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Rivals QB Week: Recruiting analysts roundtable

As part of Rivals QB Week, our recruiting analysts answer a trio of questions relating to the most prominent position in all of sports.

RIVALS QB WEEK: Full coverage | Top QBs roundtable

1. Who is the best high school QB you've ever scouted in person?

Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson (AP)

Rob Cassidy (Southeast/Florida): As one of the youngest and more beautiful members of this staff, I didn’t scout Bart Starr or whatever Mike and Josh will say. In fact, I’ve only been at this for a few years, so it’s hard to name a “best.” I remember thinking Deshaun Watson was pretty great. Trevor Lawrence as well. I liked Josh Rosen a ton, too.

Mike Farrell (National): Josh Rosen. He had the best combination of accuracy, pocket presence, cockiness, arm strength, mechanics and the rare ability to lead comebacks while feeling zero pressure. He had it all, the best "it factor" I've seen in high school.

Adam Friedman (Mid-Atlantic): The Mid-Atlantic region isn't exactly a quarterback hotbed but the best quarterback from my region that I've scouted is Brandon Wimbush. His toughness, arm talent, leadership and success against top talent, especially his senior season, was special. Outside of my region, the best high school quarterback I've seen in person was Deshaun Watson. I loved what he could do in a 7-on-7 setting with his arm and the way he went through his progression. Those skills combined with his mobility was almost unstoppable in a game setting.

Adam Gorney (National/West Coast): I thought it was Josh Rosen because he was just light years ahead of others in terms of understanding offenses and defenses and then having the physical ability to go out there every single time and deliver precision passes all over the field. But after watching 2019 five-star JT Daniels last season just absolutely carve through everybody and then see him basically every weekend on the 7on7 circuit do the same thing, I'm going with Daniels. There have been plenty of others, too.

Josh Helmholdt (Midwest): There are a lot of ways to answer this question. Biggest arm: Ryan Mallett. Best personality: Malik Zaire. Most moxie: Tim Tebow. But, the overall best quarterback I have ever scouted in person is probably Josh Rosen. From the first time I saw him live at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge in Chicago he blew me away with how far ahead of his peers he was.

Nick Krueger (Texas): I would say that it’s a toss-up between Deshaun Watson and Deondre Francois. The times that I saw Watson play in person didn’t always result in pretty performances, but that was because he was a one-man show for his Gainesville, Ga., team. I never watched Francois play in a game, but saw him at numerous camps and was always impressed at how the ball exploded out of his hand. He might be the hardest-throwing quarterback I’ve watched while at Rivals since 2011. I really liked the demeanor of both guys as well and was happy to see that they’ve found success since I watched them in their high school days.

Chad Simmons (Southeast): Matthew Stafford was one of the first quarterbacks I saw when I was just getting into this industry part-time. He had it all. He set the bar extremely high for all the other quarterbacks I have seen since I saw the star out of Dallas (Texas) Highland Park. He still has one of best arms and quickest releases I have seen to date. When I see top quarterbacks with live arms, I catch myself comparing them to Stafford time and time again.

2. Of whom does 2018's top QB, Trevor Lawrence, most remind you?

Trevor Lawrence
Trevor Lawrence (Nick Lucero/

Rob Cassidy (Southeast/Florida): I hate comparing high school players to NFL players or even college greats. The size and arm sort of harken to a Philip Rivers type, but they aren’t exactly alike by any stretch.

Mike Farrell (National): Mike Glennon comes to mind. That may not sound like a super flattering comparison but I'm not going to go with my first thought which is Peyton Manning because that's a tad ridiculous. Glennon was tall, showed poise and good downfield vision, and had a live arm. He also had a very good football IQ and a frame that could be filled out quickly. He was a heckuva high school quarterback although Lawrence is better at same stage.

Adam Friedman (Mid-Atlantic): Lawrence seems a lot like a taller version of Andrew Luck. Lawrence's maturity, surprising mobility, football IQ and arm talent are similar to Luck's at the same age. Luck has developed a level of toughness Lawrence doesn't have yet but their abilities to distribute the ball to their playmakers and give them a chance to gain yards after the catch is similar.

Adam Gorney (National/West Coast): It's a tough comparison because he's so much leaner than NFL quarterbacks so in that sense he reminds me of Philip Rivers or possibly Mike Glennon but that hardly does Lawrence justice as to how special he could be. In all honesty, he reminds me of Peyton Manning during his younger days when he was bouncy in the pocket and then snapped the ball all over the place to receivers. Lawrence is much more athletic and versatile, though, so really it's a tough comparison to make.

Josh Helmholdt (Midwest): Does Sunshine from Remember the Titans count? No? Then I'm going to say Shea Patterson, for this reason: Both of those guys are cool as a cucumber. They never look like they are pressing and the game looks like it comes so easily to them. Their throwing styles are different and Lawrence has about five inches on Shea, but the way they approach the game is very similar.

Nick Krueger (Texas): Lawrence is an interesting guy because he’ll surprise you sometimes with a comment or action that sort of cuts back against his otherwise dry, straight personality. So on a personal level, I don’t know that I know a great comparison for him, but I think as a player, Andrew Luck is maybe a good pick. Mostly because with Lawrence, the feeling is that if he needs to make a big throw, he’s more likely to do it than not, and that’s the sort of aura Luck has as a player as well.

Chad Simmons (Southeast): Tom Brady and Lawrence have numerous similarities. More than anything, both carry themselves like champions, both work extremely hard off the field, both are self-driven to be the best and both are elite quarterbacks. Like Brady, Lawrence has won on every level he has played on. Lawrence has lost one game as a starter in high school and he has led his team to 30-0 and two state titles the last two seasons. Lawrence stands tall in the pocket, he distributes the ball well, he makes good decisions and while he plays calm, there is always that fire burning down deep.

3. Which current NFL or standout college QB did you scout in person in high school and never would have thought they'd achieve this status?

Jared Goff
Jared Goff (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Rob Cassidy (Southeast/Florida): I didn’t love Jared Goff, but he was the first pick in last year’s NFL Draft and I’m a loser that has to budget his money, so he probably doesn’t much care what I thought of him. Nothing about him screamed NFL starter as he was wildly inconsistent in high school and people questioned his arm strength.

Mike Farrell (National): Russell Wilson to me. Back when Wilson was in high school, 5-foot-10 quarterbacks were not wanted and often changed positions and there was nothing about Wilson that made me think he'd be able to dominate in college and beyond. Things have clearly changed since then when it comes to evaluating shorter quarterbacks and you can't measure heart and desire.

Adam Friedman (Mid-Atlantic): Penn State fans have heard Mike Farrell and I say this a few times. We never though Trace McSorley would be this successful at Penn State. He was a true winner in high school and put up big numbers but it always seemed like his physical limitations would catch up to him in college. That wasn't the case last season. We'll find out if he can prove us wrong again this season.

Adam Gorney (National/West Coast): Don't get me wrong, I thought Jared Goff was a terrific high school quarterback who had the chance to go to Cal and become something special but nobody could have guessed he would be the first pick in the NFL Draft when he was in high school. He was pretty lean and other quarterbacks at that time had proven to be better. But Goff went to Cal, made it work with Jeff Tedford being fired and Sonny Dykes coming in, performed brilliantly in Berkeley and now is the franchise quarterback of the Los Angeles Rams. Good for him.

Josh Helmholdt (Midwest): I can say there are few I wanted to find success more than Kirk Cousins, but to be honest I did not foresee it when he came out of Holland (Mich.) Christian High School. Cousins is one of the absolute best people I have known in life, let alone football. But, he was not near as gifted as probably 100 or more high school quarterback prospects I have scouted in 14 years. He earned everything he has through hard work and relentless determination.

Nick Krueger (Texas): I suppose you could also say Watson for this answer as well. I was in the Southeast at the time he was playing, and though it was clear that he was a top payer, I wouldn’t say that I thought he was better than Kyle Allen, who was also in his class and outshined everyone by a pretty good margin at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge in 2014. Watson didn’t throw with the most power or accuracy, but he had enough to tie together with his nose for making plays to eventually become the quarterback he is today.

Chad Simmons (Southeast): Cameron Newton still gives me credit for building his first profile each time we cross paths at 7v7 events. He is one of the biggest athletes I have ever covered, and he was more of an athlete at Atlanta (Ga.) Westlake in high school than he was a true quarterback. His success has not been a true shock, but his development as a quarterback has. He already had the size, arm and mobility, but his accuracy and decision-making has made him into who he is. He had around 40 offers coming out of high school, however all but two of those were to play tight end. That tells you how far he has come.