2020 NFL Combine Preview: QB
With the combine right around the corner it is time to start looking at the groups that will be competing in Indianapolis. Today I will look at the Quarterback group, and while this year’s group may seem less star studded than in years past there will be no shortage of storylines by the time April rolls around. This article will cover the biggest questions about the QB class headed into the combine. Prospects will be listed in alphabetical order.
Prospect name, Class, College, Projection.
Kelly Bryant, Senior, Missouri, 7th round pick-UDFA
Bryant had decent success during his time at Clemson before he was eventually replaced by Trevor Lawrence. He then found himself transferring to Missouri where he had a solid season. Bryant is an athletic quarterback who has struggled with his passing mechanics throughout his career. In order to have an opportunity to play in the NFL Bryant needs to show that he can get the ball out on time and with good placement. He won’t be a fit for all offenses but if he is placed into a creative offense he has a chance to succeed. While I don’t think he is as athletic as Taysom Hill I believe he could provide similar versatility. Baltimore would be a good fit for Bryant to utilize his talents and provide the Ravens with a fresh body to spell Jackson.
Kevin Davidson, Senior, Princeton, 7th-UDFA
Davidson has a good frame for an NFL quarterback and he has an opportunity to improve his stock. With only one year as a starter he doesn’t have as much tape as other prospects, but he does have attributes which are easy to like. He seems to do well when throwing anticipatory routes and he appears to have adequate touch on his passes. The lesser level of play can be concerning but this alone will not sink him. His mobility leaves much to be desired. I think that he could find himself as a successful backup in places like Carolina, New Orleans, and New England.
Jacob Eason, RS Junior, Washington, 2nd round pick
Eason is a prospect that I am beginning to like a lot. He has a great frame for the position and has a howitzer hanging off his shoulder. This combination is why I think that Eason can be one of the biggest winners from the combine when all is said and done. He will have some “wow” throws that much is certain, but he will need to show that he can throw with touch and timing to see his stock soar. He doesn’t have anywhere near the mobility that Josh Allen has but he does have a similar arm. My projection is that he is a second round pick, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think he can find his way into the end of the first round. As far as fit goes Eason looks like a Bruce Arians quarterback, but if the Buccaneers do not grab him I could see a team like the Lions pick him up as Stafford insurance.
Jake Fromm, Junior, Georgia, 2nd round pick
I just broke down Eason so it is fitting that we follow up by discussing the man who ran him out of Georgia. Fromm is one of the quarterbacks in this class who is very talented, but lacks the arm strength that teams prefer at this level. I think that Fromm has some of the best eyes in the class and has the ability to move through progressions effectively. I think that he has an NFL caliber arm although it appears that his arm is on the lower end of the NFL arm strength spectrum. Compared to other arms at the combine Fromm won’t impress anyone, but he can do well for himself if he can prove that he can’t hit all the pro type throws especially the deep throws. I think his best fits will be teams like Carolina, New Orleans, New England, and Miami.
Anthony Gordon, RS Senior, Washington State, 6th round pick-UDFA
Last year we saw a Washington State product, Gardner Minshew, have some success in the NFL. With comparable arm strength some will ask whether or not Gordon can have the same success that Minshew had. Minshew was given his initial opportunity to play due to a Nick Foles injury, and because of this I doubt Gordon will see the field as much as Minshew did in his first season. Gordon has a slight frame which may make it difficult for teams to take a shot at drafting him. He had a decent week at the Senior Bowl which, in conjunction with a good combine, may help give him a chance to be drafted. I don’t expect much from Gordon during the combine. The best fit for Gordon would be the Arizona Cardinals. His knowledge of the air raid could prove to be valuable as a backup for Kyler Murray.
Justin Herbert, Senior, Oregon, 1st round pick
Herbert had a great Senior Bowl week where he showed that he could recognize pressure and move around and outside of the pocket to make plays. Eason’s arm may be a tad stronger than Herbert’s, but the complete package that Herbert gives you is incredibly appealing. He doesn’t have Josh Allen type athleticism, but he is comparable to Daniel Jones in that regard. The combine is made for guys like Herbert, and when all is said and done I believe that Herbert will leave a good impression on scouts and GMs. In another year I’d say that Herbert has a good chance to go number one, but with the season that Burrow had it is difficult to imagine him dropping out of the first pick. He will end up in Miami, Carolina, or Los Angeles (LAC), but I feel that Carolina is the best team for him assuming that Cam is unable to return to form.
Jalen Hurts, Senior, Oklahoma, 3rd round pick
Jalen Hurts saw great success with two major programs which tells me that he is either the product of two good systems, or a great leader and can influence the game with his play. I prefer to think of his success as a result of the latter. I believe that Hurts will move the room when he interviews with teams which, in conjunction with a solid combine, could move him into the second round. He is not without fault however, Hurts can get a little anxious in the pocket which will either lead him to rush a throw or leave a clean pocket. I would say that his arm is on par with Fromm but his athleticism makes him truly intriguing. He needs to show that he can be consistent passing the ball, especially on throws further than twenty yards out. My favorite landing spots for Hurts include, New Orleans, Arizona, Carolina, Baltimore, and Tennessee but in all honesty I feel like any team could benefit from having someone like Hurts in the locker room.
Brian Lewerke, RS Senior, Michigan State, 6th round-UDFA
After a less than stellar career at Michigan State Lewerke heads into the combine as an underdog. Lewerke has solid size for the position and is athletic enough to extend the play. Lewerke also has a good arm but lacks consistency. He could see his stock soar with a good combine. I may be a bit low on Lewerke and the sixth round may be a steal for him. Lewerke has traits that are easy to like but his play dropped off a bit this year which is concerning. If he can land in the right spot I believe that he has a chance to be a solid backup and spot starter for a team. His best fits are Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and New Orleans.
Jordan Love, Junior, Utah State, 1st round
Jordan Love may be the most intriguing prospect in this class of quarterbacks. His combination of arm talent and athleticism rival Justin Herbert, but he had some issues with consistency in college. Love did not have the receivers that some other prospects had which may explain some of the inconsistency, but it does not make him exempt from scrutiny. Love has a very impressive arm and should have a great day at the combine distance wise, much like fellow quarterbacks Herbert and Eason. Love completed 60% of his passes over the last two seasons but his 17 interceptions doubled the 2018 interception total. Similar to Patrick Mahomes I think a team could benefit from giving Love a redshirt year. The best fits for Love will be teams that have a veteran QB in place that can allow Love to sit for the majority of the season. Miami, New Orleans, Indianapolis, and Carolina seem like the best fits for Love considering the need and situations.
Shea Patterson, Senior, Michigan, 6th-UDFA
If you ask many who have watched Patterson the popular opinion would be that he is frustrating to watch. Patterson is very athletic and can be dangerous off a play action. He also boasts a relatively strong arm, stronger than Fromm but weaker than Eason. His issues revolve around his habit of missing easy throws and overall poor accuracy. His combination of athleticism and inaccuracy reminds me of Trevor Knight a few years back. I do believe that he could succeed if he landed in a location where his mechanical issues could be refined. I think the best fit for him would be in San Francisco where he can sit and develop in a system built off the run and play action.
Nate Stanley, Senior, Iowa, 4th round
Stanley has an opportunity to be drafted late primarily due to his arm strength and size, but like many of the other developmental quarterbacks in this class he struggles with accuracy and consistency. If he can show improvement in his accuracy he increases his chances to get picked up by a team. He should run away from anyone in the NFL, and if he is to succeed in the NFL it will be because of his arm. I think the best fit would be with a team like Tennessee or Kansas City where he can work as a backup.
Tua Tagovailoa, Junior, Alabama, 1st round
A completely healthy Tua has an argument for the 1st overall selection but the problem is we may never see a completely healthy Tua. Ankle and hip injuries have plagued Tua throughout his college career, and for this reason I feel he will fall further than his skill set should’ve landed him. His recent CT scan revealed that his hip is healthy, but it is unlikely we will see him participate at the combine. The biggest thing for Tua now is to check out medically. A good combination of arm talent, timing and mobility. Tua doesn’t have ideal size but has proven over his time at Alabama that he can be highly productive. He could go as high as 2nd overall, but I doubt that the redskins make that trade. His combination of ability and injury concern reminds me of Carson Wentz. I think that Miami or Carolina give Tua a chance to redshirt and work on getting his health to check out.
The combine is a place for players to show off their tremendous ability and is dominated by players who have great physical traits. The three of these quarterbacks have tremendous physical traits. Love and Herbert both have good mobility and strong arms which should set them up to succeed at the combine. Eason has the strongest arm of the bunch which should shine in the passing drills, but we may not get to see the full display of his arm talent until his pro day.
It is unfortunate that we will not get to see two of the most talented QBs in the class. Tua will likely miss the combine due to medical reasons, and Burrow is not participating due to the quality of his tape and having no reason to throw until his pro day.