NFL Draft 2017: Ranking the top 10 quarterbacks

Sep 17, 2016; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) looks to pass in the first quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 NFL draft will have a good talent of pool of quarterbacks for teams to possibly find their franchise piece. 

In past NFL drafts, 31 times a quarterback has been the number one overall pick. Since 2001, there have been 12 quarterbacks taken with the number one overall pick. This year could go down that same path. The Cleveland Browns currently own the number one pick, and Cleveland taking a quarterback could be a possibility.

When it seems that a quarterback could be taken number one overall, there tends to be two that are above the rest. In recent history this has been the case with: Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, as well as Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. One was taken first and the other was taken second overall.

This could be the case again this year with Mitch Trubisky and Deshaun Watson. While they probably won’t go one and two back to back, there is a possibility that one of them could be taken as the number one overall pick.

The quarterback pool in this year’s NFL draft is somewhat deep. There is a lot of should be NFL ready talent at the top and a lot quarterbacks that with some help could turn into a good pick way down the road.

Only time will tell if these quarterbacks will make it as an NFL player, with that being said, here is a look at the top 10 quarterback prospects of the 2017 NFL draft.

Dec 3, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence (90) sacks Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Jerod Evans (4) during the second half of the ACC Championship college football game at Camping World Stadium. The Clemson Tigers defeat the Virginia Tech Hokies 42-35. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

10

Jerod Evans

Quarterback, Virginia Tech

Starting the list off is the Virginia Tech QB, Jerod Evans. He is not the biggest name QB that could be taken in the draft, but he has a decent upside.

In his one and only year at Virginia Tech, Evans threw for 3,552 yards with 29 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He also ran for 759 yards and 10 touchdowns. He led Virginia Tech to the ACC championship game and also to win over Arkansas in the Belk Bowl.

Evans is a very good runner for his position. At the combine he posted a 40 time of 4.80. Aside from that his game needs some work. His accuracy isn’t totally their and at times his play making isn’t always there either.

Many were surprised that he would leave after only one year. He may not be ready to be an NFL QB yet. He has an interesting skill set and it will be interesting to see if any team takes a chance on him late. Odds are he will be taken toward the end of the draft and he may not be taken at all.

Dec 30, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Joshua Dobbs (11) runs for a first down during the second half against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

9

Joshua Dobbs

Quarterback, Tennessee

I’ve seen Dobbs rated higher on other lists, but it is hard for me to put him any higher than at ninth. He has certain skills, but there is still a lot missing.

He was the starter for Tennessee for two and half years. In 2016 he had 2,946 passing yards with 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Over his whole career, Dobbs threw for 7,138 yards, 53 touchdowns and 29 interceptions.

His greatest strength is in his mobility. He can keep plays alive with his legs. Dobbs ran a 4.64 40 yard dash time, which was the second fastest of all QB’s at the combine.  He is a very smart man and he should be to gage an NFL offense.

The problem is that Dobbs isn’t a real consistent player and his play can be undisciplined at times. He will make bad throws at times. He would be an interesting prospect for a team if they are willing to put the time in on him and if he is willing to possibly change some mechanics.

Sep 5, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive end Josh Sweat (9) pressures Mississippi Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly (10) during the first quarter at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

8

Chad Kelly

Quarterback, Ole Miss

Chad Kelly is one of those players where he has more negatives than positives. Yet his overall football ability may allow him to escape from those problems.

As most followers of college football know, Chad Kelly is the nephew of hall of fame QB Jim Kelly. In 2016 Kelly threw for 2,758 yards and 19 touchdowns before missing the final three games of the season. His numbers were way down from the year prior.

What Chad Kelly does do well is in his movement, and his strong arm allows him to make very impressive throws. When it goes right for Chad Kelly it all goes right. Pressure doesn’t seem to affect him at all. On the football field he can be a dominate force. Off the field is where he struggles.

As a freshman he was dismissed from Clemson because he threatened to shoot up a bar. He has been photographed with marijuana, and has gotten into fights. He is very immature at times and has had to deal with major injuries as well. Over his college career he has torn both of his ACL’s.

If Kelly is able to stay healthy and stay out of trouble he could be a diamond in the rough for some team. But those are both big if’s. Right now he is probably a fifth round pick or later.

Dec 28, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya (15) warms up before the start of the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Russell Athletic Bowl at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

7

Brad Kaaya

QB, Miami

Brad Kaaya led the Miami Hurricanes to a nine win season that went as follows: four straight wins, followed by four straight loses, followed by four straight wins and a bowl win over West Virginia.

Kaaya showed that he can be accurate with the ball in 2016. He posted a 62.0 percent completion percentage on the year. Kaaya threw for 3,532 yards, 27 touchdowns, and also only had seven interceptions.

What is most impressive about Brad Kaaya is his understanding of football offenses and of the defense’s that he looks at. The arm strength isn’t all there for him, but he can make tight throws when he needs to.

His accuracy seems to be a big strength as well, but there are some things he will need to clean up. He does not handle pressure as well as an NFL-ready QB should. This can jeopardize his consistency. As he moves on to the NFL he will need to be as consistent as possible.

Kaaya won’t be all that high on a lot of draft boards. I see him falling into the mid fourth round.

Dec 28, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Nathan Peterman (4) throws the ball during 2nd half of The Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Northwestern defeats Pittsburgh 31-24. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

6

Nathan Peterman

QB, Pittsburgh

Nathan Peterman is a quarterback who I see as being underrated. His stats may not be all that flashy, but he is very smart and makes the correct reads.

In 2016, Peterman threw for 2,855 yards and threw 27 touchdowns. He started two years for Pittsburgh and in his time there he threw for 5,236 yards and 47 touchdowns. He only threw 17 interceptions in that time as well.

Although Peterman’s arm isn’t the strongest, he is able to work around that and still be effective. He is able to see the play develop in front of him and make the correct throw.

Peterman could be NFL ready right now. He can move in the pocket but at times that has gotten him into trouble. When on the move he doesn’t throw the ball the same. If he can adjust, he could be a solid NFL QB. I see him going somewhere between the third and fifth round.

Oct 29, 2016; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer (14) looks to throw in the first quarter against the Miami Hurricanes at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

5

DeShone Kizer

QB, Notre Dame

Only time will tell if DeShone Kizer’s former coach, Brian Kelly, was right about him needing to come back to school. Kelly did not think Kizer was totally prepared for the NFL yet. Is that really how he felt or did he just want Kizer to come back?

Nonetheless, Kizer declared for the draft. It was an overall tough season for Notre Dame and Kizer. Kizer threw for 2,925 yards and 26 touchdowns. His completion percentage and QB rating both dropped from the previous year. Yet his stats were still pretty solid.

What makes Kizer an interesting prospect, is that he is viewed as a very consistent QB in the draft.  He also has the size to be an NFL QB. He is 6’4 and ran a 40 time of 4.83. His mobile abilities also don’t hurt. Mix that in with his 6’4 frame and he can be a big threat.

His legs will give him the ability to keep plays alive and his arm strength is pretty good as well. Kizer has the ability to develop into a starter one day. I don’t see him as a guy who will be starting week one right now though. In the end he still needs to develop. I think he will go no later than the third or fourth round of the draft.

Nov 5, 2016; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears quarterback Davis Webb (7) passes the ball against the Washington Huskies during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

4

Davis Webb

QB, California

Davis Webb played behind Jared Goff in 2015, and in 2016 he was the full time starter. In his year as the starter, he put up very impressive numbers.

Webb originally was at Texas Tech, where as a freshman he gained the starting job over now Oklahoma QB, Baker Mayfield. After Patrick Mahomes II took the job from Webb, he transferred to California. Last year he threw for 4,295 yards to go along with 37 touchdowns.

At 6’5 Webb is a big guy and that does limit his running ability. He has a big arm that is one of his best strengths. While the big arm does allow him to make some great throws, it is his non-football traits that make him an attractive prospect as well.

Webb has been seen as a great leader for his team. Like most, all he wants is to get better. Webb does need to work on his ability to move more fluidly. That was a problem for him last year.

He has a mind for the game and if given the right chance, he should be able to prove himself in the NFL. Webb has the talent to be a second or third round pick.

Sep 19, 2015; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Mahomes II (5) looks to pass in the fourth quarter against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Texas Tech defeated Arkansas 35-24. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

3

Patrick Mahomes II

QB, Texas Tech

Patrick Mahomes II has the biggest arm out of all the QB’s in the draft. It’s not a big surprise since his father was an MLB pitcher for six different teams in 11 years. Arm strength runs in the family.

Mahomes II led the FBS in 2016 in passing yards with over 5,000 (5,052). He ended the year with 41 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions, giving him a TD to INT rate of 4.1. That is almost two points higher than Deshaun Watson (2.4). In his three years at Texas Tech he threw for over 11,000 yards, 93 touchdowns, and only 29 interceptions. Mahomes II doesn’t make many mistakes.

There is one problem that may hold teams back from Mahomes II. He played a spread style offense almost 100 percent of the time at Texas Tech. He took snaps primarily out of the shotgun. This could mean that teams that primarily play a pro-style offense may be a bit hesitant to have him playing under center.

Mahomes II has the tendency to play a little reckless as QB. This can work for some very well, like Aaron Rodgers and his ability to make something out of a broken play. There is no saying how it will work for Mahomes II in the NFL just yet.

I am not sure if he is a first round pick. I think it may depend on how early other QB’s like Watson and Trubisky get taken. With that being said, I don’t see him going any later then very early third round and most likely in the second round.

Dec 31, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) scrambles away from Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Tyquan Lewis (59) at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

2

Deshaun Watson

QB, Clemson

Watson is a two time Heisman finalist and 2016 national champion with the Clemson Tigers. He developed his passing ability more in 2016.

With guys like Mike Williams and Artavis Scott to throw to, Watson took a step back from running and became more a pocket passer. That development will help him in the NFL.

He ended the 2016 season with 4,593 passing yards and 41 touchdowns. In his three years at Clemson, Watson accumulated over 10,000 passing yards and threw for 90 touchdowns. Meanwhile he only ran for 629 yards in 2016. He had run for over 1,000 the year before.

Watson has a good motion when throwing the ball and his ability to run will give him an extra skill that the other QB’s in the draft may not completely have. The ability to run will also allow him to keep plays alive. An extra ability his legs provide for him. He will need to keep his interception total down as he moves on to the NFL.

Deshaun Watson is a great leader. There is no doubt about that. By just watching him lead Clemson to the national championship you can see that. It is in the character of the person that he is. Sometimes it is the non-football skills that allow QB’s to really be successful. To me, Watson is a first round pick and could be taken in the top 10.

Sep 17, 2016; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) looks to pass in the first quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

1

Mitch Trubisky

QB, North Carolina

Trubisky lands as QB 1 for the 2017 NFL draft. Although he only started one year at North Carolina, his one year showed that he is an NFL ready talent.

His greatest strength is his accuracy with the football. Trubisky’s 68.0 percent completion percentage was the best in the ACC and sixth in the FBS. With Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson in the same conference taking away a lot of the spotlight, it is an impressive feat.

On the year, Trubisky threw 30 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. He didn’t throw his first interception until he had already thrown 13 touchdowns. Almost half of his season total. His touchdown-to-interception ratio was 5.0. The normal for an elite status NFL QB falls around 3.5.

He ended the year with a passer rating of 157.9, and set single-season records for passing yards (3,748), passing touchdowns (30), and total offense. Trubisky ended with over 4,000 yards of total offense.

Trubisky’s arm strength and accuracy have him in a very good position come draft day. It is looking more and more like he will be the first QB taken off the board. He is a first round talent and shouldn’t slip past the first round.

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