#1) Trevor Lawrence – Clemson(Jr.)
What I Like: Great vision on the field and understanding to pick a part coverages, useful mobility and playmaking, Intelligent approach to leading the passing attack, mature sense of timing and taking care of the ball, quick on reads and progression
My Concerns: Has moments of poor ball placement, often keeping the pass too low to allow linebackers to put a hand on it, slow motions with a low release point when throwing short allowing for defenders to read and make a break for the intended receiver, has a habit of losing his proper footwork when standing in the pocket for a prolonged period of time which diminishes his ability to maneuver the pocket should the D-Line compromise the pocket
Why he’s the top guy: There should be no argument when it comes to who the top prospect at the QB position is. Lawrence has been touted as the next Peyton Manning since his high school days, and his resume at the college level only adds fuel to the fire that is the Trevor Lawrence hype. Few prospects showcase the level of understanding of the game of football like Lawrence does, and his ability to command the passing attack is unlike any other prospect.
#2) Justin Fields – Ohio State (Jr.)
What I Like: Great vision of the field, excellent accuracy across the board, good sack evasion, great athleticism, uncanny ability to make plays under pressure
My Concerns: Overcompensates on the pump fake which ends up throwing off his flow, can have timing issues connecting with the medium passes, tries to force throws into 1v1 situations when not needed
Why he’s not the top guy: Fields is a certified playmaker that is a threat at any point in the game. What keeps him from the top spot is his overall level of ability to pass and command the passing game when compared to Lawrence. Throw for throw Lawrence is the better passer, and since Lawrence can also be seen breaking the pocket to pick up yardage when needed, Fields’ ball carrying ability is less significant when comparing the two.
#3) Kellen Mond – Texas A&M
What I Like: Good vision of the field, athletic enough to extend plays or pick up some extra yards, not a gambler with the ball, good touch on his passes on short and medium throws
My Concerns: Struggles to maintain effectiveness if forced out of the pocket, relies heavily on one side of the field, inconsistent at finding and evading the blitz
Why he’s not the top guy: A personal favorite from last season, Mond did not make the jump to the pros following his junior year. While Mond was able to consistently rank within my top 10 for the 2019 season, he never really showed anything that put him over as THE guy. Mond plays in the toughest conference in college football, and is constantly overshadowed by others who are flashier than him. While his growth would put him in the top 3 for me, he is not as good of a passer as Lawrence, and not as athletic as Fields, so while I do like the guy, it is nearly impossible to consider him as a better prospect than either of the aforementioned.
#4) Sam Ehlinger – Texas
What I Like: Intelligent player who can pick apart defenses, good situational awareness that comes with experience, highest usage of all draft eligible QBs, promising pocket presence, great athleticism to extend the play or pick up extra yardage, great playmaker
My Concerns: Misthrows have sputtered otherwise promising drives, still forces unnecessary throws into tight coverage, gets too caught up in 1v1’s along the sideline a little too much
Why he’s not higher: Ehlinger improved aspects of his game in 2019, but still finds he likes to gamble with the ball a little too much when compared to those higher than him. The guy is basically a gunslinger at this point, which is both a blessing and a curse.
#5) Kenny Pickett – Pitt
What I Like: Top 3 in usage rate among draft eligible QBs, Promising ball placement, good vision to scan the field, good level of intelligence, adequate blitz rader to find the rush, accurate thrower
My Concerns: Consistently dropped snaps during 2019, can be absentminded at times, struggles with accuracy on the deep ball, can be startled by the defense and manipulated into bad throws
Why he’s not higher: Pickett is a great prospect with a lot of potential. He has promising throwing mechanics and a good level of development on his mental game. He is intelligent and can command the passing attack when he is in his groove, but when it comes down to playing the QB position, the ones higher than him simply play the position better. He does not have the stone statue resolve you see in Ehlinger or Lawrence, he cannot throw the ball as precisely as Lawrence or Fields, and he is not a playmaker like all of the four in front of him. Right now he is a guy who shows flashes of a commanding QB, but does not command respect from defenses like the others.
#6) Ian Book – Notre Dame
What I Like: Accurate passer, shows a level of intelligence above the average college QB, capable of improving and prolonging plays for his offense, underrated playmaking ability, does not gamble the ball away, capable of leading the passing attack
My Concerns: Struggles to deviate from play design, inconsistent vision of the field, does not always locate blitz which allows him to get touched more than he needs to
Why he’s not higher: Book is an intelligent player who I believe any team would benefit having on their roster, however he tends to be streaky with his effectiveness on the field. On one drive he will put on a clinic of what a higher level QB should look like, and the next drive he is stuck with bad habits like staring down receivers or stalling on his reads. He is not a guy you would be excited about being under center, but you know you can rest easy knowing he is leading the offense.
#7) Kyle Trask – Florida
What I Like: Great seller of PA/RPO, capable of throwing from compromised positions, good intuition to find the open mind, adequate pocket presence
My Concerns: Throwing mechanics wonky, lacks touch on his passes, slow release, struggle placing balls well on moving targets away from him or across the field, suffers from a narrow vision cone
Why he’s not higher: Trask is not the playmaker the top of the list has, and does not have the developed game to pass Book or Pickett. As it stands, it would be wiser to select either of those two before looking at Trask, though we will see how he develops during the 2020 season.
#8) Tanner Morgan – Minnesota (Jr.)
What I Like: Great accuracy, solid understanding of offense, playmaking ability, composed under pressure, does not try to force plays, promising football IQ
My Concerns: Has issue putting throws too low for linemen to bat down, struggles to deviate from intended receiver, was not used very much in the Minnesota offense, fluctuations in production because of inconsistent usage week to week
Why he is not higher: Morgan shows a lot of potential with his developing game, but is still not used as much as his peers. In fact, Morgan is ranked 34th in usage among draft eligible QBs from last season out of 48 players, making him the 15th least used QB. While his game does show solid performance if given the opportunity, Morgan will need to be used more in order to help solidify his prospects.
#9) Brock Purdy – Iowa State (Jr.)
What I Like: Quick sleight of hand makes PA/RPO dangerous, capable of seeing through blitzes to find open man, cool headed demeanor can allow him to steer the ship under pressure, flashes of brilliance can dismantle any and all defenses
My Concerns: Has a habit of forcing throws when cornered rather than living to fight another play, flirts with the gunslinger mentality as he hoists some throws deep he didn’t need to, accuracy rises and falls with streaky performances
Why he’s not higher: Purdy is one of the absolute best QBs at the college level, as well as one of the most fun to watch. At the same time it can be infuriating watching the young man play, as his streaky performances occur independent of the level of competition he is playing. This means the kid can perform exceptionally well against tough opponents one week, then utterly stall out against weak opposition the next. This level of inconsistency stifles an otherwise amazing young player.
#10) Charlie Brewer – Baylor
What I Like: Extremely athletic, great playmaker, proactive vision can find the open man, improved pocket presence since the beginning of the season, more patient in his offense
My Concerns: Accuracy issues on deeper routes, struggles with ball placement can see open passes hit the dirt, takes hits he does not need to, forces plays from time to time
Why he’s not higher: Overall improvements from ’18 to ’19 make Brewer a definite favorite of mine to watch for the 2020 season, but his accuracy and lack of maneuverability with the ball places his effectiveness slightly lower than those above him.
#11) Jake Bentley – Utah (5y)
What I Like: 5th year student gives him massive experience, great ball placement, strong pocket presence, good awareness of the field, good vision of the field and ability to see multiple levels
My Concerns: Playmaking improvisation needs work, still bites on defensive traps, lacks the athleticism to make things happen outside the pocket
Why he’s not higher: Previously playing for South Carolina before transferring to Utah, Bentley will now get to show what he can do on another team with a different offense. Getting injured first game of the season raise questions of his durability.
#12) Jack Abraham – Southern Miss
What I Like: Patient player who waits for plays to develop, good vision of the field, great pocket presence
My Concerns: Struggles with ball placement, forces throws too much, dumb decisions from time to time because of his desire to make plays happen, lack of high level opposition
Why he’s not higher: Abraham has shown he has potential to lead a passing attack, but as it stands, he still has problems with forcing plays to happen, leading to some rather peculiar mistakes.
#13) Shane Buechele – SMU (5y)
What I Like: Quick mind to dissect plays, accurate across the board from the pocket, excellent vision and ability to read defenses, one of the most underrated leaders in the passing attack
My Concerns: Lacks pocket presence to know when the pocket is shifting or collapsing on him, likes to challenge coverage
Why he is not higher: Easily one of the most underrated QB prospects in the nation, the main concern for Buechele is that he sometimes likes to gamble with the ball. Decision making can be less than desirable, and his overall playmaking ability is less than you would expect to see from a guy who is at this point going to be participating in his 5th college season.
#14) Jamie Newman – Georgia
What I Like: Great range, excellent playmaking ability, athletic enough to make plays with feet, dangerous dual threat, high usage among peers in Wake Forest’s offense
My Concerns: Unknown how he will perform in the Georgia offense, accuracy issues, lacks proper footwork in the pocket can see himself stumbling or limiting his maneuverability, ball placement needs work, slow on his progressions and tends to stare down his receivers longer than he needs to
Why he is not higher: Newman’s name has been tossed around on various sites as a legitimate QB prospect that can be as high as the third best prospect behind Lawrence and Fields. These reports are more focusing on his potential than what his game is looking like right now, and there are plenty of holes in his game to keep him out of the top 10. 2020 will be an important year to show where his development is at.
#15) K.J. Costello – Mississippi State (5y)
What I Like: Shows he is able to read defenses very well, good blitz radar, shows flashes of his game from Junior year
My Concerns: Injury concerns, playing behind terrible Stanford line created bad habits, lost a lot of his bite post-injury
Why he is not higher: Costello was my favorite prospect last year, but there is no mistaking it; He is not the same player he was before his injuries plagued his season. Getting injured three weeks in, only to come back and get injured again must have shook his confidence; and even his production and bite in those two games after he came back against Arizona and Colorado showed two completely different QBs behind center. A change of scenery may help him return to the field general he once was.