2020 NFL Draft QB Watch: Justin Herbert, Jacob Eason show blemishes in close contests
The quarterback race in the 2020 draft left a lot to be desired this past weekend
There is no perfect quarterback in this potential 2020 NFL Draft class but there are several with the potential to make an impact at the next level. Each of these players has their share of blemishes but one has clearly cemented himself as the best option. The others are still jockeying for second.
CBS Sports scouted each of the potential first round quarterback prospects and how they performed this weekend.
1. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama: Stock Steady
113 of 148 passing (76.4%) for 1.718 yards, 23 TD, 0 INT; 16 carries for 45 yards, 2 TD in five games
Tagovailoa and the Crimson Tide had the week off after a customary undefeated start to the season. Tagovailoa shows great touch, leadership and ball placement but there are a few concerns: how much are any potential weaknesses covered up by the wealth of talent around him and does he have the arm strength to be successful at the next level.
Alabama returns next weekend at Texas A&M.
2. Jake Fromm, Georgia: Stock Steady
86 of 111 passing (77.5%) for 1,076 yards, 8 TD, 0 INT; 6 carries for 17 yards in five games
Fromm may be underappreciated by some because he does not have the mobility and arm strength that some of his peers possess. However, he is a really intelligent player. It is difficult to confuse him. He is tough, poised and accurate. His floor is much higher than some of these other prospects.
Against Tennessee, he showed some of those qualities. Fromm had a beautiful throw deep down the left sideline. His accuracy was off a bit later in an end zone attempt but, as usual, he put it in a position where only his teammate could make a play. The quarterback finished having completed 24 of 29 passes for 288 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Most of the damage was done on throws shorter than 10 yards.
Fromm has been sacked just once this season, which is attributed to the great play of his offensive line as well as his ability to feel pressure and keep his eyes downfield. One little tick that Fromm seems to have is spinning the football in his hands long ways. He will occasionally do that after the snap but before he throws.
The Georgia native now has 6,440 career passing yards, which moves him to No. 6 in Georgia's all-time passing records. He needs just seven yards to pass Quincy Carter and should pass Matthew Stafford (7,731) later this season as well.
3. Joe Burrow, LSU: Stock Steady
127 of 162 passing (78.4%) for 1,864 yards, 22 TD, 3 INT; 29 carries for 62 yards, 2 TD in five games
Burrow has stood tall in the face of pressure all season. He is a bit more of an emotional player than some of the other quarterbacks in this potential class. The game got off to a rocky start as the Ohio native fumbled on the Tigers' first series. He sailed a few passes high including one that went for an interception. Burrow looks a little stiff when taking snaps and he occasionally leans forward when throwing underneath routes, which LSU calls a lot. In fact, 27 of his 38 passes were of 10 yards or fewer. Burrow completed 8 of 11 passes of 10-plus yards. He was most effective up the middle and almost evenly effective on the edges. LSU did well on third down, and that starts with their fiery leader.
This pass was a bit underthrown but he likely felt confident in his receiver given what he had seen from the Utah State secondary all day.
Burrow completed 27 of 38 passes for 344 yards, five touchdowns and an interception. He also had 10 caries for 42 yards and a touchdown. He is not the most mobile player but he is capable of picking up yards when the opposition over-pursues a rush or drops too far in zone.
4. Justin Herbert, Oregon: Stock Down
116 of 162 passing (71.6%) in 1,341 yards, 15 TD, 1 INT; 19 carries for 12 yards in five games
The Ducks tried to establish the run early in their game this weekend but one of Herbert's first passes was intercepted by California safety Ashtyn Davis. A theme present throughout the game was poor ball placement. He makes some spectacular downfield passes but the scale also tips heavily in the opposite direction. He had a good downfield throw to wide receiver Brenden Schooler in the middle of the third quarter as well as an accurate pass to the pylon as he was pressured but the receiver dropped it. Herbert threw with anticipation downfield into the red zone late in the first quarter. However, he also had a fumble.
His size allows him to absorb hits and stand in the pocket with his eyes downfield longer. He has enough mobility to escape pressure and rack up big yardage. It all sounds similar to the projection for Josh Allen.
The Oregon native completed 20 of 33 passes for 214 yards, a touchdown and an interception against a very good Bears defense.
5. Jacob Eason, Washington: Stock Down
119 of 181 passing (65.7%) for 1,449 yards, 11 TD, 3 INT; 19 carries for 3 yards in six games
The reasons to love Eason are simple: he has a huge frame and a strong arm. Early in the game, he delivered a magnificent downfield pass along the left sideline against potential first-round cornerback Paulson Adebo. He got the best of Adebo on this particular play but Eason targeted Adebo a handful of times, which was a bold strategy, and lost more than he won. On a fourth-and-short, the Huskies threw a quick slant with Adebo in coverage and it resulted in an incompletion. There were a few occasions where he was unable to step into throws because of pressure. His receivers dropped some open passes as well.
One frustration is his willingness to sink deeper and deeper into the pocket when he is rushed. It will eventually result in a huge loss. Following the deep pass earlier in the game, his best throw was a play in which he went through his progression and slipped a pass in the middle of the field into tight coverage. Overall, it was a "meh" day from the Washington quarterback. He completed 16 of 36 passes (44.4%) for one touchdown and one interception. In three Power 5 games this season, Eason has completed 50 of 92 passes (54.3%) for 548 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. In his other three games, he has completed 69 of 89 passes (77.5%) for 901 yards, 10 touchdowns and one interception.
6. Jordan Love, Utah State: Stock Down
120 of 192 passing (62.5%) for 1,337 yards, 6 TD, 8 INT; 22 carries for 60 yards in five games
Utah State came out in an uptempo offense, and it was initially effective. He had a few beautiful deep balls including one that he threw on the run and another that he dropped into the bucket along the left sideline. Here is the one on the run:
It looked as though he was finding his rhythm when tight end Caleb Repp dropped a wide-open pass that would have allowed him to walk into the end zone. Love is very athletic and possesses a big arm. The issue is that he looks disinterested at times and it leads to poor decisions. He short-armed a pass, which was easily intercepted, in the second half. He typically throws one of those a game. Frustration set in when he stared down pressure and threw a jump ball down the field. It was underthrown and in the vicinity of projected first-round safety Grant Delpit. Talent evaluators want to see growth and improved decision-making from Love. They have not gotten it yet.
The California native completed 15 of 30 passes for 130 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions. He was just 3 of 7 on passes of at least 10 yards. He was least effective to his right.
Scouts flocked to Baton Rouge to check out the Love-Burrow battle. According to Eric Edholm of Yahoo!, the Saints, Packers, Buccaneers, Colts, Giants and Bengals all had scouts in attendance. Green Bay and Cincinnati sent lead decision-makers.
7. Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma: Stock Steady
82 of 109 passing (75.2%) for 1,523 yards, 14 TD, 2 INT; 57 carries for 499 yards, 7 TD in five games
The Sooners and Jayhawks were tied after one quarter but then Oklahoma poured it on. Hurts did a bit of everything in this one. Although he would throw his second interception of the season (which hit the running back in his hands), he also provided 228 passing yards, 56 rushing yards, 21 receiving yards and four total touchdowns. Hurts plays with the confidence of a player that has been within Lincoln Riley's system for years. On this particular option play, he showed shades of Kyler Murray:
Hurts completed 16 of 24 passes for 228 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He also had 10 carries for 56 yards and two touchdowns as well as one reception for 21 yards. Most of his damage was done in the first half of a windy day.
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