2019 NFL Draft: Predicting Destinations for the Top 10 Quarterbacks

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2019

2019 NFL Draft: Predicting Destinations for the Top 10 Quarterbacks

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    Paul Vernon/Associated Press

    The 2019 NFL draft seems to offer more intrigue than most when it comes to where the top quarterback prospects might end up. 

    It starts right at the top with the Arizona Cardinals and the Kyler Murray question. A few picks later, the erratic New York Giants and their repeated rolling the dice on Eli Manning complicates things, too. 

    What is generally viewed as a so-so class with no surefire top prospect or guaranteed producer doesn't help matters and might explain why Nick Foles got a contract worth potentially more than $100 million and a team like Washington decided to trade for Case Keenum. 

    Still, using logical fits and looking at team moves and the current draft board, where the top 10 quarterbacks in the class might end up serves as an interesting exercise. 

    Using Matt Miller's latest big board to rank the prospects, let's nail down the eventual destination for the top 10 passers in the class. 

          

Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

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    Paul Vernon/Associated Press

    Destination: New York Giants, Round 1, sixth overall

    Regardless of their posture, the New York Giants aren't going to balk at the idea of picking the guy who seems to be the draft's best pocket passer. 

    Standing pat in the top 10 should still net the Giants Dwayne Haskins, the 50-touchdown slinger from a season ago who stands at 6'3" and 231 pounds. 

    The Giants have been linked to Haskins for a long time now. As they say, where there's smoke, there's fire. Matt Miller and Connor Rogers reported the Giants have studied him "all year" so it seems the narrative is still alive. 

    Granted, the Giants did a potential rookie quarterback a disservice by trading Odell Beckham Jr., though in theory, the extra pick could net them another young offensive weapon capable of growing alongside the quarterback and Saquon Barkley. 

    If this happens, Haskins does get the benefit of learning from Manning before taking over, which is about as ideal as it gets for his pro outlook. 

Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

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    Alonzo Adams/Associated Press

    Destination: Arizona Cardinals, Round 1, first overall

    Again, there is too much smoke here to think it doesn't happen. 

    Murray's MLB drama is behind him, and the height questions were never going to go away no matter what he measured at, so 5'10" isn't the end of the world. He's still one of the most electric players to enter the draft at quarterback in a long time simply based on the sheer potential if he lands in the right spot. 

    At this point, the right spot might indeed be with new Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, a newcomer to the pro scene who won't be afraid to innovate in the hopes of getting the most out of his potential franchise passer.

    And Murray is going to need some help if the Cardinals dump Josh Rosen and throw him to the wolves right away. Murray is a creative, instinctive player, but pro disguises and pressure concepts are going to give him problems not to mention clog his passing lanes. 

    Even then, going first overall is nice on its own, as is landing with a mind like Kingsbury and getting flanked by weapons such as Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson. 

Drew Lock, Missouri

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Destination: Washington Redskins, Round 1, 15th overall

    If the Washington Redskins don't feel like moving up on draft day, they are likely to take the best passer who falls their way. 

    Coincidentally enough, this should still put them in range for a prospect who is capable of starting from Day 1, or at least competing for the job. 

    Drew Lock threw for 72 touchdowns over his last two collegiate seasons at Missouri before hitting the combine at 6'4", 228 pounds and looking good in drills. As NFL.com's Lance Zierlein wrote, Lock "makes reads and throws that are worthy of an early pick" but has "issues defeating pocket pressure."

    So really, Lock couldn't land in a better place than Washington. He'll have Jay Gruden scheming the plan, Adrian Peterson, Derrius Guice and Chris Thompson in the backfield, and one of the league's better offensive lines. 

Daniel Jones, Duke

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Destination: Miami Dolphins, Round 1, 13th overall

    Daniel Jones is one of the other quarterback prospects who might be able to come in right away and start for an NFL team. 

    That doesn't mean it will be pretty, but this class isn't offering too much. Jones, 6'5" and 221 pounds, was a three-year starter at Duke, where he never wowed on the stat sheet, averaging just 6.4 yards per completion. Physically he didn't stick out either, which Dane Brugler of The Athletic touched on by writing he "doesn't have any exceptional physical traits." 

    Still, Jones' collegiate surroundings muddy the outlook a bit, and it's impossible to ignore his superb mechanics, which don't need any refinement. 

    The Miami Dolphins will find the positives hard to ignore and the negatives fixable, especially if they flesh out the rest of the roster well in the coming years while keeping a long-term eye on the AFC East and the eventual exit of Tom Brady. Unlike Lock and the Redskins trying to win now, the Dolphins won't have a problem being patient with Jones. 

Jarrett Stidham, Auburn

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Destination: New England Patriots, Round 2

    It isn't too hard to see coming, as the New England Patriots will start thinking about the future again. Tom Brady isn't showing signs of slowing down, but the precipice of the cliff can sneak up and surprise. 

    With this topic, it is more a conversation about "who" and "when" than it is "if." And if one of the top four passers doesn't fall to the Patriots, Auburn's Jarrett Stidham might be the guy. 

    Stidham didn't light up the SEC in large part due to the asks of the offense. Matt Miller explained one of the bigger mysteries around passers this year: "Why does Daniel Jones get a pass for his skill players being bad, but Jarrett Stidham doesn't get one for his entire offense being a wreck?"

    Granted, Stidham would be a bit of a departure from the Brady mold for the Patriots. He's more mobile and likely needs a timing-based approach if he's going to succeed. But that's low key the point here: Bill Belichick's next pick is likely going to be adaptive to the current NFL times and plenty successful. 

Will Grier, West Virginia

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Destination: Cincinnati Bengals, Round 2

    New Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor is going to want to go out and get his guy eventually—but only if the value is right. The team still has capable starter Andy Dalton, so a falling prospect they like might make more sense than ignoring a more immediate need in the first round to grab a passer. 

    And West Virginia's Will Grier might be in a bit of a freefall. 

    Not that this wasn't unexpected, but Grier hasn't been able to keep his name among the top four passers. He's mobile but only 6'2", 217 pounds, and he put up 34 or more touchdowns in each of his past two seasons in a friendly scheme. 

    Grier can succeed in the NFL with the right surrounding pieces but doesn't appear to be the type who uplifts those around him. Funnily enough, NFL Film's Greg Cosell said on the Ross Tucker Podcast that the Mountaineers passer reminds him of Andy Dalton. 

    Fitting, right? 

Clayton Thorson, Northwestern

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Destination: Los Angeles Chargers, Rounds 3-5

    Clayton Thorson isn't a household name, but it's clear he has a big mindshare with experts like Miller. 

    The Northwestern product checks in at 6'4", 222 pounds and has a so-so resume over four years, at least statistically, never throwing for more than 22 touchdowns but rushing for eight or more scores in each of his last two seasons. 

    Miller noted Thorson missed a chance at the Senior Bowl to raise his stock: "I had really hoped we'd see Thorson at the senior bowl but injuries kept him out. There is legitimate buzz for him around the league."

    So goes the information gap between the media and league. If the league is high on him, there is a chance a team like the Los Angeles Chargers likes him in the middle rounds as a backup and potential starter in place of Philip Rivers. 

    Thorson with the Chargers would benefit from good coaching, a veteran mentor and solid weapons around him, which one certainly couldn't say about his collegiate days. 

Tyree Jackson, Buffalo

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Destination: Denver Broncos, Round 3

    The Denver Broncos traded for Joe Flacco, which opens things up for them in the first round. John Elway shouldn't be ruled completely out of a Round 1 quarterback, but he also wants to win now. 

    John Elway also adores his tall quarterbacks. 

    In draft terms, that's Tyree Jackson's music. He's 6'7" with a booming arm, though athletically he isn't going to be doing much scampering for big plays. Jackson threw for 28 touchdowns against 12 picks last year while rushing 55 times with seven scores, but did his damage in the MAC. 

    Still, plus size and what is perhaps the second-best arm in the class has created comments like this from Adam Schefter: "Jackson's arm is as strong, if not stronger, than Bills QB Josh Allen. Many believe he will go higher than expected in draft."

    Knowing the team won't get much for long out of Flacco, Elway is likely to pull the trigger on a high-upside backup who needs a few years to get in the pro groove. 

Ryan Finley, NC State

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Destination: Oakland Raiders, Rounds 5-7

    It is fun to speculate Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders might use one of their three first-round picks to gamble on a quarterback. 

    But in a middling class, a roster with so many needs and a capable guy in Derek Carr, the reality is the front office and Gruden might choose to punt on the idea. 

    At least in the early rounds. 

    Later, a prospect like NC State's Ryan Finley becomes a possibility. While not the heaviest at 6'4" and 213 pounds, Finley's reliance on pre-snap reads to push the ball to a predetermined spot is something certain teams will value. 

    In other words, Finely is good backup material who can master a playbook and get in there in a pinch. He's the type of wiggle room a team like the Raiders needs, as he's long-term interesting but won't prevent a high selection at the spot a year later. 

Brett Rypien, Boise State

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Destination: New Orleans Saints, Rounds 5-7

    Another savvy intermediate passer with good-enough measurements (6'2", 210 pounds) and plenty of collegiate experience, Brett Rypien is going to appeal to a team like the New Orleans Saints. 

    Rypien excelled in the MWC and could eventually do the same at the pro level if he finds himself in a place that doesn't ask for a ton of big-time throws reliant on arm strength or pocket-escaping athleticism. 

    Those Saints know keeping Teddy Bridgewater around much longer won't be the easiest thing to do, and the future with Drew Brees is hard to predict. The rest of the roster looks solid around the position, so the front office giving itself as many chances as possible to find the next starter is the probable move. 

    Maybe Rypien never even sees the field. But he's hard to pass up in the later rounds when some of the sought-after intangibles will get thrown into a Brees-led environment and encouraged to flourish.