The 2017 NFL Draft begins April 27, which means teams are optimistic they’ll land a quarterback to ignite their franchise.
In a twist from previous years, no quarterback stands as the definitive No. 1 prospect. There appears to be general agreement on the draft’s top 4 quarterbacks, but not is a finished product. Each will require development.
Many consider North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky as the best quarterback in the 2017 draft, but Trubisky’s lack of starting experience is troublesome. Clemson’s Deshaun Watson put on a show in leading the Tigers to the College Football Playoff national title over Alabama, but NFL teams question his passing accuracy. Experts view Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer as “high-ceiling” picks, but both players must sharpen their skills to have solid NFL careers.
Here’s an assortment of predraft rankings from experts as to which quarterbacks are the best available.
Connolly included just 4 quarterbacks in his top 75 draft prospects.
Trubisky is the top quarterback available, but analysts’ evaluations of him vary. NFL.com’s Gil Brandt has Trubisky as a top-8 overall prospect, and Bleacher Report and CBS Sports have him in the 12-14 range. However, ESPN pegs Trubisky as the No. 24 prospect, and All22’s Oliver Connolly ranked him No. 48. Trubisky is seen as a solid prospect, but observers question how high his potential is.
Watson is second in the four rankings sampled. Scouts like his character and leadership, as well as his athleticism and ability to run the ball. There are numerous questions about his accuracy, and Watson isn’t believed to have a strong arm.
Kizer and Mahomes are third and fourth, depending on the analyst. Mahomes might have the strongest arm of any quarterback in the draft. Kizer is talented and regarded as more polished than Mahomes.
From Connolly’s Big Board:
Mahomes is a gifted prospect, with a rare skill set. But he’s a full tear it down and build it back up 3-year project – akin to Aaron Rodgers when he came out of Cal. Whereas Kizer’s flaws are more likely to be ironed out in a year’s time. He’s not going to transform a franchise overnight, but he’s the most likely to in the next 36 months.
Kizer brings the physical tools you need: size, arm talent and mobility. And he pairs that with some true “quarterbacking” traits. To me, he has the best pocket coordination in this class. He’s not always on point, but he shows the ability to stick-slide-throw, a key trait for quarterbacks against interior pressure — sliding and climbing to avoid the rush. He’s also capable of delivering the ball on target from awkward body positions and arm angles.
None of these prospects is considered a sure thing. All bring a unique set of positives and negatives. Without a consensus No. 1 guy, there could be big surprises when the draft begins April 27.
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