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Editorials

5 best quarterback prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft

The 2018 NFL Draft was heralded as the best quarterback class in recent memory, and so far it has lived up to the hype, producing four or five franchise QBs in the first round alone. While the 2019 NFL Draft does’t appear to be nearly as a loaded, there are still some solid prospects.

Here are the five best signal-callers in this year’s class.

5. Daniel Jones, Duke

At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Jones possesses great size for an NFL QB. Everything else is “good enough.” His arm strength and accuracy are fine, as is his mobility. But, Jones doesn’t have any elite traits that make him a special prospect.

He appears to be a game-manager, similar to Alex Smith earlier in his career. Jones won’t lose his team games due to big mistakes, but he’s not the guy to carry his team to a victory against an elite opponent either. His floor is relatively high, but his ceiling is also low. His limited potential will most likely make him a Day-2 pick, unless the New York Giants make another mistake and take Jones because of his ties to Eli Manning.

4. Will Grier, West Virginia

The NFL’s best quarterbacks can operate effectively even when they aren’t placed in ideal situations, for example, when they are faced with intense pressure when the defense blitzes. Grier excels against the blitz, posting a 76.2 adjusted completion percentage according to Pro Football Focus.

Grier’s ability to move around in the pocket and extend plays makes him a good fit for any offensive system, and it will likely keep him in the league for many years as a quality backup if he doesn’t end up reaching his starter potential.

Grier doesn’t have a great arm, his release is slow, and he doesn’t throw the ball away. Those three weaknesses will prevent him from starting immediately, but if he can become a smarter player, he can remain in the league for a while.

3. Drew Lock, Missouri

Lock may have the most potential of any quarterback prospect this year. At 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, he has great athleticism and mobility, a lightning-fast release, and a rocket arm. He also reads the field well which bodes well for his development.

Lock’s issues stem from accuracy, consistency, and his tendency to play poorly against quality opponents. In any game, Lock will make throws that would make the average fan wonder why isn’t the consensus best player in the draft, and then the very next play he’ll completely miss a wide-open receiver.

If he’s going to be a starter in the NFL, that sometimes needs to become almost all the time. Lock will be a massive risk, but a team will take him, probably within the top-20. As a prospect he is a more volatile DeShone Kizer; if he is coached well, he’ll be really, really good. If he doesn’t live up to his potential, he’ll be out of the league in five years.

2. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

Murray’s lone season as a starter was exceptional; 5,362 total yards and 54 total touchdowns. He displayed good arm strength and excellent accuracy to all levels of the field, coupled with an electric running ability.

Since he announced his intentions to enter the 2019 NFL Draft rather than play baseball, he has been rumored to go first overall to the Arizona Cardinals and new head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Whether this happens or not, Murray is a very good QB prospect.

The main concern with him is his size; at the Combine, he measured 5-foot-10 and 207 pounds. Seattle Seahawks star Russell Wilson measured 5-foot-11 204 pounds, but unlike Murray, he participated in the 40-yard dash and agility drills.

From watching Murray, it’s clear he’s an elite athlete. So why didn’t he prove that by doing drills and further increasing his stock? The answer could be that his playing weight is not 207 pounds, or anything close to it.

Murray can overcome his height, just as Wilson has. The worry is that he is too light to have a long career. If Murray does indeed play at around 180 pounds, imagine if a player like 340-pound Dexter Lawrence got a free run at him. Murray’s long-term durability is the biggest negative for him, and it’s a serious one.

1. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

The least athletic of the players on this list, Haskins is a pure pocket passer, but that isn’t a bad thing. He has a cannon for an arm and is accurate at all levels of the field.

His release isn’t as quick as Lock’s, but it’s much faster than Sam Darnold’s. Because he was a starter for only one season, Haskins still struggles to make the correct read and will miss open targets, but that’s normal for a young an inexperienced QB.

Haskins may not have the mobility of Lock or Murray, but there are no concerns about his accuracy or durability. He’s not going to be a dual-threat QB in the NFL, and that may disappoint some teams, but Haskins has the best chance to be a long-term starter of any quarterback in this class. When a team is pinning their future on a single player, they are going to want the surest bet.