The 2018 NFL Draft is over and teams are getting comfortable with their new draft picks. The next class of players is getting prepared now for another year of college football. Each position will be analyzed in the coming days. Here are the best 2019 NFL Draft prospects: Quarterbacks.
Deondre Francois, Florida State
Francois was looking like a rising star on draft boards after his redshirt freshman season, but got hurt in the first game of last season and was lost for the entire year. He returns now looking to put his NFL plans back into place. The 6’1″, 205-pound quarterback will get his opportunity to show NFL scouts what he can do again in 2018.
The biggest issue with Florida State’s program over the last few years is their lack of an offensive line. Francois was able to deal with this really well with 3,350 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and just seven interceptions as a freshman. He was also able to help lead the team to a 10-4 record that season.
If Francois can avoid the rush this season, he should have another good campaign. He needs to show improved accuracy and that he has knocked off the rust from a year on the sidelines. The way Francois has played without much protection from his offensive line, NFL personnel at the very least has to be intrigued.
Will Grier, West Virginia
The Mountaineer fans loved hearing that Grier was coming back for his another season in Morgantown. The Florida transfer started 11 games for West Virginia and really help put their offense on track. He stands 6’2″ and 204 pounds.
Last season was great for Grier statistically as he had 3,490 passing yards, 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Had he stayed healthy through the end of the season, those numbers would have been even more impressive. With a lot of his weapons returning for 2018, Grier has a unique chance to make some noise in the Big 12 now that Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph are gone.
As with any quarterback that plays in a “system”, Grier will have to go out of his way to prove that he can play in an NFL style before the draft. Staying accurate and placing balls well on downfield throws will help prove that he can make all the NFL throws, he’ll just have to ace his team interviews during the draft process.
Justin Herbert, Oregon
Oregon has another good quarterback in Herbert, who will be a junior in the upcoming season. He fits the bill of an NFL Draft prospect at 6’6″ and 225 pounds and just needs more time under center to prove that he is worth a top draft pick.
In his first two seasons in Eugene, Herbert has totaled 3,919 passing yards, 34 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His completion percentage is 65.3%, which is a great number, but a lot of his passes are screens, so that number is inflated. He has yet to win big at Oregon but has the opportunity to do so this season.
Herbert has the size, stature and arm strength to be drafted very highly in the 2019 NFL Draft. If he can play a full season of solid football he will likely be drafted in the first round. He will have to adjust to his third coach in three seasons but is totally capable of making the necessary adjustments to have a great season in 2018.
Drew Lock, Missouri
Some thought that Lock would leave Missouri for the 2018 NFL Draft but he decided to return for one more season. He’s got good size for a quarterback at 6’4″ and 225 pounds.
Lock has been on the NFL Draft radar for a while now, with a great statistical career at Missouri. This past season he threw for 3,964 passing yards, 44 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He’ll have to complete a higher percentage of his passes this season, as he has never completed 60% in a season. He also has not been on a team that has done better than 7-6 but that is more of a product of the talent around him.
His accuracy needs to be improved but Lock is battle-tested against some of the best defenses in the country in the SEC. With another good season, Lock can be among the first quarterbacks selected.
Shea Patterson, Michigan
Patterson has been cleared to play at Michigan this season after transferring in from Ole Miss. He’s 6’2″ and 203 pounds, which may limit him, but Baker Mayfield was just selected first overall with a similar build, so Patterson will have a chance to do the same with a great season.
He will make a position that hasn’t been great over the last few years, a lot better. The offense for Michigan hasn’t been great, so Patterson will have to lift the play of others around him this year. He will have some young receivers like Donovan Peoples-Jones, Kekoa Crawford, Grant Perry and Eddie McDoom to work with.
His arm talent is among the best in college football and he’ll get to play in a pro-style system at Michigan. One thing he does need to prove is that he can stay healthy for a full season as he’s only played a total of 10 games over his first two seasons.
Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
Stidham is going into his second year at Auburn and after relying on the run game last year, he will be expected to lead the offense this season. He has solid size at 6’3″ and 214 pounds and has the talent to wow fans and scouts alike in Auburn this season.
The best attribute for Stidham? He protects the football. He completed 66.5% of his passes last season while also sporting a touchdown to interception ratio of 3:1. Stidham was able to accomplish all of this while still throwing for 3,158 yards and 18 touchdowns. The volume of throws and stats will likely go up this season, as he will be the focal point of the offense.
Having the accuracy and awareness that Stidham has helps out his case to be a very high draft pick. He too throws a lot of screens, so people will be focusing in on how he does on his throws down the field. He will be battle-tested after another year in the SEC and ready for the NFL Draft.