My NFL Draft process:
1) Improve my prospect models.
2) Create the Analytics Top 300 Rankings.
3) Watch tape and share clips to Twitter (@HaydenWinks).
4) Create my personal rankings using steps two and three. This is where we are today:
Winks’ 2020 NFL Draft QB Rankings
Joe Burrow (6’3/221) became the consensus No. 1 overall prospect after setting the new FBS record for passing touchdowns (60) in his Heisman winning season at LSU. His accuracy, poise, and ability to read defenses led to the second-best completion percentage (76%) since at least 1956, and are traits that typically translate to the NFL. His arm strength is quite average for a first rounder pocket passer, but doesn’t limit him from making downfield and sideline passes. A former all-state high school basketball player, he was able to average 24.5 rushing yards per game as an underrated scrambler, although he does most of his damage within the pocket. As a 23-year-old rookie with elite mental makeup, Burrow should be considered as a Rookie of the Year favorite and potential decade-long NFL starter.
* This uses Tua’s 2018 stats because he didn’t play the entire season last year.
Two ankle surgeries and a dislocated hip likely cost Tua Tagovailoa (6’0/217) the No. 1 overall pick, but post-Combine medical scans have been relatively positive, although a redshirt rookie season can’t be completely ruled out. When healthy, Tagovailoa is a very accurate and aggressive in-pocket passer. He finished second in Total QBR among FBS quarterbacks in each of his last two seasons, averaging 11.2 and 11.3 yards per attempt respectively. His arm talent also translates out of the pocket where he can throw on the move to all depths of the field. Alabama head coach Nick Saban used a lot of run-pass options to utilize Tagovailoa’s decision making and athletic ability, but his maneuverability and longevity are in doubt given those injuries. His 22-2 career record and off-the-field charm should be enough to get Tagovailoa off the board within the first handful of picks. The potential rewards of that selection just may not be felt until 2021.
Justin Herbert (6’6/236) opted to stay at Oregon for all four seasons despite receiving top-five buzz ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft. He ended his collegiate career with an 8.2 YPA average and 95:23 TD:INT ratio, largely because of his high-end arm strength. Arguably too reserved in college, Herbert’s traits are best-suited for a vertical-attacking passing offense, assuming he’s willing to take more deep shots. A gifted athlete with 4.68 speed, Herbert also has the ability to scramble for first downs when the pocket collapses and can handle a few designed runs per game, which increases his odds of panning out as a rookie starter and franchise quarterback. While his size, arm talent, and mobility are prototypical of a top-10 selection, he needs to improve upon his awareness and decision making to reach the upside of his physical tools.
Despite only losing two games as a true freshman and sophomore, Jalen Hurts (6’1/222) was unseated by Tua Tagovailoa as Alabama’s starting quarterback, which ultimately led to a transfer to Oklahoma. Under head coach Lincoln Riley, Hurts’ passing motion, comfortability, and efficiency took a massive leap in 2019. He led the nation in YPA (11.5) on non-play action passes, finished with PFF’s No. 4 overall grade, and was the Heisman runner-up to Joe Burrow. His accuracy is underrated -- he had the fourth-best completion percentage over expected season since 2011 -- but he must continue to improve his processing and willingness to stay inside the pocket. Luckily, he’s only 21 years old and is by all accounts very coachable. Even if those traits remain weaknesses, Hurts is a valuable runner. He led college football, including running backs, in red zone rushing touchdowns (17) last season and can have a short-yardage role as a backup quarterback. That may be selling him short, however. Hurts has starting-level upside with some development.
Jordan Love (6’4/224) fits the prototypical build of a first round quarterback -- big, throws with velocity, and can move around the pocket -- but he was very inconsistent at Utah State. He had a 32:6 TD:INT ratio as a sophomore, then regressed to 20 touchdowns and 17 interceptions last season. A weaker supporting cast can explain some of his issues, but blame can be placed on his shoulders. He was 101st in PFF’s turnover-worthy play rate, 88th in Total QBR, and only rushed for 175 yards. Despite his struggles, quarterback coaches and scouts are still drawn to his ability to throw outside of structure and to all depths of the field. A polarizing prospect like Josh Allen, Love needs to rein in his wild side to be a franchise quarterback, and thus would greatly benefit from holding a veteran’s clipboard for his rookie season.
Anthony Gordon (6’2/205) won the starting job at Washington State in 2019, and ultimately threw for more yards (429) and touchdowns (3.69) per game than Gardner Minshew did the previous season. Gordon’s background in baseball allowed him to make accurate out of structure throws, but coach Mike Leach particularly praised his ability to make pre-snap reads in the Air Raid. His physical profile did limit him vertically, however. Per PFF, he ranked 152nd of 153 FBS quarterbacks in percentage of pass attempts that traveled at least 20 yards downfield (8%), and finished the season with -20 rushing yards. Potentially maxed out as a nearing 24-year-old rookie, Gordon figures to compete for a backup job in a quick-hitting offense that can play to his strengths and hide his weaknesses.
Jacob Eason (6’6/231) began his collegiate career at Georgia, but after a rocky 1.5 seasons, he opted to transfer to Washington where he started as a junior. With the Huskies, he only tossed 12 touchdowns to seven interceptions in his nine games against the beatable Pac-12 Conference. He’s always looked the part on the field and certainly has the high-end arm strength scouts look for, but his anticipation, accuracy, and short-area touch must improve to earn a starting job in the NFL because he lacks the athleticism to mask any in-pocket concerns. The former five-star recruit “rushed” for a not so nice -69 yards last season, constantly losing extra yards on sacks while thinking he was more athletic than he is. Eason is best viewed as a project who will undoubtedly receive more chances to develop than other NFL backups given his size, arm strength, and pedigree.
Jake Fromm (6’2/219) was a three-year starter at Georgia who finished with 78 career passing touchdowns, 18 interceptions, and an 8.4 YPA average. Because of his lack of physical traits, Fromm was often tasked with being a game-manager and dink-and-dunk passer against SEC competition. He throws an accurate and very catchable ball, but it’s debatable if he has the prerequisite arm strength to quarterback in the NFL. His deep ball and sideline passes often hung in the air -- a problem that will only be magnified against faster defenses -- and he won’t make up for it with his legs, as evidenced by his -39 rushing yards across his last two seasons. Fromm’s mental makeup and turnover-free gameplay should allow him to hang around the league, but it’s hard to envision his physical traits allowing him to grow into a starter.
Analytics Top 300 Model: QB10
Analytics Top 300 Model: QB12
Analytics Top 300 Model: QB11
Analytics Top 300 Model: QB13
Analytics Top 300 Model: QB14
Analytics Top 300 Model: QB15+
Analytics Top 300 Model: QB15+
Analytics Top 300 Model
As you can see, there’s a massive drop from the top-eight quarterbacks and the rest of the group. That’s why I didn’t even bother writing up these low-end Day 3 prospects. They’re simply long shots. As for the top of the class, Joe Burrow (98th percentile QB prospect) and Tua Tagovailoa (93rd percentile) lead the way with Jalen Hurts (91st percentile) and Justin Herbert (82nd percentile) not far behind. My model ranking Hurts ahead of Herbert and Jordan Love (69th percentile) is bold compared to consensus but wasn’t surprising to me given their production profiles. Anthony Gordon, Jake Fromm, and Jacob Eason are right below the “Minimum Threshold” line and round out the 2020 quarterback class. Overall, it’s a decent class that should produce three or so starters and three or so long-term backups.
12. Winks QB Rankings
13. Winks TE Rankings
14. Winks RB Rankings
15. Winks WR Rankings
16. Winks Top 250 Rankings
17. Final 2020 Mock Draft
18. Draft Grades