Quarterback Conundrum: Stop Over Drafting Bad QBs

Photo: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

There is a saying in the NFL that there are two types of teams: ones that have a quarterback and ones that don't. For those that do, years can go by in the blink of an eye. Guys like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees all make it seem like yesterday that their teams were hoisting the Lombardi trophy, and the reason for that is because it's easy to picture the guys who are still around, likely because of relative success.

On the other side of that coin, those who don't have quarterbacks are doing whatever they can to find one. Free agency, the draft, investing capital into scientific research to clone one of those other guys listed above. Teams do whatever they can to get their franchise a quarterback.

Because of this, we've seen some teams make some really dumb moves when it comes to the draft. With free agency already over with, the draft really is a team's last chance to get their hands on a quarterback before the new year begins. We've seen plenty of drafts before where you just know a general manager and head coach look at their depth chart, stare at it for a few minutes and go, "ok, yeah, we're drafting a quarterback no matter what." But the game plan of "no matter what" can often get teams in trouble.

So, to give them and their fans a little help this year, I've decided to take the 10 quarterbacks who I've seen mocked the most from the 2019 class, identify where they have been mocked at, at their highest point, and then tell you the reality of where their talent should get appropriately picked -- not over drafted due to their position.

Justin Herbert, Oregon

Mocked As High As: No. 1 Overall

Reality: Top 20

Going into the season, Herbert's name was like the sun in the solar system of the Top 5 in those "way too early" mock drafts we saw this summer as the center of attention and the force in which all other names rotated around. Herbert has looked Heisman-like, at times, with mobility, arm strength, and accuracy. But he has not been consistent. Herbert is likely to not declare for this draft, it seems, and even though his No. 1 overall perch is a bit high now after the season, he would still likely be a Top 10 selection, and one that I would be fine with to take the chance on with development.

Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

Mocked As High As: Top 3

Reality: Top 20

Haskins was a late bloomer to this process, but since he really came onto the college football scene after six or so week at Ohio State, the redshirt sophomore has been mocked as high as the Top 3.

Picking a quarterback in the Top 3 has to do with situation more than talent sometimes. Haskins would be worthy of a development risk in this class, but don't think he's this "can't miss" guy. Ohio State's offense was way more athletic than any Big Ten team they faced this year, and Haskins was able to easily manipulate that. With more speed and more evenly matched game in the NFL, Haskins will certainly be in a different world.

Not to say he can't do it, just saying he's not as much of a sure thing as people think. There is still risk involved, even if he's worth a first-round try.

Will Grier, WVU

Mocked As High As: Top 10

Reality: Early Day 2

Everyone loves a gunslinger. Brett Favre, Jameis Winston; they all rope people in with their "IDGAF" mentality to chuck the pigskin 50 yards down the field and give their receivers a chance for a big play. When it works, that's all we remember.

But the realty is that you have to tame it in the NFL. Even with the two guys I just mentioned, one of them is in the Hall of Fame, but so many others that make up that prototype didn't even make it long in the league -- Winston was even benched this year.

Many saw the highlights and the ceiling of Grier and mocked him as a first round quarterback, but he just has not improved as much as you'd like with decision making. He likely wasn't going to at WVU due to their offense, so the NFL is gong to be his first real test at doing so. But that's still a big risk for a guy who has only played one way his entire career.

Drew Lock, Missouri

Mocked As High As: Top 10

Reality: Late Day 2

Lock is of the same mold as Grier. Lock has one of the best arms in the class, but the odd mechanics and simplistic spread offense he played in at Missouri make him quite the projected for the pros.

He can throw the ball a mile, and if you believe he can be the next Patrick Mahomes-like transformation, so be it. But the fact of the matter is Lock needs a lot more work with footwork, processing speed, accuracy and overall technique than Mahomes did.

I've seen Lock mocked in the Top 10, and that is a bigger risk than I think those people realize.

Jarrett Stidham, Auburn

Mocked As High As: Top 10

Reality: Day 3

Speaking of players who are big risk, let's talk about a guy who isn't even a risk; he's just bad.

Stidham was one of those quarterback whose name was consistently in and around the Top 10 of "way too early" mock drafts. I wasn't a fan of it then, and I certainly am not a fan of it now.

Even to Stidham's biggest defenders, they have to admit that he did not improve or even show he was the quarterback that they thought he was in 2018. Stidham's accuracy and consistency when pressured and with a good defense is in his face just is not NFL-level. I'd barely draft him on Day 3, let alone some of the crazy first round projections I've seen.

Daniel Jones, Duke

Mocked As High As: First Round

Reality: Early Day 3

Jones had, like, three good games early on in the season and oh my goodness did everyone jump on him as the next sleeper first round pick quarterback -- this just goes to show you how thirsty people are for the next quarterback to talk about.

Jones is a nice quarterback, but he's the perfect example of people stretching the truth. His talents have always been fringe Day 3, but because he had a couple good games and because he toughed out a shoulder injury early in the year, people wanted to make him this thing he wasn't -- thank goodness we don't hold the draft in October.

I am actually all for a team taking a flier on Jones late Day2/early Day 3. But let's chill out with the first round talk.

Ryan Finley, N.C. State

Mocked As High As: First Round

Reality: Day 3

Speaking of chilling out with the first round talk, how in the world did we get here with Ryan Finley? Oh, right, I know: Big, tall, white, box score.

Of course.

Finley is not the quarertback prospect his box score says he is. He makes some fine throws here and there, but against top tier defenses and pressure situations, he is not the quarterback he needs to be. His arm also isn't as good or as consistent as many seem to tout it as. He's a guy you might want to take a chance on during Day 3, but first round? Pass.

Tyree Jackson, Buffalo

Mocked As High As: Day 2

Reality: Day 3

Okay, now we're getting closer to a better pairing of perception and reality.

Jackson is interesting. He has a monster arm, and at 6-foot-7, I'm sure most of you figured that would be the case. But with a great arm comes great responsibility, and Jackson doesn't quite have that part down yet. Due to the size of how long his arm is, his wind-up to a throw takes a long time. It's not in and out of his hand like it can be for other quarterbacks. This affect timing and accuracy.

He'll need some mechanical work with his technique, but he did make some strides this year with taking chances down the field. He's a Day 3 guy.

Brett Rypien, Boise State

Mocked As High As: Day 2

Reality: Day 2

Finally! A prospect whose outlook is just about on-par with where his talent level is!

I studied Rypien early in the year and I just didn't think he had the arm strength or short-area accuracy to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. But as the season went on, he put together some throws that made me change my tune on him a bit. Though it isn't all there as a total package yet, Rypien has flashed some mid-level NFL starting potential. For that, he's a Day 2 guy with some developmental traits I like, and that seems to be where he is projected to the masses, too.

Jake Browning, Washington

Mocked As High As: First Round

Reality: Late Day 3

We saved the best for last.

I am sorry to put it to you this way, but Jake Browning has never been the quarterback some of you seem to prop him up to be. Browning's arm has always been very limited. And at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, his measureables match up with his limited arm. Browning has put together an impressive career in the Pac-12, statistically, but when the best competition is in front of him, he doesn't display NFL levels of execution.

I think he is far too limited to succeed as an NFL quarterback, but I've seen people mock him as a first round quarterback from stats and accolades alone.

I don't buy it -- never have.