2016 NFL Draft Rankings: Quarterback (Updated)

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /
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Now that the combine and most Pro Days have been completed, it’s time to update my 2016 NFL Draft prospect rankings. I ranked the draft-worthy QBs back in January, but a lot has changed since then. I’l be finalizing my positional rankings¹ over the next month, so you have info to reference before and during this year’s draft.

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*If you have any problems with my rankings or questions about a specific prospect who isn’t listed, feel free to address it in the comments or reach out on twitter (@MikeFlannery_)

QB Rankings:

1.) Carson Wentz, North Dakota St (6’6 | 235 | 4.85) – FCS prospect who made a huge leap up draft boards this off-season. Wentz completed 64% of his passes for two seasons in a row, won a national championship, has ideal size for the position, might have the most powerful arm in the draft with minimal effort, runs well, has a quick release, and was the best QB on the field at the combine.

Wentz is facing a big leap in talent and game speed, but there have been a few FCS QBs who have had solid NFL careers, like Tony Romo, Joe Flacco, and Steve McNair, so it’s not unprecedented. Watching Wentz’s junior and early senior season tape (before his wrist injury), he looks like a sure thing. How long it takes Wentz to acclimate to the increase in speed from the FCS level to the NFL is my main concern.

He has all the physical tools to be a successful NFL QB, reportedly aced the team interview portion of the combine, and has more upside than any QB in the draft. That’s enough to earn the #1 overall QB ranking in this year’s draft.

2.) Jared Goff, California (6’4 | 210 | 4.71) – It’s a bit hard to judge Goff in his QB-friendly offense, but he’s shown enough arm strength, accuracy, eye talent, instincts, and mobility to convince me that he has top-tier potential at the NFL level.

There are some question marks with Goff, as most of his best games came against poor competition and he struggled early in the season against better defenses (Utah, UCLA) but played well late in the season against both USC and ASU.

Goff did show some technical flaws as well with the tendency to force balls into small windows and a bad habit of sloppy mechanics under pressure. Overall Goff reminds me a lot of Jay Cutler. He has the easy arm strength that makes it look like he can throw 50 yards on a line with an arm behind his back.

Goff also has underrated mobility with the ability to make people miss in the open field and run for first downs when available. Those are the postiives that reminds me of Cutler… Goff also shares some negative traits as well with the over-confidence in his ability that leads to him forcing passes into windows that are barely there and a tendency to get lazy with his footwork and throw off his back foot when under pressure.

Overall Goff is really close to Wentz in both talent and potential and then there is a significant drop off after those two QBs. There will be growing pains for both. With Goff I think it will be adjusting to an NFL offensive scheme, after a very QB friendly scheme at Cal, and learning to make quick read progressions behind what will most likely be a suspect o-line if he’s drafted early as expected. I think Goff will end up being an above-average NFL QB, but it may take a couple of years.

Next: Quarterbacks 3-5