The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine is nearly upon us. The Combine is one of the biggest weeks of the NFL calendar, where teams get together in Indianapolis and put the upcoming draft class under the microscope. The real reason for the Combine is the in-depth medical check-up, but it is also an opportunity to put every position group on the field to quantify their athleticism and compare them under the same circumstances.
It is also a time when big boards start to come in to focus.
Here at Big Blue View, we aren’t ready to publish a big board just yet, but we are ready to start the process and take a look at the top of the various position charts. Considering the New York Giants long-term need at the position, and the unquestioned value of it, there is no better place to start than the quarterback position.
As with every draft class, the depth at various positions is uneven, and I’ll be forced to include more players at some positions than others. But for now, a top 5, with a few honorable mentions after, is fair.
The Top Five
- Dwayne Haskins - Ohio State
- Kyler Murray - Oklahoma
- Drew Lock - Missouri
- Jarrett Stidham - Auburn
- Daniel Jones - Duke
Notes: I will, of course, continue to do my due diligence on all these prospects and this is by no means my final ranking.
As of now, this class is more like a “top two” with a “next three” than a true “top five.” Personally, the only two quarterbacks I would spend a first round pick on are Haskins and Murray. And despite the fact that I love his tools and believe his ceiling is higher, I also believe that Murray has to be in the right situation to reach that ceiling. While Haskins is more situation-diverse, Murray will need to land with a coach with the mental flexibility and creativity to get the most out of Murray’s unique talent (e.g. Patrick Mahomes)
The next three have significant warts which give me significant pause. Lock has arm strength and mobility to get scouts (and folks like Mel Kiper) drooling. However, he shows an inconsistency in accuracy, precision, and mechanics which are concerning for a player who has started 50 games and attempted more than 1,500 passes in the last four years. Likewise, his accuracy in tight windows is an issue for the next level, as he only completed 26 percent of his passes in those circumstances. Just by the nature of the NFL, most throws are “tight windows” by college standards.
Stidham looked like a potential riser after his junior season at Auburn, but he failed to show growth in Gus Malzahn’s high school-esque offense. He has the arm strength and mobility to be a weapon in the modern NFL, but he will need to show growth if he wants to be a starter at the NFL level.
And finally, Daniel Jones was in the running to be the first quarterback drafted during the season. But as we have all gotten a closer look at him, the concerns have mounted. He passes the NFL’s “eye test” with flying colors at 6-foot-5, 220 pounds and plenty of mobility outside the pocket. But on the continuum of “big, strong, athletic” quarterbacks which runs from Blake Bortles and Blaine Gabbert to Carson Wentz and Andrew Luck, Jones falls much closer to the former quarterbacks than the latter. As Mark Schofield has pointed out a number of times, Jones is fine processing and completing passes inside of 10 yards and within the structure of a basic West Coast offense. However, when asked to do the same under pressure, beyond 10 yards, or on concepts outside of the basics of David Cutcliffe’s offense, Jones wilts.
Brett Rypien (Boise State) - If you’ve been listening to Mark Schofield’s spots on Big Blue Radio with Dan and I, or reading his pieces on quarterback prospects, you know that Rypien is Mark’s Guy. In fact, he told us that he was contemplating about staking out his hill and naming Rypien QB-1 for this draft class. I might not go there, but I respect the hell out of Mark’s opinion on QBs and I won’t disagree with him either. Rypien does so much well that it’s hard not to like him, and the only real knock on him is that he doesn’t have “ideal” size and arm strength. He could be a steal if he slips to the third day.
Jordan Ta’amu (Ole Miss) - Ta’amu isn’t a finished product, but I can’t help but be intrigued by him. He isn’t consistent as a passer, but he is also capable of some “WOW” throws on high-difficulty attempts. You don’t draft a player like him with the intention of him starting in year one, but if the Giants punt on the QB decision again, having a player with his tools as a Day 3 prospect to potentially develop isn’t a bad idea. Who knows, if the work ethic is there, maybe the Giants can get lucky and not have to wait until 2020.
Ryan Finley (North Carolina State) - Finley likely isn’t a starting quarterback at the next level. Even if we lower the bar on arm strength to “good enough,” he comes up wanting. But, he is a very smart game manager who could be the kind of back-up who can finish a game or even get you a couple in a spot-start. As we’ve seen from the Philadelphia Eagles the last two years, those kind quarterbacks are plenty valuable.