Best NFL Fits for 2019 Draft's Top Quarterbacks

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterFebruary 19, 2019

Best NFL Fits for 2019 Draft's Top Quarterbacks

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    The 2019 NFL draft class features four locks to be first-rounders at quarterback and another handful of talented passers who will be looked at as future starters or high-level backups. For the 11 teams identified as potential quarterback landing spots, that's good news.

    The Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers could all select a passer early in this draft—either to be an immediate starter or a quarterback of the future. Which of the top quarterbacks fit best in those systems and why?

    Let's find out.

         

Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

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    Round Projection: Top 10 pick

    Best Fits: New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos

    Why He Fits:

    Dwayne Haskins, contrary to what Stephen A. Smith says, is a pocket passer with a strong arm and very good poise for a one-year starter. The New York Giants are looking for a quarterback to sit behind Eli Manning for another season, and Haskins can do that while learning more about the position after so few starts in college. He fits the Giants' idea of a big, strong, prototypical passer who can win from the pocket.

    The Jaguars need a massive upgrade at quarterback, and in Haskins, they might see a player similar to their last good quarterback—Byron Leftwich. Haskins has the arm talent to make throws to every level and is a much more accurate prospect than the man he'd be replacing. His poise and lack of panic is the opposite of what the Jaguars just experienced at quarterback with Blake Bortles.

    The Broncos now have a short-term solution at quarterback with Joe Flacco. If John Elway keeps an open mind about this year's quarterback prospects, he'll like what he sees in Haskins. Haskins is able to read the entire field and push the ball with velocity and excellent timing. As a pure passer, Haskins is the best in the 2019 class and can win down the field or between the hashes. Haskins could use more experience and more reps against complex coverages since he didn't see many at Ohio State, but in Denver he would have time to learn behind Flacco.

Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

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    Round Projection: Top 10 pick

    Best Fits: Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals

    Why He Fits:

    Kyler Murray was electric enough as an athlete to be drafted No. 9 overall in the MLB draft by the Oakland A's before winning the Heisman Trophy following the 2018 season. The Oakland Raiders could look at Murray with the No. 4 overall pick and see an elite athlete with rare speed, a quick whip as a passer and considerable upside to continue improving and decide it's worth moving on from Derek Carr. Murray doesn't fit any size profiles, and he's only started one year in college, but if the Raiders see this as a chance to get their version of Patrick Mahomes, they have to move on Murray.

    The Jaguars defense is built to win, and if healthy, the team has a good foundation offensively on the line and at running back. What they lack is a quarterback who can do enough to win games on his own when needed. Murray's dual-threat skill set would open up the offense for Leonard Fournette and give Jacksonville a playmaker under center who can beat defenses down the field with his arm or outside the pocket with his legs.

    The Bengals bring in a new head coach in Zac Taylor, and he has zero ties to current starter Andy Dalton. Instead of being stuck in quarterback purgatory, the Bengals could add a spark to the team that might propel them back into playoff contention. It's not clear as to what Taylor, a Sean McVay disciple, will want in his quarterback, but if Dalton isn't it, the team could move on at pick No. 11 overall.

Drew Lock, Missouri

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    Round Projection: Top 10 pick

    Best Fits: Denver Broncos, Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins

    Why He Fits:

    The Broncos have fallen in love with Lock, at least according to more than a dozen NFL sources throughout the last month. Team president John Elway could see a lot of himself in Lock—an athletic, two-sport star with a big arm and an ability to make plays on the move. If the Broncos are still sold on drafting a quarterback to work behind Joe Flacco, Lock makes a lot of sense.

    The Redskins need a quarterback who can come in and play immediately. Lock, more than Haskins or Murray, gives that option. He's a three-year starter at Missouri and has experience against SEC defenses and seeing various coverages. He's still prone to some mistakes and inaccuracy, but good coaching can allow Lock's positive traits (arm strength, athleticism, playmaking) come out on the field. 

    Miami is expected to move on from quarterback Ryan Tannehill and, like Washington, will need to add a passer ready to play Week 1. Lock is pro-ready from a field-read standpoint even if he needs to learn and grow on the job to better handle adversity and clean up poor decision-making.

Daniel Jones, Duke

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    Round Projection: Round 1

    Best Fits: Cincinnati Bengals, Washington Redskins, New England Patriots

    Why He Fits:

    As mentioned before, new head coach Zac Taylor may want to put his own stamp on the Cincinnati Bengals by making a change at quarterback. In Daniel Jones, he might see his own version of Jared Goff after coaching him in Los Angeles for the past two seasons. Jones is a mechanically sound, well-coached, smart passer with plus athleticism and enough gunslinger in his makeup to take chances. If Taylor believes he can mold Jones' decision-making, he could have a franchise quarterback.

    The Redskins are desperate for a quarterback. If Jones is on the board at No. 15 overall, it's easy to imagine the front office jumping on a pro-ready passer such as Jones who did a lot with little talent around him at Duke and has a way of making big plays in crucial moments. After so-so practices all week at the Senior Bowl, Jones flipped a switch and dominated in the game. Watching that, the Redskins could fall in love.

    The New England Patriots aren't likely to see Jones on the board at No. 32 overall, but if he were to slip into a range where a trade was comfortable, he's an ideal fit as a successor for Tom Brady. Jones plays well from the pocket, reads the entire field and would give Josh McDaniels' offense more of a running threat than Brady has ever been.

Jarrett Stidham, Auburn

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    Round Projection: Round 2

    Best Fits: Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots

    Why He Fits:

    Jarrett Stidham was seen as a potential Round 1 player before the season began, but a tough final year at Auburn with a poor supporting cast around him put his stock closer to Round 2. The Cincinnati Bengals, if they decide to go defense in the first round, could view Stidham as good enough to push Andy Dalton for a starting quarterback job and eventually replace him as a cheaper option for the next four years.

    The Miami Dolphins are in a similar situation. If Tannehill leaves and they opt to bring in a veteran to hold down the job, Stidham is worth a look in Round 2. His accuracy, toughness and arm talent are impressive if you go back to his 2017 tape or look at his Senior Bowl week. New general manager Chris Grier could see those traits and tab Stidham as the solution to their quarterback problems.

    The Patriots are in no rush to replace Tom Brady, which might mean drafting a quarterback outside the first round (which puts them on a four-year deal) isn't an option. But Stidham late in Round 1 is possible if the Patriots believe he has the tools and mental makeup to succeed in their unique system.

Will Grier, West Virginia

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    Round Projection: Round 3

    Best Fits: New Orleans Saints, Jacksonville Jaguars

    Why He Fits:

    Will Grier might be seen as only a high-level backup, but NFL teams still need those. Grier can be a good one and a potential spot starter a la Case Keenum. The Saints, still holding on to an open Super Bowl window with Drew Brees, could look to add a backup with starter potential once Teddy Bridgewater leaves in free agency. 

    The Jaguars are expected by NFL sources to be in on Nick Foles as a free agent or trade piece this offseason, but they still need a backup just in case Foles falls back to his level of play outside Philadelphia. Grier's current stock puts him in the range of a pick between 75 and 100.

Honorable Mentions

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    Clayton Thorson, Northwestern

    Round Projection: Round 4

    Best Fits: New England Patriots, Los Angeles Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Thorson was held back by a bad offensive supporting cast at Northwestern but has enough pro-level traits that a team with some patience could invest in him as a developmental quarterback with starting upside.

          

    Tyree Jackson, Buffalo

    Round Projection: Round 4

    Best Fits: Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Chargers

    Jackson has a huge arm with excellent velocity and deep-ball ability, but he lacks athleticism to make plays outside the pocket or evade the rush. Teams that put a high value on arm strength and downfield play could like him as a mid-round developmental piece.

          

    Ryan Finley, NC State

    Round Projection: Round 5-6

    Best Fits: Oakland Raiders, New York Giants, Cincinnati Bengals

    Finley had a ton of playmakers around him at NC State but couldn't put together the type of tape to look like a priority pick at quarterback. He does have enough touch and accuracy to project well as a QB2 for teams that want to play from the pocket.

          

    Brett Rypien, Boise State

    Round Projection: Round 5-6

    Best Fits: New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals

    A valuable QB2 prospect with good character, leadership and toughness; Rypien has value as a potential backup who could become a starter in a scheme that doesn't ask for a ton of arm strength or big plays down the field. 

           

    Gardner Minshew, Washington State

    Round Projection: Round 6

    Best Fits: New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders

    Minshew has some of the best character at the quarterback position with a fiery, take-charge leadership style that resonates with teams and teammates. He's a backup-only-type prospect but could surprise and work his way into a starting role.