CFB 24/7  

 

2016 NFL Draft: Wentz, Goff lead deep quarterback class

Print

While the 2015 NFL Draft had bigger names at the top of the quarterback board in Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, the 2016 class offers more overall potential and much greater depth in the middle rounds.

Carson Wentz and Jared Goff have received a lion's share of the pre-draft attention, but Paxton Lynch displayed flashes at his pro day, showing why he belongs inside the first round as well. This year's group also contains productive SEC starters, a 2015 national champion, and the highest-ranked quarterback from the 2013 recruiting class.

While NFL teams still like to find quarterbacks with experience in a pro-style attack, the reality is that fewer and fewer prospects will have that background. Size, poise, accuracy, and intelligence are still the positional traits that most teams will covet regardless of the scheme a quarterback comes from.

Here's a glance at the 2016 draft's QB class:

Teams with greatest need


Cleveland Browns
Dallas Cowboys
San Francisco 49ers
Los Angeles Rams
Denver Broncos

Top 5 players


1. Carson Wentz: Still in developmental phase after just two years at an FCS program, but has the mental and physical building blocks of a future, franchise quarterback.

2. Jared Goff: His accuracy and decision making will suffer from occasional lapses, but he displays the tools to become a good starting quarterback with time.

3. Paxton Lynch: While he has the physical tools to start right away, a team who is willing to allow him to sit and study his craft for a year could reap maximum rewards in the future.

4. Connor Cook: Cook flashes the potential of an NFL starter, but he has the makeup of game manager over playmaker.

5. Christian Hackenberg: Hackenberg's tools, intelligence and experience under center should make him an eventual starter, but his boom-or-bust potential could either get a coach an extension or fired.

Sources Tell Us


"Wentz really blew us away at the combine when we met with him. Talent is a big component, but these guys have to have intangibles if they are going to lead franchises, and he's got them. I don't care where he played, he understands the game and it isn't too big for him." -- AFC team executive

Most overrated


Dak Prescott: I don't agree with the masses when it comes to Prescott being the sleeper at the position. A sharp increase in his short game passing attempts helped to skew some of his data in a more favorable light, but there were still issues with some of his intermediate throws and with getting through his progressions. I love his size and football character, but I see him as a career backup, not as a starter in the NFL.

Most underrated


Jacoby Brissett: Brandon Allen could fit in here, but he's getting more love nationally. Brissett gets the occasional side-eye before people move to the next quarterback, but that might be a mistake. Despite facing enormous pass rush for consecutive seasons, Brissett still found ways to fight through the pocket noise and make plays. He has NFL size, an NFL arm, and experience under center. With an ability to extend plays with his feet and throw on the move, Brissett offers a skill-set that matches up with what teams look for in today's game.

Boom or bust


Christian Hackenberg and Cardale Jones: In many ways, these two quarterbacks are the same guy. Both quarterbacks have ideal NFL size and booming right arms that can leave your jaw agape. Of course, half the time your jaw is hitting the ground in awe while the other half it is hitting the ground because of their wild inaccuracy on the simplest throws. Accuracy issues are extremely difficult to correct, which creates a low floor for both, but the talent and traits give them "boom" potential.

Sleeper alert


Mike Bercovici: Sleep away, but Bercovici can sling the ball around the yard. He is small by NFL standards, but similar in size to Rams quarterback Case Keenum. Bercovici has Keenum's quick release but a much bigger arm and the mobility to extend plays outside of the pocket. If he gets drafted at all, it will be late, but there is something there for an NFL quarterbacks coach to work with.

Follow Lance Zierlein on Twitter @LanceZierlein.

Print

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop