I’ve put quite a bit of time into studying the 2019’s QB class, which is quite deep. It’s a bit of a stretch to assume all of these QBs will declare for this draft, but all of them are draft-eligible. Each player will have a little blurb about them, but no videos and pro comps for this one. I’ll be splitting this list into two parts as well, as there are just too many names for one article. Part 2 will be linked at the end once it debuts. Another important thing: just because I put a guy in Part 2 does not mean he is terrible or worse than guys in part 1. I just split the list at random.
Note: this isn’t a ranking of quarterbacks in this list, merely a guide list highlighting some key names to know. This is also not a full player profile and breakdown of these players, just a highlighted glimpse. If I left off anybody, I apologize (I only have so much time in the day) but feel free to hit me up on Twitter @AJDraftScout and tell me about him.
Another critical note: This list is a *premature* list of players to watch after reviewing the 2017-2018 games I could find. A player could improve or regress over the course of this upcoming season and my opinion will change if that happens.
Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
Jarrett Stidham is one of the top quarterbacks in the country, and unlike another popular SEC quarterback, he’s deserving of the hype. He started off slow, but as the season progressed he became more comfortable and played extremely well. He’s a smart player, doesn’t take a lot of risks with the football, and makes some seriously nice throws. The offense is a waste of his talents and he struggles under pressure, but as he gets more comfortable, that should fade. He can end up as a first-round lock with another strong year.
Brian Lewerke, Michigan State
Want to know a player who is primed to have a breakout year? Lewerke is the top candidate, as he is one of ten (!!) returning offensive starters for Michigan State this season. He has clean mechanics and an above-average arm to pair with his surprising mobility. He needs to prove his ability to process defenses and improve his decision-making, but I’m fully expecting that to occur this year. He’s a personal favorite of mine.
Nathan Rourke, Ohio
Rourke is another personal favorite of mine and is actually similar to the aforementioned Lewerke in a lot of ways. Both were efficient and effective runners with solid mechanics and arm talent. Rourke also had a couple of questionable games through the air, but he looks poised to have a huge year with nine offensive starters returning. This guy led Ohio to 39 points per game last season, good for 9th in the country. Expect Ohio’s offense to light up the MAC this year.
Kyle Kempt, Iowa State
Big 12 breakout QB was Kyle Kempt. He came in as the 4th string QB and led Iowa State to a stunning upset of Oklahoma. Kempt continued his solid play the rest of the season. Kempt is the ideal backup/spot-starter player right now. He’s mentally smart and efficient with the ball, but his arm talent is a limiting factor. He’s the type of player coaches will love to have in their locker room, but I’m not sure how much of a prospect he is right now.
Brett Rypien, Boise State
Call me crazy, but I actually like Brett Rypien out of Boise State. There is enough on tape for me to willingly take a chance on him as a player. He’s got a little trouble with his footwork and sometimes makes some stupid throws, but this dude has that “it” factor. He does lots of things well and illustrated an ability to read defenses correctly. Don’t be surprised if he has a huge year leading Boise State to a 10+-win season.
Manny Wilkins, Arizona State
Manny Wilkins is…not a serious prospect. I don’t really see anything that makes him worth a second look unless he shows massive improvement in all areas besides his athleticism. His deep ball is something fun to watch, but even that isn’t elite. He’s a guy that makes one or two good throws a game, but the rest of his game is filled with poor throws and mistakes. He needs more time under center to grow and learn.
Ty Gangi, Nevada
Ty Gangi looks like the type of player some team takes a late flier on and tries to develop. He’s got a cannon arm and makes some effortless throws. However, the confidence in his arm costs him as he demonstrates poor decision-making. He also needs to improve the mental side of his game. He started the season off poorly and was actually benched at one point, but came in and closed the season on a high note, throwing 25 touchdowns. He’s a player to keep an eye on in the future.
Deondre Francois, Florida State
Francois will draw some Russell Wilson comps with his size and athletic ability, but those are premature based on what he showed in 2016. He’s not as accurate as Wilson, but Francois has the great mechanics that Wilson possesses. One of the best things about Francois is his ridiculously good arm and release. This dude can throw it all over the field. His decision-making at times is poor as he throws the ball into places where he really shouldn’t. However, if Francois can improve his accuracy and progression speed and stay healthy, he can break out into a great Day 2 prospect.
Trace McSorley, Penn State
Trace McSorley is drawing Baker Mayfield comps, which is laughable. McSorley is a fine college QB but has zero pro potential without significant improvement across the board. He is a terrible decision-maker and doesn’t have the accuracy or arm talent that Baker enjoyed. McSorley is athletic but is undersized. He’ll be drafted, but I don’t know if he will be as a quarterback.
Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State
Nick Fitzgerald is one of the most overhyped players in college football. There are people out there seriously thinking he is a first-round prospect. He has an arm and can run, but that’s really it. His accuracy, decision-making, mechanics, and mental processing are bad. He’s another Collin Klein-type player who is fine for college but isn’t an NFL talent at all.
Khalil Tate, Arizona
Khalil Tate should not play as a quarterback in the NFL. That is all. This isn’t a Lamar Jackson situation. Tate just has not shown the talent required to play the position, unlike Jackson.
Justice Hansen, Arkansas State
Justice Hansen has some quiet hype among NFL evaluators, but take that with a grain of salt. If you play college fantasy, he’s going to be a nice pickup and should post big numbers. As an NFL talent, he looks like a clunkier Josh Allen. Strong arm and athleticism, but inconsistent accuracy and placement with odd mechanics. However, we all know the NFL *loves* the tall (6’4″), strong arm dudes, so expect him to get draft hype.
Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
Haskins has played in limited time (only 57 passing attempts). In those 57 attempts, however, he flashed some serious potential. He’s got a great arm and demonstrated the ability to throw with timing, anticipation, and accuracy. As he gets more comfortable as the starter, Haskins can develop into a star quarterback. Ohio State has been limited by quarterback play the last few years and Haskins can provide them with a legit NFL talent at the position. If that doesn’t frighten Big 10 coaches, I don’t know what will.
Shea Patterson, Ole Miss/Michigan
Shea Patterson is one of the biggest projects in this draft in terms of talent. I honestly don’t know how to evaluate him now until I see what Harbaugh has done with him. If we go strictly off of Ole Miss tape, Shea Patterson is not draftable. End of discussion. However, Harbaugh has proven to be able to get the most out of his quarterbacks, so he’s a wait and see player. Patterson will have to be fixed from the ground up and might not even declare for this draft.
Lamar Raynard, North Carolina A&T
Lamar Raynard has had some Twitter hype recently, so I scrounged around and found some NC A&T games on the Internet and…I wasn’t super impressed. He’s one of those very fun college quarterbacks who just doesn’t showcase the mental abilities enough on tape to warrant NFL hype. He isn’t asked to make a lot of reads, usually picking a target and firing. He also needs his mechanics fixed.
Buckshot Calvert, Liberty
The Liberty team is making a transition to the FBS, but they proved they can hang with the big teams with an upset victory over Baylor. This team will win some games, in no small part because of quarterback Buckshot Calvert. I will admit, the first time I watched him, I didn’t like him. After I went back to review the film before this piece, he started to grow on me. He still concerns me, as his footwork is iffy and he plays in a gimmicky college spread offense that doesn’t ask him to do a much mentally. But Buckshot has that special “it” factor and is a guy worth keeping an eye on. His arm talent alone will get him drafted. He looks more like a 2020 prospect so he can fully develop, but Calvert could declare with a big year this year.
Marcus McMaryion, Fresno State
Marcus McMaryion is one of those quiet, under-the-radar players that you never really hear about from the big media sites, but he always seems to get the job done well. He doesn’t quite have the natural arm talent of others, which limits him, but he’s a very mobile and smart player in that Dak Prescott style. I’m a fan and I think he will be a big part of Fresno State’s success this year again.
Jake Browning, Washington
Browning is another player in this group who isn’t anything more than a clipboard-holding backup at the next level. He’s a very smart player, but he just does not have the necessary ability to play the position at the next level. Let me put it this way: if Jacob Eason were eligible, he would be starting over Browning and would be outplaying him quite easily.
AJ Erdely, UAB
Erdely is a cool quarterback to watch because of his story and his impact on the UAB program. Unlike his teammate Spencer Brown, AJ Erdely doesn’t really look like he has an NFL future right now. He’s a leader of the team, but he doesn’t really have any standout traits to me. He’s a good athlete and ran for 13 touchdowns last year, but not a special kind of athlete at the spot. He’s a player I will be rooting for, but I don’t think the success will reach him without a massive improvement.
Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee State
Stockstill has some quiet hype among fans, but I’m not sold on the guy just yet. He has a nice arm but has his struggles with inconsistent placement and accuracy. His health has been a big question as well as he missed a good amount of time in 2016 and 2017. I could see him rising throughout the year as long as he stays healthy, but I don’t see him ever entering that first-round conversation.
Andrew Ford, UMass
Andrew Ford is another personal favorite of mine. He’s certainly got some solid arm talent and is a leader of his UMass team, but his small-school status will have him flying under the radar. He plays in a quick one-read scheme with a lot of screens and makes a ton of what I call “Look-and-Fire” throws where he looks at his first read and fires the football. When he’s forced to go beyond that and read his progressions, he struggles a bit and just holds the ball for too long causing him to take unnecessary sacks (which is partly on his porous OL too). He’s a player that could make a huge rise over this season, but right now he looks like a late-round developmental stash player.