2017 NFL Draft: Top Five QBs

Story posted April 5, 2017 in Sports, CommRadio by Tommy Butler

Picking a quarterback early, with the expectation of finding the new face of the franchise, has been a staple of the NFL Draft ever since the league became more passing-oriented. The quarterback position is arguably the most important on a team and the player standing under center typically has the biggest spotlight shining in their direction.

Many casual fans tune in on day one just to see who is chosen to lead down-on-their-luck franchises away from mediocrity. It will be the same in 2017 as many teams drafting early on day one are without a great signal caller.

However, this year’s quarterback pool isn’t as deep as it has been in the past. There are a couple that are expected to be taken in the first round and then the projections drop steeply.

Let’s take a look at the 2017 NFL Draft’s Top Five QBs

1. Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina

Trubisky has put the time in the pocket that teams want to see if they plan on making a long term decision on a guy. With a 68 percent completion average, Trubisky shows that he can rely on his arm as opposed to having to improvise with his feet. 

That’s not to say that he can’t use his legs to get him out of a jam. Trubisky put up a 4.67 second time in the 40-yard dash, only one hundredth of a second slower than Clemson’s Deshaun Watson for the fastest QB in the Draft.

Trubisky only started one year for the Tar Heels, but after the 30 touchdown to six interception year he had, he has proved himself to be worthy of number one on this list.

2. Deshaun Watson, Clemson

Deshaun Watson is a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist and a national championship winner. Two years in a row he has thrown over 4000 yards and threw 35 and 41 touchdowns respectively to 13 and 17 interceptions. In his two full years as the starting quarterback, he has rushed for 1700 yards and 21 touchdowns combined.

He led quarterbacks in all but one combine drill. He has about the same accuracy as Mitch Trubisky, and he obviously has a more solidified run attack.

Why then is he in second on this list? His decision-making and field vision have been questionable at times. That’s not to mention his streaky accuracy.

The biggest reason, however, is the track record for quarterbacks like Watson. In the NCAA, quarterbacks that can use their feet to get out of sticky situations have a huge advantage. In the NFL, the offenses are run differently and defenses are quick to adapt.

Scrambling quarterbacks don’t last nearly as long in the NFL as their pocket-focused counterparts. There are rare talents that manage to escape the injury bug and fool defenses, but speed doesn’t last forever. 

3. Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech

The son of the former Major League Pitcher of the same name, Pat Mahomes clinches the third QB spot in the draft.

Boasting two years of over-4500 yard production, as well as 77 passing touchdowns to 25 interceptions with a 65+ completion percentage in those two years will get you noticed. He can use his feet too, with 22 rushing touchdowns and over 700 rushing yards over the last two years.

Mahomes is great at improvising a way out of trouble, as well as stand in the pocket, but occasionally has some trouble with his mechanics. There’s always the possibility that a team will take a chance on Mahomes early in the draft, but it would be smart not to toss him in before he’s quite ready.

4. DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame

Kizer is where the quarterback draft stock starts to dip a bit. His stats aren’t too bad at 47 passing touchdowns and 18 rushing touchdowns in 25 games. 60.7 percent passing completion, 19 interceptions and ten fumbles lost raises some big red flags however.

 The scrambling quarterbacks rant applies here too, to a greater extent this time. Kizer barely makes the unwritten 60 percent minimum completion percentage NFL teams want. His scrambling stock even takes a hit when you look at the fumbles.

Kizer won’t be a huge target for teams that need a starting quarterback right away. His accuracy is too low and his fumbles would be too detrimental for a player who would have to rely on their legs at times. It would be smart to take him as a backup and work on improving his weaknesses first.

5. Davis Webb, California

Webb is at the five spot for a few reasons. First, before Webb transferred to California, he spent three years at Texas Tech where he lost his job to Mahomes. Truthfully, he wasn’t bad at Texas Tech with a 61.4 completion percentage, 46 touchdowns, and 22 interceptions, but was still not much to write home about.

Second, Webb took over the starting job after Jared Goff was drafted. He had similar numbers to Goff’s in his year at Cal. If he can’t beat Goff in the same system, and Goff barely played for the Rams in his first year in the NFL, what is Webb’s big selling point?

At the end of the day, Webb has a lot of potential, but needs to be taken by the right team and be given the right training and preparation to succeed. He shouldn’t be anything more than a second round pick.

 

Tommy Butler is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email tommybutler1480@gmail.com.