking him to lead my franchise. Now, a team like SF has extra access to the guy that trained him over the past month and there were multiple Pro Days. Lance has attractive tape on multiple levels, I just didn’t see enough. Highest risk-reward ratio of all the QBs in the draft by far.
6. Davis Mills / Stanford / 6’4-217
Summary: Fourth year junior entry from Duluth, Georgia. Two-year starter that first earned a starting role after KJ Costello got injured in 2019. Honorable Mention All-Pac 12 honors in 2020. Mills was a former top-shelf recruit, but his career never quite took off. Much of his status and grade still depend on projection rather than on field performance. While he does check a lot of boxes when it comes to arm talent and mechanics, he simply didn’t show enough in his 11 starts, a woefully low number. He will be a backup for at least a year or two, however there is an intriguing skill set here.
*I’ll tell you what. If I am a QB-needy team and miss out on the top 4 guys on this list, I would rather wait until day 2 for Mills than use a day 1 pick on Lance. I know Lance has more upside, but I see a pro in Mills. He is really clean. The issue with him, like Lance, is a lack of experience. The Covid situation really hurt him, and I was surprised he left Stanford, because had he gone back to school, he could have been QB1 in next year’s crop. Someone like WAS or CHI can get really solid value here.
7. Kyle Trask / Florida / 6’5-236
Summary: Fifth year senior from Manvel, Texas. Two-year starter that was actually a backup in high school to current Miami Hurricanes quarterback D’Eriq King. Trask took over starting duties after the injury to Feleipe Franks and never looked back. He finished his career strong, setting a school record with 43 passing touchdowns while earning 1st Team All SEC honors and ending up a Heisman finalist. Trask started off the year red hot but fizzled out a bit later. This is a classic pocket passer with tremendous size and arm talent. While he isn’t the best athlete, he performs well enough on the move and can maintain good presence against contact. Trask won’t be in the first tier of quarterbacks that go in the top half of round 1, but he brings similar upside as a couple of them.
*I think the NFL is going to like Trask a bit more than what you are probably seeing in media coverage. I bet he goes ahead of Mills and maybe even toward the top of round 2. He has big time size and arm talent. Remember early in the season, he was heading toward the Heisman and some were talking about him as a 1st rounder. He didn’t keep it together all season, but you still have to be impressed with how he played. For some reason I see him going to WAS and sitting for a year.
8. Kellen Mond / Texas A& M / 6’3-211
Summary: Senior entry from San Antonio, Texas. Four-year starter that won Team MVP honors in 2018 and 2019. The former top dual threat recruit vastly improved over his career. He really came a long way and ended his career leading the Aggies to a 10-1 record. Mond is an outstanding athlete for the position but he understands how to use it as a backup option, not his primary one. His arm talent is better than what he shows, as he will too often try to dart his passes rather than throw them. It is a less than ideal release that gets too long at times. Mond can be a solid backup in the league that will bring a different kind of element should he ever get in the game. His ability as a passer is limited, but it is good enough too and is somewhat balanced out by his athleticism.
*I don’t see Mond ever being THE guy, but I do like him as a backup. There is such a thing to have a quarterback desired for backup duty more than a quarterback that has a (small) shot at evolving into a starter. I like backups that have some athletic ability, but not at the expense of arm talent. Mond has limitations when it comes down to what you can do with him play to play, drive to drive, week to week. However, he can provide a spark plug that others can’t because of his twitch, speed, and ability to play off schedule. Interesting name here.
9. Ian Book / Notre Dame / 6’0-211
Summary: Fifth year senior from El Dorado Hills, California. Three-year starter that earned 3rd Team All ACC honors in 2020. Book left the storied Notre Dame program as the all-time leader in quarterback wins with 35. The two-time team captain is a dream come true for quarterback coaches when it comes to work ethic and leadership. Book’s talent and overall upside won’t turn a lot of heads, but his intangibles will. He is an ideal fit for a backup role because of what he can offer to the quarterback room in meetings and practice. He may be able to stick as a sought-after backup for a long time in this league.
*Some teams look for intangibles and intelligence more than physical traits when trying to find backup quarterbacks. After all, their contributions in practice, meetings, and game planning are as important as the possible few snaps they see the field. Book may be a future coach and a team may bring him in earlier than where I have him for that reason.
10. Shane Buechele / SMU / 6’0-210
Summary: Fifth year senior from Arlington, Texas. Began his career at Texas where he started for two seasons before getting injured and losing his job to Sam Ehlinger. He then transferred to SMU where he started two more years, one of which he earned 1st Team All AAC honors. Buechele re-wrote the single season passing record book at SMU in 2019. While his 2020 didn’t quite reach that level, he continued to show his top tier short and intermediate accuracy. He lacks the ideal tools of a starting quarterback across the board, but there will be a spot for him on a depth chart somewhere. He is a smart and experienced passer that truly maximizes what he brings to the table.
*If there is one QB that simply lacks the tools I want in a QB, but I could see coming out of nowhere to land a starting job, it is Buechele. He is a really good thrower of the ball, really accurate, and processes information quickly. He will have a big jump in complexity of offense to learn from SMU to the NFL, but nobody is ever going to question his capability there. There has been something about him throughout the entire process that I can’t shake. I have a feeling about him far outplaying his draft grade.
11. Feleipe Franks / Arkansas / 6’7-234: 69
12. Jamie Newman / Georgia / 6’3-235: 68
13. Zach Smith / Tulsa / 6’3-222: 68
14. Peyton Ramsey / Northwestern /6’2-215: 67
15. Sam Ehlinger / Texas / 6’1-220: 67
16. KJ Costello / Mississippi State / 6’5-225: 66
17. Brady White / Memphis / 6’3-210: 66
18. Brady Davis / Illinois State / 6’4-210: 65
19. Zac Thomas / Appalachian State / 6’1-210: 64
20. Collin Hill / South Carolina / 6’4-213: 63
There isn’t much to say here. NYG needs to use their draft assets elsewhere to build this roster around Daniel Jones. They have their 2021 backup in Mike Glennon and a third stinger who adds something to the room mentally in Clayton Thorson. If they are in a bad spot at this time next year, then I think QB becomes a stronger discussion. I think it would be nice to have an athlete in this group, someone that can create with his legs behind Jones, but I wouldn’t use a pick on one for that reason alone. If NYG wants to add another QB from this group, wait until after the draft and see who shakes free.