Quarterbacks make up the face of the NFL. There is no way around it and it’s not going to change any time soon.
Teams like the Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos, and a few others are on the hunt for the next big thing. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots have aging stars and need to consider finding their successor.
Newsflash, there might be one guy that could be considered the next big thing in the upcoming NFL Draft. After that, it becomes a matter of throwing darts in a dark room.
This is not the draft to find potential replacements for guys like Tom Brady and Philip Rivers. Because after the first three guys, it becomes a game of Where’s Waldo in terms of finding a passer.
To put it plain and simple, the 2019 draft class lacks substance at the quarterback position. There are more questions than answers with this year’s top guys.
Nevertheless, here is an in-depth look at the three players that have the most to offer the franchises desperately in need of a signal caller:
Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
Haskins is the big kahuna in this class. He is the needle in this group’s haystack.
The Heisman finalist was surgical in his lone year as a starter for the Buckeyes. He displayed a great deal of poise and confidence that can be traced back to the season finale in 2017 versus Michigan. He came off the bench and shredded the Wolverines like they took his family pet.
The redshirt sophomore is a smooth thrower as he places the ball in good spots. Haskins throws with some pop as he snaps his wrist effortlessly to spin it to receivers. He shows good touch on his short, intermediate, and long throws. In emergency situations, he still manages to stand tall in the pocket and move the chains.
Haskins throws receiver-friendly passes. Basically, majority of his throws benefit his receivers as they tend to have room to run after the catch. With a minimum of 26 receptions, five of Ohio State’s receivers averaged 12 yards per reception. Finally, his pocket presence is advanced for his age as he tends to evade pass rushers by dipping and sliding through would-be-sacks.
The biggest knock on Haskins is his limited footage as a starter. He waited patiently for two seasons before starting in 2018, so essentially he’s a “one-and-done” guy.
Playing in a gadget offense like Ohio State’s might have made his job easier because there is a lot of window dressing before and during the play. Not to mention, the offense didn’t allow for him to push it vertically. When he did, Haskins displayed sloppy footwork, causing his receivers to wait or come back for the ball.
To top it off, Haskins struggles in finding his hot read when facing the blitz. Sometimes holding the ball too long.
Luckily, these are flaws he can work through at the next level.
Haskins threw for 50 touchdowns as he broke Drew Brees old record when he was in the Big Ten. Ironically, he reminds me of him with how poised he is, how he anticipates throws, and with his accuracy (completed 70 percent of his throws).
As natural and as smooth as he is throwing the ball, Haskins shows shades of Jared Goff and Warren Moon with his effortless throws at all levels of the field.
Ideal Location: Jacksonville Jaguars
It might take a trade, but it’s a trade worth making for the Jaguars. Haskins is too polished for them to ignore and they can’t afford to take another raw prospect under center. He’s the safe pick, but is nowhere near being a finished product.
Daniel Jones, Duke
Jones did himself some good in his final game as a Blue Devil as he scored six touchdowns in the win versus Temple. Also, he was a three-year starter. Lastly, he played in a pro-style offense under David Cutcliffe at Duke.
For those that don’t know, Cutcliffe coached both Eli and Peyton Manning when they were in college. The thing that made them special was their dedication to their craft in studying the playbook and watching film. Cutcliffe said the same could be said about Jones.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg for Jones.
On the field, the 6’5” redshirt junior simply has the goods. He has a feathery touch when he throws the ball. In addition, he displays good timing with his attempts as the ball reaches his guys as they reach the top of their routes. Oh and by the way, tight coverage doesn’t bother him as he can throw his guys open consistently.
It gets even juicier.
Jones can scramble when things go awry, have his number called on designed runs, and use his legs to improvise. His best game came against rival North Carolina where he threw for over 300 yards and ran for more than 175 yards.
Jones fits the bill of the new age quarterback that can throw and run.
Jones has some serious red flags that make it hard to feel completely sold on him as the first quarterback taken in 2019.
For having sweet feet, Jones takes a lot of sacks and his 220-pound frame suffers. The UNC game took a toll on him. After that game, he became a stationary passer the final three games of the season.
When he scrambles, Jones doesn’t know when to slide or run out of bounds. It’s hard to make an investment in a guy that could be in and out of the lineup. The best ability is availability.
Furthermore, Jones lacks the ability to drive the ball to the sideline on deep outs and comebacks. Those will turn into pick 6’s in the NFL. Also, he struggles pushing the ball vertically.
Jones can learn how to live to fight another down in the NFL, but arm strength is a big concern. He screams game-manager more than game-changer.
With his legs and limited ability to push the ball down the field vertically, Jones has the appearance of players like Alex Smith, Ryan Tannehill, and Andy Dalton. Like them, he takes what is available to him underneath, but occasionally throws a prayer down the field, hoping for a miracle to keep the defense honest.
Ideal Location: New York Giants
New York lost eight games by seven points or less as they finished 5-11. If they won at least half of those games, they might have made the playoffs. In those losses, Eli Manning threw eight interceptions and was sacked 23 times. It’s time time to move on from the risky stationary passer.
In addition, Jones’ connection to Cutcliffe might appeal to the Giants’ brass because he groomed Manning. There is no need to rush him into the starting lineup either as he could sit for up to a year behind Manning.
Drew Lock, Missouri
Lock is the prospect to salivate over, but he’s also frustrating. He is every bit of the word gunslinger. He has a cannon of an arm and he has the mental fortitude to stand in the pocket until the last possible moment to hit his guy deep.
Lock can occasionally tuck it and run, but he would much rather uses his legs to extend the play, again in hopes of connecting with his guy deep.
Lock’s 2017 season put him on the map as he lit the SEC up with 44 touchdowns. Yet, in 2018 he became an even more enticing prospect with improved accuracy. He only completed 62.9 percent of his passes, but that number is misleading. He was simply playing with guys that dropped the ball at the sound of someone coughing.
The thing that could put Lock in some bad situations is the fact that he pre-determines his throws. He will make his mind up before the play and blindly throw it because he was already locked it. Improving his pre-snap reads will keep him out of having to chase a defender down the sideline.
Also, Lock tends to use his big arm for the wrong reasons at times. He would much rather rifle it into tight coverage as opposed to checking it down or simply throwing it away.
Finally, the Mizzou standout crumbles under pressure. He loses his poker face and his mechanics go out the window in those moments. Lock’s terrible play versus South Carolina is a perfect example of this.
Sure, it was raining, but that is a part of what Lock will have to endure on a yearly basis.
Lock is in need of some good coaching and has to get back to the basics from before the snap to the moment of when he throws it.
Some weeks Lock can look like Paxton Lynch. Against Kentucky, he completed just 55.6 percent of his throws and only generated 165 yards. Other weeks he can look like Patrick Mahomes. Against Oklahoma State, Lock was on fire for 373 yards and three touchdowns.
With a wide range from his floor to his ceiling, Lock has the looks of a guy who just washed out of the league. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde himself, Jay Cutler.
Lock isn’t as safe as Haskins or Jones because he has the tendency to force the issue. However, with Mahomes setting the league on fire, Lock will entice many teams in the top 15. Who knows maybe a team will trade up like the Chiefs did for Mahomes.
Ideal Location: Miami Dolphins
It would be a dream could true if Lock fell to 13 to the Fins. A move up the board might have to happen if the Giants and Jags surge up the board. The Broncos could be keen on him, but they have bigger fish to fry at 10.
In Miami, Lock would step into a situation with little-to-no pressure to win. Besides, the AFC East is becoming a young man’s division with Josh Allen and Sam Darnold already there.
Haskins is by-and-large the best and most pro ready guy of this trio. In contrast, Jones and Lock have more questions. Lastly, Lock has the most potential of all three.
There are other guys at quarterback in Will Grier and Ryan Finley. Many are trying to talk them up, but they are extremely limited and would require a loaded offense to succeed. They appear to be Day 2 passers more than anything.
The 2019 draft is not the time to get fancy for front offices. Waiting patiently for the likes of
Justin Herbert, Jake Fromm, Tua Tagovailoa, and Trevor Lawrence would be wise.
Unless there is an absolute need to start fresh under center, teams should proceed with caution before making any rash decisions regarding this class.