It’s that time of year when everyone wants to do a mock draft, but I’m going to skip that and instead simply look through the top prospects at each position and suggest the sort of round they’d be worth picking in. So without much ado, this year’s QB class.
Jared Goff – 4th or 5th round – Where else to start, but with the #1 overall pick? Goff is… awkward. He’s got a good arm, and he flashes all the throws. He set a bunch of PAC-12 records. And yet… Cal sucked. That’s not entirely on him, but he basically comes out of college with a lot of meaningless yards, losing records in divisional play and no win against ranked opposition. A bowl victory against Air Force – the worst of the three armed forces teams (and none of them are good) – doesn’t add a lot of gloss. And while some of his stats (over the 60% completion mark each year) suggest he’ll be OK, compare him to Winston, Mariota, RG3, Luck (and the Ram’s last #1 pick, Bradford) and he’s clearly at least a cut below their standard. His PER was 20-30 points lower in his best season, his completion percentage 5-6% less, and his YPA much lower. And most of those guys didn’t play in Air Raid (spread offences) which serve to inflate a QB’s numbers. Most of all though, the biggest reason to hate Goff in fantasy is the Rams. Have they had a top 30 QB in the last decade? When was Jeff Fisher last in charge of a good passing offence? And where are the weapons – it’s not like there’s a first rounder next year to find them either. When it’s a positive the coach might get fired and the player might have to go through learning a whole new offence in his 2nd or 3rd year then you’re very much in troubled waters. At best Goff projects as an average QB, in a below-average offence. Draft at your peril.
Carson Wentz – 5th round – OK, so some people are impressed by his ability to read protections and switch to the run – a Centre does this in the NFL. Colour me unimpressed, I wouldn’t draft a receiver because he had a good average punt distance (although I would love him more than the rest for it). Wentz took over under centre on a team who won three FCS national championships on the back of a great defence and running game before he took over the job, and were described by some as the best FCS team in history. So far, so knock-off Alabama. Yet, nobody was creaming themselves at the thought of drafting Jake Coker, or AJ McCarron. Because they’re shit. Wentz was injured this year and played less than half of the season, and you can play a game of spot the difference when his replacement (Easton Stick – great name) came in:
|Player A||Player B|
|Yard Per Attempt||7.8||7.9|
|Yards Per Attempt||5.9||4.7|
And that’s the major concern. Ignore all the crap about reading defences etc, Wentz was no better than a back up FCS QB. I mentioned how Goff compared very unfavourably with a lot of recent top picks, there’s one he compares very favourable with – Carson Wentz. So why have a I given Wentz a similar pick to Goff? Because Goff is a better QB in a much, much worse situation. Wentz joins a rookie HC, with a very good reputation for developing and working with QBs on a team who will actually give him a shot to succeed. The fact Bradford and Chase Daniel are there muddies the waters a little, but ultimately, it’s not a bad spot to be a QB in. He’s a likely bust, but as a flier, his ceiling is higher than anyone who’s hopes and dreams get crushed by Jeff Fisher.
Paxton Lynch – Late 2nd Round – Perhaps a year from being NFL ready, and may well not be given that year, but the Broncos is a great spot to land and I have always felt Lynch was the best QB and in a couple of years there’s a good chance there’ll be questions asked about why teams with a clear need passed on the best passer in the draft. There’s some unfavourable stuff about him being a bit spacey floating round from scouts and the combine, but someone downgraded Eli Apple because he couldn’t cook and we’ve seen examples of the sorts of stupid questions that are asked, so take anything you hear from the combine with a pinch of salt. Lynch is a giant, with a good arm, but what I like most about Lynch is that he doesn’t rely on athleticism, he is elusive in the pocket (reminds me of Aaron Rodgers), and when it breaks down he keeps his eyes downfield finds space, sets and throws. He’s actually the most accurate of the main three passers (66.8%), and while he has shown a tendency to miss the odd throw that might get him in trouble in the NFL, he finished his Junior year with nearly 4,000 yards at 8.5ypa, 28 tds and only 4 interceptions with a reasonable 157.5 efficiency rating. Thems mighty fine numbers. Go on, you know you want to. And if you’re not convinced, go look at the Memphis-Ole Miss game, it’s not polished, but there’s a lot to like – especially considering it came against such a fine defence, who consistently got pressure to him.
Cody Kessler – 5th Round – I don’t rate Hue Jackson as highly as most – he’s an excellent, innovative coach, but he calls too many ‘look-at-me-I’m-so-smart’ plays – and when he says to trust him on the Kessler pick, I don’t. But Kessler is actually a very good player, so I don’t need to. 2015 was a step backwards, and I have a feeling he’d have been more highly drafted 12 months ago, but he was a three year starter who completed over 65% of passes each year (peaking at 69.7%), averaged 8.2ypa, threw 88tds to only 19ints and had a PER just shy of 170 in 2014 (156 career PER). They’re remarkably consistent numbers, and the fear would be that that’s his level, or that his size and athleticism could be issues, but he is worthy of more consideration than you might have thought.
Christian Hackenberg – Undrafted – If you’re stupid enough to touch him, you deserve everything you get. Hackenberg will get a chance in New York I suspect, and long-suffering Jets fans can reminisce about Mark Sanchez not being that bad really when he does. I’m not just predicting Hackenberg will be a bust, I’m guaranteeing it. Guys who can’t complete 60% of passes in college crash and burn in the NFL.
Dak Prescott – 7th Round – Will get a chance when Romo breaks down, he’s actually not a bad QB, with Wentz like numbers in the passing game and a better rushing game. Obviously there’s other concerns about him, which is why he dropped, but as a potential starting QB… He’s pretty good.
Connor Cook – Undrafted – Ignore the stuff his Dad’s been saying, ignoring the questions about the captaincy. There’s one reason why Cook isn’t an NFL QB – he doesn’t have the arm. A sub 60% passer, he’s not accurate, and he makes Teddy look like Ben Roethlisberger in terms of arm strength. On one level this is a shame, as Cook actually had reasonable efficiency numbers and he doesn’t turn it over much, he also has an exceptional blitz pick-up. But he’s not displacing Derek Carr anyway, so you’d be foolish to waste a pick on him.
The Rest – Undrafted – I liked both Brandons, Doughty (over 5,000 yards in 2015!) and Allen were good college QBs, but being late round picks stuck behind good, young starters in Miami and Jacksonville respectively makes their value basically zero in fantasy terms. I have no idea why the Pats wasted a third on Jacoby Brisset (beaten out for the Gators job by Jeff Driskel – and you’d have to be pretty drunk to draft him as anything other than an elaborate joke on your co-manager), and most of the others I couldn’t even remember the names of let alone give a reasonable opinion of. Cardale Jones at the Bills might be worth a thought, but only if the Bills can’t get a deal done with Tyrod Taylor, he’s not worth more than picking up after the draft and stashing on a taxi squad.
*[Player B was Wentz, Player A was Stick]