After 8 exciting weeks in the college football season we have now reached the midway point. It’s now time to put up rankings for the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft. Sure there is plenty of time left in the college football season but, it is never too soon for NFL Draft talk. For this segment I will dissect the upcoming potential quarterback draft class.
Deshaun Watson (Clemson)
A lot of NFL Draft experts have moved Watson off of the number one spot in the quarterback rankings; I am unwilling to do so. This stems back to his performance in the National Championship game in 2015 where Watson threw for over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns on Alabama. The thing I loved about that game is when he is on the big stage the Clemson signal caller seems to always raise his game. (Something I couldn’t say about Jared Goff a year ago). Watson’s numbers are down from a year ago but this isn’t the first time we have seen this as Jameis Winston is a perfect example of this. Watson have above average arm strength and is the most accurate passer in the country when he is at his best. We can probably expect him to be one of the fastest quarterbacks at the combine as well rushing for over 1,000 yards last season. At 6’2″, Watson reminds me a lot of Russell Wilson. He should be the first quarterback taken in my opinion. Although with any quarterback I reserve the right to change my mind as the NFL Scouting Combine and Pro Days is a always huge indicator for me.
2. Davis Webb (California)
As the college football season was kicking off I did a long piece on Davis Webb. Not only did I predict Webb would succeed but, I went out on a limb and said he was better than former Cal quarterback Jared Goff. I may be on to something. NFL Draft experts seem to really be behind on the Webb conversation as I haven’t seen a ton of buzz on Webb. The biggest thing Webb has going for him is that he has a cannon and probably the biggest arm of any draft prospect. So far in 2016 Webb is completing 62 percent of his throws for 27 touchdowns, 7 picks, and a rating of 142.8. Did I mention Webb is also a tree standing at 6’6″. He isn’t the fastest guy in the world and may struggle with mobility in the future but in terms of a pure arm no on trumps Webb.
3. Chad Kelly (Ole Miss)
Kelly is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the country and is the nephew of the great Bills great Jim Kelly. One problem is the Ole Miss quarterback has a ton of off the field incidents that are going to nail him in the process leading up to the draft. Kelly is a gunslinger and sort of reminds you of Derek Carr and Brett Favre. He plays with an edge and isn’t afraid of throwing an interception at any time. I love the fire that Kelly plays with but I obviously worry about the off the field stuff that started with him being dismissed from Clemson. This is one of those instances that we will probably learn more once the offseason kicks in. Kelly is undersized at 6’2″ but can really let it rip throwing a beautiful deep ball. I don’t have a final verdict on Kelly just yet but I like what he brings to the table.
4. Brad Kaaya (Miami)
Kaaya is a guy I can’t seem to figure out. One second he looks like a guy who should go in the first round and the next completely undraftable. Kaaya through 8 games only has 12 touchdowns to go along with 5 interceptions. Miami of course relies heavily on the ground game. From what I have seen thus far is Kaaya has a big arm and can be a productive quarterback but really struggles with pass rush. The Miami signal caller isn’t very mobile and hasn’t really shown any progression form his freshman season. Right now I’m leaning towards a no with Kaaya but I need to see more.
5. Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma)
Let’s start this off by saying Mayfield will probably go in the 4th round or so. Mayfield has had to battle through a lot of adversity and is still having a solid season. Mayfield is completing over 71 percent of his throws which is important to me in the college game. His team is flat out terrible and has been surfaced by coaching rumors all season. This past week he had to throw for 7 touchdowns and Oklahoma only survived to win by just a touchdown. One of the biggest things I liked about Mayfield is he doesn’t panic. In a crushing loss to Houston, Mayfield tried his best to keep the Sooners in the game. The one thing I would like to see him improve on is that he flees the pocket far too soon not progressing through his routes. That can be improved with coaching and is definitely worth a middle round flier.
*Not Impressed With Mitch Trubisky Or DeShone Kizer
For starters I haven’t done a ton of homework on other potential quarterbacks such as Luke Falk, Pat Mahomes, or Mason Rudolph. I can tell you for starters I am not too thrilled with what I have seen from Mitch Tribisky or DeShone Kizer. Starting with Tribisky, he just seems like one of those gimmick college quarterbacks to me. Let’s think about it if he was really so good why couldn’t he beat out Marquise Williams a year ago who later went undrafted. This year against Virginia Tech he went 13/33, for 58 yards and 2 picks (Yes he played the whole game). Obviously he has better performances in other games but he does lack the ability to throw the ball down the field. Other experts will probably say he is a first rounder, I’ll say he is a 6th rounder.
DeShone Kizer on the other hand couldn’t look worse in my opinion. Frankly when I see other draft experts put DeShone Kizer first overall in mock drafts, I can’t do anything other than laugh. For starters he looks like a limited version of Marcus Mariota who we already know stinks. 2nd Kizer is only completing 58 percent of his throws. Virtually no quarterback ever succeeds in the NFL throwing for less than 60 percent in college. Kizer also has only a 2-1 touchdown to interception ration throwing for 14 td’s and 7 picks. His team is also 2-5 on the season. Notre Dame has the talent and a really good coach in place, maybe the losing has more to do with their quarterback…… The past two weeks in particular have been ugly throwing for just 54 yards in a loss to NC State and 154 in a loss to Stanford. I could go on for days why DeShone Kizer is not a franchise quarterback. Don’t listen to the other draft experts that just talk a bunch of nonsense this time of year. Kizer is hot garbage, he needs a big 2nd half of the season to change my mind.