Dwayne Haskins
How good is Dwayne Haskins? Nobody really knows… The 2019 NFL Draft quarterback class is a tough one to evaluate (Harry How/Getty Images)

Every single year there is a wildcard at the quarterback position. Sometimes they pan out. Sometimes they don’t. In recent years Patrick Mahomes is one that comes to mind. At Texas Tech, Mahomes always had a cannon but footwork and decision making was shaky. Landing in Kansas City with Andy Reid, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce certainly helps anyone’s development. We also have other wildcards that haven’t panned out like Cardale Jones. Cardale had some amazing moments at Ohio State but he never really had a large enough college sample size to get an accurate understanding for the NFL level.

This year the quarterback draft class is filled with wildcards. Kyler Murray is the number one rated quarterback according to most but his size is a concern. Drew Lock is another one. Rocket arm talent but sort of reminds me of Jay Cutler. Highs are real high. Lows are real low and accuracy is hit or miss. Daniel Jones from Duke is getting first round love recently too. I really don’t know how but I guess that’s the world we live in. We even have Tyree Jackson who is 6-foot-7 and doesn’t even look like a real human. What if he is another lump of clay to mold? All of a sudden, we are starting to forget about the one quarterback who might have the best chance to become a franchise quarterback, Dwayne Haskins. Like the other quarterbacks in this draft class; we’re going to ask a similar question. How good is Dwayne Haskins? Nobody really knows for sure.

The 2019 NFL Draft is the trickiest quarterback group to evaluate that I can ever remember. Haskins is the epitome of that. Let’s start with the college production. The 50 touchdowns are eye popping. That’s a really good start. When you look at a lot of busts, most of them are projects but get pushed up. Well, Haskins has proved he can flat out play. 50 touchdowns is damn hard to do. Haskins also completed 70 percent of his throws, another big check mark.

When you dive further into the numbers, there is something that should be a bit concerning. Below is an excerpt from my Kyler Murray article:

“But what about the Big 12? Well, Haskins is the only quarterback that is close but Haskins actually led the country in one stat. His receivers compiled more yards after the catch than any other team in the country. Haskins average depth of target was 7.9 yards which ranks 13th in his own Conference. His receivers like Parris Campbell and others just took a lot of short passes to the house to up his passing yards. Murray’s depth of target was 12 yards down the field per pass.”

We get on Kyler Murray for playing agains the pillow fight defenses in the Big 12. That’s fine. What about the Big 10? Haskins was terrible against Purdue and Penn State. Ohio State’s talent is head and shoulders better than every team except for maybe Michigan… and that’s a big maybe. Haskins was helped by his receivers more than any other quarterback in the country. He also went into almost every game with a big coaching advantage too.

Then again, did he go into every game with a coaching edge? One could argue that Urban Meyer was a huge distraction this year. Meyer is a great coach. Not disputing that but with everything going on with the Zach Smith scandal, it’s fair to point out that Haskins was dealing with drama that he won’t have to in the NFL.

You will notice that trying to argue Haskins is like riding a rollercoaster with 800 ups and downs. It’s the best rabbit hole you can argue about. What about his ability to play in big games? I think that means a hell of a lot. Deshaun Watson won me over the second he played Bama. Nobody dominates Alabama like that win or lose. Watson did it twice. Well, Dwayne Haskins finished the season on fire. How about 396 passing yards and 6 touchdowns against a really tough Michigan defense? Take that and shove it haters! What about 499 yards and 5 touchdowns in the Big 10 title game! 251 yards and 3 touchdowns against a strong Washington defense was impressive too.

Dwayne Haskins

Then again, we have a big problem. Haskins was just a one-year starter. Why? Don’t give me the J.T. Barrett excuse because he sucks. Why did Haskins not start over Barrett? I really want to know. Haskins did appear in the Michigan game last year when Barrett left with an injury and you could tell 5 seconds into the game he was 1000x the better quarterback. Maybe it was a Meyer loyalty thing. I have no clue. Either way, one year as a starter doesn’t provide a lot of clarity. Teams didn’t have the full offseason to throw the scouting report at him. Haskins is also really raw. He could use another year as a college quarterback just to refine his craft. A lot of the best quarterbacks in the NFL started for 3 years. It’s a major red flag.

SOOOO What do we think we’re getting with Haskins? 6-foot-3, 231 pounds. Decent accuracy but it could use some work. A little raw but elite college production. Definitely not a runner (ignorant Stephen A Smith doesn’t agree) and almost on the immobile side but a huge body. Good arm strength and very close to being in the elite arm talent argument. Makes about 4 or 5 wow throws a game but still need work on decision making to cut down on the 2 or 3 dumb ones per game. Has a smart football brain pre-snap. Didn’t get sacked a lot and understand line protections. Pocket thrower and full read-thrower with some swag. Effortless throwing motion but can be baited into bad decisions. Who does that sound like?

Sounds a hell of a lot like Jameis Winston? You’re lying if it doesn’t. That’s who I think you’re getting. Of course, the team that drafts you has a ton to do with the outcome. What if Jameis Winston was drafted by the Steelers instead of the Bucs? Now take that same scenario and imagine if Ben Roethlisberger was a Buc instead of a Steeler? You would like Winston way more than you do right now. The good news is that it doesn’t appear that Haskins is the knucklehead off the field that Winston is. When we talk about range of outcomes, a better or worse version of Jameis Winston feels very accurate. Where Haskins falls in that range may come down to what team drafts him? So, does Dwayne Haskins have what it takes to take the reigns of an NFL franchise and give a team that opportunity to win a Super Bowl? I still have no clue and you’re lying if you do. Whatever GM drafts him will have a few sleepless nights head or at least I would.

What should quarterback-needy teams do during the 2019 NFL Draft? Wait until next year. Do whatever you can to lose. Tua Tagovailoa is left-handed Russell Wilson. If you fail, tank again. Sunshine at Clemson is literally perfect with Peyton Manning potential. Those are the two guys I would be all in on.