2016 NFL Draft: Top 5 QBs
While the talent in the 2016 NFL Draft is not as flashy at the quarterback position compared to years past, the potential in many of these players is without doubt special. Here’s a look at each of the top five quarterbacks in this years draft class.
1. Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
I know. The first reaction everyone has is “really?” Someone from North Dakota State is going to be the first quarterback taken this year? Yes. While the school and name aren’t as well known as Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota, Wentz has everything NFL teams are looking for in a franchise quarterback. He has the prototypical build at 6’5’’, 240 pounds that allows him to get a clear vision of the field and stay durable throughout a long NFL season. He possesses very good arm strength and the accuracy always desired when you need to hit receivers 50 yards down field. While he isn’t to be considered a “mobile” quarterback, Wentz has enough athleticism to escape the pocket and gain a first down. He showed good straight-line speed at the NFL Combine when he ran a 4.77 40-yard dash. The arm strength, accuracy, size, and athleticism all point to Wentz being a top five pick in this years draft.
2. Jared Goff, Cal
Jared Goff took a 1-11 team and turned it into a bowl eligible one in the three short years he was the starter at Cal. With a quick release, Goff gets the ball out of his hands fast and accurately. He ran an up-tempo, West Coast offense, something that could fit into Chip Kelly’s scheme in San Francisco. While his hand size gathered much of the attention at the Combine, Goff has shown far too much talent to have that measureable hinder his draft stock.
3. Connor Cook, Michigan State
Connor Cook is your prototypical game manager. He won’t do anything flashy or excite you in any way, but he’s got the tools to be a quality NFL starter. He plays a lot like Alex Smith in Kansas City, a place that could use an heir down the road. He still struggles with his accuracy and pocket presence though, which will be something a quarterback’s coach will dedicate his life to. Cook took Michigan State to the College Football Playoff and proved he can play through injury and provide consistency on every down.
4. Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Paxton Lynch is a project quarterback coming out of Memphis that draws comparisons to Joe Flacco. Both came out of smaller schools (Flacco out of Delaware) and have tremendous arm strength. Like Cook though, Lynch struggles with his accuracy. He plays far too inconsistent for me to entrust my NFL franchise with. His 6’7 height, decent mobility and strong arm will entice NFL executives to look past the inconsistencies and take a chance.
5. Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
Jon Gruden said it best about Hackenberg. He needs to be comfortable to succeed. That’s being comfortable with the system and by not having to worry about being trucked on every down. Looking at his freshman tape, you can see why Christian Hackenberg was considered a first round pick. Unfortunately, the lack of surrounding talent and increased interceptions hit his stock hard. If he can play behind a good offensive line, he should be able to utilize his superb arm strength and have a future in the NFL.
George Stockburger is a junior majoring in journalism with a focus in broadcasting. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.