Sunday, March 12, 2017

Post Combine Update on QBs in the 2017 NFL Draft, Cleveland Edition

      The NFL Combine had some unexpected insights on quarterbacks and where they will be drafted.  I don't believe the Browns are going to draft a quarterback with the first overall pick, and in fact I believe that from an analytics standpoint the Harvard boys are going to look for one or maybe even two guys from the LATE first round till about Round 4.
      I've written about that elsewhere, but to summarize, my belief is that quarterbacks are too high of a risk to invest a high first round pick, since they are more likely to be a bust rather than a star player.  Missing is less painful with a later draft pick, and quality players still emerge from those rounds. 
Quarterbacks are just hard to judge, especially now that they are coming out a year or two earlier than back in the day.  Thus it's probably better to draft two guys in middle rounds than one guy in Round 1. 
  I think Mitchell Trubisky and Pat Mahomes are going to go in the first round.   Deshone Kizer might join them later in the round   All three have good arms, size, smarts.  However at 55 mph, Mitchell Trubisky is not that much of an upgrade over Cody Kessler, who also threw 55 mph at the combine. WIth Trubisky you a taller much faster guy, but one with very little exerience.   
    Pat Mahones singed the radar gun at 60 mph, and put up monstrous stats at Texas Tech which is a Big 12 school.  The Big 12 is notoriously bad at pass defense, meaning that quarterbacks have consistently lit it up there, so you can't get overly excited by quarterback stats out there. Still, complared to Trubisky he has much more experience and been dominant rather than just very good.   I think there is an outside chance Mahomes gets taken ahead of Trubisky.

n the other hand, Deshaun Watson is unbelievably slow at 49 mph. I don't believe there is a starting NFL qb that slow. In addition, his interception rate was appallingly high despite having stud receivers including Mike Williams.   I'm bumping him ever further down my list, I don't care that he's a great runner and has intelligence and charisma.   Like Tim Tebow, I don't think his game will translate to the next level.  I think he should play right field for the Mets with Tebow in left.

    Davis Webb was at 59 mph, and DeShone Kizer was at 56 mph, also very good numbers.  Webb has small hand size and lost out to Pat Mahomes at Texas Tech.  You know what? That might not be a disgrace.  I think if the only thing you don't like is the size of his hands, that is still a second round pick.   I don't see a 59 mph arm lasting to Day 3.

   DeShone Kizer had an underwhelming career at Notre Dame with good but not great stats for an underperforming program.  Still, he's got size, athleticism, talent and he played for a big time program, but one which struggled with an inexperienced wide receiver corps.   Many list Deshone in the first round, based on his arm and athleticism.  I think Round 2 is a more appropriate place for him but the NFL GMs love quarterbacks and will probably nab him late in Round 1.

One guy who came out of nowhere at the Combine was Jerod Evans, 6'3" 232 who threw at the same speed as Mitchell Trubisky.   Moreover, he was responsible for 4398 total yards from scrimmage and threw only 8 INTs for a major college team.   And he did not have nearly the same team behind him that some of the other guys did.   I've got to think he is worth a shot as early as Round 3.  

  Brad Kaaya has performed well for a so-so Miami team and has great accuracy, but 53 mph is going to hurt him.  I believe he will fall to the third or fourth round.   
      Chad Kelly has first round talent and maybe the best arm in the draft, but he got kicked off the team at Clemson. Anger management is a major red flag. I like guys that are in better control of their emotions at the quarterback position. You could imagine that he could develop and mature if a team is willing to be patient.  After a knee injury, I don't really want to see him until 2018, but he would be worth a mid to late round draft pick.  

Table 1 where I think they will be drafted:
Mitch Trubisky         1   North Carolina           6'3"  220 
Pat Mahomes          1   Texas Tech                6'3"  230
DeShone Kizer       1   Notre Dame               6'4"  230
Deshaun Watson     2   Clemson                    6'2" 215

Davis Webb             2   California                   6'3"  227
Brad Kaaya             3    Miami                        6'4"  210

Jerod Evans            4    Va Tech                     6'3"  232
Chad Kelly               4   Ole Miss                    6'2"  224
Zach Terrell              4   Western Michigan     6'2"  210
Joshua Dobbs         5   Tennessee                 6'3"  210
Nathan Peterman   6   Pitt                             6'2"  225
C. J. Beathard         7   Iowa                           6'2"  215

Hometown kid Mitchell Trubisky can stand in the pocket and make a good smart throw, and then take a hit.  What more could we really want?  Maybe two more years at the college level.  

Table 2.  Where I would draft them:

Nobody till mid first round, then

Mitch Trubisky        1   North Carolina           6'3"  220
Pat Mahomes         1  Texas Tech                 6'3"  230
DeShone Kizer       2    Notre Dame              6'4"  230
Davis Webb            2    California                  6'3"  227
Jerod Evans           3   Va Tech                      6'3" 232
Chad Kelly              3   Ole Miss                    6'2"  224
Brad Kaaya             4   Miami                         6'4"  210
Zach Terrell             4   Western Michigan      6'2"  210
Joshua Dobbs         4   Tennessee                 6'3"  210
Deshaun Watson     4   Clemson                    6'2" 215
Nathan Peterman   6   Pitt                             6'2"  225
C. J. Beathard         7   Iowa                           6'2"  215

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