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2016 NFL Draft: QB Scouting Reports

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It's that time again. My first official release of scouting reports of the 2016 NFL offseason, starting with the most important position of all...

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

We are back at it again. It's time for scouting reports on the 2016 NFL Draft prospects. With some sound advice I have decided we will begin this year with the quarterback position.

I am often asked how I grade players and how I go about ranking them. Well this year I have decided to add to the scouting reports my ten most watched attributes and the grading system I use to determine where that player falls among his peers. Everything is graded on a scale of 1-10 with ten being elite, and one being terrible. I also give a grade for potential. I make potential separate because more times than not, a player never reaches his full potential, so potential should not be a heavy factor in grading a player, but has to be included still. Therefore it is it's own separate entity. The highest grade for potential is an A+, which would mean you could be a Tom Brady or Adrian Peterson caliber player. The lowest grade for potential is a C which just means you ceiling is average.

Skills Grading System

1

Terrible

2

Bad

3

Poor

4

Needs Attention

5

Below Average

6

Average

7

Above Average

8

Very Good

9

Game Changer

10

Elite

Skills Grading Total system

50-60

Career Backup/ST

61-70

Needs to develop 1-3 yrs

71-80

Instant Starter

81-90

Rookie of the Year

91-100

Rookie All-Pro Potential

Potential Grading System

A+

Hall of Fame

A

Perennial All- Pro

A-

Perennial Pro Bowler

B+

10 Year Vet

B

Pro Bowl

B-

Fan Favorite

C+

Solid Contributor

C

Average Pro at Best

So after months of scouting, without further ado, I give you the quarterbacks...

***ALL PLAYER COMPARISONS ARE BASED OFF OF SKILL SET AND BODY TYPES, NOT A PREDICTION OF CAREERS***

Carson Wentz

North Dakota St. 6'5" 237 LBS

Accuracy

8

Arm Strength

8

Footwork

7

Anticipation

8

Athleticism

7

Pocket Presence

8

Decision Making

8

Pre-Snap Reads

8

Toughness

10

Leadership

8

OVERALL

80

POTENTIAL: A

Overview:

Wentz brings a lot of intriguing factors with his game. He has prototypical size, with legitimate athleticism. He's also well versed in the NFL style offenses, as North Dakota State played him under center a lot, as well as gave him the responsibility of making pre-snap reads, calling audibles, and learning timing routes. He has a legitimate NFL arm, possessing the ability to make every throw and then some. He makes a lot of good timing throws but he still cold stand to improve in this area, as he needs to be more consistent. However, he does an exceptional job avoiding mistakes. With all of his physical tools, he does as good a job as anyone in this draft playing the game from the neck up.

Wentz said to have a high football IQ as well as being very book smart.  In other words, no matter what, you are getting a very intelligent kid. Two things that stand out to me the most is his ball placement, and toughness. He puts the ball where it needs to be more times than not. This more than anything is the most telling about a players accuracy. Wentz is a fierce competitor that takes crap from no one. However, the flip side to that is that you don't want him to be to tough and take too many hits. He will stand in the eye of danger take the hit and make the throw. That is okay, but you would like to see him get down more often when running the football. He's virtually a bigger Russell Wilson. If you're of the notion that you don't see the big deal with Wentz, you probably have not watched him much in detail. Wentz is a smooth operator.

Player Comparison: Russell Wilson

Cardale Jones

Ohio St. 6'5" 253 LBS

Accuracy

7

Arm Strength

10

Footwork

5

Anticipation

5

Athleticism

9

Pocket Presence

7

Decision Making

6

Pre-Snap Reads

5

Toughness

10

Leadership

6

OVERALL

70

Potential: A-

Overview:

Cardale Jones, physically, is what a lot of coaches want these days. He is a special football player. He has things that you just can't teach. He might have the most gifted arm in the entire draft. Jones' running ability at his size is what separates him from others. He has so much power and can really get it going, making him nearly impossible to tackle. Even when standing tall in the pocket, he's beyond difficult to bring down. Jones actually has underrated ball placement. He's a far cry from perfect, but he doesn't get enough credit for how good he actually is in this area. The biggest questions with Jones all have to do with the mental side of the game, maturity, and the system he played in. However, his potential has to have teams salivating.

Some of the throws Jones makes can literally leave your mouth open in disbelief. He also has the improvisational skills that will drive a defensive coordinator nuts. There's reason to hope and believe his maturity turning point is coming sooner than later,a s he made a very mature and conscience decision to go back to school after winning the National Championship, deeming himself not ready for the jump, then this year saying that he doesn't want to be an old rookie (Jones is 23).  Obviously he has the ability to think big picture, but teams will want to know if he can that more often and on the field. Jones is by far the closest thing to Cam Newton the NFL has seen, and if he can become the same type of leader, and prove to have a similar work ethic, he can be special. If nothing else, he has that swagger that you want your QB to have. He's an enticing QB, and because of that, he might have the widest draft range of any QB in this years draft.

Player Comparison: Cam Newton

Paxton Lynch

Memphis 6'7" 244 LBS

Accuracy

7

Arm Strength

9

Footwork

5

Anticipation

7

Athleticism

9

Pocket Presence

6

Decision Making

7

Pre-Snap Reads

5

Toughness

8

Leadership

6

OVERALL

69

Potential: B+

Overview:

Paxton Lynch has some legit potential. He is ridiculously big. These kind of QB's do not grow on trees. Specifically ones that has his type of athleticism. He is not a QB that has sneaky athleticism. No, not all. He is a legit scrambling QB. He has a big arm with some decent accuracy. But he lacks consistent ball placement, and his footwork is almost nonexistent at times. He was not asked to make a lot of reads in college, and did not show a lot of progression throws. He does bring some toughness to the table, as I saw him routinely take a shot on the chin as he stood tall and made the throw from the  pocket. While he does not go through his progressions often, he surprising made quite a few nice anticipation throws. It appears that this part of the game came natural, considering he was rarely reading the defense.

I also love his understanding of the different types of throws to make . He can throw with great touch, velocity, arch, and low trajectory. Lynch's game and size remind me a lot of Brock Osweiler. Lynch is a slightly better athlete. Falling into a situation similar to what Osweiler fell into would be ideal for Lynch, where he can sit and learn for a  year or two.

Player Comparison: Brock Osweiler

Connor Cook

Michigan St. 6'4" 217 LBS

Accuracy

6

Arm Strength

9

Footwork

5

Anticipation

6

Athleticism

6

Pocket Presence

6

Decision Making

5

Pre-Snap Reads

8

Toughness

6

Leadership

4

OVERALL

61

Potential: A-

Overview:

Connor Cook is arguably the most enigmatic QB prospect in the entire draft. There's times when he looks like the prototypical pocket passer. Dropping dimes on receivers like a broken piggy bank. But more often than not the bank is closed with Cook. It's maddeningly frustrating. He has a live arm but really bad mechanics. However, because his arm is so live he can simply make throws using all arm and no leg or stomach muscles. This isn't the most efficient way to complete accurate throws and it shows in his all over accuracy. Having these flaws hurts his stock, but what really puts on damper on things is his lack of leadership and immobility. He's not a guy you can expect to much from in the sense of moving the chains with his legs. He also doesn't really rally his team. As a three year starter I couldn't find one game where he put the team on his back or showed vocal leadership skills on the sidelines.

On a more positive note, you have to love he's a three year starter that played in a pro style offense and only surrendered 21 interceptions during that time. Cook might the most inconsistent QB in the draft, but his floor and ceiling are both higher than virtually everyone else. The question that every coach has to ask themselves is, "can we trust him?". If you trust he can become a better leader and has a good work ethic than he maybe can tap into some of that potential and really pay off. Otherwise he ceiling becomes game manager at best, that bounces around from team to team, ala Kyle Orton. Cook probably best compares from a physical standpoint to Sean Mannion. Cook has a strong arm undoubtedly so, but is he a better player is the million dollar question.

Player Comparison: Sean Mannion

Jared Goff

Cal 6'4" 215 LBS

Accuracy

8

Arm Strength

7

Footwork

9

Anticipation

8

Athleticism

6

Pocket Presence

10

Decision Making

7

Pre-Snap Reads

5

Toughness

9

Leadership

8

OVERALL

77

Potential: A-

Overview:

Jared Goff is easily one of the top two QB's in this draft, and he's talked about as such. However he appears to still be a bit under the radar. There's some that don't believe he is a true franchise signal caller. I'm not one of them. When I watch Goff I see about as pure a passer as you can find coming out of college. First off his footwork and pocket presence is already on par with a 4-5 year vet. It's highly impressive. I love the confidence he exudes on and off the field. He feels the rush better than anyone in the draft and it's not even close. He manipulates the pocket to buy time and never takes his eyes away from the field. It's like he has eyes in the back and on both sides of his head. Goff is deadly accurate and has some legit top notch ball placement. He has an NFL arm, but it's far from the strongest. It's just good enough to get the job done. He can still make all the throws. He does a great job of putting touch on throws that warrant a little more finesse. He's no super athlete and won't wow you with his running, but he knows when to take off -- as he does an excellent job avoiding defenders -- and understands the concept of sliding.

Goff is a true pocket passer that has the ability to pick a defense apart. He plays his best ball against zone. His struggles have come against man coverage. He doesn't always pull the trigger when the window of opportunity is there and this had often hurt him. He also has to be willing to take more shots down field. He often leaves an open first read down field if the safety shows deep coverage, even when the target is open. This will likely lead to a ridiculously low YPA average. The last thing he should want to do is become a check down king. He's not as bad as Alex Smith but if he hesitates this much in college it could become worse in the pros, putting him on the same level as Smith, if not worse. However, when he rips it down field, more times than not the pass is a beauty. He has to trust his receivers more as well as himself.

Goff reminds me a lot of a young Matt Ryan. Like Ryan, Goff can quietly take over a game. Before you know it he is 30 of 40 passing, with 350 yards. Even so, this is not what should be expected out the gate. Wherever he lands, the team needs to know he is a major project, and will not be ready at all in his first season. This is where he differs from Ryan. Goff has to learn pre-snap reads or he will get pummeled early and often in his career. He also needs to learn an NFL playbook and how to call plays, as well as run a huddle. Air raid QB's have zero history of success in the NFL, but Goff is unquestionably the best to enter the NFL from that system. If he's allowed to sit and develop for about two years, he could become a perennial Pro-Bowl player.

Player Comparison: Matt Ryan

Below are my rankings of the top ten quarterbacks of the 2016 NFL draft. Included are both the round I think they are deserving of being drafted in, as well as the round I think they will ultimately be drafted in...

Rank

Player

School

Ht/Wt

Projected Rd

1

Carson Wentz

North Dakota St.

6'5" 237

Top 5/Top 15

2

Jared Goff

Cal

6'4" 215

Top 5/Top 15

3

Paxton Lynch

Memphis

6'7" 244

1-2/1-2

4

Dak Prescott

Mississippi St.

6'2" 226

mid 2/2-4

5

Cardale Jones

Ohio St.

6'5" 253

mid 2/2-5

6

Vernon Adams

Oregon

5'11" 200

mid 3/3-5

7

Connor Cook

Michigan St.

6'4" 217

4/late 1-3

8

Christian Hackenberg

Penn St.

6'4" 223

4/mid 2-4

9

Cody Kessler

USC

6'1" 220

mid 4/5-7

10

Jake Coker

Alabama

6'6" 230

mid 4/5-7