Every Summer, we all dive headfirst into the upcoming draft class. Starved for football, and missing the draft season intensity, opinions are formed about hundreds of players only to be moot points by the conclusion of the NCAA football season. I don’t like working that hard twice. So, I’m taking a new approach with Summer scouting. I’m still watching tape, I’m still evaluating, I’m just not putting guys through my scale and getting super in depth. The process is much more laid back and focused on getting a feel for these players, and what I’ll be paying attention to when football (hopefully) returns. There will be exceptions of course, as there are some players I just can’t help but spend hours on because it’s just so much damn fun. Anyways, I’ve been slacking on content, so here’s some thoughts on some of the quarterbacks I’m keeping my eyes on.
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Height: 6’6 Weight: 220lbs Career Statistics: 5,778yards, 58TDs, 12Ints. Led Clemson to a National Championship as a Freshmen and followed that up with an undefeated season before losing his first game as a collegiate athlete in the College Football National Championship to LSU.
One of those exceptions I mentioned? Trevor Lawrence. He’s likely to receive the highest grade I have ever given a quarterback. The frame, athleticism and natural arm talent he possesses is almost designed in a lab perfect. Capable of making throws with touch and velocity to all levels of the field, he has an A- arm. He showed much more of his athleticism and ability to make plays with his legs in his second year, going forward it is not an aspect of his game defenses can afford to look over. Lawrence’s processing ability as a second year player was leaps and bounds ahead of most quarterbacks in the country not named Joe Burrow. There isn’t really a scenario I can picture that doesn’t see him as the number one overall draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft barring a disastrous injury or an off the field decision that would go against everything we have heard about him thus far as a person. Expect many analysts to compare his grade to Andrew Luck’s when he declared. Like I mentioned, he is very likely to receive my highest ever grade. The scary part is there are several areas in which Lawrence needs to improve. While accurate, he is not always precise with his ball placement. Yards are lost and big plays fail to come to fruition at times because he just misses the mark where the ball needed to be. There are also instances of pressing and forcing the ball into coverage looking for the big play. Early on last season he was pressing a ton, and feeling the pressure of expectations in my opinion. This led to 8 interceptions, including 3 games with multiple picked passes, before he found his rhythm and confidence-he didn’t throw a single pick after October 19th. As he gains experience, defenses will have even less success in fooling Lawrence. Right now, he can occasionally lose a defender in a zone or not recognize a blitz in time to find his hot route. All in all, I can’t wait to watch this kid play this season and I am even more excited to see where he winds up in the NFL.
Kyle Trask, Florida
Height: 6’5 Weight: 239lbs Career Statistics: 2,941yards, 25TDs, 7Ints. Kyle Trask stepped in as a starter for the first time since MIDDLE SCHOOL when Felipe Franks went down with an early season ending injury, guiding Florida to a solid season while seeming to claim the job full time, as Franks has since transferred.
Kyle Trask is going to be an NFL draft pick in 2021, of this much I am sure. I’m not sure there will have been a stranger path taken by a quarterback since Kurt Warner was bagging groceries. Trask showed poise under pressure and delivered a more accurate football than the guy he replaced. He doesn’t have the strongest arm, but the concerns surrounding it are overblown. Our own Alex Barnett (@CheckTDown) did a fantastic piece on him already. I like his decision making for the most part, and I think he ran the offense well for someone with so little experience. I’m not sure how high of a ceiling I see with him yet. I do think he stands to improve drastically with the chance to prepare as the starter, but there are some who think Emory Jones could push Trask. From an evaluation standpoint, Trask shows glimpses of being capable of being a franchise quarterback. I’d really like to see him have less mental lapses in the pocket, and be more consistent in his accuracy to all levels of the field which starts with his mechanics. Kyle Trask is one of the two quarterback prospects I have pegged as capable of making a big rise this season. Lets see the next one.
Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
Height: 6’3 Weight: 217lbs Career Statistics: 7,144yards, 50TDs, 23INTs 1,112 rushing yards, 16TDs. Kellen Mond is entering his senior season for the Aggies with the expectation for himself, and the program, to take the step into competing for the SEC and a Playoff berth.
When looking at physical attributes, Kellen Mond doesn’t leave anything to be desired. He has a phenomenal arm, he’s dangerous as a runner and is an all around great athlete. Playing in Jimbo Fisher’s scheme has been an adjustment for Mond, but he is someone who could put it all together. He definitely has a long ways to go before an NFL team could ever consider handing him the keys to a franchise, but the talent and potential is there. His accuracy and mechanics are spotty at best. Reading a defense is still a struggle for him at times. There are moments when watching Mond he looks almost undraftable. But then there are the moments he looks like a star. I’m planting a flag with Mond this season. The definition of risk reward at the game’s most important position, there is no player who could see the rise he could if he sets the country on fire this season. Will he? I have no idea.
Justin Fields, Ohio State
Height: 6’3 Weight: 228lbs Career Statistics: 3,281yards 44TDs 1*INT 737 rushing yards, 14TDs. Justin Fields left the University of Georgia for Ohio State and was granted immediate eligibility. He took full advantage of that and put the NFL on notice that he is every bit as talented as advertised, narrowly falling short of a National Championship as a first year starter.
Let me preface this by saying I am not a Justin Fields hater, but no one has a more misleading stat line and unfair hype than Fields. I cannot argue his physical talent- he’s explosive and has a very live arm. The football flies out of his hands and he makes high level athletes look silly in the open field. As a quarterback prospect, I was severely underwhelmed. Some of y’all tried to tell me this man was QB1! I see an athlete playing on one of the most talent rich squads in the country who was very fortunate in dropped would be interceptions. I see the immense upside Fields has, but I need to see so much growth from him in his second year at Ohio State. His pocket presence is not good. At all. When he panics, he tucks the ball and his eyes rarely look for an outlet to pass to. I was confused at how many lollipop passes I saw deep from someone who is more than capable of driving the football as well. Justin Fields is an incredibly exciting prospect, but he needs a ton of polish and improvement to justify the draft slot he’s likely headed towards. I do think he will take the steps necessary to get better, and of course having Chris Olave helps a ton. I am looking for more poise, better decision making and all around comfort from the pocket this upcoming season from one of the most fun, but underwhelming prospects I’ve seen so far.
Well folks, that wraps up Part I of my quarterback series. There will be 4, maybe 4 more to follow. I’ll mix it up as to which positions I do and when. I just figured not including Lawrence and Fields in the opening article would just be unfair. I’d love to hear your thoughts! Holler at me @HindenburgScout- all questions and complaints welcomed. Stay tuned for more great Draft content from myself, and the rest of the DraftRite team! Also, shameless plug: my first solo podcast, “Heat With Hindenburg” will be debuting it’s pilot episode tomorrow/today, Tuesday July 21st, so please listen in! Thank you all so much for your support in DraftRite.