The regular season for college football is officially over. Many teams are done, and their draft eligible players are left waiting for the Senior Bowl, while some still have the chance to move up or down boards through conference championships, bowl games, and if they are luck enough, the playoffs. Every week from here on out I’ll be looking at one position and the top 5 prospects eligible for the draft. First up is the Quarterback position.
- Jared Goff: Many people have been disappointed with what they have seen with Goff this year following a breakout sophomore campaign. Some people still feel as though he is still the top quarterback and I am with them. He has more experience than the other quarterbacks as he’s been starting since his freshman year. Goff plays in a college offense, but at many points this year displayed the ability to make multiple down-field reads and has been more than fine working with check down routes. His arm is accurate and strong enough to complete all NFL throws. The biggest problem with Goff is his footwork and how he manages in a closing pocket, but he is mobile enough to routinely escape and either pick up a couple yards or get the ball out on the run. Those will help him function in the NFL until he gets comfortable enough with the offense and knows when to step up on deep or slow developing plays.
- Paxton Lynch: Lynch has moved up to number 1 on some draft boards and most QB rankings. He has an accurate arm and large frame which are the biggest selling points for his NFL future. He can beat good man coverage with throws that only his receiver can get, and has flashed a running ability that could move the chains on broken plays at the next level. What holds Lynch back is his field vision and inability to make multiple reads in a play. A lot of the time Lynch gets the ball out quick as Memphis utilizes a quick crossing offense and he gets too comfortable with his number 1 read too often. The other biggest question mark is his arm strength. He doesn’t often push the ball downfield, and when he does, it is inconsistent. If he can work on his arm strength and deep accuracy, he’ll be able to start for an NFL team.
- Conor Cook: Cook, in my mind, is the biggest question mark at the position. He has great NFL size, and a strong arm. Throughout his career he has shown the ability to make accurate downfield throws and he has played in a pro style offense. What puts him at 3 is his inexperience as a passer. This is his third year as a starter but Michigan State has always been a run first team that won with defense. We have yet to see Cook as a volume passer and he struggles in the intermediate game. Teams will be taking a slight gamble on Cook but when he gets in an NFL offense he could show that he is capable of being the driving force of an offense instead of being a game manager with a good deep ball.
- Cardale Jones: Jones is the most physically gifted prospect. He is a great rusher for a QB using a punishing style not seen by anyone other than Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. He also has a cannon for an arm and could out throw everyone on the list probably from his knees. From an athletic standpoint he is a great prospect. When it comes to mechanics and the mental part of the game he struggles. His accuracy problems lost him the job at Ohio State. The ball often sailed on him when it came to short and medium level passes. There were times where he displayed the deep ball that wowed us in the playoffs last year, but with Devin Smith’s elite speed lacking in the offense this year, he often overthrew receivers on verts ,seams and posts. Whoever drafts him is taking on a project but if they develop him well they could be looking at an elite talent a couple years down the road.
- Christian Hackenberg: Let me start this off by saying I hate Christian Hackenberg. He is as overrated as it gets and I don’t see him as anything more than a career backup that turns the ball over too much when he gets a chance. Why is he on this list you ask? My normal number 5 would be Carson Wentz but he injured his throwing wrist and I don’t know how he’ll perform after it. Also the QB position is extremely thin this year. Hackenberg had a very good freshman year and people labeled him a can’t miss QB prospect. Some people even said he’s another Andrew Luck. His sophomore season he played horrific, some of the worst football I’ve seen, but people started to blame it on his offensive line. Finally this year people are realizing the truth, Hackenberg is not good. He does have a solid arm, but he turns the ball over far too much, has bad footwork, and does not step up in the pocket or into throws out of fear that he’ll get hit. In my mind he a team should only draft him if they need a backup quarterback.