There is usually fierce debate surrounding the quarterback class of any draft. This year, however, there seems to be a general consensus among the top four prospects. Then there are questions surrounding the viability of the other quarterbacks. After hours of studying plenty of prospects in the 2020 class, here is how I ranked the top 10 quarterbacks of this draft class.
1. Joe Burrow
There are real questions about Joe Burrow’s arm strength, inflated production in Joe Brady’s offense, and LSU’s surrounding talent. The first concern is a notable due to how important arm strength is in the NFL, but Burrow compensates that by having an innate ability to work in the pocket, go through progressions, and work outside of structure.
The consensus comparison seems to be Tony Romo and while there are similarities, the one that stands out even more is Matt Ryan. Ryan is a high floor quarterback who will typically succeed despite the talent around him, but in order for him to become elite like he was in 2016 he needs a strong offensive mind and talent supporting him.
Projection: Top three player in the entire class
Game on the line 3rd & 17. Joe Burrow onions! pic.twitter.com/L62HPUYuoH— Billy M (@BillyM_91) September 8, 2019
2. Tua Tagovailoa
The former Alabama star is one of my favorite prospects in this class. I can’t ignore the medical concerns, which is why he ends up behind Burrow. Tua’s game is built on timing, anticipation, and pocket movement. Like Burrow, Tua also benefited from a strong supporting cast and his arm strength isn’t going to wow evaluators.
Tua’s ability to look off safeties showed time and time again during his two years as the Bama starting quarterback.
Tua has a pretty good ability to look off safeties and then turn his shoulders to his target. Drops a nice one to Jeudy deep between the hashes pic.twitter.com/ZMUXgIffRm— Billy M (@BillyM_91) January 20, 2020
The one area that separates Tua from his peers is anticipation. I’ve long been a believer that once players reach the pros, it’s very rare to coach this aspect.
Tua's anticipation is ridiculous. The ball is out of his hand while Waddle is still going through his out breaking route. Also excellent placement pic.twitter.com/Imt3atB9qt— Billy M (@BillyM_91) January 20, 2020
I don’t consider myself to be a medical expert, but Tua has a lengthy injury history which should be a concern.
Projection: Top 10 prospect in the class
3. Justin Herbert
Herbert is consistently an enigma. He has the prototypical size, arm strength, and build that old school scouts crave. When most people hear those buzz words, they are taken back to prospects like Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker Blake Bortles, E.J Manuel, and Paxton Lynch. My initial impressions of Herbert in the Fall weren’t favorable, but after re-watching his tape recently I didn’t hate him as much as I assumed.
Herbert to Breeland down the seam for the TD pic.twitter.com/sqPJDhMlzh— Billy M (@BillyM_91) September 8, 2019
Herbert benefited from a strong offensive line at Oregon, but Marcus Arroyo’s scheme didn’t do him many favors. His arm talent to all levels of the field are constantly on display. In addition, it was curious why Oregon’s offense rarely used Herbert’s legs outside of his final game. With all that said, he has clear flaws too. Herbert rarely showed the ability to create outside of structure and his anticipation was inconsistent.
An offensive scheme that prioritizes play-action is the offense Herbert has a chance to flourish in.
Projection: 1st round pick
4. Jordan Love
The strangest comparison I’ve seen this draft cycle is the Jordan Love to Patrick Mahomes comp. Love has some interesting traits, but his 2019 season was very poor. He is the ultimate boom or bust prospect. There is no middle ground. He has the athleticism, arm strength, and ability to create outside of structure which will appeal to teams. His decision making was questionable in 2019. Granted he played in a new offense, but his performance under pressure and throws into tight windows were all below average.
There is upside to his game, but teams should be careful about overvaluing his past work.
Projection: Second round pick
5. Jalen Hurts
There aren’t many quarterbacks who can lead multiple programs to the college football playoff during their career, but Jalen Hurts is one. His intangibles are well known. Those same qualities will endear him to an NFL staff too.
Hurts has issues with his anticipation and pocket movement, but his value as a runner coupled with his average passing skill set makes him a solid backup to potential NFL starter.
Projection: Second-third round pick
6. Jacob Eason
Jacob Eason has the strongest arm in this class. He can rip throws into tight windows, throw it 50-60 yards, and his deep accuracy is good.
Eason's arm strength has some high end velocity. Rips this throwjust before the safety can converge pic.twitter.com/ecYv1EyybB— Billy M (@BillyM_91) February 1, 2020
The compliments for Eason likely end there. The former five-star recruit has a poor sense of pressure and as a result his ability in the pocket suffers.
And this pick 6 shows his bad qualities. Doesn't set his feet, fades vs pressure, and late pic.twitter.com/63zgz4pQmR— Billy M (@BillyM_91) February 1, 2020
Projection: Third round pick
7. Jake Fromm
Jake Fromm’s game reminds me of Aaron Murray, who was also a Georgia alum. Fromm was an effective game manager for the Bulldogs, but his lack of arm strength and inability to work within the pocket are red flags.
Jake Fromm, what in the world is this? Ill-advised decision from the get-go. pic.twitter.com/qulGTGelmL— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) October 12, 2019
Fromm can have a similar career arc to Chase Daniel, but teams shouldn’t be investing in his talent too early.
Projection: Fourth round pick
8. Jake Luton
Luton is the one Day 3 quarterback who has intrigued me more than others. He has a rocket arm to threaten tight windows, but he can run into issues when he’s asked to create out of structure.
Some really nice anticipation and arm strength by Jake Luton to hit Isaiah Hodgins pic.twitter.com/5ocex1Rb66— Billy M (@BillyM_91) April 3, 2020
His career arc from Idaho, community college, and then to Beaverton showed constant improvement. He offers a solid backup quarterback skill set on Day 3.
Projection: Day 3 pick
9. Anthony Gordon
Gardner Minshew’s success as a late rounder will force teams to search for the next guy. Gordon replaced Minshew at Washington State seamlessly. His 48 passing touchdowns were the second-most in NCAA football, just behind Joe Burrow. Gordon will have to answer for his inflated production in Mike Leach offense, but with Minshew’s recent success teams could see Gordon as a similar prospect.
Projection: Day 3 pick
10. Tyler Huntley
Huntley isn’t getting the fan fare of other Day 3 quarterback prospects, but his metrics paint him in a positive light. Sharp Football’s Dan Pizzuta has been hyping him as an undervalued prospect in this class and he’s right. Huntley doesn’t have great physical traits, but he can extend plays with his feet and he’s an efficient passer.
Drafting quarterbacks is typically a crap shoot, especially on Day 3 of the draft. Huntley’s profile as a passer and runner deserve to be mentioned.
Projection: Day 3 pick
What do you think, Panthers fans? Do any of these quarterback prospects stand out to you?