2017 NFL Draft: Ranking Top Quarterbacks, Finding Sleepers

Top rookie quarterbacks are closer than every in the 2017 NFL Draft. Size, strength, and weakness make for great debate as we rank the quarterbacks, plus a sleeper.

No one seems sure of where the top quarterbacks will be taken in the 2017 NFL Draft. No one is even sure how many, if any, should be first-round picks. None of our NFL franchises seem (publicly) sold on any of the quarterbacks’ future in the pros. There may not be a definitive starter in the bunch. No one knows anything, yet everyone is talking about these guys.

More than one signal caller will go in round one, but who’s the best of the bunch? Who are the top three quarterbacks in the 2017 NFL Draft?

Two brothers from New York, Dan Salem and Todd Salem, discuss the 2017 NFL Draft in today’s NFL Sports Debate.

Todd Salem:

Who are your top three passers and in what order would you draft them? I’ve even got a sleeper for you.

1. Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech

My first quarterback is Patrick Mahomes out of Texas Tech. He has a great arm, mobility in and out of the pocket, and a great feel for the position. The biggest knock against him entering the NFL seems to have nothing to do with him specifically. Teams are afraid of quarterbacks coming out of spread offenses, and for good reason. They aren’t familiar with reads, audibles, or even taking a snap under center like quarterbacks from other systems. Those things don’t bother me with Mahomes as much as the other passers’ weaknesses do. I believe he is the best suited for the pros.

2. Deshaun Watson, Clemson

Deshaun Watson is my No. 2. He didn’t have a good showing at the combine. He seems to have a weaker and less accurate arm than teams would want. For the uninformed, those are bad traits. For a player with a weak arm, they need to be super accurate. For a player with accuracy issues, they need to be able to sling it and physically make all the throws. Watson essentially has both shortcomings.

Everything else about his game is pristine though. He passes the eye test, shines on tape, and feels like the best leader of the bunch. He won an awful lot and succeeded on the biggest stage. He can lead a huddle and an offense. None of those things are measured at the combine, but they are where Watson excels.

3. Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina

Third on my list, essentially from what I hear from others, is Mitch Trubisky. Trubisky had one monster season in college, and that was it. He wasn’t even all that great every game last year. And yet, he has shot up draft boards, going as high as No. 1 overall in some mock drafts. I like the talent, but projecting out his career seems worrisome. I would prefer both Mahomes and Watson to whatever Trubisky may end up being.

Sleeper: Brad Kaaya, Miami

As a sleeper at the position, I like Brad Kaaya. If given the choice, I would rather spend a fourth-round pick on Kaaya than the first-overall pick on Trubisky. The former has a quality arm and pocket presence. He isn’t an athlete or supreme decision-maker, but mid-round quarterbacks aren’t expected to be finished products. To that point, Trubisky isn’t close to a finished product either.

Dan Salem:

What, no love for your fellow alum Jerod Evans out of Virginia Tech? While he’s certainly an under the radar quarterback, we have four rookie signal callers who are about to become very well known. All four players have similar weaknesses and no solid strength that sets them far apart. That is, except my No. 1 quarterback.

1. Deshaun Watson, Clemson

My first quarterback is Deshaun Watson. Unlike our other top rookies, Watson has playoff experience and a championship pedigree. His tenure leading the Clemson Tigers was nearly flawless and he won on the biggest stage possible thus far in his career, against the toughest opponent. When all things look otherwise equal, that alone sets Watson apart on my list.

2. Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech

Patrick Mahomes out of Texas Tech is my second quarterback. The knocks on him are very similar to our other rookie passers, yet Mahomes pocket presence is a huge selling point for me. I’m not afraid of the spread offense either, and I’m not buying the hype of Kizer or my third quarterback.

3. Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina

Mitch Trubisky is my third quarterback. Everything seems to be falling just right for Trubisky, as his stock shoots up even higher. What we’ve seen looked pretty good, but his resume is too short for my comfort. The hype surrounding Trubisky is a major red flag, as it reminds me of notable busts we’ve quickly forgotten over the past decade. I’m more comfortable taking him in the second round, but he’s likely going top 10 to the Jaguars.

Two of our three top rookie quarterbacks are going to be top-10 picks in the 2017 NFL Draft, but I agree that the smarter move is to find value with a quarterback in later rounds. Too many of the teams picking in the top ten need a quarterback, so these players will be selected. Yet the value of a sleeper like Kaaya could be huge.

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