Steve Fairchild: Breaking down top QB prospects for 2019 NFL Draft
NFL Draft Scout
With more than 35 years of coaching experience, Fairchild has served as head coach of Colorado State, offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills and St. Louis Rams, and most recently served as coach in the Spring League. Some of his pupils include Marc Bulger, Kurt Warner, JP Losman, Kyle Sloter and Dan McGwire.
This analysis of top quarterback prospects is done off only couple of games; Fairchild will continue to evaluate and provide more in-depth analysis through the draft season.
JUSTIN HERBERT -- OREGON (6-5, 225)
PROS: Herbert has NFL size, stands tall in the pocket and has the vision. When the pocket is clean, he sets his feet and makes all the throws necessary to be an NFL starter. He is accurate and displays a strong arm. He has a quick delivery and smooth throwing mechanics. He can make subtle moves in the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield to improve his launch point. Herbert is athletic for his size and can make throws on designed QB movements.
CONS: Herbert plays primarily from the gun and will have to transition to playing some under center in the NFL. He does not display a lot of throws where he works a progression, rather he locks on to primary throws or half-field reads. His accuracy diminishes when he has to throw off platform or with radical pocket movement. He exits a clean pocket on occasion when there is a throw available.
OVERVIEW: Justin Herbert has the arm talent, size and movement skills to develop into an NFL starting QB. He will need time settle in to playing in a pro-style system and working under center. He needs to become more proficient at making challenged throws from the pocket when he can't get his feet clean to become a top QB at the next level. Size and arm talent are there -- Herbert has a big upside. If Herbert declares for the 2019 NFL draft he will be a high pick.
DWAYNE HASKINS -- OHIO STATE (6-2, 214)
PROS: Haskins is an accurate passer who can make throws from challenged launch points. A tight pocket does not affect his accuracy because he is a compact thrower with his lower body with a fairly quick delivery. This translates well to the NFL game. He plays tough in the pocket and can take hits while delivering the football. He makes radical movements and still throws accurately. He appears to have a good feel for multiple receivers on most of his pass attempts and distributes the ball well. He is a good athlete and can make plays with his feet.
CONS: Haskins is 6-2, and inside push of the pocket can limit his vision. He plays primarily from the gun so he will have to adapt to playing under center in the NFL. He is a first-year starter and lacks experience.
OVERVIEW: As a first-year starter there are not as many snaps to evaluate Haskins as most of the other 2019 Draft QBs. Haskins has displayed NFL type talent and plays very well from the pocket. Staying at Ohio State for the 2019 season would be beneficial to him and his development, but if Haskins does declare for the NFL Draft he will be an early-round pick.
RYAN FINLEY -- NORTH CAROLINA STATE (6-3, 210)
PROS: Finley is an accurate thrower who makes good decisions with the ball. He has a fairly quick delivery with a very good throwing motion. He plays some under center and changes some plays at the line of scrimmage. He is calm in the pocket and has a feel for subtle and radical moves to alter launch points. He can throw off platform and is compact with his lower body when he needs to be. He has shown that he can work a progression and does check the ball down. He has enough athleticism to make plays with his feet outside the pocket and throws well on the move.
CONS: Finley has enough size and arm strength to play at the next level, but he does not have the big arm and will have to rely on his ability to throw with anticipation at the next level; he has demonstrated he can make these types of throws. He does lock on to a receiver early on occasion and tries to fit the ball into tight windows, relying on his throwing ability.
OVERVIEW: Finley has the ability to throw the football quickly, with accuracy and make good decisions. He can play using different pocket movements and throwing platforms. These traits will make him an NFL quarterback. He is a polished QB who is close to his ceiling.
DANIEL JONES -- DUKE (6-4, 215)
PROS: Jones plays physically strong and can slip off arm tackles in the pocket and when running. He demonstrates good short- and medium-range accuracy. He is a very effective thrower on the run outside of the pocket. He appears to be a good decision maker.
CONS: Jones plays big in the pocket and is not a compact thrower with his lower body/pocket movement. He does not make the off-platform throws with accuracy that you need to make in the NFL. He exits the pocket early at times as he is effective throwing on the move. He has a longer delivery that hurts his timing throws.
OVERVIEW: Jones has decent size, arm strength and short-range accuracy. He has a long delivery and needs to improve his pocket movement and his ability to throw in tight launch points to be an NFL QB. He will have to develop in an NFL offensive system and playing under center. He would benefit by staying at Duke and playing another season.
WILL GRIER -- WEST VIRGINIA (6-1, 214)
PROS: Grier is good at improvising and extending plays outside the pocket. He has an extremely talented group of skill players around him and likes to get the ball out quick to these players. He can throw over the top of the defense because these receivers can run by the coverage. He can throw on the move. He is an accurate thrower and sees the field well -- especially when he exits the pocket.
CONS: Grier is 6-1 and does not operate efficiently in the pocket. He would rather be improvising on the move. He does not have a quick delivery and plays primarily from the gun. Radical movements and scrambles are a big part of his game -- as opposed to subtle pocket movements and off platforms throws. He does not play in an NFL system. He will need to develop in many areas to be an NFL QB.
OVERVIEW: Grier is a very productive college QB. His skill set does not translate well to the NFL game. He is an accurate passer. For him to succeed at the next level, the system would have to accommodate his abilities -- strong run game that allows some throws out of the pocket.
DREW LOCK -- MISSOURI (6-3, 225)
PROS: Lock has NFL size with athletic ability and a big-time arm. He plays in an offense that allows him to read the entire field. He will stand in the pocket and make throw with defenders around him. He has a quick delivery and the arm strength to make all throws necessary to play at the next level. He does show the ability to throw off platform and can make plays outside the pocket.
CONS: Lock has the ability to do everything needed to be successful at the next level; however, he does exhibit some inconsistency in a lot of areas. He will need to adjust to not being in the gun every snap. He will have to improve his consistency. He is also too confident in his arm ability and forces throws.
OVERVIEW: Lock has elite arm talent and should be a starting QB at the next level with some development. He has a big upside because of his arm talent, size and athletic ability. He will be a high pick in the 2019 draft.
JARRETT STIDHAM -- AUBURN (6-2, 214)
PROS: Stidham has decent size and OK arm strength. His mechanics are good with a slightly long delivery. He can throw with anticipation and is fairly accurate. He is very good when he exits the pocket and throws on the move.
CONS: Stidham does not play under center and will have to adapt this part of his game at the next level. He is not quick with the ball as far as his delivery. He is not as compact a thrower with his lower body as needed to be in the NFL. He is primarily reading half the field and exits the pocket early at times.
OVERVIEW: Stidham is a productive QB and has enough arm to make most throws needed at the next level. He will need to develop his ability to negotiate and throw from a tight pocket and his seeing the full field to have any chance to be an NFL QB. He would benefit by staying at Auburn and playing another season.
TYREE JACKSON -- BUFFALO (6-6, 245)
PROS: Jackson has elite NFL size and moves fairly well. He stands tall in the pocket and sees the field well. He can make good movements in the pocket when his launch point is challenged. He can make some off-platform throws -- but needs to be more consistently accurate when doing this. He has a strong arm and gets the ball down the field with a variety of throws.
CONS: Jackson has a long throwing motion -- although his arm strength makes up for some of the timing. He is not a compact thrower in the pocket with his lower body. At times his accuracy is inconsistent.
OVERVIEW: Jackson has a big upside because of his size and arm strength. He is a raw talent that needs to develop in all areas. He would benefit greatly by returning and playing another season at Buffalo.