NFL Draft 2020 quarterback rankings: Breaking down the top QBs' skills, from decision-making to accuracy

As it stands, the 2020 NFL Draft is just over a month away. As is usually the case, this class is all about the quarterbacks, at least in the first round. It starts with LSU's Joe Burrow, who does just about everything at an elite level. Then there's Tua Tagovailoa, who came into the 2019 season as the unquestioned No. 1 quarterback only to see Burrow put up the best numbers by a college QB in human history. But Tagovailoa remains No. 2 even after suffering a serious hip injury in late November.

After Burrow and Tagovailoa, things get interesting. Do teams like Justin Herbert more than Jordan Love? Both are insanely athletic for the position and both are not quite living up to expectations in 2019. Or is Jacob Eason, who might have the strongest arm in this class, a late-in-the-first-round alternative?

Then there's Jalen Hurts and Jake Fromm. Hurts' athleticism isn't in question, it's his ability to play in the pocket at the next level. Meanwhile, Fromm pretty much operated only from the pocket at Georgia, but his lack of athleticism and arm strength raises concerns about whether he'll ever be anything more than an NFL backup.

Below, we rank these players on the qualities teams look for in franchise quarterbacks to see how they stack up.

Accuracy (short/intermediate)

1. Joe Burrow
2. Tua Tagovailoa
3. Jacob Eason
4. Jake Fromm
5. Justin Herbert
6. Jordan Love
7. Jalen Hurts

No surprise that Burrow tops this list; in 2019 he was on target with 94 percent of his throws that traveled 10 yards or less, according to Sports Info Solutions. Jerry Jeudy told CBS Sports HQ at the combine last month that Tagovailoa's ability to fit ball into tight spaces was uncanny. Eason, especially over the first half of the '19 season, was among the most accurate passers in the country on short and intermediate throws. He was so good, in fact, that we dubbed him a max-YAC guy -- his pinpoint ball placement maximized the yards after catch for his targets. Fromm had to be accurate on these throws if only because questions about his arm strength and deep-ball accuracy will likely keep him from getting drafted until Round 3. Herbert and Love flashed at times but struggled with inconsistency, which became a talking point throughout the fall about other parts of their game.

Sleeper: Cole McDonald, Hawaii. The strong-armed Hawaii QB was on target with 73.5 percent of his short and intermediate throws. He has all the physical tools you would want in an NFL-level quarterback, but sometimes his mechanics are suspect and he can struggle with poor decisions.

Processing

1. Joe Burrow
2. Jake Fromm
3. Justin Herbert
4. Tua Tagovailoa
5. Jordan Love
6. Jacob Eason
7. Jalen Hurts

Get used to seeing Burrow at the top of this list. He's ability to process what is happening -- both before and after the snap -- is not only unparalleled in this class, it's incredibly fun to watch. Fromm's biggest asset is his brain and he'll continually have to win with his smarts because of the lack of athletic traits, at least compared to the rest of this class. Like Fromm, no one doubts Herbert's smarts, but it didn't always manifest itself on the field. And while Tagovailoa is the No. 2 QB in this class, how much processing did he actually have to do at Alabama, where he had 2-3 first-rounders on the offensive line, and another 3-4 first-rounders at wide receiver?

Sleeper: Mason Fine, North Texas. He's quick to get the ball out his hands and did it as well as anyone in college.

Pocket movement

1. Joe Burrow
2. Tua Tagovailoa
3. Jordan Love
4. Jalen Hurts
5. Justin Herbert
6. Jacob Eason
7. Jake Fromm

Tagovailoa is really good at moving his feet or dipping his shoulder to buy a milliseconds in the pocket but he can also hold on to the ball too long. Love admitted to us at the Senior Bowl that he tried to do too much last season, but a lot of that was because he's so good at creating inside the pocket. Hurts moves well, of course, but sometimes he's too quick to leave the pocket and that's something he'll need to work on in the NFL.

Sleeper: James Morgan, FIU. Innate sense of when to move inside the pocket and has the internal clock of when the ball needs to come out.

Decision-making

1. Joe Burrow
2. Tua Tagovailoa
3. Justin Herbert
4. Jake Fromm
5. Jacob Eason
6. Jalen Hurts
7. Jordan Love

Herbert's ability to decipher defenses was rarely in question, but sometimes there was a disconnect from what his eyes saw and what his arm executed. Too many times he misfired on intermediate throws -- whether it was feathering the ball over the underneath coverage and in front of the deep coverage or missing on an out route that he has to hit in the NFL -- that will cost him at the next level. Eason made a lot of good decisions over the first half of the season but struggled over the final month or so; NFL teams will have to figure out why and how to have him play more consistently. Love made plenty of terrible decisions last season, but that will change when you surround him with playmakers.

Sleeper: Jake Luton, Oregon State. He threw 28 touchdowns and just two interceptions and had a 0.7 interception percentage last season. Can sometimes try to force balls into tight windows but was pretty successful throwing the ball downfield.

Passing under pressure

1. Joe Burrow
2. Tua Tagovailoa
3. Jalen Hurts
4. Justin Herbert
5. Jacob Eason
6. Jake Fromm
7. Jordan Love

There are few things prettier than watching Burrow navigate the pocket while under pressure; he'll need that in Cincinnati. Hurts' first instinct is to run, which is why he'll need some time to develop in the NFL, but that athleticism also allowed him to buy time and find an outlet receiver. Herbert is willing to stand tall in the pocket and take a hit, and when he's on he can be clinical. Fromm needs to operate from a clean pocket because his lack of arm strength makes it more difficult to complete difficult throws when his feet aren't set.

Sleeper: Tyler Huntley, Utah. He was on target with 79 percent of his throws under pressure last season.

Accuracy (deep)

1. Tua Tagovailoa
2. Joe Burrow
3. Jalen Hurts
4. Jordan Love
5. Jacob Eason
6. Justin Herbert
7. Jake Fromm

Henry Ruggs III raved to CBS Sports HQ during the combine about Tagovailoa's deep-ball accuracy. Hurts, who has been lost in the QB mix, was also very good throwing the ball down the field last season, and while he draws NFL comparisons to Taysom Hill, he's already a better passer. Love might throw the prettiest, most catchable deep ball, while Eason and Herbert have hoses that can sometimes lack touch.

Sleeper: Huntley. He's only 6-foot-1, and that will in part affect his draft stock, but Huntley was on target with 65 percent of his deep throws in 2019.

Arm strength

1. Jacob Eason
2. Justin Herbert
3. Jordan Love
4. Jalen Hurts
5. Tua Tagovailoa
6. Joe Burrow
7. Jake Fromm

Eason and Herbert have rocket launchers. Love isn't far behind, though we asked former Utah State teammate Darwin Thompson, who now plays for the Chiefs, if Love had a better arm than Patrick Mahomes. He gave us a look before responding, "Patrick is a JUGS machine."

Sleeper: Steven Montez, Colorado. He has the size and arm strength to play at the next level, but the lack of consistency is what plagued him throughout most of his college career. He showed glimpses of big-play ability during Senior Bowl practices but struggled in the game.

Mobility

1. Jalen Hurts
2. Tua Tagovailoa
3. Joe Burrow
4. Justin Herbert
5. Jordan Love
6. Jacob Eason
7. Jake Fromm

We mentioned it above: Hurts can be viewed as a Taysom Hill-type player early in his NFL career while he's being groomed into becoming a starting quarterback. His mobility is a huge asset in that regard. Tagovailoa is much less likely to run, but his ability to create on the run is what makes him so dangerous. Burrow doesn't look athletic but he proved time and again last season that he can not only buy time in the pocket but that he can run too. Herbert and Love are also good athletes and in other draft classes they might rank higher on this list. Eason and Fromm are prototypical pocket passers that won't fit every system.

Sleeper: Shea Patterson, Michigan. Patterson struggled at times during the season and had an up-and-down Senior Bowl, but he reminds us of Trace McSorely, who landed in a perfect scheme for his athleticism with the Ravens.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson joined CBS Sports in June 2011. He covers the NFL and NFL Draft for CBSSports.com and CBS Sports HQ, and is a regular on the Pick Six Podcast. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from... Full Bio

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