Matt Miller's Scouting Notebook: Best Landing Spots for Top QBs in NFL Draft

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterJanuary 18, 2019

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock (3) throws during warmups before an NCAA college football game against Tennessee Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Wade Payne/Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — All week during practices and late-night drinks at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, scouts and evaluators are talking about the quarterbacks.

"Do you really think Kyler Murray goes in the first round?"

"Where are you hearing the Broncos will go?"

There are a lot of different scenarios being tossed around, but as the offseason heats up, it's clear that NFL evaluators and decision-makers are wondering how the quarterback carousel will affect the 2019 draft class. Meanwhile, teams already set at the position are looking at the possibility of a run on quarterbacks pushing talented players like Ohio State edge-rusher Nick Bosa or Kentucky edge-rusher Josh Allen down the board.

So, where will the quarterbacks go?

It all starts on March 13 with the opening of the 2019 league year. Like one player personnel veteran told me this week, "It's pointless to predict right now because Nick Foles could go to Jacksonville or Joe Flacco could go to the Giants and throw it all off."

He's right. Everyone in the NFL has a plan coming together right now (or they should) about how the offseason will go. You make a plan for where you'll spend in free agency and identify targets. From there, you look at your team's remaining needs and match those with value in the draft. But if your team needs a quarterback, you can't go far in your plan without first considering where Flacco and Foles will land.

Thus, the domino effect of the quarterback position can't start yet. But that stops no one from hypothesizing about where the draft's top quarterbacks will land. 

"I bet you three [QBs] go in the top 10," said the veteran personnel man. 

That number might be low.

Another high-level scout recently told me that between current needs in the top 15 and potential trades up the board, he expects four quarterbacks to be drafted in the top 10.

It's easy to piece together possibilities, especially with some evaluators believing the Cardinals will trade Josh Rosen (which adds another domino) to get new head coach Kliff Kingsbury his guy in Kyler Murray.

If Arizona does move Rosen, Murray (Cardinals), Dwayne Haskins (Giants), Daniel Jones (Jaguars) and Drew Lock (Broncos) could all go in the top 10. It's even easy to plot it out without factoring in trades.

                  

The Scout's Report

—Could Nick Foles land in Jacksonville? It's a theory many have floated for several obvious reasons. The Philadelphia Eagles will not want to trade him within the NFC East, and they might try to keep him out of the NFC altogether. The Jaguars also hired Foles' former quarterbacks coach, John DeFilippo, as offensive coordinator. If the asking price is a second-round pick, as many have theorized at NFLPA practices, the Jaguars should jump at the opportunity.

Butch Dill/Associated Press

—Kentucky pass-rusher Josh Allen, the No. 3 overall player on my big board, dropped out from the Senior Bowl this week. Allen is not injured, but he opted to pull out to preserve his health and prepare for the NFL Scouting Combine. It's a common move for top players not to attend the Senior Bowl, but in this case, Allen could be hurting himself. The San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders are the staffs working the event, and both have a need for a pass-rusher. Selecting at No. 2 and No. 4 overall, respectively, a week of contact with Allen could have locked him into either spot.

—The Denver Broncos hired former San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello as their new offensive coordinator, and folks around the league are already taking notice. One former general manager texted me to say that Scangarello will be a head coach in the near future.

—The 2019 tight end class is special, with three legitimate first-round talents. That's comparable to 2017, when O.J. Howard, Evan Engram and David Njoku were all seen as top-32 players. This year, Iowa's Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson and Alabama's Irv Smith Jr. are all top-tier candidates at tight end. Fant is the most athletic and is somewhat reminiscent of Engram. Hockenson is the best blocker, has excellent hands and won the Mackey Award for college football's best tight end. Smith is arguably the most complete one of the bunch, and he looks like a plug-and-play starter.

                                       

The Big Board

It's time to update the big board after the January 14 deadline for underclassmen to declare. Here's my most recent top 32:

1. Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State

2. Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama

3. Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky

4. Ed Oliver, DL, Houston

5. Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan

6. Devin White, LB, LSU

7. Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

8. Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

9. Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State

10. Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson

11. Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

12. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

13. Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

14. Jeffery Simmons, DL, Miss. State

15. Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson

16. Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

17. Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

18. Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

19. Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma

20. Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

21. Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State

22. Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia

23. Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida

24. Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech

25. Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

26. T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

27. Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama

28. Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss

29. Oshane Ximines, EDGE, Old Dominion

30. Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

31. N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

32. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

                                           

Parting Shots

6. Stock Up

Oklahoma offensive lineman Cody Ford is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the best of the group in this draft. Most teams see Ford, a 6'4", 337-pound rock at right tackle, shifting inside to offensive guard, where he has the power to excel in the run game.

Don't be surprised if Ford is a top-15 selection when April rolls around. This isn't a particularly strong offensive line class, and his size, power and NFL readiness are enticing. 

         

5. Stock Down

The Clemson Tigers upset Alabama to earn a national title, but defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence was absent from the team's playoff victories because of a suspension for a failed drug test. NFL scouts say that episode, as well as his nose tackle position becoming extinct in the NFL, will push him down boards. 

A former top prep player, Lawrence has plenty of name recognition among football fans, but scouts are not high on his abilities. 

4. Sleeper of the Week 

One of the toughest, most physical players in the 2019 draft class is Temple's Rock Ya-Sin. The senior cornerback is excellent playing at the line of scrimmage, and his reach, awareness and instincts all show up on tape. In a cornerback class dominated by juniors, Ya-Sin has a chance to leave next week's Senior Bowl as the group's top-ranked senior.

Temple cornerback Rock Ya-Sin
Temple cornerback Rock Ya-SinChris Szagola/Associated Press/Associated Press

              

3. The top 24 picks of the first round are set. Here's the current order based on win-loss percentage and strength of schedule:

1. Arizona Cardinals
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. New York Jets
4. Oakland Raiders
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6. New York Giants
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
8. Detroit Lions
9. Buffalo Bills
10. Denver Broncos
11. Cincinnati Bengals
12. Green Bay Packers
13. Miami Dolphins
14. Atlanta Falcons
15. Washington Redskins
16. Carolina Panthers
17. Cleveland Browns
18. Minnesota Vikings
19. Tennessee Titans
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
21. Seattle Seahawks
22. Baltimore Ravens
23. Houston Texans
24. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago) 
25. Philadelphia Eagles
26. Indianapolis Colts
27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas)
28. Los Angeles Chargers
29. New England Patriots*
30. Los Angeles Rams*
31. Kansas City Chiefs*
32. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans)*

* = active playoff teams

           

2. If you're attending the 2019 Reese's Senior Bowl and want to meet up, please come by Draft Picks Taproom on Monday and Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. to watch a live taping of our Stick to Football podcast and hang out.

1. Stick to Football sat down with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes ahead of his playoff debut! Check out the podcast and subscribe if you haven't already. We will also post a ton of behind-the-scenes content on our Instagram page.

                

                                                                                        

Matt Miller covers the NFL and NFL draft for Bleacher Report.

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