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How To Scout A Quarterback: Final Rankings & Evaluation

The final part of @blakemurphy7’s scouting series, including his rankings of the 2017 QB Prospects

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Well it’s been a long, arduous process but 2017 NFL Draft week is finally here.

To commemorate this occasion, I wanted to compile all of the past articles and scores from my “How the pros scout a QB” articles and put them into one place to paint a more complete picture, as well as rank the quarterbacks, both by using these statistics to back up what I’ve seen and believe from their film.

Remember that a player’s tape, to NFL scouts, is who they are ultimately, and the other details are what give context to that tape and, subsequently, that grade. The goal of this method of scouting is less to highlight a player’s extreme highs but more to find “red flags” and areas that could be major weaknesses that eliminate success at the next level.

For example, a low completion percentage often backs up an inaccurate quarterback, or having a bad TD-INT ratio could show that a player turns the ball over too often.

With that refresher out of the way for those of you reading for the first time, here are the links below to my previous stories from this season, with two big additions:

-Originally, I did not have Tennessee QB Josh Dobbs ranked inside my top 10 quarterbacks. After much consideration (and running his numbers) I believe he could not be excluded, and you’ll find the past stories have all been updated to include him.

-Secondly, I was missing access to some injury information when I wrote up my velocity/injuries article, including some more injuries I wasn’t aware of for Patrick Mahomes and a few others. That article has been updated as well with these new facts.

Rather than list every individual statistic for each quarterback, (that’s what the articles are for) I’ll provide the total number of check-marks to categories so you can see how many of the NFL scouting boxes a quarterback prospect checked off versus how many they did not, incorporating all the details from my previous articles on the topic.

The idea is that the more boxes checked, the less likely that quarterback has a risk of busting at the next level.

One area to note: as I detailed in my article on the “Parcells Rules”, I don’t believe that with the new CBA, having a straight “23 wins” or starting for 3+ seasons and being a Senior is as important as it used to be. That said, I do believe that graduating is still important (as it shows an importance on studies as well as can help measure a quarterback’s desire & willingness in their education) but it’s not more important.

This spreadsheet/chart will be below for your viewing pleasure at the end of the article.

And after a lengthy introduction, let’s begin, counting down from the 11th ranked Quarterback to the top one:

11. C.J. Beathard—7/15 Murf Metric

Grade: 4.6—Camp Player

Round: Priority UDFA

Beathard’s a quarterback who, all said and done, is just a college QB. He’s had issues with a bad back and doesn’t have the physical tools or ability to compete at an NFL level. Maybe as a developmental long-term backup he could see a 3rd roster spot in the right position, but this is a deeper QB class and those players are out every year.

10. Chad Kelly—7/15 Murf Metric

Grade: 4.9—Potential

Round: Undraftable, UDFA Priority Free Agent?

Kelly’s on-field and physical overall grade is somewhat incomplete as he has had to battle injuries and a transfer but all in all while he has a ton of physical potential, he didn’t rate as highly in my metric as even I thought he would.

The fact that he’s had 2 ACL tears on the same knee and a boatload of off-field concerns will likely sink him on draft day, not to mention his having to adapt to an NFL playbook. I don’t see him being taken on draft day, but he’ll have maybe a team or two who invite him to camp based on his physical gifts. If they’re willing to put up with the rumors about his off-field. What’s notable=he did test out better than Jay Cutler would have in my Murf Metric.

9. Nathan Peterman 9/15 Murf Metric

Grade: 6.4: Backup player

Round: 4-5

Peterman, in my opinion, is nothing more than a decent backup. While his character and height are what the NFL looks for, and he’s not really “lacking” in anything, he doesn’t really do anything special. But, what he does do is pass the physical threshold (outside of velocity) for most NFL teams and there will be teams who probably take him on Day 2, even if he should be a guy who goes later.

8. Joshua Dobbs 10/15 Murf Metric

Grade: 5.9—Adequate Backup

Round: 4th-5th

I had a late look at Dobbs and liked a lot of what I saw overall as a quarterback. He has experience and tore it up in the SEC and is a smart, high-character guy who proved to be pretty durable.

But while he’s the most athletic QB in this class (per the Combine) and is special as a runner, as a passer? He’s unpolished and just doesn’t have the drive on the ball that’s needed for the NFL. I could see a team liking his efficiency looking at him in the 4th round similar to guys like Dak and Kirk Cousins, and he may get those comparisons. But I don’t think he’s nearly the passer they were.

Still, he’ll go higher than most expect. Also this is one of the few areas I have with a player who’s Murf Metric is behind another player, who I have a higher grade to, which is:

7. Deshone Kizer 9/15 Murf Metric

Grade 6.9—Production dependent on strength of opposition

Round: 4th

This will likely be my hottest take that I give all season, even if I don’t fully agree that I should be having Kizer this low.

He has more upside and has done more in his time starting, in my opinion, than the likes of Dobbs, Peterman or even Webb. But Kizer didn’t test well in a few key areas: most notably accuracy and his turnover ratio. That said, he did pass the filter I have for a starting percentage.

He also left school earlier than he likely should have and while some have bashed his character, from what I have read and seen I chose to give him the benefit of the doubt rather than detract from him since I don’t know the full situation with him. But all in all, he didn’t stack up as well as some might have expected.

I would like to give him a higher grade from what I have seen, but sometimes you need to trust your process on a player, and know that it’s there for a reason. That’s what real NFL scouts do, and more often than not, that process IS there to spare you from some disappointment.

Kizer might be just too big a risk for teams...but maybe he’ll figure it out and end up a solid starter in the league. It all comes down to consistency with him. Ultimately, some will mock and slander me for this pick, but I do think that while Kizer’s ceiling is sky high...what no one is saying is that his bust potential is arguably higher than some of the other quarterbacks ahead of him on this list as well. And it’s come out recently that for some teams, Kizer IS their QB7 as well.

So there’s my controversial take...and with his turnovers and lack of accuracy it’s why I wonder if Kizer turns out to be less Jameis/Cam and more Josh Freeman

6. Davis Webb 10/15 Murf Metric

Grade: 6.7—Adequate Starter

Round: Mid-Late 3rd

I’m not the biggest fan of Webb overall, but that might be in part due to the price that’s been reported on him as high as a 1st round pick. While he tested out well physically and reportedly has an insane off-field work ethic, he just doesn’t seem to possess starter qualities.

However, he did at least “check boxes” that were needed for a quarterback, and played well against his tough competition and has an absolute cannon for an arm. That’s perfectly fair to draft in the 3rd round on Day 2.

Just not in the top 50 picks. While I think he might end up an adequate starter if given time (because of his work ethic and the fact that if he goes that high he’ll get the opportunity) I don’t see that currently and he scares me a lot.

5. Jerod Evans 10/15 Murf Metric

Grade: 6.9—Adequate Starter

Round: Mid 3rd

Personally, I might be too high on Evans, who Mike Mayock said “wouldn’t be drafted” and indeed, he’s only had one year starting and did have an ACL injury in his past. He was a surprise declaration and showed a lot in his single year as a starter, passing my accuracy thresholds and putting up similar numbers to Mitch Trubisky...PLUS winning more games as a starter in the same division.

But I digress. If a team gives Evans a chance, maybe he can develop into a starter in a few years and be a surprise. But it’s likely he doesn’t get that chance.

If he’d stayed another year, I wonder if his grade might have gone from a backup to a “starter” grade, maybe like Tyrod Taylor. His situation will depend on a team having the staff who’s willing to give him that time.

4. Brad Kaaya 10/15 Murf Metric

Grade: 7.1 - Consistent starter

Round: Late 2-3

I’m higher on Kaaya than most because a lot of people don’t realize how rare it is to get a quarterback prospect who starts immediately as a freshman, is solid and productive all throughout his career and has relatively few off-field and on-field concerns.

I don’t know if Kaaya will be a high-performing starter for a franchise, or even a “franchise” quarterback, but I could see him ending up a team starter in a w

est coast scheme and having a similar career path as Nick Foles. His biggest struggle to overcome=learning yet ANOTHER offensive scheme and his accuracy under pressure, which is a huge concern for him.

That said, he BARELY missed out on hitting my 3:1 TD-INT ratio mark (even going higher than Deshaun Watson) and while his velocity is low, I think he’ll end up starting for a team at some point. How long that will be for, I have no clue.

3. Mitchell Trubisky

Grade: 7.4—Good player

Round: Top of the 2nd

As I’ve said before, Trubisky is risky. But while he didn’t test out as a very good player, he should be a fine starter at the next level and I could see him becoming a team’s “franchise quarterback” in the right situation.

Even while he was surrounded by great talent at UNC, he showed plenty of accuracy, good decision making and a high enough intellect under pressure that in his one season, he’s already likely going in the top 10. My concern? It’s just one season. If he had stayed for a 2nd year and duplicated his results, his grade would have been higher and it’s possible that he still might become that player. While he may have limitations, and he’s no sure bet, I think his game will translate to the NFL.

2. Patrick Mahomes 13/15 Murf Metric

Grade: 7.8: Playmaker

Round: 1st

Mahomes is wild, gun-slinging, bold and efficient all at once with some of the sloppiest mechanics this side of Matthew Stafford.

Yet he hasn’t been limited by those mechanics due to not only having a supremely gifted arm, but he also executed well enough that he was the only QB to hit all of my non-Parcells metrics. While he might not have a perfectly clean bill of health (though he is healthy at the time of the draft) and there are questions about his decision-making and his spread scheme, no other quarterback had a 3:1 TD-INT ratio. This shows that even with his risk-taking, he still managed to protect the ball well.

The reason he’s #2? In part, because while I think he will still be successful, considering his offense, the history of the spread scheme and how he plays the game, the player with the least amount of risk in this draft is...

1. DeShaun Watson 13/15 Murf Metric

Grade: 7.9: Playmaker

Surprise! Despite Mahomes physically passing the majority of my metrics, when adding up all the stats and film, Deshaun Watson has ended up my #1 pick and the safest quarterback risk in the 2017 NFL Draft.

While Watson has been knocked for his size (despite being the same size as Trubisky and Watson)/turnovers/scheme and his velocity as of late, he’s passed nearly every threshold to justify his placement as a 1st round pick at quarterback.

Watson’s been a difference-maker ever since he stepped on the field at Clemson, and demonstrated the effective ability to lead a team, run an offense efficiently and step up in the clutch to win big games. Some have knocked the talent around him, but it’s easy to do that. What’s hard is to recognize that a quarterback like Tajh Boyd had MORE talent around him and yet the team never rose to national championship heights.

Honestly, looking at his resume, it’s surprising that Watson isn’t going to be considered the first quarterback taken. And yet, if he had hit 55 MPH and had thrown maybe 4-5 less interceptions (he had a 2.8-1 TD-INT ratio) he’s hitting 15/15 and getting a top 10 overall grade from me.

The fact is, Watson’s got a few questions but in an NFL where the goal of scouting is to eliminate risks, Watson stands out as a player whose risks are much lower, even though the league is in love with size and arm strength, he shows intelligence, timing and anticipation.

And it’s why he’s my #1 quarterback this year.

Below you can find the spreadsheet with each of these metrics for more of your viewing pleasure and how I graded.

Any thoughts? Agree? Disagree?

Shoutout in the comments or talk to me at @blakemurphy7 on Twitter.

Quarterback Conclusions

Name Graduated 20+ Wins 2:1 TD-INT ratio 6'2 215 lbs 9" hands 63% comp. 3:1 TD-INT 60 SP% Injury Threshold Character Level of Comp. Velocity 55+ TOTAL
Name Graduated 20+ Wins 2:1 TD-INT ratio 6'2 215 lbs 9" hands 63% comp. 3:1 TD-INT 60 SP% Injury Threshold Character Level of Comp. Velocity 55+ TOTAL
Brad Kaaya X X X X X X X XX X XX 11/15
Chad Kelly X X X X X XX ? 7/15
CJ Beathard X X X X X X X 7/15
Davis Webb X X X X X X XX X X 10/15
DeShaun Watson X X X X X X X X X XX XX 13/15
DeShone Kizer X X X X X XX X (?) X 9/15
Jerod Evans X X X X X X X X X X 10/15
Josh Dobbs X X X X X XX XX X 10/15
Mitch Trubisky X X X X X X XX X X X 11/15
Nathan Peterman X X X X X XX X X 9/15
Pat Mahomes X X X X X X X X XX XX X 13/15
potentially undraftable quality 1=healthy by combine 2=very high character 2=very high level
2=clean bill of health 0=red flags