The NFL Draft Combine is complete.
Which means mock drafts, size, strength and speed measurables, and of course pro comparisons. The 2020 class has been said to be loaded with quality quarterbacks, and with so many teams in need of a new look under center, it’s possible to see as many as 15 or so passers drafted in April.
This list below is my rankings of the top quarterbacks based on the combination of their college production, mixed with their style of play, and seen through a crystal ball of what teams need from the quarterback position.
I give you, the 2020 NFL Draft Quarterback Rankings:
Joe Burrow – LSU
QB Rank: 1
Projected Round: 1
There is no reason to even evaluate the Bengals needs with the top pick in the draft. Burrow is coming off a historic Heisman season where he dominated the best defense in college football (Clemson) to win the national championship. He is from Ohio, so there are the local ties, but there is so much more than that. He can, and should be, a decade long starter for Cincinnati. He is ready to play in the NFL this September. In 2019 he completed 76% of his passes for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns. A lot was made this week for his hands measuring at 9”, and with some quarterbacks below that might be an issue, but not for Heisman Joe. He will be the first overall pick, deservingly so, and he will make fans of the Bengals very happy for years ahead.
Tua Tagovailoa – Alabama
QB Rank: 2
Projected Round: 1
Everything you read in this paragraph, and the rankings from here on down, all predicate on Tua’s recovery from a dislocated hip in November. All signs point to a positive medical prognosis of a full recovery, and word is that he will be having his pro day in the coming weeks, but this is a rare football injury. Still, his potential in the NFL is off the charts. A franchise changing quarterback, Tagovailoa can walk into any locker room and command respect. In just 8 games before his injury last season, Tua passed for 2,840 yards, 33 touchdowns, had an insane 71% completion rate and threw just 3 interceptions. He has the strength in his arm to make any throw required at the NFL level, but with the patience to manage the game and complete short passes to keep drives moving. He can be aggressive, sometimes to a fault, but even throwing against some of the best secondaries in college football over the past 2 years, he only had 9 of his 610 passes intercepted. I expect him to have a successful pro day and then sit back and watch as teams try to trade up to the top 3 picks to take this generational talent.
Justin Herbert – Oregon
QB Rank: 3
Projected Round: 1
Had he entered the draft in 2019 as a Junior, he would have been the starting quarterback for the New York Giants last season. He was the best quarterback prospect in that class, but he went back for his senior year in Oregon to fulfil two goals: Graduate from the University and win the Rose Bowl. Check, and check. To those who know Justin, this was no surprise, as he had grown up a quick jog away from the Ducks home stadium, and being the Oregon starting quarterback was his dream. He had a solid season in the Pac-12, completing 67% of his passes for 3,500 yards and 32 touchdowns. He can make all the downfield passes and he is mobile enough to make plays on his feet too. He stole the show at the Senior Bowl and had scouts ranking him as the #2 quarterback ahead of Tua. With the former Alabama star’s injury past, Herbert might be a safer bet. He should enjoy a solid NFL career. Look for him to be one of the biggest names at the combine as fans will be wowed by arm strength and speed.
Jake Fromm – Georgia
QB Rank: 4
Projected Round: 2
Fromm came on the national scene in a hurry as a freshman, taking his team all the way to an overtime appearance in the National Championship. As a sophomore he improved as a passer and a leader, but his team lost a nail bitter in the SEC title game. Then as a junior, the Bulldogs were riddled with injuries at the receiver position and while Fromm and the ‘Dawgs made it back to the conference championship, all the buzz was gone about Jake. He was managing games in 2019, doing everything he could to put up points and win games, but he was overshadowed by the names above. But make no mistake about it, Fromm can play. He has incredible accuracy and puts balls where only the receiver can make a play on it. He excels with play-action and throwing on the run, which should appeal to a handful of NFL teams for a spread offense. Most importantly, he is a confident leader who will go into training camp against the quarterback room and threaten to be a week 1 starter. He doesn’t have that cannon that some of the top QBs above have, but he makes up for it in the way he manages the game. If he is drafted into the right system, expect a good NFL career out of him.
Jalen Hurts – Oklahoma
QB Rank: 5
Projected round: 3
Heisman Trophy runner-up. College Playoff semi-finalist. Big-12 Champion. Hurts has all of those boxes checked yet scouts still question his ability to play on Sundays. As a senior in Lincoln Riley’s pro-style offense, he completed 70% of his passes for 3,851 yards and 32 touchdowns. He also ran for over 1,300 yards and 20 more scores. He started as a true freshman in Nick Saban’s offense in 2017 and led the Tide to back to back National title games. Hurts did it all in college, but will it translate to the NFL? Some say he is best fitted as a fullback. I say that is crazy. Hurts is an NFL caliber quarterback, maybe not as a starter in 2020, but he could challenge the depth chart. Whether his arm, or his legs, Hurts makes plays and wins games. That will translate to Sundays.
Jacob Eason – Washington
QB Rank: 6
Projected Round: 2
A one-time Georgia Bulldog, Eason was beat out by the Freshman Fromm in 2018 and was forced to pack his bags and head west to the dorms out in Seattle. He started for the Huskies this season, and while it was a down year for Washington, Eason still showed a lot of promise. He has a big arm that stretches the field and he isn’t afraid to pass into tight windows. He probably could have benefitted from returning for a senior season, and his draft position likely will fall because of the limited college experience, but he will make some GM happy in the future. He won’t be ready to take command of an offense right away, but I feel like he will be the guy in 3 years that takes over for an injured starter and leads his team on a winning streak. Keep in mind these are my rankings, not the predicted draft order. Eason is going to be drafted ahead of Hurts and probably Fromm. He’s a driving range quarterback, meaning get him on the practice field and watch him hit every throw at every distance, but get him in live action and I’d take the 5 ahead of him to lead my team.
Jordan Love – Utah State
QB Rank: 7
Projected Round: 2
Stop. Get off the Jordan Love hype train before you miss your exit. I do expect him to be selected in the 2nd round, probably as the 4th overall quarterback, but I just don’t agree with the NFL analysts’ take on him. He has very good size at 6’4”, 225lbs, and a real strong arm. He had a very successful junior season and scouts started taking notice. Perhaps it was the pressure of going pro, or perhaps it was just a down year for the Aggies, but as a senior, his decision making as a passer was very questionable. Love finished 3,400 yards, but with just 20 touchdowns to 17 interceptions. He locks onto his primary receiver for too long, which results in turnovers and incompletions. He needs to get better at looking off defenders if he is to have a career playing on Sundays. Some team is going to feel pressure to take him ahead of Fromm and Hurts, and they will look back in a few years and not be happy about that.
Nate Stanley – Iowa
QB Rank: 8
Projected Round: 4-6
Stanley finished a completion or two away from a 3,000-yard senior season and while he didn’t wow the stat sheet, he led a fairly efficient Iowa offense to a 10-3 record in a loaded Big Ten West. In 3 years as a starter Stanley passed for 68 touchdowns and finished 2nd all time in Hawkeye career passing yards and scores. One thing Iowa football has always been known for is their NFL caliber offensive line. All 5 of their starters from last season should see time on Sundays when they get to that stage, so watching Stanley pass from a pro-style quarterback, with pro-style blocking, you can visualize what he is capable of. He is accurate and makes good decisions with the football, and maybe most importantly, he has demonstrated good leadership in times of adversity. He isn’t going to be a measurable stud, and he won’t go in day 1 of the draft, but some team is going to be very happy when they see how he challenges the reigning starter in training camp.
James Morgan – FIU
QB Rank: 9
Projected Round: 5
Before the combine, Morgan will be looked at as an undraftable talent, but after he works out and meets with GMs, he will find himself selected on day 3 of the draft. At 6’4”, 215lbs, he has good size and a strong arm. He doesn’t turn the ball over (5 picks in 2019) and makes smart plays under pressure. Morgan recently impressed scouts at the East-West Shrine game. General managers will have a star next to his name and any franchise needing a quality back up for the upcoming season should take him in round 5 or 6, if he is still available.
Steven Montez – Colorado
QB Rank: 10
Projected round: 4
When he is on, he can beat any coverage on the field. When he is off, you’ll find offensive coordinators smashing their clipboards and headsets. Montez has the tools to be really good, but he hasn’t been consistent enough to prove it. He struggles outside the pocket where he turns the ball over when forced to make quick decisions on the run. He likely won’t be an NFL starter, but he can be serviceable as a back-up. He is a hard-working kid on and off the field and you can expect him to command and receive respect as a leader, even if he isn’t the starter.
Ranking the rest:
11. Brian Lewerke – Michigan State Spartans
12. Mason Fine – North Texas
13. Shea Patterson – Michigan Wolverines
14. Anthony Gordon – Washington State Cougars
15. Kelly Bryant – Missouri Tigers
16. Bryce Perkins – Virginia Cavaliers
17. Khalil Tate – Arizona Wildcats
18. Case Cookus – Northern Arizona
19. Deondre Francois
20. Riley Neil – Vanderbilt Commodores
Read More 990WBOB
Unbiased, Unfiltered. WBOB's Original Reads feature our brightest and boldest personalities, offering their two-cents on the goings on of news, sports, politics, entertainment, and business. -- Are our opinions always PC? Nope. Are they always perfect? Nah. But, are they always 100% authentic? Absolutely!