Mitch Trubisky*, QB, North Carolina
Height: 6-2. Weight: 222. Hand: 9.5. 40 Time: 4.67. Projected Round (2017): Top-25 Pick. 4/25/17: Trubisky is almost a certainly going to go in the top half of the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He is the consensus top quarterback prospect even though he has flaws such as a lack of experience and downfield accuracy. Still, teams across the league feel Trubiksy is the most polished of any of the 2017 quarterbacks.
Trubisky was very efficient in 2016, displaying a quality skill set and accuracy. The junior beat up on some weak secondaries during the year, but it still is impressive that he had three straight games throwing for over 400 yards without throwing a single interception. Trubisky was impressive against Florida State and Pittsburgh before an ugly game against Virginia Tech. On the season, Trubisky completed 69 percent of his passes for 3,748 yards with 30 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also scored three rushing touchdowns. Trubisky was a backup as a sophomore and freshman.
Trubisky has more of a second-round-caliber skill set, but what teams love about him his accuracy in the short to intermediate part of the field. They also feel he was the most consistent quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft. Some teams have had second-day grades on many quarterbacks who ended up going as top-32 picks. Sources from three different teams told me they graded Trubisky in Round 2, but other teams have him graded as a first-rounder. One playoff general manager told WalterFootball.com that they rate Trubisky the highest because he has the tools to play with accuracy and athleticism.
Deshaun Watson*, QB, Clemson
Height: 6-2. Weight: 221. Hand: 9.75. 40 Time: 4.66. Projected Round (2017): 1. 4/25/17: While Watson has a lot of flaws as a prospect, he will most likely go in the first round and could go highly because of the demand for quarterbacks. There is no doubt that Watson has great intangibles as a hard worker with good character off the field and leadership in the locker room. Watson does have a good arm with a quick release, mobility, toughness, and is a winner. Perhaps those strengths will be enough for him to overcome his negatives and be a starting quarterback.
I surveyed teams around the league to see where their initial draft grades were for Watson. Two playoff teams told me they had third-round grades on Watson. One said it was on the low end as a third- to fourth-rounder. Another playoff team told Walt that they had a third-round grade on Watson. Two other teams said they had second-round grades on Watson. However, a number of team sources think that Watson would still be a first-round quarterback, and similar to Teddy Bridgewater a team could trade back into the first round because of the dire need at the position across the NFL. Watson benefits from comparisons to Dak Prescott and also benefits from coaches getting involved in the draft process during the spring in draft meetings. Watson threw the ball well at the combine and did well in the team interviews - as expected.
In this draft analyst's opinion, I would grade Watson as a third-round pick for the 2017 NFL Draft. Watson was off with his accuracy for a lot of his final year, displaying poor ball placement, especially when going downfield. He missed a lot of potential big plays as a result. Watson has major room for improvement with his field vision, ball placement, and accuracy. He did finish the regular season playing significantly better, but that doesn't make up for the inaccuracy in the first two-thirds of the season. He also threw way too many interceptions (17). In comparison, Prescott threw only five interceptions as a senior and 16 over his final two seasons. In 2016, Watson completed 67 percent of his passes for 4,593 yards with 41 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He had nine rushing touchdowns as well.
On top of that, Watson played in a college spread offense that doesn't correlate well to the NFL. Thus, he's going to need to learn working under center, operating the huddle, footwork, not having coaching boards predetermine plays, calling audibles, calling line checks, and not being a running quarterback.
7/29/16: Watson played really well to lead Clemson to the National Championship game, and in that title tilt, he threw for over 400 yards and four touchdowns against an Alabama defense that featured tons of future NFL talent. Watson completed 68 percent of his passes in 2015 for 4,104 yards with 35 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. On the ground, he averaged 5.3 yards per carry for 1,105 yards with 12 scores.
Watson has a decent arm, excellent athleticism, and can show some superb accuracy. However, he is undersized and doesn't play in a pro-style offense. His numbers are vastly inflated by his college offense. Operating under center will be one thing for him to learn. Watson also has to improve his field vision. He flashes good field vision to work through his progressions on some plays, but he is inconsistent and he can also look to run too soon. Watson won't be able to run as much in the NFL and he needs to get faster at working through his progressions. His pocket-passing process has to get quicker as well.
Pat Mahomes*, QB, Texas Tech
Height: 6-2. Weight: 225. Hand: 9.25. 40 Time: 4.80. Projected Round (2017): 1. 4/25/17: Sources say that of all the quarterbacks, Mahomes won the spring as he was the most impressive overall on team visits and in private workouts. His love of football, work ethic, and passion came through. Additionally, his big arm was impressive in workouts.
Some team sources are intrigued by Mahomes, but others are skeptics. Mahomes has a powerful arm and has flashed the ability to be a pocket passer. He also has athleticism with functional mobility to buy time and pick up some yards on the ground. Mahomes is a sleeper who could be a steal. The big knocks on Mahomes are his decision-making, mechanical issues, and the college system he played in.
WalterFootball.com was the first to report that Mahomes was planning on entering the 2017 NFL Draft, and he announced that in early January. Mahomes has drawn rave reviews from teams for his work ethic and character. He threw the ball well at the combine and his pro day, but he does have some mechanical issues to fix. Mahomes completed 66 percent of his passes in 2016 for 5,052 yards with 41 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 12 touchdowns.
During the fall one playoff team told me they have a second-round grade on Mahomes and compare him to Derek Carr coming out of Fresno State. Two other teams said they had Mahomes in the third round, while one playoff general manager said he had him in Round 4. There is love/hate with Mahomes in part because of his college offense, but Mahomes flashes the ability to be an accurate passer with a good arm, bulk, flashes of field vision, and mobility. The NFL Draft Advisory board gave him a second-round estimate.
7/29/16: Mahomes plays in a gimmick college offense that produces a lot of points, but Mahomes has shown potential to get NFL consideration. In 2015, he completed 64 percent for 4,653 yards with 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. It was a big improvement over his freshman season when he completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,547 yards with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions.
DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
Height: 6-4. Weight: 233. Hand: 9.88. 40 Time: 4.83. Projected Round (2017): 1-2. 4/25/17: Kizer has the best physical skill set of any quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft. Some league sources from teams that don't need quarterbacks told me they think Kizer is a high first-round talent with correctable problems. Many others are not enthusiastic about Kizer at all and have him graded on Day 2. One playoff general manager told me Kizer has the tools to be the prototypical quarterback prospect, but was unable everything together and win. Thus, they graded Kizer on Day 2 of the 2017 NFL Draft. Another general manager felt Kizer was worthy of a late first-round pick. Aside from not winning, sources knock Kizer for his decision-making, and every team evaluator has cited a lack of consistency.
Kizer is capable of making beautiful touch passes with superb accuracy and ball placement while being under fire from the pass rush. His field vision can be very good as he moves his eyes through his progressions, even with defenders bearing down on him. Additionally, Kizer has the arm strength to make all the throws and beat good coverage. He consistently shows the ability to drop in accurate touch passes downfield and the mobility to make plays with his feet. Kizer can be an excellent pocket passer.
Kizer had a number of rough games in 2016, including getting benched against Stanford and facing off against N.C. State in the midst of Hurricane Matthew. He started the 2016 season with a tremendous game against Texas and gave evidence to NFL teams that he could be a future starting quarterback. Kizer lofted in some beautiful passes between defenders against the Longhorns. Kizer also showed excellent decision-making while maintaing poise under the pass rush of Texas. He protected the football and made extraordinary passes into small openings.
In 2016, Kizer completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,925 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also ran for seven touchdowns. That completion percentage was hurt by the hurricane game against N.C. State and his young wideouts dropping a plethora of well-thrown passes. 2015 was a better year for Kizer as he completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,884 yards with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also ran for 520 yards with 10 scores on the ground. Kizer had a much better supporting cast that season, including a first-round left tackle, Ronnie Stanley; first-round wide receiver, Will Fuller; second-round center, Nick Martin; and third-round running back, C.J. Prosise.
Davis Webb, QB, California
Height: 6-4. Weight: 229. Arm: 33.25. Hand: 9.13. 40 Time: 4.79. Projected Round (2017): 2-3. 4/25/17: In 2016, Webb completed 62 percent of his passes for 4,295 yards with 37 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. There was some buzz about him in the scouting community as Webb has a good arm with pocket presence and flashes good field vision. He can also make some pretty throws downfield and fit the ball into tight windows. However, he will have some of the same developmental problems for the NFL as Jared Goff with having to learn working under center, operating a huddle, and developing the footwork.
Webb also suffers from poor decision-making. He needs to do a better job of working through his progressions as he far too often pre-determined where he is going with the ball and stares down some reads. Webb should start out his NFL career as a backup, but he has the physical potential to develop into a starter.
9/3/16: Webb is taking over the Bear Raid offense with Jared Goff in the NFL. Previously, Webb played at Texas Tech in a similar college gimmick offense. He barely played in 2015, but started the previous two years. In 2014 he completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,539 yards with 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The previous season he completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,718 yards with 20 touchdowns and nine picks.
Brad Kaaya*, QB, Miami
Height: 6-4. Weight: 214. Hand: 9.75. Projected 40 Time: 4.78. Projected Round (2017): 4-6. 4/25/17: One general manager of a playoff team that is very skilled at quarterback evaluation said they had Kaaya as fifth-round pick. They feel he has no mobility, can't throw well while under pressure, and while his arm is decent, he doesn't blow them away. Two other teams said they graded Kaaya as a late third-, early fourth-rounder. Multiple teams also expressed that they have concerns about Kaaya lacking leadership. As expected, he threw the ball well at the combine.
In 2016, Kaaya completed 62 percent of his passes for 3,532 yards with 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He, specifically, put together underwhelming performances in losses to Florida State and North Carolina. Kaaya has some crippling weaknesses in looking down at the rush and a lack of mobility to avoid sacks. He takes a lot of sacks, and his eyes don't stay downfield when under pressure.
Kaaya's game against Appalachian State illustrated that he has serious pocket-passing talent for the NFL though. His protection was an issue in other outings, but when Kaaya is given time, he's deadly. Kaaya showed that he has a big arm, pocket presence, is accurate in tight windows, can throw perfect touch passes, and has field vision to work through his protections. The problem is he has to be able to thrive without a perfect pocket to throw from, which puts too much pressure on his offensive line to be flawless. Even the best offensive lines can't perform at the level that Kaaya requires to be successful.
7/29/16: 2015 was a rough year for Miami and Kaaya had to battle through with a weak supporting cast. He completed 61 percent of his passes for 3,242 yards with 16 touchdowns and five interceptions on the season. Kaaya didn't develop significantly over his freshman-year performance.
Kaaya has a good physical skill set with a strong arm that can make all the throws. At times, he has displayed some pocket-passing ability to go along with poise. In 2014, Kaaya completed 59 percent of his passes for 3,198 yards with 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Kaaya had a ton of talent around him as a freshman in the form of a stud left tackle (Ereck Flowers), wide receiver (Phillip Dorsett) and running back (Duke Johnson).
Nate Peterman, QB, Pittsburgh
Height: 6-2. Weight: 225. Arm: 31.38. Hand: 9.88. 40 Time: 4.82. Projected Round (2017): 4-6. 4/25/17: Peterman used the Senior Bowl opportunity to turn himself into a third-day prospect for the NFL. He threw the ball with some accuracy and timing. Peterman completed 61 percent of his passes in 2016 for 2,855 yards with 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions. As a junior, he completed 62 percent for 2,287 yards with 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Team sources say that Peterman could have developmental backup potential and like him as a potential pick on Day 3 of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Josh Dobbs, QB, Tennessee
Height: 6-3. Weight: 216. Arm: 32. Hand 9.38. 40 Time: 4.64. Projected Round (2017): 4-6. 4/25/17: In 2016, Dobbs completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,946 yards with 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also collected 10 rushing touchdowns. Dobbs put together a decent Senior Bowl on the field and impressed teams in the meeting interviews.
In the 2016 season opener against Appalachian State, Dobbs showed some accuracy issues with poor ball placement and struggled to move the ball through the air. He had a number of overthrows and also some fumbling issues. That set the tone for 2016 as Dobbs did not look like an NFL pocket passer as he struggled with accuracy and operating out of the pocket for a lot of the season. He did perform better late in the year.
7/29/16: Dobbs played his tail off for Tennessee in 2015 even though the Volunteers came up short in some tough losses. On the year, he completed 60 percent of his passes this season for 2,125 yards with 15 touchdowns and five interceptions. On the ground, he averaged 4.2 yards per carry for 476 yards and seven scores. Dobbs is more of a college spread quarterback, but perhaps he will show more pocket passing skills in 2016.
In 2014, Dobbs completed 63 percent of his passes for 1,206 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions. He has physical talent, but he needs to develop his overall game as a passer.
Chad Kelly, QB, Ole Miss
Height: 6-1. Weight: 215. Projected 40 Time: 4.75. Projected Round (2017): 6-FA. 4/25/17: A torn ACL ended Kelly's 2016 season early, and given the timing of the injury, he wasn't able to work out completely for NFL teams prior to the 2017 NFL Draft.
Kelly completed 63 percent of his passes in 2016 for 2,758 yards with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions. In losses to Alabama and Florida State where Ole Miss blew big leads, Kelly had terrible turnovers via bad decisions in crunch time, which made the comebacks possible.
Overall, Kelly's performances during the 2016 season confirmed his gun-slinger style of play. He has the arm to make any throw, but could stand to get more consistent in his field vision, accuracy and decision-making. While Kelly can't be blamed for his defense struggling in allowing comebacks to Florida State and Alabama, Kelly never displayed the leadership and intangibles to push his team to tough victories. He doesn't have a killer instinct and gets rattled by pressure; both the physical pass rush and the mental/emotional pressure of critical moments in big games.
Kelly also needs to check his ego and clean up his off-the-field issues, too. He has had problems such as yelling at Clemson fans - while a Clemson student - in the stadium parking lot after a fender bender, getting arrested for a bar fight that involved threatening a mass shooting, running onto the field at his brother's high school game, trash-talking teammates on twitter, pursuing porn stars on twitter, creating a self-loving rap song; the list goes on with "Swag" Kelly. Being the nephew of Jim Kelly seems to have created an "Affluenza" quarterback.
When you add in the off-the-field issues from Kelly's ego and behavior, it adds to the questions about his on-field intangibles and ability to lead a team. He has a big arm, but I don't think he has the decision-making and steadiness in his play to be a franchise quarterback. Kelly doesn't strike me as a winner.
7/29/16: Kelly showed development late in the 2015 season and was playing well for Ole Miss. For the year, he completed 65 percent of his passes for 4,042 yards with 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also ran for 500 yards and 10 touchdowns. It was Kelly's first season starting for the Rebels.
Kelly has a powerful arm with some athleticism. He needs to improve his field vision and decision-making as he throws risky passes downfield too often rather than taking easy completions underneath.
Prior to 2015, Kelly played in the junior college ranks for a year, where he won a National Championship. Kelly started out his collegiate career at Clemson, but didn't last long as Dabo Swinney kicked him off the team "for conduct detrimental to the program." Kelly is the nephew of Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly. Chad Kelly's ego and behavior led to his undoing at Clemson.
Jerod Evans*, QB, Virginia Tech
Height: 6-3. Weight: 232. Hand: 9.38. 40 Time: 4.80. Projected Round (2017): 6-FA. 4/25/17: Evans was a surprise early entry into the 2017 NFL Draft. After only one year as the starter for the Hokies, many thought Evans would return to Virginia Tech. The junior completed 64 percent of his passes in 2016 for 3,552 yards with 29 touchdowns and eight touchdowns. He also ran for 12 touchdowns.
Evans has a good skill set with size and athleticism, but coming from a college system and his lack of experience, he is going to need some development for the NFL. Team sources have said they have graded Evans as a sixth- or seventh-rounder.
Trevor Knight, QB, Texas A&M
Height: 6-1. Weight: 219. Hand: 9.88. 40 Time: 4.54. Projected Round (2017): 6-FA. 4/25/17: Knight drew some rave reviews from teams for his interviews at the combine and his leadership skills. One team source said that they thought Knight could be a bigger, stronger-armed Jeff Garcia in the NFL. As a senior, Knight completed 53.3 percent of his passes for 2,432 yards with 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He had 10 rushing touchdowns as well. Knight was hurt by a weak offensive line and a vertical offense that threw fewer high-percentage throws.
C.J. Beathard, QB, Iowa
Height: 6-2. Weight: 219. Arm: 31. Hand 9.13. Projected 40 Time: 4.80. Projected Round (2017): 6-FA. 4/25/17: In 2016, Beathard completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,929 yards with 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He didn't impress at the Senior Bowl, but did well at the combine, where he threw better than expected.
7/29/16: Beathard helped Iowa to a strong 2015 season by completing 62 percent of 2,809 yards with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions. He was an effective game-manager for the Hawkeyes. Beathard needs to be more of a play-maker to improve his NFL hopes.
Seth Russell, QB, Baylor
Height: 6-2. Weight: 203. Arm: 33.75. Hand 9.13. Projected 40 Time: 4.68. Projected Round (2017): FA. 4/25/17: In 2016, Russell completed 55 percent of his passes for 2,126 yards with 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions. His season ended in November due to surgery.
7/29/16: Russell was enjoying a tremendous 2015 season as he beat up on weak opponents and put together some staggering numbers. Across seven games, Russell completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,104 yards with 29 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also ran for 402 yards and six scores. However in the seventh game, Russell fractured a vertebrae in his neck, whih ended his season.
Russell cleared to play early in 2016. He will have a challenging 2016 season after the offseason scandal at Baylor and losing talent to the NFL.
Alec Torgersen, QB, Pennsylvania
Height: 6-2. Weight: 220. Projected 40 Time: 4.68. Projected Round (2017): FA. 4/25/17: Torgersen had a quality week at the East-West Shrine. He showed that he belonged with the better competition. Torgersen doesn't have a cannon, but he has a decent arm while flashing some accuracy and timing. After his strong week in St. Petersburg, Torgersen could end up being a late-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. If he isn't drafted, he should get a shot as an undrafted free agent in training camp.
Antonio Pipkin, QB, Tiffin
Height: 6-0. Weight: 225. Arm: 32.25. Hand: 10. Projected 40 Time: 4.68. Projected Round (2017): FA. 4/25/17: Every year, there are some small-school quarterback prospects who get exposure at the college all-star games, and Pipkin had the opportunity be one of those signal-callers this year as he accepted an invitation to play at the Senior Bowl. The quarterback-hungry nature of the NFL meant Pipkin had a major chance to invigorate his draft stock in Mobile, but he didn't impress.
Pipkin is a dual-threat quarterback who put up big numbers as a runner and receiver. He ran for 757 yards and seven touchdowns in 2016, plus completed 65 percent of his passes for 2,534 yards with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Tyler Stewart, QB, Nevada
Height: 6-4. Weight: 220. Projected 40 Time: 4.78. Projected Round (2017): FA. 4/25/17: Stewart completed 63 percent of his passes for 1,161 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions in 2016. He demonstrated the ability to throw some precision passes in the short to intermediate part of the field, but needs to work on his field vision and not holding on to the ball too long. In 2015, Stewart completed 57 percent of his passes for 2,139 yards with 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Taysom Hill, QB, BYU
Height: 6-2. Weight: 225. Projected 40 Time: 4.68. Projected Round (2017): FA. 4/25/17: In 2016, Hill completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,323 yards with 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He had eight rushing touchdowns as well. Hill did not play in BYU's bowl game.
Hill put together an ugly game against Utah with a number of poorly thrown passes and turnovers. His play was disappointing, but he did lead BYU to an impressive double-overtime win over Mississippi State.
7/29/16: Hill went out for the year in the 2015 season opener against Nebraska after injuring his foot. In 2014, Hill completed 67 percent of his passes for 975 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions. He also rumbled for 460 yards - averaging 5.3 yards per carry - with eight touchdowns on the ground. Hill broke his leg against Utah State midway through the year and was done for the season. In 2013, Hill only completed 54 percent of his passes for 2,938 yards with 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, but on the ground, he ran for 1,595 yards with 10 touchdowns. Some sources in the NFL really like Hill.
Mitch Leidner, QB, Minnesota
Height: 6-4. Weight: 230. Projected 40 Time: 4.70. Projected Round (2017): FA. 4/25/17: In 2016, Leidner completed 56 percent of his passes for 2,169 yards with eight touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
7/29/16: Leidner has been a competent game-manager for Minnesota. In 2015, he completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,701 yards for 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Leidner has some talent, but Minnesota favors a ground-based offense that can make it hard for him to stand out.
Patrick Towles, QB, Boston College
Height: 6-5. Weight: 253. Projected 40 Time: 4.85. Projected Round (2017): FA. 4/25/17: In 2016, Towles completed 51 percent of his passes for 1,579 yards with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. He flashed a quality arm and good placement, but was very inconsistent. When the pocket was clean and Towles had time, he was effective. Towles needs to improve his feel and accuracy, especially while under duress. He had an ugly game against Virginia Tech among others. Sources said they were unimpressed with Towles in 2016. He is a candidate to switch positions and could end up competing as a tight end.
7/29/16: Playing for Kentucky, Towles completed 56 percent of his passes in 2015 for 2,077 yards with nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Towles went the graduate-transfer route after the season and has landed with Boston College for his final year of eligibility.
Towles was a quality passer who fought his tail off for the Wildcats, but he needs to cut down on the interceptions and improve his accuracy and decision-making. In speaking with sources, they say that Towles has the physical skill set for the NFL but are concerned with his lack of awareness and instincts. He didn't have a great supporting cast in 2014, but the first-year starter flashed at times. That season, Towles completed 57 percent of his passes for 2,718 yards with 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Sefo Liufau, QB, Colorado
Height: 6-3. Weight: 216. Arm: 33. Hand: 10.88. Projected 40 Time: 4.68. Projected Round (2017): FA. 4/25/17: Liufau played at the Senior Bowl, but didn't impress. He completed 63 percent of his passes in 2016 for 2,366 yards with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions. Liufau also ran for eight touchdowns.
Gunner Kiel, QB, Cincinnati
Height: 6-4. Weight: 208. Projected 40 Time: 4.81. Projected Round (2017): FA. 4/25/17: Kiel was the backup quarterback to start the 2016 season before seeing the field in October. He completed 66-of-127 passes (52 percent) for 804 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions. Kiel played at the East-West Shrine and showed a pro skill set, but had issues with accuracy, timing and decision-making.
7/29/16: There were big expectations for Kiel in 2015, but it turned into a disappointing season. Kiel completed 65 percent of his passes for 2,777 yards with 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on the year. He also dealt with injuries that cost him two games. Kiel has a good arm but must cut down on his interceptions as he can throw them in bunches.
After years of hype, Kiel finally stepped onto the field in 2014 and flashed some arm talent. He completed 59.7 percent of his passes for the Bearcats with 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Kiel struggled with interceptions when he went against good competition like Miami (FL), East Carolina and Virginia Tech though, throwing eight picks across those three games.