The 2017 NFL Draft is devoid of a top-level quarterback, that much became clear on Saturday. This class of signal-callers went through their workouts in Indianapolis at the NFL’s Scouting Combine and while some guys improved their stock, no one stood out. In any other year, no one in this group would be considered a likely first-round pick.
Mitchell Trubisky (he’s no longer “Mitch”) is the consensus top QB in this class, but while his footwork was improved this weekend, he didn’t stand out. Trubisky did fine in throwing drills, but did nothing to separate himself from the pack. In fact, it could be argued that Deshaun Watson looked far better than the North Carolina product and inserted himself into the “top quarterback in this class” discussion.
Watson was sharp in drills and ran 40 times of 4.68 and 4.67, which would allow him to be considered an “athletic” quarterback. Still, when you watch tape on Watson, the flaws are there. He has bouts of inconsistency and inaccuracy, he floats the ball when throwing deep and he doesn’t drive it down the field with consistency. He’s experienced, which gives him a pretty high floor, but his low ceiling doesn’t make him enticing.
Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes flashed a huge arm and outstanding physical skills (despite a 4.8 40 time). He’s athletic (though not a runner) but his awkward delivery and tendency to scramble in the pocket and not set his feet hold him back. As stated, he has a tremendously strong arm, so someone will fall in love with him, but he’s nothing close to a first-rounder.
Deshone Kizer measured in at 6’3″ and 233 pounds while running at 4.84 40-yard dash — which were all solid numbers — but in college he was so inconsistent you can’t rate him as elite. Kizer has a solid arm and can hit passes outside the numbers with solid rpms and zip on them. The issue is his lack of accuracy and, as mentioned, consistency. His footwork can also be an issue and all of those issues showed up on Saturday. Kizer strikes me as a guy who likely needed another collegiate season to iron out all of his issues.
Those are just a few of the guys who worked out on Saturday, but no one else jumped up and looked like someone worthy of the “franchise quarterback” tag.
People who believe Trubisky or others are worthy of a top 10 pick are falling victim to a classic problem. They are comparing these guys to each other instead of past quarterbacks in similar situations. When matching Trubisky against Watson, Kizer and Mahomes, sure, he looks like the best of the bunch. But that doesn’t automatically mean he’s a franchise quarterback or even one of the 10 best players in this draft.
Some classes just don’t have top-level quarterbacks. It’s that simple. For example, in 2011 Cam Newton went No. 1 and was far and away the best QB in the draft. Then teams compared a few other guys to the rest of the class and decided to reach for them. Jake Locker (No. 8), Blaine Gabbert (No. 10) and Christian Ponder (No. 12) all went in the top 15, and all wound up as busts. They were taken because teams were desperate for quarterbacks and reached for guys who looked good compared to the others available. Locker, Gabbert and Ponder had massive, easily identifiable flaws that wound up being ignored. I guarantee the same thing will happen this year.
Unless something crazy changes, the 2017 draft class has no game-changing talents at quarterback. Sure, one of the guys might wind up being a solid starter, but as of now it doesn’t look like there are any long-term stars at the position.