The 2017 NFL Draft is three weeks away, meaning it is time for a massive ramp up of mock drafts, rankings and projections. Let’s start with the most important position in football, which the Jets are hopefully considering, quarterback. Here is one man’s top five, their NFL comparison and where they will end up being drafted…
1. Deshaun Watson, Clemson – Watson is paying the price for starting 38 games for an elite program and going to back to back National Championship games. If you spend that much time under center, in the spotlight, you will be picked apart incessantly. You have heard it all by now: the interception total, which is comparable to many other successful NFL quarterbacks, the velocity, which is apparently the new official barometer to determine quarterback success and his receivers getting all the credit.
Watson has the arm strength necessary to succeed in the NFL, the legs to create plays when the pocket collapses and every intangible you want for the face of your franchise. He has never completed less than 67% of his passes in a season and his lowest YPA was 7.9. The teams in the top ten might overthink this but that is why they are picking in the top ten. Watson is not without his flaws but with a smart coaching staff, who plays to his strengths, he will thrive.
NFL Comparison: Somewhere between Marcus Mariota and Russell Wilson
Projected Pick: #11 to the New Orleans Saints
2. Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech – Rapidly rising up the board, Mahomes has the best physical tools of any quarterback in the draft and the highest ceiling. He also might have the lowest floor of the top tier of players at his position. Mahomes racked up 93 touchdowns, while improving his accuracy and YPA over the course of his career. He has no shortage of mechanical flaws but is a playmaker with an absolute cannon for an arm. The word “gunslinger” is annoyingly overused by football analysts but Mahomes merits the use of it.
Situation is going to be critical for Mahomes. Can he be further coached up and refine his skills? Will he be rushed on the field prematurely? He is either going to make a GM look like a genius or get one fired, it doesn’t feel like there is an in-between with him.
NFL Comparison: Somewhere between Jay Cutler and Tony Romo
Projected Pick: #12 to the Cleveland Browns
3. Mitchell Trubisky, UNC – The consensus top quarterback in the class, Trubisky is a one year starter with limited tape to pick apart. The tools are all there, despite a somewhat slow delivery. He racked up impressive stats in his only season under center (68 completion percentage, 30 TDs to 6 INTs and a 8.4 YPA). The real question is why couldn’t he beat out Marquise Williams the two years before that? You can talk around that issue all you want but it should be troubling to any team considering selecting him.
Trubisky has very good arm strength and is a better athlete than he is given credit for. Despite where I am projecting him to be selected, I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up going much higher.
NFL Comparison: Somewhere between Mark Sanchez and Kirk Cousins.
Projected Pick #23 to the New York Giants
4. DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame – In full disclosure I saw Kizer in person this year versus Stanford and that game has stuck with me no matter how much other tape I watch of him. He was so skittish and sloppy in a home game against a middling opponent, I can’t shake it. The lack of accuracy and consistency from him makes you think Brian Kelly was right when he said Kizer needed another year at school. Teams are going to fall in love with his physical tools but they better be ready to be patient with him and coach up his development.
NFL Comparison: Somewhere between Patrick Ramsey and a poor man’s Ryan Tannehill.
Projected Pick #27 to the Kansas City Chiefs
5. Nathan Peterman, Pittsburgh – No Davis Webb. No Josh Dobbs. Peterman has experience in a pro-style offense and a well rounded skill set. He isn’t off the charts in any one area but feels more pro ready than Kizer and maybe even Trubisky. Peterman is good at attacking down the field and has a strong pocket presence, despite getting sloppy with his ball handling and mechanics at times.
NFL Comparison: Somewhere between AJ McCarron and Brad Johnson
Projected #57 to the Houston Texans
Photo Credit: Clemson.com