There were 3 quarterbacks taken in the 1st-round of the 2019 NFL Draft. While they may not all start right away, all three QBs appear to be the ushering in the futures of their respective franchises. Therefore, we, as fantasy football analysis need to pay attention to these players not only for their personal values but also how they will affect their teammates. Here is a look at each 1st-round rookie QB.
To begin, the Arizona Cardinals selected Kyler Murray 1st overall.
Next, Daniel Jones went to the New York Giants with the 6th pick.
Finally, Dwayne Haskins was taken with the 17th pick by Washington.
As can be seen above, Daniel Jones has the edge of experience in college. Jones played 36 games in college as Duke’s QB. Meanwhile, Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray only had 1 season each as the full-time QB on their respective teams. Even so, Haskins and Murray had much more passing production in their lone campaigns as starters, as both QBs threw for over 4,300 yards in 2018. Jones meanwhile, never even reached 3,000 in any of his 3 seasons. Furthermore, Jones averaged a 59% completion rate in college, while Haskins and Murray had 70% and 69% respectively last year.
Another important aspect of college production is scoring and turnovers. All three of these QBs threw more touchdowns than interceptions, but the TD:INT ratios were quite varied. Haskins dominated with a 50:7 rate. Murray possessed a still respectable 50:14 TD:INT ratio. Finally, Jones has a 52:29 rate. Looking at the production, Jones is somewhat behind the other two.
In terms of accuracy, with 1st-round rookie QBs, one of these things doesn’t belong with the others. Both Dwayne Haskins and Kyle Murray demonstrated NFL caliber accuracy at different parts of the field. However, Daniel Jones does not enter the league with that same precise passing proficiency. Jones struggled with his ball placement, not only on deep throws but also with shorter and intermediate throws. During the 2018 college season, Jones struggled at times. Against a Miami team that, at the time, had the same record as Duke, Jones really had some accuracy issues, especially early in the game. The video below shows every play Jones made during that game.
While Jones struggles with accuracy, the other two 1st-round QBs certainly do not. That being said, both Haskins and Murray possess different skills sets and manners in which they pass the football accurately to their receivers. Haskins can deliver deep dimes from the pocket, while Murray throws precise passes while he is on the run. Speaking of running, the next aspect we will analyse s footwork.
In the footwork department, once again, Daniel Jones lags behind his fellow first rounders. When he stands in the pocket, Jones is often moving his feet too much, or lightly jumping in place while reading the field. Because of this, Jones rarely gets his feet planted just before making a pass attempt. This aspect of his game may be impacting his accuracy abilities. With his feet never set in exactly the same way, Jones throwing motion is not consistent. Repairing his footwork will be imperative to Jones’ NFL success.
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On the contrary, Dwayne Haskins has great footwork. In college, he demonstrated the ability to move very well in the pocket in order to avoid oncoming pass rushers. Now, his foot speed is not very impressive at all; he ran a 5.04-second 40-yard dash. Haskins is not likely the type of QB that will gain an abundance of yards on the ground. Due to the nature of fantasy football scoring, that will put a cap on his overall fantasy upside. By comparison, Jones scored 4.69 seconds in his 40 times but he still got caught from behind by linebackers in college. I don’t imagine he will make a big splash in the ground game either.
The QB in this class who will most likely impact the game with his feet is Kyler Murray. He rushed for just over 1,000 yards in 2018. It’s not just his straight-line speed either. Murray is excellent at scrambling out of the pocket and his accuracy is just as good on the run, as it is in the pocket. If anything, Murray demonstrated more comfort when he is scrambling. In the NFL, he should accumulate enough passing and rushing yards to make him a viable fantasy starter for years to come. In the video below, we see that Murray often used his legs as weapons vs Alabama in the most recent college playoffs.
Staring Down Targets
There is one quarterbacking aspect that unites all three of these prospects. That aspect is the tendency to stare down their primary target. On quick throws, this is not necessarily a horrible thing. When the pass needs to be immediate, there isn’t always enough time to scan the entire field. However, what concerns me is when a QB locks on to a player going deep and doesn’t look away during the entire play. That can cause the safety to veer towards the targeted player and can result in limiting yards after the catch, can force an incompletion or even create an interception.
The good news for all three QBs is that they each were capable of making full-field reads. This is important not only to look off safeties and prevent them from quickly zeroing in on the target, but it also allows the QB to find the best place to put the football. They all just need to take the time and make full field reads more consistently. As shown in the video below, Haskins is able to find soft spots in zones and is not afraid to check down when that is the only open option.
Taking everything into consideration, Kyler Murray appears to be the best fantasy football player of these three quarterbacks. Murray’s running ability should lead to valuable rushing production for fantasy. In Superflex/2QB leagues, Murray makes a strong case to be the #1 overall pick in rookie drafts.
There is a bit of separation between Murray and Dwayne Haskins. However, in every Superflex rookie draft that I have participated in, Haskins has gone in the 1st-round. He will likely be starting at some point in 2019, if not right from week 1. As long as the starters on the offensive line remain healthy, they should be able to protect Haskins enough to allow the QB to distribute to the weapons that Washington has.
Daniel Jones has a big playing time question mark. Eli Manning is on the final year of his contract, but the Giants head office has hinted that Manning has multiple seasons left in the tank. This is reflected in his draft price. Even in Superflex formats, I saw Jones go in the 3rd round of some rookie drafts.
Based on consensus, all three 1st-round rookie QBs are clearly separated in terms of fantasy football value. The order I (and seemingly everyone else) would draft these players in is 1. Murray, 2. Haskins, 3. Jones.
Thank you for reading. Be sure to check out the abundance of rookie content available on Full Press Coverage.