J.T. Barrett, Alex McGough among trio of late-round or undrafted quarterbacks to watch
These overlooked QBs had quality college careers and landed in ideal situations in the NFL
The first-round quarterbacks from the 2018 draft will be discussed, analyzed, and critiqued at length for a long time ... let's give some non-household names some love.
While it'd be unfair to set Kurt Warner- or Tony Romo-type expectations for any of these under-the-radar quarterbacks, these are the most intriguing late-round picks or undrafted free agents from the 2018 class.
And these quarterbacks weren't chosen simply due to their individual skills. The team that picked them late or scooped them up after the draft played a role in their selection. Here are three to watch.
J.T. Barrett, UDFA, Saints
At times during his long, illustrious career at Ohio State, Barrett looked like one of the best, most efficient quarterbacks in the country both as a runner and a passer. In other instances, he looked like he should've been relegated to the Buckeyes sidelines. While I do question Barrett's ability to quickly get through his progressions and make sound decisions on a consistent basis, landing in New Orleans in Sean Payton's spread-based system behind Drew Brees is an ideal fit for him. No, he won't operate the exact same offense that he did under Urban Meyer in Columbus, but there are similar spread principles. Barrett can provide a quarterback-designed run element that hasn't been necessary during the Brees era, which could help New Orleans continue to evolve its attack in the future. Yes, the Saints apparently love Taysom Hill, but the other quarterback on the roster behind Brees is Tom Savage, so there's a decent chance for Barrett to make the team with a strong summer in the Big Easy.
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Chase Litton, UDFA, Chiefs
This Marshall product was a somewhat surprise entrant into the 2018 draft; had he stayed in school for another year, he almost assuredly would've been drafted in 2019. However, despite landing with the Chiefs as an UDFA, Litton did have justification for making the jump to the NFL early. While not to the degree of Josh Allen, his film is a roller-coaster ride, with an assortment of downfield throws with elite timing and ball placement along with many (mainly high) misfires. Per Pro Football Focus' Draft Guide, Litton had the fifth-highest percentage of "Big Time Throws" in 2017 and the sixth-highest percentage of negatively-graded throws. That's the quantitative summary of his game. With last year's first-round pick Patrick Mahomes set to take over in Kansas City, obviously Litton's realistic goal should be his team's backup gig, but don't be surprised when he opens some eyes at training camp or in the preseason due to his good arm, anticipation, and gunslinger mentality. Lastly, Andy Reid has a long track record of getting the most out of quarterbacks, which bodes well for the talented-but-raw Litton.
Alex McGough, Round 7, Seahawks
McGough is a super-experienced quarterback coming from a spread-based system at Florida International. He attempted 1,335 passes in college, more than all the first-round signal-callers in the 2018 class not named Baker Mayfield. Obviously, more passes thrown at the collegiate level do not automatically indicate success at the pro level, but there is inherent value in vast experience before entering the NFL. McGough doesn't have a big arm but he routinely gets the ball out quickly and has fine-tuned accuracy. He can flash against pressure but needs to get better managing the pocket when his first read is unavailable. McGough is a decent athlete too. There's no clear path to a starting gig in Seattle, yet the Seahawks are looking for a reliable backup behind Russell Wilson. McGough isn't flashy; however, he demonstrated the ability to be an efficient point guard from the shotgun, especially in his last collegiate season when he completed over 65 percent of his passes at 7.9 yards per attempt.
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