NFL Draft Articles

Evaluating the Post-First Round Quarterbacks

Everyone wants to be the team that finds the next Russell Wilson, Derek Carr, or Dak Prescott. With the recent success of post-first round quarterbacks, it’s worth taking a look at this year’s class to see if there are any sleepers. There’s a lot of teams with aging star quarterbacks, so we could see quite a few quarterbacks going off the board on day two.

Quarterbacks with Starter Potential

Finding a starting quarterback past the first round should be a pleasant surprise, not an actual plan. If the guys below were surefire starters, teams would be picking them in the first round. Each of them has major weaknesses they’ll have to overcome to make it in the NFL, but the upside is there. It’ll take time, but if you’re New England or New Orleans you may be able to wait.

Mike White
Western Kentucky
Height: 6’4″, Weight: 225

Strengths: His arm strength jumps out at you right away. He has the ability to fit the ball into tight spaces and is a very confident passer. He had a 66.5 completion percentage over his two years as a starter. White has great placement on his passes and leads his receivers. Finally, he’s a smart quarterback. Even when faced with constant pressure, I rarely saw any errant throws on his part.

Weaknesses: Mike White took a ton of sacks throughout his career. I’ll chalk many of them to terrible line play. At the same time, White can be slow in making his reads. Speaking of slow, White’s mobility is one of the worst in the draft. He looks like a statue standing in the pocket. White needs to focus on speeding up his game to succeed at the next level.

Overview: Mike White is my top quarterback prospect after the big five. Watching him, you’re left wondering how good he can be with competent pass blocking. There are obvious weaknesses in his game, but if White’s committed to spending time in the film room he can fix them. The traits are there, and he’s the only quarterback I’d feel comfortable spending a 2nd round pick on.


Riley Ferguson
Memphis
Height: 6’4″, Weight: 210

Strengths: Riley Ferguson displayed solid accuracy at Memphis. I was a big fan of his quick decision making. He was comfortable scanning the field, so his quick throws weren’t a case of a guy passing to his first read. He’s not lightning quick, but has enough mobility to keep plays alive. Ferguson was great at throwing the ball on the run as well.

Weaknesses: He’s a bit lanky and will need to bulk up. At times he tends to get flustered and forces throws. He has decent mobility which helps keep plays alive, but there are times he has to understand it’s better to throw the ball away and get on to the next play. His placement can be shaky as well.

Overview: Riley Ferguson is a 3rd round prospect to me. I wouldn’t confidently bet that he can be a long-term starter in the NFL. In comparison to Mike White, he’d need another year or two on the bench before I would even consider having him as a starter. But his mobility, arm strength, and decision-making show potential. A team like the Washington Redskins would be an ideal spot for him.


Kyle Lauletta
Richmond
Height: 6’3″, Weight: 215

Strengths: Kyle Lauletta is a smart quarterback. He displayed nice mobility and was comfortable throwing on the run. He thrived on play-action passes and rollouts. He was accurate and when he wasn’t pressured I almost never saw him make any head-scratching throws.

Weaknesses: My biggest concern with Kyle Lauletta was with how he handled pressure. He was easy to fluster and once teams got to him you could tell he would start to hear footsteps. His inability to handle pressure caused him to make some terrible decisions. There’s concern about his arm strength. I don’t think it’s terribly weak in comparison to a quarterback I’ll talk about below (Mason Rudolph), but I can definitely see him struggling to make some NFL throws.

Overview: Kyle Lauletta will need to improve his confidence as a quarterback. Too often he failed to handle pressure well and let a sack or two hang with him all game. If he can become a more comfortable passer he has some nice tools to become a solid starter.

Quarterbacks Destined to Be Backups

Listed below are a couple of popular prospects who I don’t see as potential starters. They may have the traits to be solid backups, but I can’t imagine any team would ever plan on having them as their day one starter in any season.

Mason Rudolph
Oklahoma State
Height: 6’5″, Weight: 235

Strengths: Mason Rudolph has the ideal height and weight combination you want out of a quarterback. He has pinpoint accuracy and was great at finding gaps in the defense.

Weaknesses: His arm is one of the weakest in the draft. Most of his throws lack ideal touch. Rudolph tends to float every pass to receivers. I don’t see how he’ll be able to make most NFL throws. Rudolph benefited from going against Big 12 defenses. I felt Rudolph was slow in his decision making and would struggle against any sort of pressure.

Overview: In the end, his arm strength will hurt him. It’s a shame too, because he has some solid tools. He’s big, mobile, and pretty accurate. His decision making was really slow, but he still deserves credit for finding gaps in a defense. His positives will be enough to keep him in the league as a long-term backup, but his arm strength will keep him from being more than that.


Luke Falk
Washington State
Height: 6’4″, Weight: 225

Strengths: Luke Falk has ideal size for a quarterback. He has a quick release and has solid accuracy on shorter passes.

Weaknesses: It seems like almost every throw is a checkdown. I wasn’t impressed with his arm strength and he struggled with his accuracy on longer throws. Falk also lacks ideal mobility and took a lot of sacks in college. Overall, I saw little proof that he’s capable of making most NFL throws.

Overview: Before watching Falk, I was expecting him to be a sleeper. But, Washington State’s offense didn’t do him any favors. Captain Checkdown accurately sums up his play for the Cougars. His arm strength was less than stellar and he struggled with his accuracy on intermediate throws. I feel Falk may even have difficulty hanging on as a backup in the NFL.