We’re back with the Scouting combine review. We’ll move on from the wide receivers. It’s time to focus on the Big Guns: The Quarterbacks! We all know about the obvious choice as the top QB, 2018 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray. So, we’ll shift our focus away from Murray and examine a few top ranked Quarterbacks as well as a few players with sleeper potential.
“Simba” showed up in a big way during the 2018 season. He set Big Ten single season records for pass yards (4,831) and touchdowns (50). Dwayne Haskins, a 2018 Heisman award finalist, came into Indianapolis and exemplified why he’s one of the top Quarterback prospects in this year’s draft. The reigning Big Ten offensive player of the year was throwing darts all over the field at Lucas oil stadium. He showed good zip on the ball, displayed tremendous velocity, and demonstrated accuracy in his throws. Haskins matured into a clutch quarterback during the season. He threw 12 touchdowns on 3rd down, which was 2nd most in the FBS. Also, we can’t ignore his 70% completion rate on 533 passes, impressive! Dwayne Haskins has all the makings of a franchise quarterback and fully expect a team to draft him early on day 1 this April.
There are several opinions about Drew Lock among the scouts. Is he closer to being Jay Cutler clone, or can Drew Lock be as good as Patrick Mahomes? The lofty expectations to match a season that Mahomes just completed seem a bit unfair. However, he should fall somewhere in the middle of those comparisons. Lock had a tremendous showing at the combine. His 40 yard dash time was good, and his on-field session was very impressive. It’s a toss up between Lock and Haskins for quarterback of the day at the combine, but nonetheless, both were remarkable in Indianapolis. Lock, a 4 year starter at Missouri, finished as a second team All SEC in 2018. During his junior year, he finished with 44 touchdowns, which led the nation. Lock can sling the football all over the field. He shows good movement in the pocket, and has a strong arm to fit a pass into tight windows. The former Elite 11 camp participant (top High school Quarterback prospects) has displayed his talents among the top competition in the nation, and should be one of the first Quarterback’s taken off the board in this year’s draft.
The 6’5, 221lb red shirt junior from Duke put on a decent showing at the combine. He performed very well in the broad jump, tying Tyree Jackson for the best jump of the day. Jones finished a respectable 40 yard dash time of 4.91 seconds. The former walk on quarterback at Duke culminated a good season this year with winning MVP of the Senior Bowl. He displays a good football IQ, coming from the tutelage of head coach David Cutcliffe. Jones hopes to establish himself as another successful quarterback under the teaching of Cutcliffe. The QB pedigree is impressive having coached Peyton Manning at Tennesee, and was involved in recruiting Eli Manning to Ole Miss. Daniel Jones has the look of the prototypical quarterback, but only time will tell if he has the talent to be a franchise quarterback in the NFL.
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Tyree Jackson came into Indianapolis to impress, and that’s exactly what he accomplished. Whether it was dominating some of the off field categories, or rising Steve Smith’s blood pressure, he definitely left a lasting impression. The quarterback from the University of Buffalo was all smiles as he finished 1st in the 40 yard dash (4.59), vertical jump (34.5), and the broad jump (120). For a player that stands at 6’7 249lbs, a 4.59 second 40 yard dash is quite the accomplishment. A first team All MAC this season, Jackson finished the year with 3,131 yards, 28 tds, and 12 int. There’s no denying his strong arm, as witnessed at the combine. However, his wind up tends to get the ball out a bit slower than expected. He has a tendency to hold the ball down, creating a field day for opposing defenders. Tyree Jackson has the makeup of a NFL caliber Quarterback, but will make for a long term project to whichever team elects to draft him in upcoming draft.
The nephew of former Super bowl MVP Mark Rypien is attempting to create his own legacy as he approaches the draft. Brett Rypien admires his uncle, and models elements of his game after Uncle Mark. A senior from Boise State University, he finished his career as the record holder for most career pass yards in the Mountain West conference. For Rypien, nothing jumps off the charts as eye opening, but what he excels at, he does very well. He’s excellent with timing routes, and has good zip on the football. Rypien has good anticipation with his throws, and can hit a receiver in stride. However, he exhibits average arm strength, and tends to make bad decisions throwing into tight windows. The 2018 Mountain West Conference offensive player of the year makes for an intriguing prospect. He could end up being a reliable back-up in the NFL with the opportunity to start, given that he’s drafted into the right system.
Ryan Finley is a 6’4 213lb red shirt senior from NC State University. Finley’s journey throughout his collegiate career was very interesting to say the least. Formally a recruit at Boise State, Finley was the predecessor to Brett Rypien before an ankle injury ended his season. Unfortunately, Rypien never relinquished the job to Finley. The next season, he transferred to NC State University where he established a good career in college football. Finley is a hard worker, very competitive, and always a student of the game. He peaked during his junior year where he threw 339 consecutive passes before throwing an interception. Finley shows good pocket presence, and has the ability to sling the deep ball downfield. The 2018 first team All ACC recipient is identified as more of a game manager than a game changer. He could be a slight project at the next level, but some team will take a chance on his talents in the latter part of the draft.
Kyle Shurmur is added bonus to this list because of his local ties. He’s the son of current New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur. Kyle’s QB career took off in the Philadelphia area during his father’s tenure as offensive coordinator for the Eagles. He played high school ball for LaSalle college high school. Shurmur moved on to Vanderbilt University where he was a 3 year starter for the program. Standing at 6’4 230lbs, he displays the size of the prototypical Quarterback in the NFL. However, his adequate arm strength combined with his slow release creates a lack of velocity in his throws. Shurmur does exemplify a unique toughness, and has a tremendous football IQ. His footwork is exceptional, and held his own against top tier talent in the SEC. Will Kyle Shurmur get drafted? Only time will tell, but Kyle should have an opportunity to compete at the next level.
Some quarterbacks discussed above have unique qualities that’ll make an instant impact to any NFL team. Others mentioned may need some seasoning before their number is called. Either way, the quarterbacks drafted in April are sure to make an impact on the field during this upcoming season. Stay tuned for our next installment in the combine series where the attention shifts to the tight ends!