With the college football season behind us, the football world focuses on the NFL playoffs. Those watching at home begin to think about their teams and what they can do to improve them, specifically with quarterback prospects in this upcoming draft.
One of the adages about the NFL is that it is a quarterback-driven league. The divide in the NFL is between teams who have a quarterback and teams who don’t have a quarterback.
This year’s class of quarterback prospects is quite robust. In addition to that, the Chicago Bears have the no.1 pick. Given how Justin Fields performed this year, it’s (mostly) safe to say that the Bears will not draft a quarterback. That means all the teams who need a quarterback will be preparing attractive trade packages to get the number one pick.
After that, the obvious question is: Whom will they pick? Let’s look at some of the top prospects in the upcoming draft class.
Bryce Young: Which Alabama QB Will He Be?
Alabama qhas had a mixed record of success in the pros in terms of quarterback prospects. Some fans would say that they’re most often “exposed” in the NFL because they don’t have the same level of talent surrounding them when they go to one of the worst teams in the NFL.
Recent examples include Mac Jones, who had an extremely inconsistent 2022 with the New England Patriots, and Tua Tagovailoa, who took a leap this year under new Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel but struggled with concussions throughout the season.
Bryce Young hopes that he’ll buck the recent struggles of Crimson Tide signal-callers in the NFL. Young won the Heisman in 2021 and owns the Alabama single-season record for passing yards and touchdowns.
There are some physical concerns about Bryce Young. He’s only 6 feet tall, which will make it difficult for him to see past the line battle playing out in front of him. Young has good movement in the pocket and can extend plays but struggles to let it rip. He will need to learn how to let his receivers “go up and get it” when he gets to the NFL.
CJ Stroud: The Next Justin Fields?
Another top quarterback prospect in this year’s class is Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud. Stroud was also a finalist for the 2021 Heisman Trophy and was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. He holds the Ohio State school record for passing yards in a single game.
Stroud comes from a spread offense, so he’ll need to adjust when he joins the NFL. Stroud’s strength is in the pocket, but he will need to learn how to use his legs more effectively in the pros.
Will Levis: Ready for the NFL?
From looking around the NFL, it’s clear that the best talent isn’t always found at the top of the draft. Sometimes, if a player has measurables and talent, NFL coaches can work with them and make them into a competent NFL quarterback prospects. Josh Allen comes to mind – a player from a smaller school with off the charts talent and the ability to throw a football through a brick wall.
Will Levis of Kentucky is one of those players. He started in college football at Penn State as a goal line option who was redshirted in his freshman year. He transferred to Kentucky, and spent his last two years of eligibility as a starter for the Wildcats.
Levis’ measurables are off the charts. He’s 6’4, 230 lbs – the traditional NFL size that scouts are looking for. He also ran pro-style offenses in college, so he has the vocabulary to walk into an NFL quarterback room without feeling too much of a learning curve.
Rumors are that the Colts are already interested in drafting Levis. If they do, they’ll have to teach him some control over those measurables. Levis has an arm that can get the ball down the field, but likes to rely too much on the power of his arm to fit the ball in tight spaces. Hopefully his NFL coaches will be able to teach him control.