Looking ahead to the upcoming 2018 NCAA football season, there are six quarterbacks that could be highly sought after prospects for the 2019 NFL draft. A lot of these guys were lost in the limelight a year ago behind a stellar 2018 draft class. Many people believe this class lacks substance, but they say that for every upcoming class plus it is too early to known. Let’s take a look at what each of them brings to the table.
Drew Lock, in 2017, set the SEC regular-season record for touchdown passes with 43 for the Missouri Tigers. The Tigers’ quarterback went on a tear in the last half of the 2017 season as he led the Tigers to six straight wins. During his junior year, Lock completed 58 percent of his passes for 3,964 yards, 44 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. Lock is a gunslinger at quarterback as he has a big arm and has the ability to throw a multitude of passes. One of his downfalls is he tries to force the ball to receivers in tight coverage, leading to turnovers.
Jarrett Stidham from the Auburn Tigers is the next possible prospect. In 2017, he threw for 3,158 passing yards, with 18 touchdowns, six interceptions, and had a passing completion percentage of 67. Last season, the junior quarterback had some struggles early in the season adjusting to the more run heavy offense after slinging it around the yard at Baylor. However, he was able to improve and threw with more accuracy while standing in the pocket as the season progressed. Two games that stood out for Stidham were against the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide where he displayed his efficiency. Against Bama, he was 21-of-28 passing with 237 yards, and also had 12 carries for 51 yards to go along with a touchdown. Against Georgia, he was 16-of-23 with 214 passing yards and four total touchdowns. Look for Stidham to improve as a senior.
Shea Patterson will look to impress new coach Jim Harbaugh this season and the Michigan Wolverines‘ fans. This upcoming season will be Patterson’s first season with the as he transferred from Ole Miss. In his final season for the Rebels, Patterson completed 64 percent of his passes for 2,259 yards, 17 touchdowns, and also threw nine interceptions before being lost for the season with a knee injury. He plays very similarly to Johnny Manziel. Patterson will look to rebound this season and stay healthy and if he can do that look for him to be a top prospect in next year’s NFL Draft.
Clayton Thorson from the Northwestern Wildcats passed for 2,844 yards with 15 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and had a completion percentage of 60. Thorson also has the ability to make plays with his legs, as he rushed for eight touchdowns in 2017. His future will depend on how he can come back from a torn ACL injury he suffered last season in the Wildcats’ bowl game. He has the ability to put up bigger numbers but he needs help in the trenches and out wide as his receivers had a tendency to drop passes. Thorson has also shown he has the ability to throw the deep out consistently and fire fastballs that can be fit into tight windows.
Jake Bentley from the South Carolina Gamecocks is the next upcoming prospect for the 2019 draft. In two seasons for the Gamecocks, he has thrown for 4,214 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. Bentley will look to step forward this upcoming 2018 season. His has prototypical size at 6’3 that helps him find throwing windows. He is also working in a more traditional offense in South Carolina and that is what most NFL teams are looking to see at this level.
Justin Herbert is the final quarterback prospect. In his last two seasons for the Oregon Ducks, Herbert has completed 65 percent of his passes while throwing for 34 touchdowns to just nine interceptions. He is as mobile as they come as he had 344 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground last season for the Ducks. If Herbert is able to avoid injuries this upcoming season, he could have a strong season for the Ducks.
All six of these quarterbacks have the ability to make big plays on the field. Whether it’s using their arms, legs, or both while on the gridiron, they are special in their own regard. Look for one of them to stake their claim as the top quarterback in the 2019 class.