NFL Draft 2019 quarterback rankings: Let's break down skills of top QBs, from decision-making to accuracy

Oklahoma's Kyler Murray is the most athletic quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft, and Missouri's Drew Lock has the strongest arm. But which signal-caller is the least affected by pressure? Who's most ready to run a modern NFL offense? Who's the best down the field? 

Though this QB class doesn't stack up to 2018, it's still vital to rank and break down the individual capabilities of each signal-caller.

The first installment of this series will do exactly that. After closely examining the specific "skills" critical to each position -- in this case, the quarterback spot -- it's time to rank prospects in each facet.

As for the actual draft, you'll be able to stream our live coverage right here on CBS Sports HQ (or download the CBS Sports app for free on any mobile or connected TV device) breaking down all the picks and everything you need to know during draft weekend. 

Below I've ranked each of the consensus top seven quarterbacks in the qualities I deem most necessary to be a successful quarterback in the NFL (listed in order of importance). I've also added a later-round player who excels at each particular trait.

Short/Intermediate Accuracy

  1. Murray
  2. Will Grier
  3. Brett Rypien
  4. Ryan Finley
  5. Dwayne Haskins
  6. Lock
  7. Daniel Jones

Murray has a quick, "flick" release and is surgical in the short and intermediate ranges of the field. Essentially no "big misses" and his ball placement is almost always on point. Grier is a close second here. Rypien and Finley get into grooves on short tosses. Haskins can too. Lock is mostly accurate here but will have an occasional big miss. Jones' ball placement on short and intermediate throws leaves a little to be desired. 

Sleeper: Marcus McMaryion

Though not blessed with a huge arm, the Fresno State quarterback doesn't struggle with keeping his short throws on target. 

Processing

  1. Rypien
  2. Haskins
  3. Lock
  4. Murray
  5. Jones
  6. Grier
  7. Finley

Vast experience difference at the top here. Rypien's years of starting experience help him fly through his reads, and Haskins is far ahead of most signal-callers in this area with just one year at the helm in college. Lock can read the entire field. As can Murray. Neither have the dreaded "slow eyes." Jones, Finley, and Grier flash quick processing but too often get stuck on their first reads.

Sleeper: Easton Stick

Another experienced starter who makes up for a lack of arm strength with accuracy and processing, Stick lit up the FCS ranks at North Dakota State because of his ability to throw on-target passes to the second and third receivers in his progression. 

Pocket Movement

  1. Murray
  2. Rypien
  3. Lock
  4. Jones
  5. Finley
  6. Grier
  7. Haskins

Big cluster here. Not much difference between the top 3. Murray has impeccable "pocket patience" for being such an elusive scrambler. At times though, he'll morph into a running back a little early, abandoning the structure of the pass play. He can drift away from pressure too. Rypien always keeps his eyes downfield and has natural pocket-drifting ability. Lock improved in this area a great deal as a senior but has room for improvement. Jones and Finley have the ability to calmly move away from pressure. At times they drift right into it or get overly panicked in those situations. Grier isn't a deft pocket mover relative to his collegiate experience. Haskins can step up and into the pocket, yet his slow feet keep him from sliding away from pressure on a regular basis. 

Sleeper: Clayton Thorson

Thorson's been on the NFL radar since a strong sophomore year in 2016, and while he didn't improve from that campaign, as a long-time starter, he does have solid pocket presence. 

Decision-Making

  1. Murray
  2. Lock
  3. Haskins
  4. Grier
  5. Finley
  6. Rypien
  7. Jones

You're not going to get a lot of throws into trouble from Murray, and while Lock has a "gunslinger" reputation, I didn't see him putting the ball in harm's way very often in 2018. Haskins keeps it out of trouble too. Sizable drop off after that, as Grier, Finley, and especially Rypien will get overly aggressive trying to fit the ball through tight windows with weaker arms. 

Sleeper: Gardner Minshew

Minshew is a decently fast processor, and he's somewhat averse to putting the ball in precarious situations, often checking down. 

Passing Under Pressure

  1. Murray
  2. Lock
  3. Rypien
  4. Haskins
  5. Finley
  6. Jones
  7. Grier

Because of his patience inside the pocket, decent pocket-drifting skills, and outstanding ability to win outside the original design of the play, Murray's the best under-pressure passer in this class. Lock's improvisational, too, and inside the pocket isn't afraid to stand in and deliver a strike a split second before he takes a big hit. Rypien will take more sacks than you'd like because he rarely drops his eyes, but because of his experience, he knows where to throw hot against a blitz and is relatively calm under pressure. Finley, Jones, and Grier put a handful of ghastly plays on film with defenders approaching. 

Sleeper: McMaryion

Because of his propensity to get rid of the football in a hurry, McMaryion is reliable under pressure but won't provide many big-time throws in that situation. 

Deep Accuracy

  1. Lock
  2. Murray
  3. Rypien
  4. Grier
  5. Finley
  6. Haskins
  7. Jones

Lock's live arm can really drive the football downfield. In 2017 and 2018, he made an insane amount of downfield "bucket" throws. Murray can let it rip deep too, and there weren't many misses to that portion of the field in 2018. Like Murray, despite not having traditional NFL quarterback size, Rypien is an aggressive downfield passer who placed an assortment of long balls on target throughout his career. Grier's arm doesn't lend credence to the thought that he'd excel deep, but he does. Finley will surprise at times with his downfield accuracy. Haskins didn't throw downfield much last season, and his accuracy there is lacking. Same goes for Jones. 

Sleeper: Tyree Jackson

Jackson is a deep-ball specialist. Teams sat on the long ball against Buffalo in 2018, but Jackson still made it rain somewhat often. 

Arm Strength

  1. Lock
  2. Haskins
  3. Murray
  4. Rypien
  5. Finley
  6. Jones
  7. Grier

Lock is a clear step ahead of everyone else on this list. Although he has a longer delivery, I have Haskins just ahead of Murray in this category, and both have above-average NFL arms. The rest, well, yeah, they don't have the power to drive the football across the field, and some of their passes take forever to get to their intended target on longer tosses toward the sideline and down the field. 

Sleeper: Jackson

Jackson has the second-best arm in this entire class, and he's not afraid to rip it inside and outside the pocket. He's actually a touch more aggressive than Lock, too. 

Mobility

  1. Murray
  2. Jones
  3. Lock
  4. Finley
  5. Grier
  6. Haskins
  7. Rypien

With Murray, you're getting a souped up version of Tyrod Taylor as a runner/scrambler. Scary stuff. Jones flashed impressive athleticism on designed runs in 2018, and you'll probably hear an announcer call Lock and Finley "sneaky athletic" at some point during their NFL careers. 

Sleeper: Nick Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald probably has a better chance to make an NFL roster as a tight end than he does as a quarterback. 

Scheme Fits

West Coast 

  1. Jones
  2. Haskins
  3. Finley
  4. Murray
  5. Grier
  6. Lock
  7. Rypien

With a rapid, traditional release and being better in the short portions of the field than he is deep, Jones is the best West Coast fit in this class. Much of the same applies to Haskins. Finley can get into an awesome rhythm underneath. So can Grier. Lock and Rypien are best when they're asked to get it vertical often.

Sleeper: Kyle Shurmur

Shurmur doesn't have an NFL-caliber arm -- at least not of starting quality -- but knows where to go with the football on routes that don't take a long time to develop.

Air Raid/Spread/RPO

  1. Murray
  2. Lock
  3. Grier
  4. Haskins
  5. Rypien
  6. Jones
  7. Finley

Is the Air Raid here to stay in the NFL? It just might be. Murray, having operated Lincoln Riley's Air Raid incredibly efficiently in 2018 en route to the Heisman Trophy, is a perfect fit in that system. Lock threw 44 touchdowns to just 13 interceptions in Josh Huepel's Air Raid in 2017. Grier ran it wonderfully with Dana Holgersen at West Virgina. Haskins played in a wide open system too. Rypien excelled down the field at Boise. Jones and Finely would be best in systems that didn't stretch their arm strength.

Sleeper: Jackson

You're probably not going to get 65% completion and perfect footwork from Jackson. You can get two or three downfield dimes a game from him. 

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