Draft Edition: A Sneak Peek at the '19 QB Class and Potential Fits In Washington
Updated: Mar 30, 2019
Welcome back to The Burgundy and Gold Report. As the Redskins season concludes, fans are left pondering the question, who will be the next Skins quarterback? The injuries to starter Alex Smith and fan favorite Colt McCoy complicated Washington's last to ditch effort to avoid a full rebuild. The question is who stays & who goes? The direction of this team remains a conundrum.
The thought was Smith would have surgery on his broken leg and potentially be back by September/October, unfortunately things got a lot more complicated during his first surgery. It was revealed Smith suffered a "spiral compound fracture" in which possible bone fragments were removed. An initial report came out that Smith was dealing with an infection without many details other than an inserted plate would have to be removed until the infection was rectified.
It's The Burgundy and Gold Report's stance is that Smith's injury is far worse than being reported and Smith's future is in serious doubt. The financial ramifications will be to the tune of $20 million a year. If Smith doesn't return to the field, his overall cap hit over the next 3 seasons will be over $50 million and that includes a team $12 million dollar insurance policy that reduced the hit from over $60 million.
The upcoming draft boasts some legitimate, early-mid round quarterback prospects for Washington to consider. Given Smith's cap hit, 2020 could be the year the Redskins select their next quarterback.
This quarterback class has been labeled as weak, especially after #1 ranked quarterback Justin Herbert decided to return to Oregon. Although that line of thinking has some truth, that doesn't mean the overall talent level is lacking or that Washington can't find a franchise signal caller.
The most commonly mentioned name as a possible top 10 QB is Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins. The Buckyee QB is unlikely to be around when Washington makes their first round selection. Haskins could use another year to develop, but the New York Giants with Eli Manning as a mentor seem like the possible landing spot for Haskins.
As for the Heisman winner, reports have surfaced that Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray is leaning towards playing in the NFL over pro baseball. Murray was drafted 9th overall in the MLB draft by the Oakland Athletics. Murray would have to make a decision before the NFL combine on Feb. 26th because that is the same time he needs to report to A's camp.
Per the San Francisco Chronicle Oakland is likely to allow Murray to play in the NFL while still holding his rights. This could all change prior to the NFL Combine, but Murray's small stature at 5'10" will scare off some first round quarterback needy teams. Add in the baseball issue and even a stellar combine could result in Murray sitting in the green room until round 2. As for what will actually happen it's The B&G Report's stance that a team will take a shot on Murray in the top 25, but teams should be very careful entrusting their team to Murray until he proves he's all in for the NFL.
Missouri's Drew Lock and Duke's Daniel Jones are the other possible first round candidates. Although those four will most likely hear their names called at some point in the first round the other non-heralded signal callers could be successful at the next level as well. Let's take a look at Lock and others who could be good fits in Washington.
First Round Options
QB Drew Lock, 6'4" 225 lbs Missouri (1st round Projection)
In 2017, Drew Lock became the all time SEC leader for touchdowns in a season with 44. Although Lock has less TD's in 2018 (28) he also had five less interceptions. In fact, from 2016-2018 Lock averaged over 3,600 passing yards and finished his career with 12,192 passing yards, 99 TD's with 39 ints. The Missouri quarterback has a reputation as a gunslinger, but his interception numbers show a balanced passer. Some have compared Lock to Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Although some similarities exist between the two, Lock has a long way to go to catch up to Mahomes.
*Fits the profile of a pro signal caller at 6'4" 225 lbs and has shown to be durable during his four years at Missouri
*Great pocket awareness, senses the pressure in the pocket and sidesteps defenders easily
*Has a cannon for an arm and gives his receivers opportunities to high point balls
*Fits the ball in tight windows Shows good burst and shake when he's forced to scramble
*Needs time in a pro system Low career completion 54.5% against less than stellar competition (drops by his receivers negatively affected completion percentage)
*Zeroes in on his primary receiving option too early, at times, leading to too many pass breakups
*Needs to work on his footwork while under pressure in the pocket
Although Lock has doubters, The Burgundy and Gold Report envisions Lock as a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback. At #15 overall Washington would be wise draft Lock. Blue chip receivers and defensive prospects will surely be available, but solving the quarterback issues needs to be at the forefront. Jay Gruden needs a signal caller who can go through his progressions and take the deep shots when available. No Redskins quarterback has been proficient in that category in recent memory. With Smith's financial burden it's no certainty that the Redskins will select a quarterback early, but a player like Lock makes players around him better and gives Washington an opportunity to be competitive until the rest is figured out.
Daniel Johnson, 6'5" 215 lbs Duke (1st-2nd Round Projection)
During the Independence Bowl, Jones' performance versus Temple raised some eyebrows. In fact, Redskins VP Doug Williams even attended the game. The game was a mismatch from the start, but Jones' 423 passing yards along with 5 TD's has put him in the conversation as a first round prospect. Again, its all in the eye of the beholder, but QB needy teams will surely reach with Jones as a first rounder.
One great performance can't be a measuring stick for his potential draft stock, but the word is some NFL teams are enamored with his size and potential. Jones finished the season with decent numbers (2,674 passing yards 22 TD's and 9 ints). As a three year starter, he leaves Duke with 8,201 passing yards 52 TD's and 29 ints. Jones is also an underrated athlete who accrued 1,323 rushing yards with 17 TD's during his career at Duke.
*Fearless in the pocket and willing to stand tall to make the completion
*Not affected by bad weather conditions and utilized his scrambling ability in such games
*Accurate in short & intermediate passes when given time to survey the field
*Footwork needs a lot work
*Jones relied on his receivers athleticism too often and lacks timing & anticipation
*Took a ton of unnecessary hits while at Duke
*Lacks deep ball accuracy and doesn't use his lower body as he should when stepping into throws
*Too often relies on his receivers to get wide open down field, otherwise has issues getting the completion
*Rushing totals are misleading and often due to defensive breakdowns on many occasions
*Jones will not outrun defenders in the NFL
In 2018, Jones became only the third ACC quarterback to throw for over 300 yards and rush for over 100 yards in multiple games. His upside is undeniable, but his rushing numbers are largely due to the level of competition. He won't be a dual threat on the next level and the speed of NFL defenders will limit his ability. Although Redskins' Vice President Doug Willimas might be enamored with Jones' upside, in the end his lack of deep ball accuracy makes him a first round reach and a bad fit in Washington.
Day Two Option
Will Grier, 6'2" 221 lbs West Virginia University (2nd-4th round grade)
The Mountaineer signal caller had a great statistical season throwing for 3,864 passing yards with 37 TD's with only 8 ints. Grier leaves WVA with 7,354 passing yards 71 TD's and 20 interceptions. Grier also accumulated 1,204 passing yards 10 TD's and 3 ints during his freshman year at Florida University.
*Shows a quick release after the snap
*Accurate passer Shows excellent pocket presence
*Although not the quickest athlete, can gain yards with his feet when the play breaks down
*One of the best 2019 prospects at selling play-action
Tested positive for steroids in 2016 Lacks elite arm strength Has issues versus the blitz/stunts Played exclusively in a shotgun spread offense at WVA and will need time to adjust to taking snaps under center and pro play calling
Bottom line Grier is a gamer. He's been comped to Cincinnati Bengals QB Andy Dalton. The comparison is fair, but Dalton's football IQ as rookie isn't comparable. Grier certainly showed he could play at a high octane level, but the WVU quarterback needs a lot of help before he's ready to operate under center. It's possible Grier could end being selected in the late stages of round two, but the third round seems like a more realistic spot based on the prospects limitations. Grier would certainly be an upgrade over McCoy and a solid pick up if available in round three.
Small School Prospects
Easton Stick, 6'2" 221 lbs N.Dakota State Univ (5th round-UDFA Projection)
Stick might not be a household name, but the NDSU quarterback will attempt to jump to the pro level after setting school records with 11,216 total yards (8,693 passing 2, 523 rushing) 129 total touchdowns (88 through the air & 41 rushing). Many scouts have Stick as a mid-late round selection. The NDSU QB backed up current Philadelphia Eagles' QB Carson Wentz and absolutely obliterated Wentz's career numbers (5,115 passing yards and 45 TD's) en route to an undefeated 2018-2019 season.
The Bison quarterback's highlight reel is like watching a video game. NFL teams are utilizing their play-makers athleticism, most notably Saints backup quarterback Taysom Hill. Stick offers a ton of upside for a creative signal caller.
*A play-maker with the ball in his hand
*Dangerous when leaves the pocket Should run in the low 4.6's during his pro day/combine
*Has a quick release high football IQ
*Can telegraph passes at times
*His arm strength is good not great
*Needs to be more patient in the pocket
*Has as a tendency to scramble when open receivers are running free downfield Never played against an elite college defense
Although the former Bison signal caller didn't get an invitation to the Senior Bowl, he'll attend The East West Shrine game. Some in the scouting community expect Stick to showcase his impressive 4.6 speed as an option quarterback, but also show he can make all throws needed to be an NFL QB. The former NDSU quarterback would be a good fit in Washington. When all is said and done, Stick should end up being selected somewhere in the third round despite his projection.
At 6'2 Stick isn't making GM's salivate like they did over his former teammate Carson Wentz. Would another three inches make a difference? As previously mentioned Stick shattered Wentz's passing & rushing numbers and has shown to be durable during his collegiate career. Stick could be a surprise if used in the right system. With Alex Smith's career in Jeopardy and Washington on the hook for his substantial cap hit, using a third round flier on the former Bison signal caller might be Washington's best plan of action. The Redskins could still turn around and use a first round on a quarterback next year which is considered to be a "superior quarterback class".
Tyree Jackson, 6'7" 245 lbs Buff University (4th-5th Round Projection)
While at Buffalo, the redshirt junior played in an aerial offense with RPO concepts. But don't mistake it, Jackson is a pocket QB. Although he can make plays with his feet, his best attribute is his arm strength. It's yet to be determined how Jackson would fare in an NFL setting. However, one thing that is for certain is that Jackson's arm strength will get him a pro roster spot, even if only a developmental prospect.
Jackson had his best year in 2018 throwing for 3,131 yards 28 TYD's and 12 ints. The MAC Offensive Player of the Year has the opportunity to be an excellent signal caller the next level finishing his career with 6,999 passing yards 49 TD's and 24 ints.
*Cannon for arm and can drive the ball downfield
*Excels and does well when prompted to leave the pocket
*Throws with accuracy on the run
*Can be the best player on the field when he wants to be and good coaching on the next level will be key
*Quick & decisive with RPO and zone read s
*As big as Jackson is he'll benefit from a pro weightlifting regimen because his size could be the key to making on an NFL roster
*Footwork needs a lot of work and often throws off his back foot
*Level of competition is a concern
*Needs to show more urgency in his backpedal and throw with more anticipation
*Can struggle reading defenses
*Raw throwing mechanics
*Decision making needs to improve- too many bad throws
*Jackson announced he'll forgo his final season of eligibility
*Some scouts have mentioned another year would be beneficial
Team fit will be imperative. It's the Burgundy and Gold Report's prediction that a team could reach on Jackson using a 3rd rounder on him. Where he actually belongs is in the 5th round. Although Gruden could be in his final year, using a 5th round flier on a developmental quarterback would be in this team's best interest. A scenario in which they land Lock somewhere in the 1st round and have Jackson fall in their lap in the 5th round would be a best case scenario
Time and time again, when it comes to the quarterback position, the Redskins assemble their roster without an eye towards the future. Jackson would be worth the extra roster spot as a 5th round developmental QB. It's likely McCoy will be the 2019 starter, but lasting more than 8 games seems to be asking too much.
The draft process is in the early stages, but unheralded prospects such as Cen. Connecticut QB Jacob Deluga, Northwestern U's Clayton Thorson and Vanderbilt signal caller Kyle Shumer, just to name a few, will be on The Burgundy and Gold Report's radar throughout the draft evaluation process.
Thanks for checking out another B&G Report. Stay tuned for more draft prospect evaluations and potential fits in Washington as the Senior Bowl quickly approaches.