FLOWERY BRANCH — Here are the top 10 quarterback prospects (with projected draft round) for the 2017 NFL draft, which is set for April 27-29 in Philadelphia:
- Deshaun Watson, 6-foot-2, 221 pounds, Clemson (first): The record-setting quarterback guided the Tigers to consecutive College Football Playoff appearances, and the school’s second second National Championship in 2016. The two-time Heisman Trophy finalist led the Tigers to 28 wins over his final two seasons. He finished his storied career with a 32-3 record as a starter, best winning percentage in school history for a quarterback. He finished third in ACC history in total offense (12,094), behind only N.C. State’s Philip Rivers and former Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd. He passed for 10,163 yards and 90 career touchdowns and finished in Clemson history in career completion percentage (.674), passing efficiency (157.5) and total offense per game (318.3). He was a two-time team most valuable player and two-time All-ACC academic team (2015,16) selection. NFLDraftScout.com has him ranked as the third best quarterback in the draft and projects that he’ll be drafted in the first or second round.
- Mitchell Trubisky, 6-2, 222, North Carolina (first): He was Mr. Football in Ohio, but went to North Carolina after Ohio State signed J.T. Barrett. He redshirted in 2013 and backed up Marquise Williams for two seasons. He took over last season and completed 68.2 percent of his passes. He set single-season school records for passing yards (3,748), completions (304), total offense (4,056) and touchdown passes (30) while throwing only six interceptions.
- Patrick Mahomes, 6-2, 225, Texas Tech (first/second): He played as a freshmen and took over as a sophomore and completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 4,653 yards, 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. As a junior he completed 388 passes for 5,052 passing yards and a 41-10 touchdown-interception ratio. “I hear the buzz from teams, they’re fired up about him,” NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. “He has a huge personality, a big arm, teams want to work with him. I think the buzz is definitely legitimate.”
- DeShone Kizer, 6-4, 233, Notre Dame (first/second): He picked Notre Dame after receiving offers from Alabama and LSU. He finished his redshirt freshman year with 63 percent completions, 2,844 passing yards and 31 total touchdowns (21 passing, 10 rushing). He elected to skip his final two seasons of eligibility to enter the draft.
- Davis Webb, 6-5, 229, California (second): Started his career at Texas Tech. With his degree in-hand, he went to Cal to replace Jared Goff, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft. Webb set several passing records for the Bears and ranked second nationally (behind Mahomes) with 4,295 passing yards. He finished with 43 total touchdowns (37 passing, six rushing) to earn All-Pac 12 Honorable Mention honors.
- Nathan Peterman, 6-2, 226, Pittsburgh (second): Considered a strong developmental prospect. He was a two-year starter for the Panthers after he couldn’t beat out Joshua Dobbs at Tennessee. He played two seasons in the Panthers’ pro-style scheme, ranking eighth overall in the FBS in passing efficiency as a senior.
- Joshua Dobbs, 6-3, 216, Tennessee (third): Could he be this year’s Dak Prescott? Over 37 games, Dobbs completed 614 of 999 passes for 7,138 yards. He also rushed for 2,160 yards and 32 touchdowns as he led a Rocky Top revival. Finished Tennessee career with a 23-12 record (including 3-0 in bowls) as starting quarterback, tying Condredge Holloway (1972-74) for the fifth-most wins by starting quarterback. Set school record for career rushing yards by a quarterback (2,160), career rushing touchdowns by a QB (32), single-season rushing yards by a quarterback (831 in 2016) and single-season rushing touchdowns by a QB (12 in 2016). NFLDraftScout has Dobbs rated as the 10th best quarterback in the draft and are projected that he’ll be drafted in the seventh round.
- Brad Kaaya, 6-4, 214, Miami (third/fourth): He was a three-year starter for the Hurricanes. He’s a rhythm passer who worked a year under former Georgia coach Mark Richt in a pro-styled attack.
- Jerod Evans,6-3, 232, Virginia Tech (fifth/sixth): Evans completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 3,552 passing yards and 41 total touchdowns (29 passing, 12 rushing). Evans surprised many with his decision to enter the draft.
- Chad Kelly, 6-2, 224, Mississippi (fifth/sixth): Had wrist surgery and wasn’t able to perform during the pre-draft process. The nephew of hall of famer Jim Kelly had surgery at the clinic of Dr. James Andrews for an acute rupture of a ligament between two bones in his throwing wrist. He won’t be able to throw for three months. He could be ready for training camp.
Who we had last last year as the top 5 seniors for 2016 draft: 1. Dak Prescott, 6-1, 230, Mississippi State. 2. Connor Cook, 6-4, 220, Michigan State. 3. Trevone Boykin, 6-1, 208, TCU. 4. Cody Kessler, 6-1, 210, USC. 5. Jake Coker, 6-4, 230, Alabama.
Top 5 seniors for the 2017 draft: 1. Chad Kelly, Mississippi. 2. Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee. 3. C.J. Beathard, Iowa. 4. Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati. 5. Seth Russell, Baylor.
NFL DRAFT 2017
POSITION BY POSITION SERIES
Sunday, April 15 — QUARTERBACKS