1. Jared Goff — California
Everywhere you look Goff and Wentz seem to have pretty even grades in this draft, and my eyes tell me that looks about right when you watch them play. Since Wentz came out of nowhere and Goff has performed well (at least individually) on the big stage for a while, Goff feels like the safer pick. Not to mention the team with the top pick just moved to L.A. and is looking for the face of the franchise … a Cal guy feels like a fit. Football-wise, Goff has a great arm and seems to just let the ball fly off a flick of the wrist.
2. Carson Wentz — North Dakota State
The small school label and a broken wrist his senior year are hurting Wentz a little bit more than it should. He easily could be the best QB in this draft. He has better size and is a better athlete than Goff, and even played in a NFL style offense in college despite being at ND State. He’s got a lot to learn once the spotlight’s on him as it surely will be in either L.A. or Philly. These two prospects are close enough that the Eagles had no problem letting everyone know they’re fine taking whomever the Rams don’t.
3. Connor Cook — Michigan State
This is Paxton Lynch’s spot on any other draft board, and I’ll admit, Lynch will be selected before Cook. I’m not sure why everyone seems to be sleeping on Cook, but he feels like the next best thing behind the top-2 picks to me. He’s a big time player that’s seen it all in college and has an NFL ready game. Cook was a four year starter in college and he improved every season. No reason that won’t keep happening in the NFL. He could easily turn into the next Kirk Cousins.
4. Paxton Lynch — Memphis
Just because I like Cook over Lynch, doesn’t mean Lynch isn’t good. The Memphis product is tall (6’7”) and pretty fast for his size. Scouts love the athleticism, but can he play the game? He could in college, and given the success Brock Osweiler has had recently, I can see why Lynch is intriguing. A great decision maker that can throw into tight windows, Lynch has a chance to be really impressive. I’m just not sure everything comes together for him.
5. Cardale Jones — Ohio State
Like Cook, I rank Jones higher than most. This kid has boom-or-bust written all over him. He’s a big dude that’s played at the highest level, has a monster arm and knows how to win — pretty crazy to just get thrown in the fire as a third stringer and win the National Championship for Ohio State. Those things speak to me more than any specific measurements or numbers at the combine. Of course, Jones doesn’t always have the magic. It’ll be fun to see if he turns into a star or not. If so, what a huge steal he’ll be.
6. Christian Hackenberg — Penn State
Hackenberg is a prototypical QB with good tools and great toughness. He bounces back well from taking hits and he has no problem taking one if it means completing a pass for his team. If you can’t tell by now, though, I’m big on the eye test. Hackenberg was a very solid college QB, but I wouldn’t say he was great. That keeps him out of my top-5 prospects, but maybe he can develop into the player many are hoping he can become.
7. Dak Prescott — Mississippi State
Prescott is a super athletic, dual-threat QB that has the strength to take the hits when he makes himself a runner. Prescott accomplished a lot of feats in college that had last been done in the SEC by Tim Tebow. That’s great and all, but now the question is will Prescott be Tebow in the NFL? He’s a legit football player, but he needs to keep learning how to play QB. That’s never a good thing when you’re adjusting to a much faster game. That said, this kid’s too talented not to give him a try somewhere.
8. Kevin Hogan — Stanford
Hogan had the job of being the guy to follow up Andrew Luck at Stanford, and he did a very solid job. Above anything, he was a winner, going 36-10 as a college starter. His numbers were inconsistent, but he finally broke out through the air and on the ground as a senior. Not having the arm to make deep throws hurts his NFL value and will make him a late pick, but everything else is going to make teams want him on their roster.
9. Jacoby Brissett — North Carolina State
Brissett is a tall, athletic QB with a strong arm. He’s a dual-threat option that moves well on the ground, but he can still make all the throws NFL teams will ask him to make. Aside from his good accuracy, he can whip the ball down the field or put great touch on his throws when a fastball isn’t necessary. So far, everything sounds great, but there’s concern on how he will adjust to the NFL when it comes to decision making. He’s a great competitor, but sometimes he tries too hard to extend a play when the right decision is to get rid of the ball. If he can learn to make quicker reads without predetermining his throws, Brissett has a chance.
10. Jake Coker — Alabama
Coker isn’t on the radar of many, but how can you not like a player with this much experience? He has a lot of flaws, so maybe Coker is a career backup … that’s not the end of the world if you’re the tenth QB off the board (or later). Some plays he looks like a legit NFL player and on others you can see why he’s not a top prospect. That’s what a backup is, though. If a team/coach can squeeze the best out of him, he has potential. As a ‘Bama product, you know you’re getting someone that’s not afraid of the moment.
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