When the 2018 season began, Dwayne Haskins wasn't on anyone's NFL Draft radar. Oregon's Justin Herbert was considered the best quarterback in college football, while Haskins had attempted just 57 passes the year before. As a redshirt sophomore, there were a lot of unknowns.
That begin to change midway through 2018. It was amplified when Herbert announced that he was returning to school for another year, which coincided with Haskins having the most prolific passing season in Ohio State history.
Haskins arrived in Columbus after growing up in Maryland by way of New Jersey. He originally committed to the University of Maryland before attending Ohio State, where he redshirted in 2016. He was J.T. Barrett's backup a season later, going 40 of 57 with four touchdowns and an interception in limited duty.
Haskins won the job ahead of the 2018 season and he was dominant from start to finish. He threw five touchdowns against Oregon State in the opener and led Ohio State to a 7-0 start with 28 touchdowns and just four interceptions. And after the lone loss to Purdue, the Buckeyes won their final six games. Haskins was magnificent in the final three -- Michigan, Northwestern in the conference championship and Washington in the Rose Bowl -- tossing 14 touchdowns with just one interception.
Among all FBS quarterbacks, Haskins ranked fifth in Pro Football Focus' adjusted-completion percentage, and was top 15 in adjusted completion vs. the blitz, adjusted completion vs. pressure and deep pass adjusted completion percentage.
Combine/pro day results
33 1/2 inches
9 5/8 inches
Haskins took part in throwing drills at the combine:
Strengths: At 6-foot-3 and 231 pounds, Haskins fits the mold of a traditional pocket passer. Throws with great accuracy and confidence, has a strong arm, and can throw from various arm angles. Moves well in the pocket, and while he's not a running quarterback, can create throwing lanes and while still throwing with precision, and can also gain yards with his feet.
Have to re-watch to say for certain, but yesterday was Dwayne Haskins’ best game of his career. Nearly flawless—and this was his top throw to me. Senses the pressure, steps up beautifully, and delivers a dart in motion to Dobbins running the wheel. pic.twitter.com/Y54zGgFeGe— Carter Donnick (@CDonScouting) December 2, 2018
Weaknesses: Only has one year of experience and probably isn't ready to start immediately at the NFL level. He also played out of the shotgun at Ohio State, and while that isn't disqualifying, some NFL teams -- like, say, the Broncos -- want their quarterbacks to be able to play under center too. Haskins also wasn't asked to throw many deep passes -- he ranked 37th among all FBS quarterbacks in average depth of target (9.7 yards), according to PFF -- and he needs to become more consistent with his footwork, which should come with experience.
Drew Bledsoe. When I think of "pure" pocket passers -- and in this case that comes with a touch of a negative connotation denoting a serious lack of mobility -- Drew Bledsoe is one of the first quarterbacks who comes to my mind. Bledsoe was statuesque in the pocket; he just wanted to live there and fire rockets all over the field. Yes, there was an occasional step up away from pressure, but most often Bledsoe either delivered the football from inside the pocket or was hit or sacked inside the pocket. I see a lot of that with Haskins, a slow-footed, pure pocket passer. He's a little more athletic than Bledsoe was, but Bledsoe had a stronger arm. I wasn't scouting Bledsoe when he was a prospect in 1993. I was scouting bad guys Power Rangers had to fight. But I do have vivid memories of Bledsoe in the NFL. Haskins can read the entire field, is mostly accurate, and wants to set up shop between the tackles on every snap. If protected well, he can be an awesome quarterback in the NFL. Like with Bledsoe, I'm worried about Haskins when he faces pressure.
NFL teams in play to draft Haskins
The Giants make the most sense: 38-year-old Eli Manning is penciled in as the 2019 starter and he's coming off a forgettable season, but all indications are that New York isn't interested -- from former team executives to former league executives to media reports. The feeling is that the Giants won't take a quarterback with the No. 6 pick, and it's more likely they target a pass rusher early and circle back to passer either at No. 17 or No. 37.
It's hard to imagine Haskins slips out of the top 12 and the Giants could have their eyes on Duke's Daniel Jones, who played for David Cutcliffe at Duke. Cutcliffe is close to Peyton and Eli Manning and some scouts have compared Jones' style of play to that of the Mannings, which would obviously intrigue the team who still employs Manning as its starter.
Broncos: Denver desperately needs a quarterback but general manager John Elway is reportedly smitten with Missouri's Drew Lock, and there are Elway's aforementioned comments about quarterbacks being able to "play under center."
Dolphins: Miami traded Ryan Tannehill and signed Ryan Fitzpatrick. Haskins would be a long-term solution but there's no indication that the Dolphins and new coach Brian Flores are interested. Instead, the team could go with Fitzpatrick in '19 and make a run at one of the quarterbacks in next year's class that will include Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert and Jake Fromm.