CFB Season Preview: 10 quarterbacks to know for the 2019 NFL Draft


Day by day, the 2018 College Football Season grows closer.  During the next few weeks, you’ll see plenty of presesason quarterback – and every other position – rankings for the 2019 NFL draft. There are a lot of mixed feelings on this year’s crop of quarterbacks. There certainly is no Baker Mayfield, but I don’t particularly see a Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold, either. At Cover 1, we’ve begun looking at some prospects to focus on from the Pac-12, SEC and now, we’ve put together a synopsis of the top 2019 NFL Draft eligible quarterbacks to prepare you for the season.

It’s best to get an understanding of what these quarterbacks do and some of the areas they need to improve. Rather than compile thousands of words on a report (don’t worry, we’ll get there), for now, let’s keep it simple and easy.

Oregon QB Justin Herbert, rJR

Justin Herbert has a very natural throwing motion with a quick and compact release. Has to start scanning the field more efficiently. It will help him manipulate safeties; he can put the ball in tight windows. Development in the pocket is good and should only get better with playing a full season. Broken collarbone shortened his season last year (interested to see where he gets back from that). Arm strength is good but not elite, however, he has all the tools to become the top QB in this class.

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2017 Stats: 139/206, 67.5%, 1983 yards, 15 touchdowns, 5 interceptions

West Virginia QB Will Grier

Incredibly accurate with 64.4 completion percentage last year, Will Grier makes some good anticipation throws but at times, but lets the pocket collapse in front of him and can’t extend beyond it. Arm strength isn’t elite but makes impressive throws off his back foot. Has drawn comparisons to Baker Mayfield, but I don’t necessarily agree with those. Both have that “grinder” mentality and will do what it takes to make a play, but Mayfield was superior going into his final college season. 

2017 Stats: 250/388, 64.4% 3490 yards, 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions

Missouri QB Drew Lock, Missouri

Really good size and possibly the strongest arm in this class. However, much like Josh Allen from last year, very sporadic with the football. Has already drawn Matthew Stafford comparisons, which I can’t get behind because Stafford was more than a one-read QB at Georgia. Sure, Stafford only completed 57% of his passes in his college career, but he was over 60% in his final season. Stafford improved in the short-to-intermediate areas of the field. Drew Lock is still all over the place, but I’m hoping he puts it all together. Incredibly talented with a big arm. Just has to clean up his progressions and he should see some improvements. 

2017 Stats: 242/419, 57.8%, 3964 yards, 44 touchdowns, 13 interceptions

N.C. State QB Ryan Finley

Went 339 pass attempts without an interception. Smart with the football in his hands and looks like he’s pro-ready. Really good pre-snap reads, great throwing motion and release. Velocity will get questioned, but all around, it’ll be fine. What I question the most is his ball placement, especially when going deep downfield, but again, he’s my guy. I think he can be a really good QB at the next level. Right now, I’d be comfortable with him going into year one of the NFL.

2017 Stats: 311/478, 65.1%, 3514 yards, 17 touchdowns and 6 interceptions

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Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham

Very much a fan of Jarrett Stidham and his throwing motion. It’s so natural, and he’s calm when the pocket is clean. When he has that clean pocket, he does a good job scanning the field and going through his progressions. However, there are times that he panics and puts himself in tough situations. By doing so, he either ends up on the ground, throws an incompletion, or even worse, an interception. The arm strength is there for Stidham to be successful in all three levels of the field. He’s got the mobility to move in and out of the pocket but also to extend plays for positive yards with his feet. With a new ground game, this offense rests on his shoulders.

2017 stats: 246/370, 66.5%, 3158 yards, 18 touchdowns and 6 interceptions

Under the radar passers that can boost 2019 NFL draft stock.

The very first name that you should consider is Daniel Jones from Duke. It’s unclear if he’ll even enter the 2019 NFL Draft. He’s a Redshirt Junior but has all the tools of an NFL quarterback. When you watch him go through his progressions in the pocket, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. His arm is live, but he’s got to improve on his decision making. Ball security is a bit of an issue, and he has to do a better job carrying the ball in the open field. He’s meant to play on Sundays, but it’s unclear when he’ll actually be doing so.

Top 2019 NFL Draft prospects you need to know at SEC Media Days

Brian Lewerke from Michigan State should be on your radar, as he’s the best quarterback in the Big Ten. His athletic ability is through the roof, and he can make plenty of throws on all three levels of the field. His arm strength isn’t elite, but this upcoming season should be where we see him take another step in the right direction.

Two other names to consider from the Big Ten are Penn State’s Trace McSorley and Clayton Thorson from Northwestern. McSorley could see his stock for the 2019 NFL draft soar if he finds a way to get the Nittany Lions back to the Big 10 Championship.  Without Saquon Barkley, DaeSean Hamilton or Mike Gesicki on the roster anymore, McSorley will have to play even better in tight game situations. Teams know that he puts some heat behind his passes and that he’s got the mobility to move around the field.

As for Thorson, he’s coming back from a torn ACL, but it’s unclear if he’ll be ready for the August 30th season opener against Purdue. Extending plays beyond the pocket is an area in which he succeeds because he’s got sneaky good mobility. He’s got an average arm, but his biggest flaw is his decision making. Once he improves where he should be throwing the football, we’ll see the completion percentage increase and the interceptions decrease.

The last name from the Big Ten is Shea Patterson. He’s already getting Heisman expectations because he has Jim Harbaugh as a coach. My question is what has Harbaugh done with any of his quarterbacks at Michigan? Patterson can sling the football, but he has a tendency to overshoot his receivers on deep patterns and struggles to stay poised in the pocket. Bringing pressure on oneself only makes things harder, but now he’s got incredibly high expectations. I have my doubts, but only time will tell what he’ll do for Harbaugh and the Wolverines.

National Scout for Cover 1. Host of Cover 1 | The NFL Draft Podcast. NFL Draft Enthusiast. X's and O's. Heard on ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio and CBS Sports Radio.