Bears Day 2 Draft Prospects: Quarterbacks
Jacoby Brissett, North Carolina St (6’4 | 235 | 4.83) – When ranking QBs, I always give credence to upside. So few college QBs ever even take a snap at the NFL level, so I’d rather roll the dice on a player that has at least a chance of being a good starter in the NFL over a guy with a ceiling of a backup QB at the next level (i.e. Connor Cook).
That is my reasoning behind having Brissett this high. I’m sure most will disagree, but he is one of my favorite sleeper prospects in this year’s draft. He has the natural talent to be an All-Pro QB, but most draftniks aren’t as high on him since he couldn’t put his myriad of skills together consistently in college.
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, throw on the move, enough accuracy to complete over 60% of his passes in two seasons as a starter, and leadership intangibles.
Brissett had a 42 TD /11 INT ratio in two years as a starter and makes enough “wow” plays where some team should take a chance on him early (Bears!), 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.
With Cutler locked in as the starter for the next season or two, it would give Brisett plenty of time to iron out the flaws in his game, adjust to the speed of the NFL in practice, and clean up his footwork. On pure upside, Brisett is my 4th ranked QB after Wentz, Goff, and Jones and if the Bears can grab him in the 3rd or 4th round they could have a long-term starter in place when Cutler calls it quits.
Connor 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 but 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.
I could care less about whether Cook was a team captain, but the stat that worries me the most about Cook is his lack of accuracy. In his four years as a starter Cook has never completed more than 60% of his passes. Even as a senior, Cook only completed 56% of his throws. If he can’t complete 60% of his passes in college, how the heck is he going to do it in the pros facing significantly better defenses? I understand that Cook has a lot of traits that could translate well to the NFL, but none of them make up for the fact that he barely completes half of his passes.
Most of 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. To me it matters little though due to his lack of accuracy. He only completed 56% of his passes as a senior 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 significantly if he’s ever going to be more than an NFL backup.
Any QB the Bears draft should have at least a season to hone his craft and learn from both Cutler and an NFL coaching coaching staff. If the Bears brass think Cook’s accuracy issues are fixable, then he’s worth an early second round pick because the rest of the necessary physical traits are there for Cook to be a quality NFL starter.
Personally I don’t think Cook has enough upside to use an early 2nd round pick on. In my opinion Cook’s ceiling is an above-average back-up, but I could see a team taking a chance on him thinking they can fix his accuracy issues. Let’s just hope it’s not the Bears.
Kevin Hogan, Stanford (6’4 | 220 | 4.79) – Has been moving up draft boards lately due to a cleaned-up throwing motion. Hogan has ideal size, good enough arm strength, elite intelligence, 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 solid, 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 doesn’t have a cannon, but 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. I’d be fine with Hogan as a 3rd round pick, but if he falls to day three of the draft some team will get a steal. Let’s hope it’s the Bears.