Tier 1: NFL Starters

DeShone Kizer- Notre Dame

Fit: Arizona Cardinals

DeShone Kizer, like most of these quarterbacks, needs to sit and learn before taking snaps in the NFL. He could use time on the bench behind a veteran quarterback, one like Carson Palmer. Kizer has all of the physical tools to succeed in the league, but he needs to work on decision-making, accuracy, and post-snap reads. It will take time for him to learn and the best situation for him would be not being forced into action as a rookie. The Cardinals are the perfect fit for Kizer to take a redshirt year and learn an offense. Arizona also needs to be looking to the future with Palmer being 37 years old, so it’s the perfect storm. Kizer also fits what Bruce Arians looks for in a quarterback. Arians has coached Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger, and Andrew Luck with success. All three of those quarterbacks are physically gifted with cannon arms. The Cardinals offense involves a lot of deep field passing- Kizer’s strength. Kizer has all of the physical gifts Arians covets and multiple times in his coaching career he’s helped a young QB develop into a gifted pro.

Pro comparison: Jameis Winston

Deshaun Watson- Clemson

Fit: Cleveland Browns

Deshaun Watson is the most pro-ready quarterback in the draft. His strengths are his leadership, his poise, and his ability to step up on the biggest stages. Watson has the intangibles that make a franchise quarterback, but he needs the right situation to succeed. He often struggles with accuracy, especially on deep throws. Watson needs to be put in a situation where the offense is his to run. Browns head coach Hue Jackson has had very different quarterbacks in his NFL career. He’s adapted his offenses to the strengths of quarterbacks like Andy Dalton, Carson Palmer, and Cody Kessler. Jackson can adapt the Browns offense to Watson’s athletic strengths and give the Browns a capable day one starter. By developing the offense for Watson, the Browns could insert some college plays like the zone-read to play up Watson’s mobility. Cleveland also needs a strong leader for a culture change and Watson is the perfect fit for that locker room.

Pro comparison: Marcus Mariota

Mitchell Trubisky- North Carolina

Fit: Houston Texans

Mitchell Trubisky is the most accurate quarterback in the draft. He’s also an above-average athlete with solid arm strength. The offense he ran at North Carolina didn’t ask him to do much downfield passing. A lot of the time, he was throwing bubble screens and short crossing routes. He has the tools to succeed but, like all the quarterbacks in this class, he needs the right fit. Trubisky has a similar skillset to Alex Smith, with the accuracy and mobility. A talent-rich roster like the Texans’ that needs a quarterback is a nice fit. Head coach Bill O’Brien has not yet been given a capable quarterback to run his offense and Trubisky has the skills to succeed early with the talent surrounding him. Houston is an optimum situation for Trubisky because weapons like DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, and Lamar Miller can take the pressure off of him while he can learn as he plays.

Pro comparison: Alex Smith 

Tier 2: Future NFL Starters

Patrick Mahomes- Texas Tech

Fit: New York Giants

Patrick Mahomes is the most polarizing quarterback in this draft class. He has arguably the greatest arm of any prospect in decades. He also has some of the worst mechanics of any quarterback talked about as a first-round pick since Tim Tebow. Mahomes is coming out of the Texas Tech Air Raid system where he rarely needed to read defenses. Mahomes needs to sit behind a veteran quarterback where he can learn the NFL game. The Giants offer an interesting situation with Eli Manning nearing the end of his career. They need a quarterback of the future. Mahomes’ arm strength in an offense that features Odell Beckham Jr, Sterling Shepard, and Brandon Marshall could be dangerous. Mahomes has the physical aspects to make him a future star. His arm strength, paired with his athletic ability, makes him a scary playmaker when he begins to ad-lib. But with those strengths come the poor throwing mechanics, happy feet in the pocket, and extreme differences from his college offense to a pro offense. The Giants give him a long-time pro to learn from with weapons to succeed with in the future.

Pro comparison: Jay Cutler

Nathan Peterman- Pittsburgh

Fit: Chicago Bears

Nathan Peterman doesn’t blow scouts away with arm strength, athleticism, or size, but he has the tools to be, at the very least, a good backup quarterback. Unlike most of the quarterbacks in this class, Peterman comes from a pro-style offense at Pitt where he had command in the huddle and lined up under center. His experience in the pro-style, combined with his above-average pocket awareness and solid accuracy, makes him an interesting prospect. Chicago currently has Mike Glennon at quarterback, but they need to groom someone behind him. Peterman can learn behind Glennon, but his traits could allow him to play as a rookie. In a run-first, classic pro-style offense like Chicago’s, Peterman is a great fit. He doesn’t dazzle on tape, but his skillset will translate to the NFL as long as he’s in the right offense.

Pro comparison: Drew Stanton

Tier 3: Project Quarterbacks

Davis Webb- California

Fit: Kansas City Chiefs

Last year’s number one pick, Jared Goff, came from the same Bear Raid, pass-happy system as Davis Webb. Goff was not NFL ready at all, struggling with footwork under center and command in the huddle. Webb has received a lot of hype because of his arm strength, but he showed at the Senior Bowl that he’s not ready to operate an NFL huddle. His size and arm are impressive enough for him to be considered a project quarterback- a player at the position with good enough traits to develop to start down the line. Kansas City has Alex Smith entrenched as their starter as Andy Reid has adapted his offense to fit Smith’s skillset perfectly. Developing a very different player behind Smith may seem surprising, but Reid makes his offense fit his quarterbacks. An arm like Webb’s could really open up this offense as Smith’s career winds down.

Pro comparison: Nick Foles 

Josh Dobbs- Tennessee

Fit: Los Angeles Chargers

If any player in this quarterback draft class is the next Dak Prescott, it’s likely Josh Dobbs. His athleticism, IQ, and arm strength have shot him up draft boards during the process. Dobbs is the ideal project quarterback. He can learn behind a veteran as he adapts from a spread offense to a pro-style, but also add value as a backup with his arm and mobility. Philip Rivers‘ career is coming to an end, but with the talent on the Chargers roster, they’re better off waiting on drafting a quarterback early. By bringing in Dobbs, they can develop him for the pro game. If he is forced into action, he has the arm talent to take advantage of the Chargers’ weapons and the mobility to makeup for their lackluster offensive line.

Pro comparison: Dak Prescott

Tier 4: Backup Quarterbacks

Brad Kaaya- Miami

Fit: Dallas Cowboys

Brad Kaaya doesn’t have any trait that stands out. He’s just a tough quarterback with a lot of college experience. He’ll likely never be an NFL starting quarterback, but his arm is good enough to keep him in the league. Kaaya can be like a statue in the pocket and take a beating because he lacks pocket awareness. A backup-quarterback-needy team like Dallas is a nice fit where he can work on the mental aspect of his game. A plus for Kaaya is that he comes from a pro-style system, great for a potential backup quarterback’s résumé. Having him backup Prescott in Dallas is a nice fit because the Cowboys’ offensive line can hide his poor pocket awareness. They’ve also proven to be able to fit an offense to a young quarterback’s strengths.

Pro comparison: Brian Hoyer

Chad Kelly- Ole Miss

Fit: Jacksonville Jaguars

The biggest questions surrounding Chad Kelly don’t have to do with his game. It’s his injury history and off-field issues. On the field, Kelly is a gunslinger with impressive mobility. If it weren’t for the injuries and off-field, he would be considered as NFL ready as Josh Dobbs. Kelly’s arm strength will get him into an NFL training camp and if he recovers from the ligament injury in his wrist, he’ll make an NFL roster. Kelly has the on-field ability NFL teams covet. Jacksonville has Blake Bortles as their starting quarterback, despite his throwing mechanics holding him back. A team like the Jaguars would be smart to take a shot on the physically gifted Kelly, especially because his arm strength is ideal to take advantage of their weapons.

Pro comparison: Cardale Jones

Tier 5: Project Backup Quarterbacks

Jerrod Evans- Virginia Tech

Fit: Baltimore Ravens

It was a surprising move that Jerrod Evans declared for the 2017 NFL Draft. He carried Virginia Tech’s offense, but he’s not exactly what NFL teams look for in a quarterback. Evans is a thick, mobile, strong-armed quarterback. He looks more like a tight end than a passer, and his accuracy issues might force him to switch positons in the NFL. Evans’ athleticism and size make him an intriguing late round project. Baltimore hasn’t been afraid to draft mobile, non-prototypical quarterbacks before, i.e. Troy Smith and Tyrod Taylor. Evans would be an interesting, change-of-pace backup quarterback to Joe Flacco. It’s ideal to have a backup QB with mobility because defenses are rarely prepared for it. If Evans can’t catch on as an NFL quarterback, he has the skillset desired for CFL quarterbacks.

Pro comparison: Logan Thomas

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