FLOWERY BRANCH — Here are the top 10 quarterback prospects (with projected draft round) for the 2016 NFL draft, which is set for April 28-30 in Chicago:
- Carson Wentz, 6-foot-5, 237 pounds, North Dakota State (first): Wentz didn’t get any major college offers and went to FCS powerhouse North Dakota State. He redshirted his first season. He spent two more seasons as a reserve before winning the starting job as a junior. He led the Bison to two consecutive FCS titles. Wentz, an academic all-American, dazzled pro scouts at the Senior Bowl and wowed coaches and executives with his football smarts at the scouting combine. But his critics point out that he threw just 612 passes over his career.
- Jared Goff, 6-4, 215, California (first): His father Jerry Goff was a Major League Baseball player (1990, 1992-1996). He was a four-star recruit and started all 37 games of his career for the Golden Bears. He led Cal to a 7-5 mark last season and passed for 4,719 yards, 43 touchdowns while completing 64.5 percent of his passes.
- Paxton Lynch, 6-6 5/8, 244, Memphis (first): Was a late bloomer as a recruit. After impressing schools at a all-star, he started to get some attention. Florida started to recruit him late, but selected another quarterback who had family ties to the program. Last season, he completed 296 of 444 passes for 3,778 yards and 28 touchdowns. He had a poor bowl game against Auburn after former Memphis head coach Justin Fuente ran out on his team to take the Virginia Tech job. He’s the best athlete of the top-rated quarterbacks.
- Connor Cook, 6-4, 217, Michigan State (second/third): A lot was made of the fact that he wasn’t a captain during the pre-draft process and came off as an imbecile after the Big Ten championship when he disrespected Ohio State legend Archie Griffin. His lack of accuracy is a concern. He was never over 60 percent as a passer for the Spartans.
- Dak Prescott, 6-2, 222, Mississippi State (fourth/fifth): Ryane Dakota Prescott was a finalist for the Johnny Unitas, Maxell, Manning and Davey O’Brien awards after his junior season. He was a productive quarterback for the Bulldogs as he hold 38 school records. However, he will need to work on his footwork in order to become an NFL quarterback.
- Cardale Jones, 6-5, 253, Ohio State (fourth/fifth): He left school with a year of eligibility remaining, which could have been used to polish up his mechanics and work on his accuracy. He has been working with quarterbacks coach George Whitfield to improve his mechanics. He’s still raw at reading coverages and needs a lot of classroom work before he’s ready to run an NFL offense.
- Christian Hackenberg, 6-4, 223, Penn State (third/fourth): He was recruited by Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien to play for the Nittany Lions. He had an immediate impact and was honored as the Big Ten freshman of the year. He was a two-time captain. His play went downhill from the hot start and he was sacked 104 times over his final three seasons.
- Jacoby Brissett, 6-3 ¾, 231, N.C. State (third/fourth): Started his career at Florida and had to sit out the 2013 season after transferring. In 2014, he had 23 passing touchdowns and threw for 2,606 yards and just five interceptions. Last season, he had 237 completions, 2,662 yards passing and was named All-ACC honorable mention. He went 16-13 as a starter at N.C. State.
- Brandon Allen, 6-2, 217, Arkansas (fifth/sixth): After throwing 20 touchdown passes as a junior, he led the SEC with a passing rating of 166.48, yards per pass attempt (9.3) and passing touchdowns against SEC schools (21).
- Jeff Driskel, 6-4, 234, Louisiana Tech (fifth/sixth): After leaving Florida and falling off the map, some consider him to be the sleeper of the quarterback class in this draft.
Who we had last last year as the top 5 seniors for 2016 draft: 1. Dak Prescott, 6-1, 230, Mississippi State. 2. Connor Cook, 6-4, 220, Michigan State. 3. Trevone Boykin, 6-1, 208, TCU. 4. Cody Kessler, 6-1, 210, USC. 5. Jake Coker, 6-4, 230, Alabama.
Top 5 seniors for the 2017 draft: 1. Chad Kelly, Mississippi. 2. Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee. 3. C.J. Beathard, Iowa. 4. Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati. 5. Seth Russell, Baylor.
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