By Charlie Campbell
Summary: During the fall, some team sources told WalterFootball.com that there were some area scouts for the west coast who had a higher grade on Davis Webb than they had given to Jared Goff a year earlier. While Goff was the No. 1-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, there were teams that had him graded much later and didn’t like him as a prospect. Still, it was nice acclaim for Webb to be graded higher than Goff and validated Webb status as am NFL prospect.
Webb started out his collegiate career at Texas Tech. He completed 63 percent of his passes there in 2013 for 2,718 yards with 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions. In his second season as the Red Raiders’ starter, he completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,539 yards with 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Webb dealt with some injuries, but Pat Mahomes won the starting quarterback job in 2015. That led to Webb transferring to California for his senior year. In 2016, Webb completed 62 percent of his passes for 4,295 yards with 37 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He was the best quarterback at the Senior Bowl, where he showed a skill set to play in the NFL.
There is no doubt that Webb has the athletic ability to be a professional starting quarterback. He has a quality arm that can make all the throws in the NFL. Webb also has flashes of pocket presence with accuracy and ball placement going downfield when operating from a clean pocket. There are also glimmers of field vision from him on occasion, but he needs to get better and more consistent in that regard. Webb’s arm could be his best quality as he can throw the deep out and challenge a defense vertically.
Webb has some mobility to pick up yards on the ground and buy time in the pocket. He won’t be a true running dual-threat quarterback in the NFL, but he has functional mobility to help move the ball.
There are a lot of areas that Webb needs to develop for the NFL, starting with some basics like working under center, operating a huddle, and developing footwork. Goff struggled with these basics as a rookie, and Webb will have the same transition.
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-determines where he is going with the ball and stares down reads. That led to interceptions and passes to well-covered receivers. When Webb sees steady pressure, he can get rattled, which affects his accuracy significantly. Webb has the tendency to get happy feet after seeing some pass rush, and that leads to poor mechanics on plays when he has a clean pocket. He looks like the kind of quarterback who could really struggle in the NFL when he faces a defense with a vigorous pass rush that harasses him consistently.
Given that Webb needs a significant amount of development, he should start out his NFL career as a backup. However, he has the physical potential to develop into a starter. In the 2017 NFL Draft, Webb could go as high as the second round and could slide as low as the fourth round.
Player Comparison: Matt Moore. Webb reminds me of Matt Moore in that they both have quality arms with some athleticism. Moore didn’t evolve into a starter, but he is one of the better backup quarterbacks in the NFL. I think Webb could end up being similar to Moore.
NFL Matches: Cleveland, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Arizona and Los Angeles Chargers
There are a lot of quarterback-needy teams in the NFL, and that will help Webb to be selected in the top half of the 2017 NFL Draft. Obviously, the Browns are in dire need of a solution to their quarterback quandary. Cleveland also is loaded with draft picks, so Webb could be in play for one of them.
The 49ers are also desperate for a starting quarterback and a face of the franchise. If John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan wait on taking a quarterback while building up the rest of the roster, Webb could be a candidate for San Francisco.
Chicago is expected to move on from Jay Cutler, which could make Webb a candidate to compete for the Bears.
Houston has a huge need at quarterback. The Texans could consider Webb on the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Saints, Chargers and Cardinals all fall into the category of teams that have aging starting quarterbacks. Each one could consider drafting Webb on the second day and grooming him to be its eventual starter.
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