Before I get scrutinized for pro comparisons, let me explain how I was taught to do them: via former NFL scouts’ podcasts, of course. They are not about who the player is going to be right off the bat because it’s crazy to think a player with no NFL experience will be an All-Pro right away. I mean, they probably could be a Pro Bowler, though because that thing’s a joke. Pro comparisons are a combination of who you think the player can become and who their game most resembles, obviously on a much lesser stage. Pro comparisons are also tough to come up with and not a good way to judge talent because every player is different. They’re mainly to give a broad idea of what kind of skill-set a player has, and of course, they’re always fun to check out.

Franchise Quarterbacks

Josh Rosen, UCLA

Position Rank: QB1

Strengths: Size, scheme, arm strength, velocity, mechanics, footwork, short accuracy, deep accuracy

Weaknesses: Touch, poise

Pro Comparison: Eli Manning

  • Hate his opinions, or love them, Josh Rosen is the clear-cut best quarterback prospect in this draft. He has some of the cleanest mechanics you’ll find in a young QB. The footwork comes easy and the throwing motion is a thing of beauty. Rosen also happens to have a terrific arm with enough velocity to rip the skin off your fingers. This is a franchise QB, but he’ll need to learn to play cleaner under pressure. Teams might be scared off because he’s willing to voice opinions, but it’s a breath of fresh air and he has the talent to get away with it.

Sam Darnold, USC

Position Rank: QB2

Strengths: Size, arm strength, velocity, deep accuracy, poise, mobility

Weaknesses: Scheme, mechanics, footwork

Pro Comparison: Tony Romo

  • After a couple months of rumblings about Sam Darnold retuning to USC for another season, he put it to rest and declared this week. Unlike Rosen, Darnold stumbled this season and potentially hurt his draft stock. The biggest issue is he didn’t develop from last year to this year. All the same mistakes were there and although he continued to dazzle with what can only be described as the “it factor”, he’s not the sure thing everybody thought he was. Now it looks like Darnold is a sit and develop quarterback with the raw tools to succeed, but he needs to be coached before he can flourish.

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Position Rank: QB3

Strengths: Arm strength, mechanics, footwork, deep accuracy, poise, mobility

Weaknesses: Size, scheme

Pro Comparison: Jeff Garcia

  • It’s funny that the most successful Heisman winning QB of all-time, Carson Palmer, retired this week and everybody on Twitter is being driven mad about Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson. Mayfield is polarizing. He’s also not the next Johnny Manziel or the next Russell Wilson. Don’t claim he has off-field issues like Manziel because he doesn’t. And don’t claim he has athleticism like Wilson because he doesn’t. Mayfield isn’t the prototypical QB, but has the tools to be a day one starter. With his combo of poise and short area quickness he can amaze on the move. Despite a lack of size, he has good arm strength and improving velocity. If he is in a more progressive offense, he’ll be successful quickly in the NFL.

Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Position Rank: QB4

Strengths: Arm strength, poise, mobility

Weaknesses: Size, scheme, velocity, footwork, deep accuracy

Pro Comparison: Michael Vick

  • Somehow Baker Mayfield isn’t even the most polarizing quarterback prospect of this class because nobody is hated or loved as a prospect as much as Lamar Jackson. If you think Lamar isn’t an NFL QB and needs to switch positions, stop reading now and go watch the tape. No, he isn’t the classic drop back passer, but how can being the best athlete on the field be a negative? Jackson has the arm to make deep throws, he flicks his wrist on the run and the ball goes 60 yards through the air with ease. But he lacks velocity to make tight window throws at times. All of Jackson’s mistakes tend to come when his footwork gets sloppy, but that can be cleaned up with coaching. Like Mayfield if Lamar goes to a progressive coach that takes advantage of his skill-set he will be a franchise QB.

Starting Quarterbacks

Josh Allen, Wyoming

Position Rank: QB5

Strengths: Size, scheme, arm strength, mobility

Weaknesses: Touch, short accuracy, poise

Pro Comparison: Daunte Culpepper

  • Is Josh Allen top 10 pick good? No. Does he have the highest ceiling among all the QBs in this class? Yes. At times Allen looks like he’s Cam Newton crossed with Ben Roethlisberger, and other times he looks like he’s undraftable. Taking Allen high in the draft is a massive risk and will only payoff in an ideal situation. He needs to sit and learn to cleanup the consistent mistakes. It’s also far more likely he hits his floor than his ceiling. But if he ends up somewhere in the middle, he could excel in the right system. He has the strongest arm in the class and he’s the second best athlete at the positon. Stick him behind a vet and adapt the offense to his strengths and it could payoff.

Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

Position Rank: QB6

Strengths: Size, arm strength, touch, deep accuracy

Weaknesses: Scheme, velocity, poise, mobility

Pro Comparison: Carson Palmer

  • Of the first-round type quarterbacks Josh Allen has the highest ceiling, but Mason Rudolph has the highest floor. He’s in the mould of the classic pocket passer. As long as he has a clean pocket to do damage from, Rudolph is consistent and accurate. A team is going to fall in love with his size, solid arm, and deep accuracy, and take him in the first-round. His lack of poise when under fire and immobility are going to kill him if he ends up behind a lackluster offensive line. Of the QBs with starting caliber traits he’s by far the least sexy from a talent and potential perspective.

Future Starting Quarterbacks

Kurt Benkert, Virginia

Position Rank: QB7

Strengths: Size, scheme, velocity

Weaknesses: Deep accuracy, mobility

Pro Comparison: Kirk Cousins

  • If any team is QB needy, but misses out on one of the top prospects on day one, the fallback plan should be Kurt Benkert. He is a clean prospect at QB for a guy who isn’t consider a first-round talent. It’s worth mentioning he’ll be at the Senior Bowl and that will be an opportunity to push himself into the second-round conversation. Rarely do non-first-round quarterbacks turn into starting caliber players, but Benkert has some interesting tools. He’s played in a pro-style scheme, he’s well built, and he can rip it into tight windows. Virginia hasn’t had much talent on offense recently, and Benkert still carried them in the ACC this year to a bowl appearance. Develop him for two or three years and Benkert has a chance to start in the NFL.

Luke Falk, Washington State

Position Rank: QB8

Strengths: Mechanics

Weaknesses: Scheme, velocity, poise, mobility

Pro Comparison: Sam Bradford

  • There was a time before the season where it looked like Luke Falk could be the Senior riser into the first-round conversation. Then the California game happened and his stock fell off a cliff. To add insult to injury, he had a similarly awful game against Washington in the Apple Cup. He threw eight of his 13 interceptions in those two games. Recently it came out that Falk had been playing with a broken bone in his none-throwing wrist since the second game of the season. Falk will be able to reinvigorate his stock at the Senior Bowl if he’s healthy enough to participate. The lack of poise Falk has could kill him, he turtles under pressure way too often. He also comes from the Air Raid system, which isn’t an easy transition. His clean mechanics and accuracy could help him become a backup and eventual starter.

Should Return to School Quarterbacks

Ryan Finley, North Carolina State

Position Rank: QB9

Strengths: Touch, poise

Weaknesses: Scheme, velocity, short accuracy, deep accuracy, poise

Pro Comparison: Andy Dalton

Jarrett Stidham, Auburn

Position Rank: QB11

Strengths: Mobility

Weaknesses: Scheme, mechanics, touch, short accuracy, deep accuracy, poise

Pro Comparison: Case Keenum

Chase Litton, Marshall

Position Rank: QB13

Strengths: Arm strength, velocity

Weaknesses: Scheme, footwork, touch, short accuracy, deep accuracy, poise, mobility

Pro Comparison: Tom Savage

Drew Lock, Missouri

Position Rank: QB14

Strengths: Size, arm strength

Weaknesses: Scheme, footwork, deep accuracy, poise, mobility

Pro Comparison: Jay Cutler

Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State

Position Rank: QB16

Strengths: Size, arm strength, mobility

Weaknesses: Scheme, footwork, touch, short accuracy, deep accuracy, poise

Pro Comparison: Blaine Gabbert

Jake Browning, Washington

Position Rank: QB22

Strengths: Short accuracy

Weaknesses: Size, scheme, velocity, footwork, touch, deep accuracy, poise

Pro Comparison: Kellen Moore

  • If a non-Senior quarterback isn’t projected to be at least a day two pick, I firmly believe they should return to school. Quarterbacks need time to develop and snaps to put on tape for evaluators. Multiple year starters are far more preferred to guys who spend one season at the helm. The list of QBs that should return to school is made up of guys who need to put more on tape, develop further to show they can play in the NFL, recover from injuries, and frankly some of them just aren’t going to cut it in the league and should get as much as they can out of college football.
  • The other thing that is highly important for Senior QBs is post-season showcase games like the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl. These games are full of scouts who watch them practice for a week and that can make or break some of these QBs draft stocks. Of the above QBs only Ryan Finley has the experience, tape, and tools to push for a day two draft selection. All of these quarterbacks should return to college from a scouting perspective.

Developmental Quarterbacks

Kyle Lauletta, Richmond

Position Rank: QB10

Strengths: Scheme, velocity

Weaknesses: Touch, deep accuracy, poise

Pro Comparison: Josh McCown

Mike White, Western Kentucky

Position Rank: QB12

Strengths: Size, mechanics

Weaknesses: Scheme, touch, short accuracy, deep accuracy, poise, mobility

Pro Comparison: Chad Henne

Riley Ferguson, Memphis

Position Rank: QB15

Strengths: Arm strength, deep accuracy

Weaknesses: Scheme, mechanics, footwork, touch, short accuracy, poise, mobility

Pro Comparison: Mike Glennon

  • Usually a day three quarterback is looking at a career backup job with little real time on the field. But sometimes there are quarterbacks worth taking on day three with some traits that could eventually push them onto the field as a competent or at least fill-in starter. There’s not many examples of these types, but we’ve seen competent backups help win games when called upon in the past. These quarterbacks could make a difference one day with a lot of coaching and development. Kyle Lauletta is the most interesting because he comes from the FCS, but earned a Senior Bowl invite. Unlike most the QBs, Lauletta comes from a system that plays him under center and has him run play-action passes on a frequent basis. He has the velocity the NFL looks for in a starter and solid size. Senior Bowl week will be massive for him.

Career Backup Quarterbacks

Logan Woodside, Toledo

Position Rank: QB17

Strengths: Mechanics, poise

Weaknesses: Scheme, arm strength, velocity, touch, short accuracy, deep accuracy

Pro Comparison: Matt Moore

Nick Stevens, Colorado State

Position Rank: QB18

Strengths: Scheme

Weaknesses: Arm strength, velocity, touch, short accuracy, deep accuracy, poise, mobility

Pro Comparison: TJ Yates

  • These are the quarterbacks who have just enough ability to make a roster, but likely will never exceed being a low-level backup. Logan Woodside and Nick Stevens have played a lot in college and both check a major box. Woodside has the poise an NFL QB badly needs to make a team. Stevens comes from a pro-style system which can be enough to catch an NFL teams eye. Both these guys will need to fight to get drafted and make a roster, but both have the tools to be backups.

CFL Quarterbacks

Quinton Flowers, South Florida

Position Rank: QB19

Strengths: Arm strength, mobility

Weaknesses: Size, scheme, mechanics, footwork, touch, short accuracy, deep accuracy

Pro Comparison: Pat White

Tanner Lee, Nebraska

Position Rank: QB20

Strengths: Size, scheme, arm strength

Weaknesses: Mechanics, footwork, touch, short accuracy, deep accuracy, poise, mobility

Pro Comparison: Derek Anderson

Brandon Silvers, Troy

Position Rank: QB21

Strengths: Size, mobility

Weaknesses: Scheme, arm strength, velocity, mechanics, touch, short accuracy, deep accuracy, poise

Pro Comparison: C.J. Beathard

  • This is not a joke, if a quarterback can’t make it in the NFL they should head north to the CFL. At least in the CFL they can fight for practice reps and even get on the field in a live game. The league is different and the talent is lesser, but the QB is just as important. Each of these QBs is intriguing enough to get on the field in the CFL. Quinton Flowers is an elite athlete with a solid arm, but comes from an awful scheme and needs to clean up his mechanics and work on his accuracy. Tanner Lee should have returned to school but chose to come out. He has the size and arm NFL teams love, but the tape is bad despite some flashes. With his arm strength the CFL would be a good fit. Brandon Silvers lacks the arm and mechanics the NFL needs. A few years cleaning up his game in the CFL could give him a shot at getting on an NFL roster.

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Author Details
Vice President of Media | The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
I’m Canadian as can be, other than the fact that I don’t care about hockey. I love football. The NFL is my life. I consider myself a football guy and I’d rather watch tape than anything else. I’m the Armchair NFL Draft analyst here. You can read my Armchair Scout columns and call me out for my draft misses. I’m also part of two podcasts at Armchair. Our NFL Draft podcast, 7 Rounds in Heaven, and the main NFL pod, Resting the Starters. I cheer for the Steelers, Raptors, Blue Jays, Oregon, and I guess the Leafs.
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Vice President of Media | The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
I’m Canadian as can be, other than the fact that I don’t care about hockey. I love football. The NFL is my life. I consider myself a football guy and I’d rather watch tape than anything else. I’m the Armchair NFL Draft analyst here. You can read my Armchair Scout columns and call me out for my draft misses. I’m also part of two podcasts at Armchair. Our NFL Draft podcast, 7 Rounds in Heaven, and the main NFL pod, Resting the Starters. I cheer for the Steelers, Raptors, Blue Jays, Oregon, and I guess the Leafs.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I stopped reading and went to watch the tape. Lamar Jackson looks like a kick returner in the NFL at best! Jake Browning is way too low here, runs a pro system, wins games, i’d want him to take over for Palmer next year.

  2. Fellow Cards fan here #SEERED! Agree with you, would love to see Browning drafted in the 1st round especially now Bruce Arena is gone! But if Lamar Jackson is there in the 2nd i’d bring him in, would be a great talent to replace Larry!

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