Here are our outlooks on the short- and long-term prospects of the top quarterbacks prospects taken in the 2019 NFL Draft:
Cardinals take Kyler Murray in Round 1, No. 1 overall
Kliff Kingsbury did his best to be secretive, but his past statements proved to be as authentic as they seemed.
The guy genuinely loves Kyler Murray. And now his near-decade recruitment of Murray is complete as Kingsbury's Cardinals chose the Oklahoma quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Murray will fit the Cardinals' new offense like a glove — it's the same "air-raid" system he was in as he throttled defenses with the Sooners. In 14 games last season, Murray completed 69 percent of his passes for 4,361 yards and 42 passing touchdowns, adding another 1,001 yards and 12 scores on the ground. He had seven interceptions and two fumbles lost.
He's going to be on the field from day one with minimal growing pains. He'll command a pass-focused, fast-paced, quick-hitting offense that specializes in intricate plays that are designed to get receivers wide open. He'll also be a part of many RPOs that will result in rushing stats-a-plenty. And, since the Cardinals defense still has some work to do in the "stopping their opponents" department, Murray should play from behind or in competitive games most weeks.
He's basically Lamar Jackson, except he's accurate. And I want a guy with that potential on my roster.
You're probably not ready to think of Murray as a legit Fantasy player, but you'll come around. Quarterback is a deep position — if you get to the back-half of your draft without a passer, you'll have a pick from as many as five guys who you'll feel comfortable with beginning the season with as a starter. None of those five have quite the same upside as Murray, though.
I'm on board with drafting Murray around 100th overall (Round 9 in a 12-team league), then taking a second quarterback right after him (one from Dak Prescott/Tom Brady/Josh Allen/Jimmy Garoppolo/Ben Roethlisberger). By following this path, we're locking into a big sleeper quarterback with the least amount of risk possible. Had you done this with Patrick Mahomes last year, or Deshaun Watson the year before, you'd have been happy. It's the success of those young quarterbacks that should help give you some confidence in giving Murray consideration this year, though Murray's own talents and system in Arizona are the most appealing factors.
No doubt, Murray will be just as popular as an all-upside starter in two-quarterback leagues. I also think Murray is worthy of a top-15 pick in rookie-only drafts in dynasty leagues.
What could he do for the rest of this offense?
Johnson's value was never going to be significantly impacted by anything the Cardinals did in the draft. If anything, his offensive line is still a strike against him, but at least this year he should corral more than 3.1 receptions per game. He, like other running backs who work with running quarterbacks, should benefit greatly from Murray's legs threatening defenses. I would expect Johnson to be a dynamo on option plays and still be a big factor at the goal line. He's a lineup-staple with a top-15 pick in any format.
Kirk and Fitzgerald have the reliable hands to get plenty of receptions, but only one of them is set up to be a threat for significant yards after catch. According to Pro Football Focus, Kirk averaged 5.3 yards after catch last year, Fitzgerald had just 3.1 -- and has averaged below 5.0 yards after catch every year since 2015. Kirk figures to have more upside in non-PPR leagues but both will get picked between Rounds 7 and 8. In PPR, Fitzgerald's reception totals push him a shade ahead of Kirk, and in that format, both should get picked around Round 7.
Want a sleeper? Tight end Ricky Seals-Jones gives Murray a wide target with some decent speed. While Kingsbury's offense doesn't typically utilize a tight end on a play-to-play basis, it does enlist anyone who can catch and run. Seals-Jones qualifies, and a Week 1 home game versus the Lions isn't a scary enough matchup to avoid him as a streamer. Take him with one of your last three picks, and if he stinks, toss him for someone else on waivers.
NFL scouts love Jones for his traits and skill-set, not for the numbers he produced at Duke. Jones' stats were terrible, partially because his O-line couldn't block well for him and because his receivers had easy drops every game.
While he had flashes of thriving while on the move or under duress, he also had plenty of tipped passes, hurried throws and overall bad decisions. Truth is, his arm strength is just solid. His accuracy in clean pockets is typically good thanks in part to very good, well-coached footwork in the pocket and mobility out of it.
He seems to have the intelligence for the position, which adds to his appeal, but he can't be called NFL-ready. The Giants will use Eli Manning as their starter in 2019 before handing over the keys to Jones in 2020.
No one will draft Jones in seasonal leagues; he'll be a very late pick in long-term keeper and dynasty start-ups and probably won't get taken until Round 3 in rookie-only drafts. — Dave Richard
Washington takes Dwayne Haskins in Round 1, No. 15 overall
It was a long wait for Dwayne Haskins and there was no reward at the end. The former Ohio State Buckeye landed in one of the worst spots a rookie quarterback could ask for.
We expect Haskins to beat out Case Keenum for the starting job, but there's no guarantee he'll do that by Week 1. When he does, he'll deal inherit a receiving corps that is led by either Josh Doctson or Paul RIchardson, neither of whom is particularly inspiring.
In the short term this looks like an offense that wants to run the ball and protect their defense. There isn't high volume or high upside available here in 2019.
Long term, Haskins has a skillset that one could be excited about if surrounded by talent. He's a rhythm pocket passer with very little athleticism. He's an accurate passer who is adequate at reading defenses, but he's not someone who is going to elevate mediocre talent around him.
You can ignore Haskins in redraft leagues, but he's worth a late pick for Dynasty leagues, as well as a late-second round pick in rookie-only drafts. — Heath Cummings
Remember reading about Drew Lock as a potential first-round pick of the Broncos at 10th overall? Well, they got him at 42nd overall -- but it's not by accident.
Lock is a fascinating, and frustrating, quarterback prospect because he'll demonstrate perfect ball placement on some tosses and then miss a target 7 yards crossing in front of his face or chuck up an easy interception. It's imperative for Denver's coaching staff (and maybe John Elway himself) to work with the 6-foot-4 guarterback on his footwork and cutting down on his mistakes and giving him plenty of time to grow and become a more efficient gunslinger.
I think Broncos fans, and Fantasy fans, will dig his moxie to make tight throws and run for yardage when defenses don't account for him. If he can improve when under pressure and not make silly, random mistakes with some of his throws, he'll be very good. The only people taking him in Fantasy are in long-term formats, where he's a late-rounder in dynasty start-ups and a late second-round pick in rookie-only drafts.
I was over the moon for Will Grier after watching his film. He's a total gamer with a quick release, good arm strength, very good velocity and the ability to make quick decisions (even in a breaking pocket). But I get why he fell in the draft -- he's 24 years old, a little undersized, was once busted for PEDs and then changed schools, and is more of a gunslinger than a patient, refined passer.
The good news is that the Panthers have a capable backup in case Cam Newton misses any playing time. The bad news is that Grier won't make any Fantasy rosters anytime soon.