2016 NFL Draft Rankings: Quarterback (Updated)

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /

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, he has no experience taking the ball under center, hasn’t shown he can progress through reads under pressure, and he played against weak competition in college. Adding those all up makes this a risky pick, but his upside is significant.

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 prospect in this year’s draft. He only started 11 games in his college career, but is 11-0 including two wins in the 2014 CFB playoffs, one of which was an awesome performance in OSU’s national title game victory over Alabama.

Jones has a cannon arm, runs like a fullback once he crosses the line of scrimmage, and has more upside at QB than almost anyone 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 option for a team with an aging QB that may need a new one in a couple of years (like the Bears).

5.) Conner Cook, Michigan St (6’4 | 218 | 4.60) – On paper Cook looks great, but the results on the field weren’t always as good as they should have been. 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. There is also the much-publicized fact that he was never named a team captain, which is surprising but not a deal-breaker.

The tools are there for Cook to be a productive NFL QB; He has good size, a powerful arm, a clean arm action, and better straight line speed than many 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 quite match his skill-set. His potential to be an average NFL QB will get him drafted no later than day two, but his accuracy will have to improve if he’s going to see the field.

Next: Quarterbacks 6-10