2019 NFL Draft QB Stock Watch: Drew Lock finishes regular season as top quarterback prospect
The big-armed Missouri senior has the most balanced game of 2019's class of quarterbacks
The college football regular season is in the books, and the top quarterback prospect is a strong-armed, experienced signal-caller from the SEC.
Drew Lock didn't have the Heisman-caliber campaign some expected from him in 2018 but finished with a completion percentage of 63.2 while tossing 25 touchdowns to just eight interceptions at a respectable 7.83 yards per attempt. Yes, he threw 44 touchdowns a season ago, but I liked the consistency from him in 2018 as compared to his boom-or-bust style in 2017.
Instead of what's been the general analysis of each quarterback, I'm putting a wrap on the regular season with strengths and weaknesses of the top 5.
Here's the latest edition of QB Stock Watch.
Strengths: Huge arm. Capable of making throws with high velocity from awkward arm angles. Loads of experience in the SEC. Good size. Quick release. Decently athletic for the quarterback spot. Aggressive to all areas of the field. There isn't a throw he thinks he can't make. Typically impressive throwing on the run. Possesses the ability to stand patiently in the pocket and survey the field while subtly drifting away from pressure. Can move through progressions.
Weaknesses: Ball-placement can be spotty. Locking onto first read can lead to bad decisions or misreads of coverage. While pocket patience is there, he's not consistent with it and can prematurely leave clean pockets.
Bowl game: AutoZone Liberty Bowl, December 31 at 3:45 p.m. ET against Oklahoma State
2. Ryan Finley, NC State: Stock Steady
Strengths: Capable of making anticipation throws. Pinpoint accurate in the back-shoulder game. Will give his receivers a chance to make a play on the ball in traffic. Reliable accuracy. Can dice up a zone defense in the short-to-intermediate ranges. Plenty of experience throwing on the run on designed rollouts. Full-field reader. Downfield touch is well above average. Extremely experienced. Good athlete for the position with NFL size. Flashes pocket patience/drifting skills.
Weaknesses: Weak arm and tendency to fade away from throws leads to longer throws taking a while to get to intended target. Ball placement isn't always as great as you'd expect from a veteran quarterback. When he doesn't like what he sees after going through first few reads, he can leave clean pockets and/or run into pressure. Seemingly knows the limitations of his arm, which leads to him sometimes not releasing the ball to open receivers.
Bowl game: TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, December 31 at 7:30 p.m. ET against Texas A&M
3. Justin Herbert, Oregon: Stock Down
Strengths: Tall, live arm, and very athletic. Impressive accuracy to the intermediate level of the field. Can make anticipation throws to the sideline. Aggressive down the seam. Elite ability to throw with accuracy on the run. Shows what seemingly looks like natural pocket-management skills. Can be patient while scanning.
Weaknesses: Downfield accuracy needs a lot of work. Ball-placement issues pop up on occasion, even on shorter passes. Can hold the ball too long, leading to sacks or unnecessary pressure. More pass breakups on his throws than what you normally see. Not super experienced.
Bowl Game: RedBox Bowl, December 31 at 3 p.m. ET against Michigan State
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4. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State: Stock Up
Strengths: Well beyond his years with quickness through progressions and ability to read the entire field. Strong arm. Repeatedly climbs into the pocket after getting the top of his drop. Good accuracy to all levels of the field. Decently mobile but wants to distribute the football from inside the pocket.
Weaknesses: One season of starting experience. Though his delivery is relatively quick, the ball does loop a bit. Wasn't pressured much in 2018. When he was, he unsurprisingly -- due to lack of experience -- had issues with keeping his eyes up and drifting away from oncoming defenders. Not necessarily on him, but a sizable chunk of his production came on easy throws in which supreme athletes around him ran after the catch.
Bowl Game: Rose Bowl, Jan. 1 at 5 p.m. ET against Washington
5. Will Grier, West Virginia: Stock Steady
Strengths: Has long stretches of impeccable downfield accuracy. Can shred zone defenses due to quick release, and a keen understanding of where he needs to go with the football. Ability to calmly stand in and check multiple reads. Good pocket-drifting skills. Rapid release.
Weaknesses: Somewhat undersized and has major arm-strength issues. Simply can't drive the ball on longer throws that don't have a ton of air under them. Can get overly anxious when pressure mounts and try to do too much by way of scrambling, which leads to big plays for the defense. Surprising amount of coverage misreading. A lot of quick screens must be factored into his production.
Bowl game: Camping World Bowl, December 28 at 5:15 p.m. ET against Syracuse
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