NFL Draft: Top five QBs heading into the Combine
The NFL Scouting Combine is about to get underway in Indianapolis. This series is a look at our rankings of players at each position heading into the event. We start with quarterbacks.
Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
Recruiting: Haskins committed to Maryland in the spring before his senior season, but he always planned to take other visits. The four-star quarterback took trips to Florida and Ohio State before flipping to the Buckeyes in mid-January leading up to signing day. He canceled a trip to LSU after his pledge.
Stats: For a team that averaged more than 42 points per game, Haskins completed 70 percent of his passes for 4,831 yards with 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions this past season, and helped lead the Buckeyes to a Rose Bowl victory.
Farrell’s take: Haskins burst onto the scene for us by winning the QB MVP at our Rivals Camp Series event in Baltimore between his sophomore and junior year, and he had zero offers at the time. The offers flew in after that. He ended up as a Rivals100 prospect by showing off excellent arm strength and good touch downfield. As a top-five pro-style quarterback in the 2016 class, we liked his upside. He lifted the Ohio State passing game and became a Heisman finalist and should be the No. 1 quarterback off the board if he does well in front of scouts.
Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
Recruiting: Murray’s recruitment was full of intrigue and drama, but it eventually came down to Texas and Texas A&M, with the Aggies landing his commitment. After limited success as a freshman, Murray decided to transfer to Oklahoma and sat behind eventual No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield before winning the starting job in Norman.
Stats: The Heisman Trophy winner led an offense that averaged more than 48 points per game as he completed 69 percent of his passes for 4,361 yards with 42 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed for 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns. He decided to pass on playing professional baseball and focus on the NFL.
Farrell’s take: Murray was highly ranked, but many felt he was ranked too low, based on his amazing high school career. He was a high school legend who was impossible to beat and put up amazing numbers with his arm and feet. Now he’s one of the most dangerous players in the country and a Heisman winner. But if you told me he’d be a first-rounder in the NFL back in high school, based on his size, I would have told you that you’re crazy. And now he seems like a lock for the first round.
Daniel Jones, Duke
Recruiting: Jones put up huge numbers at Charlotte Latin, but received little to no recruiting interest and decided to walk-on at Duke. His Rivals profile shows interest from NC State, but that is all - with no offers.
Stats: The Duke quarterback completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 2,674 yards with 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions this past season. In three seasons with the Blue Devils, Jones completed just under 60 percent of his throws for 8,201 yards with 52 TDs and 29 picks.
Farrell’s take: Jones was a walk-on at Duke despite putting up big numbers in high school because he was a late bloomer and really shot up in height during his senior year. QB guru and Duke head coach David Cutcliffe saw something in him that no one else did and it paid off in a big way. He could land in Round One after zero interest out of high school.
Drew Lock, Missouri
Recruiting: Lock committed to Missouri in April of his junior year over Ohio State, Tennessee, Michigan State and others. His father and grandfather also played for the Tigers. Late pressure from Michigan added intrigue to Lock’s recruitment. According to reports, Lock said Jim Harbaugh told him he would never make it to the NFL if he chose Missouri.
Stats: Lock completed just about 63 percent of his passes this season for 3,498 yards with 28 TDs and eight interceptions, and he also rushed for six scores. In his career, he completed about 57 percent of his throws for 12,193 yards with 99 TD passes and 39 picks.
Farrell’s take: I liked Lock a lot as a high school prospect even though he was tall, skinny and needed to fill out quite a bit. He was a bit of a project because of his frame, but he had a compact release and could get some zip on his passes. Lock struggled a bit throwing downfield and that still needs improvement, although he’s come a long way. Now that he’s a 225-pounder, his arm strength has improved quite a bit from high school, and if he continues to improve, someone could take him in the first round. He didn’t kill it this year, but he hasn’t hurt his stock.
Will Grier, West Virginia
Recruiting: Grier committed to Florida following his sophomore season in high school and the Gators held on despite pushes from Auburn, North Carolina and others. He ended up winning the starting job in Gainesville, but after a failed drug test he missed half the season and chose to transfer to West Virginia.
Stats: For a team that averaged more than 40 points per game this season, Grier completed 67 percent of his passes for 3,864 yards with 37 touchdowns and eight interceptions. In one season at Florida and two at West Virginia, Grier threw for 8,556 yards with 81 TDs and 23 INTs.
Farrell’s take: Grier was always a talented kid despite being a bit thin coming out of high school and we had him very highly ranked. His route to stardom has been an interesting one, but he put up monster numbers once again for West Virginia this season. I always liked his ability to extend the play, although his mechanics have always needed some work, and I have never been a fan of his arm strength. But he’s had such a good year that he hasn’t come close to hurting himself when it comes to his draft stock.
Two to watch
Recruiting: During his junior day visit, Rypien committed to Boise State over serious interest from Washington, Washington State, Oregon State and Arizona State. His uncle, Mark, was a two-time Super Bowl champion and Super Bowl MVP who played quarterback in the NFL for about 14 years, mostly with the Washington Redskins.
Stats: Rypien completed more than 67 percent of his passes this season for 3,705 yards with 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The former four-star threw for 13,578 yards with 90 TDs and 29 picks in his Boise State career.
Farrell’s take: Rypien was a four-star coming out of high school because he could zip the ball and had excellent decision-making ability. He spurned some Power Five offers to play at Boise State, and it was a great fit for him. He’s not the tallest quarterback in the world, but he can make all the throws and could surprise at the combine.
Recruiting: A two-star quarterback from Muskegon (Mich.) Mona Shores, Jackson committed to Buffalo in the summer before his senior season over offers from Central Michigan, UConn, Eastern Michigan and Tennessee State.
Stats: This past season Jackson completed just over 55 percent of his passes for 3,131 yards with 28 touchdowns and 12 picks. He also rushed for seven scores. In three seasons with the Bulls, he completed 55.8 percent for 6,999 yards with 49 TDs and 24 interceptions.
Farrell’s take: Jackson was a tall, lanky quarterback coming out of high school who was a late bloomer and far from the polished product we see now. He can make big plays with his arm and can fit the ball into tight spots, but he does make some head-scratching throws.