NFL Combine Review: Quarterbacks

Ryan McDowell

With the NFL Combine now complete, dynasty fantasy footballers now have one more piece of data to use in their analysis of the incoming rookie class. That is what the weekend in Indy should be by the way, one more piece to the puzzle, not a defining moment for any of these players we’ve studied the past few months, or even years.

In this four-part series, I’ll review the key offensive fantasy positions, looking at players who may have helped themselves, along with some who might see their stock drop after a disappointing performance at the NFL Combine.

Let’s begin by looking at the full set of data for the quarterbacks that took part in the drills this weekend.

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NameSchoolHeightWeightArm LengthHand Size40 YardVerticalBroad3 ConeShuttle
CJ BeathardIowa602021930 5/89 3/8N/A31"9'5"N/AN/A
Joshua DobbsTennessee603321632 5/89 1/44.6433"10'2"6.754.31
Jerod EvansVirginia Tech602623233 1/89 3/84.826.5"9'4"N/A4.41
Brad KaayaMiami6040214329 3/4N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Deshone KizerNotre Dame604223333 1/89 7/84.8330.5"8'11"7.44.53
Trevor KnightTexas A&M601321930 5/89 7/84.5435.5"10'5"7.044.14
Mitch LeidnerMinnesota603422633 3/4104.9334.5"10'3"6.964.25
Sefo LiufauColorado603323233 1/210 3/45.0827"8'9"7.324.45
Patrick MahomesTexas Tech602022533 1/49 1/44.830"9'6"6.884.08
Nathan PetermanPittsburgh602422632 3/89 7/84.8231"9'2"7.144.31
Cooper RushCentral Michigan602522832 3/89 1/84.9327"8'9"7.234.47
Seth RussellBaylor603021332 1/49 5/8N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Mitchell TrubiskyNorth Carolina6021222329 1/24.6727.5"9'8"6.874.25
Deshaun WatsonClemson6024221339 3/44.6632.5"9'11"6.954.31
Davis WebbCalifornia604522933 1/89 1/44.7933"9'10"6.924.21

It can be difficult to judge the quarterback position at the Combine since many of the drills they go through simply don’t matter to most fantasy players. In fact, they don’t seem to matter to many scouts either. The real test for the quarterbacks is when they get the opportunity to throw to the wideouts who are also being evaluated. With no score designated for that throwing performance, the results and reviews can vary greatly from person to person.

This is viewed as a subpar quarterback class overall and there were a couple of comments made during the NFL Network coverage that stood out to me. First, someone (Michael Irvin, maybe?) was discussing how two years ago at the Combine, former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was the alpha male of the group, leading the entire collection of quarterbacks and eagerly claiming that role. According to the commentator, there was no one in that role this year. That may not be a deal-breaker, but I do think it goes back to the overall weakness of the quarterback class as a whole. Secondly, NFL Network’s Mike Mayock suggested he didn’t think any of these quarterbacks were worthy of being a first-round NFL Draft pick, admitting that one or more would eventually be selected in that range. Again, this suggests the lack of quality options in this group, something dynasty owners should keep in mind.

Key Players:

Deshaun Watson, Clemson

It is difficult to project exactly which of the top three quarterbacks will be the first one to come off the board next month, but most analysts pegged Clemson’s Deshaun Watson at the big winner from Combine weekend. Watson also measured in about where he was expected, at just over 6’2” and weighing 221 pounds, up from his reported playing weight for the Tigers. While Watson is not necessarily viewed as a running quarterback, he did post one of the top 40 times among the quarterbacks, which won’t hurt his stock at all. Watson has a strong chance to be the first quarterback taken in dynasty rookie drafts, but that shouldn’t happen until the late second round, at the earliest.

Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina

The question concerning Mitchell Trubisky is the limited experience he had in college, starting just one full season for the North Carolina Tar Heels. That can’t be fixed with a few throws and drop backs, but Trubisky did help himself with a good showing this weekend. Trubisky seems to have a relatively safe floor, but I’m not sure the upside, from both an NFL perspective as well as fantasy football, is there. Viewed as more of a pro-style quarterback than his top competitors, Trubisky might be the favorite to hear his name called first on NFL Draft night, but like Watson, he shouldn’t be considered inside the top 20 players in dynasty rookie drafts.

DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame

One quarterback who is tough to figure out is Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer. He played well enough early in the season to become a favorite for the top overall draft spot, but showed inconsistencies through most of the season. That up and down performance was on display again this weekend. He was among the fastest quarterbacks in the drills and is also one of the largest, measuring in at over 6’4” and 233 pounds. Kizer has the upside that Trubisky lacks, but the floor is not there. He is a true boom/bust prospect. Like the other two, I’d be targeting him in the early third round range, assuming he is selected in the first night of the NFL Draft.

Others to Watch:

Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech

If what was saw and heard during the weekend is correct, the buzz is building around former Texas Tech signal caller Patrick Mahomes, the son of a former major league pitcher. Mahomes is evidently viewed as a wild card who wants to always make the big play. While this could be viewed as both a positive or a negative, his big arm is what has NFL decision makers intrigued. Although Mahomes did put up the fastest 20-yard shuttle, the rest of his measurements, including his size, were average in comparison to his competitors. He’s a candidate to be selected early on day two of the draft and a dark horse to sneak into the first round, but shouldn’t be on dynasty radars outside of 2QB leagues.

Davis Webb, California

California’s Davis Webb, who took over as the starter when Jared Goff left for the NFL last season, is like many of the quarterbacks in the class. He does one or two things really well, but does not have the well-rounded game to make him a top choice. Webb’s above average arm strength and size were on display and caught Greg Olsen’s attention, but he has several areas he needs to improve. I view Webb as a developmental quarterback, though he is likely to be selected in the second or third round.

Brad Kaaya, Miami

Once viewed as a potential first round draft pick, Miami’s Brad Kaaya has fallen out of the discussion of the top quarterbacks in this class. While he didn’t do any of the drills, he did participate in the throwing activities and reportedly impressed scouts in attendance. Kaaya has been praised for his accuracy, but general arm strength is lacking. While he has fallen down most mock draft boards, he’s still likely to be selected on the draft’s second day, though he likely won’t be a consideration in typical fantasy leagues, barring the perfect landing spot.

Chad Kelly, Mississippi

While he was not in attendance reportedly due to a slew of off-field issues, Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly was often discussed during the coverage of the Combine. Kelly not only has the extracurricular concerns, but has also had some injury issues. Nonetheless, his huge arm has kept his name in the minds of NFL scouts. Considering the negatives in his file, it is difficult to see a team taking a chance on him before the late rounds.


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