It’s NFL Combine week! Remember, nobody knows anything. Everyone is throwing darts at this stage. The draft is still two months away.
The Combine is immense fun for everyone (except the players, who are herded and poked and prodded like sheep), but it’s become a largely commercial process, made perfectly for TV. For players, it’s much easier to rapidly rise at the Senior Bowl than it is at the Combine. And as usual, the quarterbacks will be under heavy scrutiny in Indianapolis this week.
Four of the top six teams drafting do not have a franchise QB, and you could argue Jacksonville has a decision to make at the position as well. Could any QB in the 2017 draft change the fortunes of Cleveland, San Francisco, Chicago or the New York Jets?
Depends whom you ask. Let’s check in on where the draft guys at NFL Network and ESPN rank the QBs!
Mike Mayock (February 14):
1. DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
2. Deshaun Watson, Clemson
3. Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina
4. Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech
5. Davis Webb, California
I can’t quibble much with the Top 3 (the other two guys I’d push way down to the middle/late rounds). I’ve wrote extensively about Kizer in January. I think Watson could be on the Marcus Mariota path if he’s in the right system. I’m less enthusiastic about Trubisky because he has such a small body of work and we haven’t seen him vs many good defenses.
Todd McShay (February 14):
1. *Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina
2. *Deshaun Watson, Clemson
3. *DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
4. *Brad Kaaya, Miami (Fla.)
5. Nathan Peterman, Pittsburgh
So he’s got Trubisky and Kizer flipped. McShay also has two fresh names at 4/5.
Mel Kiper (February 15 Mock Draft):
2. Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina
10. DeShaun Watson, Clemson
I can’t find a Kiper “Top 5” so I had to go off his latest Mock Draft, which doesn’t have Kizer in the 1st round. For now, McShay and Kiper are sticking together – they like Mitch Trubisky, the QB with 13 starts. Let me point out that Johnny Manziel had 26 college starts; Carson Wentz only had 23. Mark Sanchez had 16 at USC.
Reminder: It’s early. Nobody knows anything. But expect this storyline to come up at some point this weekend: People will start to notice Kizer’s 2015 at Notre Dame was better than Trubisky’s 2016. The reason I believe the media is touting Trubisky more? Kizer lost his best WR/OL to the draft, and the Irish were an all-around dumpster fire in 2016. What might have happened to Trubisky next season at UNC? We’ll never know.
Give me Kizer in the draft.