2016 NFL Draft Rankings: Quarterback
3.) Paxton Lynch, Memphis (6’7 | 245 | 4.78) – Prototype size, arm strength, and mobility but faced sub-par competition in the American conference and was inconsistent in his two games vs SEC opponents. Lynch rocketed up draft boards after an opening week upset of Ole Miss in which Lynch was awesome (39/53, 387 yards, 3 TDs), but struggled in a bowl loss to Auburn (16/37, 106 yards, 1 INT). Overall Lynch had a very impressive season, completing 67% of his passes, with 3,778 yards, 28 touchdowns and just three interceptions.
Lynch has all the tools NFL teams look for in a QB. He has the size to see over d-lines, a powerful arm that can make all of the NFL throws, sound decision making, a quick release, and surprising mobility for his height with the ability to throw on the run. There is an awful lot to like about Lynch’s tools. The main issues are that his technique and footwork are pretty raw and Lynch struggled late in the season when pressured.
4.) Cardale Jones, Ohio St (6’5 | 250 | 4.75) – Probably the most variance in his potential draft position of all the top QB prospects. Jones is one of the most interesting QB prospects in years. He only started 11 games in his college career, but is 11-0 including two wins in the final four last season and an awesome performance in Ohio St’s national championship victory.
Jones has a cannon arm, runs like a fullback once he crosses the line of scrimmage, and has more upside at QB than almost any QB in the draft. His footwork and technique are very raw, but he still managed to complete 64% of his passes in his time as a starter this season.
Jones’ upside is literally unlimited, he has the size and every physical tool needed to be a top-tier QB but there are a lot of mechanical and technique issue that need to be cleaned up. He’s a perfect day 2-3 option for a team with an aging QB that may need a new one in a couple of years (ie, the Bears).
5.) Jacoby Brissett, NC St (6’4 | 235 | 4.83) – One of my favorite sleeper prospects in this year’s draft. Brissett has the natural ability to be an All-Pro QB but some draftniks aren’t as high on him. I see a QB with ideal size and arm strength, who has flashed the ability to pass from the pocket, the athleticism to run when needed and throw on the move as well, enough accuracy to complete 60% of his passes in two seasons as a starter, and leadership intangibles.
Brissett had a 42/11 ratio in two years as a starter and makes enough “wow” plays where some team will take a chance on him early, but is raw enough that many teams will drop him down their draft boards. He probably needs a year or two of seasoning to improve his read progression and footwork before he can be an above average NFL QB, but the talent is there for Brissett to be special.
6.) Conner Cook, Michigan St (6’4 | 218 | 4.60) – On paper Cook looks great, but the results on the field aren’t as good as they should be. Granted the Spartans have been very successful, but Cook has been surrounded by an above-average O-line, a good running game, and multiple NFL quality receivers and still hasn’t dominated. Also Cook has been a starter for three seasons and was never a team captain, that bothers me for some reason.
The tools are there for Cook to be a productive NFL QB; He has good size, a powerful arm, a quick clean arm action, and better straight line speed than most other top QB prospects. Cook’s main statistical problem is his accuracy. He only completed 56% of his passes last season and less then 60% in his sophomore and junior years as well. Another small issue with Cook is his inconsistent play. He played some of his best games against top teams like Ohio St and Oregon, but struggled against bad teams like Rutgers and Maryland?
Overall, the tools are there for Cook to be at least a solid game manager QB if not more, but there are a lot of minor question marks and college stats that don’t match his skill-set.
7.) Kevin Hogan, Stanford (6’4 | 220 | 4.79) – Another QB that I am higher on than most draft sites. Hogan has ideal size, good enough arm strength and underrated athleticism as his 4.79 40-time attests to. Hogan was also a proven winner in college, going 31-10 as a starter and leading the Cardinal to three consecutive Rose Bowls (won 2).
The common scouting report on Hogan is that he’s a game manager, but a lot of that has to do with Stanford’s conservative run-heavy offense. A college QB can only run the plays that are called for him. Hogan wasn’t asked to throw vertically often, but he showed a powerful accurate arm when needed. He completed 67% of his passes his last two years as a starter and had a 46/16 ratio the last two seasons.
Hogan can make all the NFL throws, has better speed than most QB in this draft, and could turn into much more than a game manager in a more open offensive scheme. If he falls to day three, some team will get a steal.