Originally Published: May 6, 2016
Note: The rookie player reports are organized by our initial 2016 rankings, based on talent, opportunity, and situation. Below all the reports, we have long term dynasty/keeper rankings.
1. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
School: California | Ht: 6’4” | Wt: 215 | 40: 4.82 | Year: 3Jr | Drafted: 1st round, 1st overall
- Scouting Report: A full-time starter in all three of his seasons at Cal, Goff threw for 12,195 yards with 96 TDs and 30 INTs in Sonny Dykes’ spread offense (Goff started 37 games). The key for Goff is that while his production improved from 18 TDs in 2013 to 43 in 2015, we also saw improvements throughout his career in the subtleties of the position. In particular, Goff got consistently better in manipulating the pocket to create throwing space, while also going through his progressions. This really showed up on third downs and in the red zone, where Goff absolutely excels – his new Los Angeles coaches will lovethis about him, because he takes care of the football in the most important situations. Though he’s got good height at 6’4”, Goff looked skinny in college, until he put on weight to register at 215 pounds at the Combine. Ideally, he’ll keep that weight on in the pros. Goff is athletic enough to make plays on the run, though he doesn’t have Carson Wentz’s ability to move. Goff has a solid arm (our guy Greg Cosell compared it to that of Matt Ryan), and it’s gotten better throughout his career, so there’s a chance it becomes a great arm in time. And while Goff’s accuracy was poor at times, like Wentz he showed proper touch on just about every throw, including excellent fades and deep balls. Indeed, Goff’s a tougher study than Wentz because he almost always played out of the shotgun, and because of the system, he gets away with really poor lower-body mechanics. But Goff also improved his upper-body mechanics in his three years at Cal, making himself into a fluid “body-thrower,” so he’s shown the willingness to dedicate himself to limit his weaknesses. Like Derek Carr coming from a similar college system a few years ago, Goff will have to rebuild his footwork, but Carr has shown it’s possible to do quickly. Goff also had some deer-in-headlights moments in his career, because he got hit a lot (he had throwing shoulder surgery in 2013). Moreover, Goff had small hands at the Combine (9 inches), potentially the cause of his issues with fumbles and bad weather at Cal.
- Fantasy Analysis: Goff gets our #1 post-draft ranking for 2016 by default – at this stage, he’s the only rookie QB who appears likely to start in Week One (the Rams are fooling themselves if they actually think Case Keenum can or will beat him out). That said, concerns for Goff will be the same as for every Rams QB since the Greatest Show on Turf. The offensive line was bad last year, though its youth should give it plenty of room for improvement. Moreover, while the supporting cast is interesting, no one would call it “strong.” Nonetheless, the Rams have spent the last two drafts building around Goff, even if they didn’t have him until this year – two 2015 picks should open the year on the starting offensive line, while the 2016 draft added WRs Pharoh Cooper and Mike Thomas, plus gifted TE Tyler Higbee, to the skill cast. Ultimately, this offense will still go through 2015 top pick RB Todd Gurley, and Goff will have to learn how to play under center on the fly, as he played almost exclusively out of the shotgun in college. A run-based offense with a developing QB on a team with a strong defense will almost certainly cap Goff’s upside for 2016, but at this stage we’d be shocked if another QB from this class throws more passes than him this season. If he’s capable of resurrecting the career of WR Brian Quick, his outlook would improve, but for this year Goff looks like a low-end fantasy backup/QB streamer.
2. Paxton Lynch, Denver Broncos
School: Memphis | Ht: 6’7” | Wt: 244 | 40: 4.86 | Year: 4Jr | Drafted: 1st round, 26th overall
- Scouting Report: Lynch is a freak. He’s 6’7”, 244 pounds, and can move, running a 4.86 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and tallying 687 rushing yards and 17 rushing TDs in his college career (remember, college stats remove sack yards from rushing totals). Of the top QB prospects in this class, he has the strongest arm on film. He also needs to sit and learn the QB position at the next level, potentially for a while, which is very uncommon of early QB picks these days. Lynch got by on pure physical ability in college, throwing for 8865 yards with 59 TDs and 23 INTs in 38 games at Memphis. He finished his career with a season that, statistically, was by far his best – 66.8% passing, 3778 yards, 28 TDs, and 4 INTs in 2015. But Lynch’s season was one of two halves. On film, his first half of 2015 was phenomenal. Early in the year, Memphis coaches called an aggressive gameplan against all levels of competition, letting it loose down the field and having Lynch take advantage of his excellent deep ball (he consistently made bucket throws). But in the second half of the season, Memphis got far more conservative, calling slants and screens almost exclusively. Lynch’s season culminated with an awful bowl performance against Auburn. While no official reports ever surfaced, it’s fair to consider that Lynch may have been injured, as he did mention at the Combine that teams found potential issues with his throwing shoulder and a knee. In all, Lynch is a physical specimen with an excellent arm and above-average movement skills. He throws with fantastic touch, though his accuracy is especially inconsistent, even compared to Carson Wentzand Jared Goff (who aren’t elite in this department either). Like most prospects these days, Lynch played in a spread system in college, but unlike Goff, he didn’t really show a ton of improvement as a pocket passer throughout his career. He has poor footwork and a longer delivery, things that affect his accuracy negatively and need to be cleaned up in the pros. Lynch makes quick decisions, but he often stares down receivers, which he also needs to work on. Lynch has the physical traits of a first-round pick, but in terms of pro readiness, he’s just not on the same level of the first two QBs picked in 2016.
- Fantasy Analysis: The Broncos are replacing one 6-7 QB – Brock Osweiler – with another, and they traded up to get Lynch. The plan for the Broncos, at least for now, is to have Lynch sit and develop behind Mark Sanchez, even though they’re calling it an “open competition,” also including Trevor Siemian (Sanchez, to his credit, is all for this plan). It’s also the right call, since Lynch has a ton of developing to do mentally. But we’ve also been through Sanchez’s song and dance many times. While Sanchez is more than capable of looking competent for games at a time, his tendency to turn the ball over will eventually catch up to him. If Sanchez goes through a bad stretch, the Broncos may have no choice at some point to turn to Lynch. And while he may not be polished, what he will have at his disposal will be appealing – WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, plus the rushing ability to create fantasy value on his own. Lynch has the big arm and movement ability to thrive in Gary Kubiak’s play-action-based scheme, but he needs to learn how to play under center – he’s basically never done it. Because we’ve seen enough of Sanchez to know, we expect Lynch to play at some point this year, ready or not. Given the weaponry at receiver and Lynch’s physical skill set, it’s not outrageous to think he could have some fantasy value based on a few big plays and his rushing ability, even if he’s not technically “ready” to play.
3. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
School: North Dakota State | Ht: 6’5” | Wt: 237 | 40: 4.77 | Year: 5Sr | Drafted: 1st round, 2nd overall
- Scouting Report: Including his redshirt freshman year, Wentz leaves a North Dakota State program that has won five consecutive national titles. Though he was a starter in just the final two of those years (23 games in all), Wentz showed all the polish of a player who had been a grizzled veteran. At NDSU, Wentz played in a pro-style, diverse offense. He has experience in both the shotgun and under center, and he had the freedom to audible at the line of scrimmage. Wentz showed exceptional recognition of defensive packages, and his audibles often led to big plays. Wentz read defenses pre-snap and made quick decisions after the snap, especially when presented with an iso route. In all, Wentz threw 45 TDs to just 14 INTs in his college career, and from what we studied, halfof his INTs were off of deflected passes. He was a player who simply took care of the football. At 6’5” and 237 pounds, Wentz has the frame to stand tall in the pocket, and he used it, showing effectiveness with bodies around him (though NDSU was a great team in his time there, his line wasn’t particularly strong). Wentz stares down the gunbarrel when making throws, which is a critical NFL trait, and he showed fantastic touch on just about every possible throw. While he did take some bad sacks in his career, consider the sample size of these plays is higher than we’d like because his line wasn’t particularly great. So overall, Wentz shows no truly alarming tendencies when it comes to pressure. And while he’s huge, he can also move. He rushed for 1028 yards and 13 TDs in college, and he tested extremely well in the 40 (4.77 seconds), three-cone (6.86 seconds), and shuttle run (4.15 seconds) at the Combine. Wentz also showed resilience, missing eight games with a broken throwing wrist as a senior, but returning for the National Championship game and playing well. As for the negatives, we do have to consider Wentz’s level of competition and his lack of experience – again, he started just 23 games in college, and it wasn’t in the SEC. Wentz’s accuracy lacks at times, especially when he tries to uncork a laser throw, when his lower-body mechanics are off and his leg can lock up. But Wentz improved his lower-body issues from his junior to his senior year, which suggests he’s aware of his problems and worked his tail off to get better. Wentz has a good arm, but not a great one, and it shows up when a ball he really tries to sling goes awry. However, that’s about it. There have been some comparisons to Andrew Luck, and we see why that fits, but it’s wise to consider Wentz a less athletic version with an arm that isn’t quite as good. That may mean he’s not a generational talent, but there’s nothing wrong with being a complete QB prospect, which we truly believe Wentz to be.
- Fantasy Analysis: It’s clear the Eagles want Wentz to sit for at least some That plan could be thrown asunder if Sam Bradford continues his holdout or if the Eagles give in to Bradford’s trade demands, but keep in mind the Eagles also signed Doug Pederson protégé Chase Daniel. Bradford or no Bradford, Daniel could play Pederson’s role, when Pederson started a half season for Philly in 1999 ahead of #2 overall pick Donovan McNabb. While we’re comfortable enough with the Eagles’ QB situation that we view Wentz as the third most likely rookie QB to see significant playing time this year, we also realize that it’s exceptionally rare for teams to be patient with these guys in the modern NFL (remember, Jacksonville wanted to sit Blake Bortles for a full season). And if Wentz plays, he gets to take snaps behind an offensive line that got serious help along the interior this off-season, with a cast of receivers that certainly isn’t useless (Jordan Matthews, Zach Ertz, Nelson Agholor, Darren Sproles). Additionally, he’s an adept runner for his position. Let’s put it this way: if Wentz were to be announced as the Eagles’ Week One starter, we’d have him ranked #1 among rookie QBs for 2016. We’re just more convinced the Eagles are equipped to be patient with him than the Rams are with Jared Goff or the Broncos are with Paxton Lynch, even if Bradford doesn’t report.
4. Cody Kessler, Cleveland Browns
School: USC | Ht: 6’1” | Wt: 220 | 40: 4.89 | Year: 5Sr | Drafted: 3rd round, 93rd overall
- Scouting Report: It’s very easy – and a good time-saving tactic – to compare Kessler to the QB he succeeded at USC, Matt Barkley. Both had very good numbers for the Trojans, with Kessler putting up 67.5% passing, 10,330 yards, and an 88/19 TD/INT ratio in his three years as a starter. Accurate with a good understanding of his offense (and Kessler played in multiple offenses in college), Kessler rarely made mistakes. In all, Kessler was actually a better college player than Barkley. But like Barkley, Kessler is undersized (he’s actually shorter than Barkley) with an arm that simply isn’t even going to be even average for the NFL, the two major reasons he wasn’t close to being in the first-round conversation this year, despite some early-career hype. That said, he knows how to work a pocket, and in that regard he’s far more advanced than many of the other passers in this draft class. His ceiling may be as a backup, but his skillset does translate to a long NFL career in that regard.
- Fantasy Analysis: It’s near certain that Browns coach Hue Jackson looks at Kessler and sees a lower-case version of Andy Dalton, with elite accuracy. But consider that Dalton is knocked mostly for his lack of arm strength, and that his arm is much better than Kessler’s. It’s also odd that the Browns are going with two totally different QBs in Robert Griffin III and Kessler, assuming Josh McCown is moved and Kessler is their backup – a play-action, downfield passing offense in which the physically gifted Griffin would theoretically succeed would not provide the same opportunity to Kessler (though it’s clear the Browns want to teach Griffin to play from the pocket). The Browns are claiming they will have an open QB competition, and that Kessler will have an opportunity to win it. Given that and Griffin’s awful history with injuries and performance, we expect to see Kessler on the field at some point this year, even if McCown remains with the Browns. But he’ll be playing behind a patchwork offensive line, breaking in a bunch of young receivers. Jackson’s reputation as QB-friendly not withstanding, it’s not the best spot for a limited passer to succeed as a rookie.
5. Christian Hackenberg, New York Jets
School: Penn State | Ht: 6’4” | Wt: 223 | 40: 4.78 | Year: 3Jr | Drafted: 2nd round, 51st overall
- Scouting Report: If you watched Hackenberg’s best 50 throws from his time at Penn State in succession, you’d be convinced he’s the best QB prospect in years. If you watched his worst 50, you’d think he was completely undraftable. Obviously there’s some degree of that with any prospect, but it’s just heightened significantly with Hackenberg. As a freshman under Bill O’Brien, Hackenberg essentially ran the Patriots’ offense, with a lot of under-center work and multi-step drops. He performed well overall (again, he was a freshman), completing 58.9% of his passes, while averaging 7.5 YPA with 20 TDs (all would end up being career-highs) and 10 INTs. The last two years under James Franklin’s spread system, Hackenberg struggled. He threw just 28 TDs to 21 INTs over 26 starts, playing mostly out of the shotgun behind an atrocious offensive line. The system also “allowed” Hackenberg to play with horrendous mechanics, something that’s common in these spread offenses. Hackenberg has awful footwork and lower-body mechanics, but has the arm to make up for it so he never really worked his way through it. Because of this, his accuracy is poor at best, often throwing behind receivers in stride, limiting YAC. While he has arguably the best arm strength of any prospect in this class, the accuracy is just too scattershot to really trust it. While Hackenberg’s legs won’t scare defenses, he actually threw better on the run because it forced him to reset his mechanics, and the results were generally good. On the upside, Hackenberg showed incredible mental toughness and strength, often staring down the gun barrel with pressure in his face. Sure, he had several games when he looked shell-shocked, but few QB prospects in recent years have taken as many hits as Hackenberg, and that’s not all on him. Remember he did all this the last two years in an offense that did not fit him, without the control at the line of scrimmage that he desires, either. Ultimately, we’re confident he needs time to sit and develop.
- Fantasy Analysis: Guys who have the college careers Hackenberg had at Penn State rarely, if ever, turn out to be good NFL QBs. But Hackenberg has a ton of physical ability, and the Jets clearly believe OC Chan Gailey can harness it. To do so, Gailey would likely need to reduce the number of shotgun spread elements, and go back to his Troy Aikman roots with play-action, under-center elements. Whether that’s possible or not, Hackenberg almost certainly needs to sit for some time to reach his potential. That would be far more possible if the Jets actually had a reliable starting option on their roster. While we expect Ryan Fitzpatrick will be signed eventually, they currently don’t have that option. And if Hackenberg were to see the field at some point ahead of Geno Smith and Bryce Petty (remember him?), he would have one of the NFL’s top one-two punches at WR at his disposal (Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall), plus two great pass-catching backs (Matt Forte and Bilal Powell). Again, we have to imagine the Jets are looking to bring back Fitz or add someone like Josh McCown to the fold so Hackenberg doesn’t have to play, but that vet option isn’t on the roster right now. If Hack does get on the field as a rookie, he’s far more likely to damage the fantasy value of his weapons than his weapons are to give him fantasy value of his own.
6. Jeff Driskel, San Francisco 49ers
School: Louisiana Tech | Ht: 6’4” | Wt: 234 | 40: 4.56 | Year: 5Sr | Drafted: 6th round, 207th overall
- Scouting Report: Driskel showed what he was capable of doing after transferring to Louisiana Tech, and then turned heads with the single-best combine performance from any QB (4.56 40, 122” broad jump, 4.25 20-yard shuttle). In all, Driskel threw for 4026 yards with 27 TDs and 8 INTs at LA Tech in 2015, far better numbers than he ever had going in and out of the lineup at Florida. Driskel arrived at Louisiana Tech and immediately commanded the respect of coaches and teammates. He was named a team captain after spring practices for his only year with the Bulldogs, so it’s not surprising he’s earned a reputation as a great leader. Soon, coaches put a lot on Driskel’s plate. No QB in this year’s class had more five-man protections in front of him on a consistent basis. The Tech coaches were clearly comfortable with Driskel’s ability to get the ball out quickly and to understand he had limited time to throw the ball. Driskel made consistent anticipation throws into tight windows, and showed all-around good accuracy in the short to intermediate areas, though he doesn’t always show proper touch and doesn’t have elite arm strength. Because Driskel was primarily in the shotgun, he got away with faulty lower-body mechanics, but that’s not uncommon for most QB prospects these days. Driskel was awful in a bad offense at Florida, but he’s an excellent athlete who showed his potential at Louisiana Tech.
- Fantasy Analysis: In Driskel and Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers are currently rostering two of the most impressive QBs from a measurables aspect in the entire NFL. And neither is likely to open the season as San Fran’s starter – that is almost certain to be Blaine Gabbert. While Gabbert clearly improved in 2015, we’ve seen enough of his skittishness in the pocket to know he won’t be long for a starting job. Since the Niners could still move on from Kaepernick, there is a window – however slight – for Driskel to play this year. And the offense, under Chip Kelly, would cater to his natural athleticism and anticipation throws to the short and intermediate areas. Currently, Driskel is the #3 QB on San Francisco’s QB depth chart, and the Niners’ skill positions are still very limited. But we have to admit we’d be intriguing with his fantasy potential in the event he were to get on the field this year.
7. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
School: Mississippi State | Ht: 6’2” | Wt: 226 | 40: 4.79 | Year: 5Sr | Drafted: 4th round, 135th overall
- Scouting Report: If Prescott was in last year’s QB class, there’s a chance he would have been valued as the #3 prospect, behind only Jameis Winstonand Marcus Mariota. Instead, he’s buried in 2016, in the middle of a group of similar developmental prospects. In many ways, Prescott is a similar prospect to Brett Hundley last year, when Hundley was a fifth-round pick to the Packers out of UCLA. Prescott’s just more polished and was more successful in college; a three-year starter at Mississippi State, Prescott improved his completion percentage every year (topping out at 66.2% in 2015), while throwing 70 TDs to just 23 INTs in college. He took his team to as high as #1 in the country in 2014, and has developed a reputation as an excellent leader. But there are plenty of things Prescott needs to work on. First of all, he may have the worst “touch” of any perceived top QB in this class. He has a strong arm, but he shows little feel on a down-to-down basis for the kind of velocity a given throw needs. He has scattershot accuracy as a result. Prescott is also very poor in the pocket; he doesn’t process things quickly, and as soon as he feels pressure, he drops his eyes and looks to run. Many of Prescott’s big plays in college were of the broken variety, and that can’t be counted on in the NFL. All in all Prescott is an excellent athlete (2609 rushing yards and 44 TDs in college) with a solid set of physical tools to work with. But he’ll need to learn the nuances of his position, for which he’s shown just about no feel to this point. There’s also a March DUI arrest, which was a significant slip-up just a month prior to the draft, but Prescott at least expressed remorse.
- Fantasy Analysis: Prescott has a lot to work on, but he’s instantly the most gifted QB on Dallas’ roster behind Tony Romo, and we don’t doubt he’d outperform Kellen Moore in the event he has to play, even if Moore opens the year as the top backup. Given Romo’s poor health of late, Prescott could be just one hit away from the field. If he plays, he’ll have Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Ezekiel Elliott, and the league’s best offensive line at his disposal. With Prescott’s running ability, it wouldn’t be out of the question he could put up numbers on a short-term basis. If Romo’s healthy, Prescott obviously has no shot to play. But that’s a huge “if.”
8. Connor Cook, Oakland Raiders
School: Michigan State | Ht: 6’4” | Wt: 217 | 40: 4.79 | Year: 5Sr | Drafted: 4th round, 100th overall
- Scouting Report: There’s plenty to like about Cook on film. Unlike a good number of QB prospects, Cook had freedom at the line of scrimmage in operating a pro-style offense, and he showed the ability to set his protections and call audibles pre-snap. After the snap, he showed solid to excellent pocket movement, which coaches will absolutely love. Cook also seemed oblivious to pressure, keeping his eyes downfield with the rush around him, using his eyes to move and manipulate defenders, all while under pressure. He showed consistent improvement in these areas, and in some respects he may be more “pro ready” than anyone else in the class in that department. While Cook won’t provide consistent fantasy value with his legs, he does well enough throwing on the move. He has solid touch, and as a decision-maker, he improved throughout his career. On the downside, Cook exhibits poor footwork, leading him to be an “arm thrower” on far too many occasions. That’s a concern for anyone, but Cook’s arm strength is just decent, and it becomes poor when he doesn’t step into throws. Cook will take awful risks at times, and to this point he isn’t a particularly good anticipation thrower. Cook also struggles with ball placement, limiting YAC for his receivers far too often. Cook threw 74 TDs to just 22 INTs in college, and by every measurable account, he was “a winner” – he led Michigan State to a 34-4 mark as a starter, including a Rose Bowl victory as a sophomore and a College Football Playoff appearance as a senior (though he played poorly in the latter after returning from a throwing shoulder injury). So it’s a little troubling that Cook wasn’t named a captain as a senior, and there are plenty of reports out there that suggest he isn’t particularly well liked by teammates or coaches, perhaps the major reason he fell in the draft. In all, Cook is comparable athletically to another Michigan State QB in Kirk Cousins, but there are plenty of questions about how he’ll adjust to an NFL locker room. He also has plenty to work on as a passer, so he’d be best served learning for a year or two, but he has the skills to stick in the NFL for a long time. He just doesn’t have the upside of some of the other players in this class.
- Fantasy Analysis: The Raiders traded up to select Cook in the draft, and likely are looking to make him the long-term backup behind Derek Carr, given Matt McGloin could get a better opportunity to compete for a starting job next season after his contract expires. It’s a good offensive fit for Cook, too, since his ceiling is almost certainly a Carr type of QB. We doubt Cook will see the field at all this year, since McGloin is a well-regarded backup QB, and Carr is entrenched as the starter. But this is a fantastic spot for Cook to get accustomed to the pro game, and perhaps most importantly, a pro locker room.
9. Cardale Jones, Buffalo Bills
School: Ohio State | Ht: 6’5” | Wt: 253 | 40: 4.81 | Year: 4Jr | Drafted: 4th round, 139th overall
- Scouting Report: Just one year ago, Jones shocked many when he announced he would return to Ohio State for his junior year, after taking over late in the 2014 season for an injured T. Barrettand leading the Buckeyes to a national championship. Jones proceeded to beat out Barrett and now-WR Braxton Miller for OSU’s starting QB job, which turned out to be the high point of his 2015. The sample size got larger on Jones, and he ended up getting benched for Barrett, torpedoing his draft stock in the process. In all, it is amazing Jones could have been a first-round pick had he come out last year in a weak QB class. Cardale started only 11 games at Ohio State, finishing his career with 2322 passing yards, 15 TDs, 7 INTs, 617 rushing yards, and 4 rushing TDs. No doubt, he has impressive size and athletic ability (keep in mind he was injured during his 4.81 40 at the Combine). Jones is a strong-armed passer who can drive the ball to all areas of the field, and he shows nice touch at times, as well. He’s not afraid to take hits, which makes him an effective read-option QB. Jones also made good decisions most of the time, and showed a willingness to throw the ball away and play another down (he of course made some bone-headed throws, but he doesn’t have a ton of experience). That said, Jones has zero feel at all for playing in the pocket, and he’s a frequent committer of the cardinal sin of QBing – turning his back to the line of scrimmage and leaving the back of the pocket. Jones’ lower-body mechanics are awful, seriously affecting his accuracy and ball placement, and he throws with zero anticipation (he’s a “see it, throw it” passer, which doesn’t really work in the NFL). Most of all, Jones got benched because he left A TON of plays on the field – he simply didn’t execute Urban Meyer’s offense the way it was called, and it’s an offense that makes things pretty easy for QBs. Are these things Jones can learn with experience (remember, he has only 11 starts in college)?
- Fantasy Analysis: Jones’ landing spot is intriguing, because if he develops like Tyrod Taylor has, he has a shot to be a decent NFL QB. Right now, Jones has absolutely no idea how to play the position, but the Bills designed an offense that Taylor ran efficiently, smartly, and effectively. Within that offense, Taylor became a useful fantasy asset, as well. Can Jones sit and learn for some time, and develop into essentially a more talented version of Taylor? We really hope he doesn’t have to play this year, because he isn’t ready, but his potential suggests a dominant fantasy asset at the position, if he can ever tap into it.
10. Kevin Hogan, Kansas City Chiefs
School: Stanford | Ht: 6’3” | Wt: 218 | 40: 4.78 | Year: 5Sr | Drafted: 5th round, 162nd overall
- Scouting Report: An experienced leader who has been a full-time starter for three seasons, and has started for parts of four seasons, Hogan’s intelligence clearly shows up on film. Hogan had autonomy at the line of scrimmage in David Shaw’s Stanford offense, and he made NFL-level plays in every single game. The problem is that his limited physical tools rob him of the potential that his mental ability would otherwise give him. Hogan has a long, loopy side-arm release (like a slower version of Philip Rivers), and his arm strength is average at best. So on film, when Hogan makes mistakes, it’s often because he simply doesn’t have the ability to drive the ball to where he knowsit should go. While Hogan can move a bit as a runner (1249 yards and 15 TDs rushing in his career), the only reason he’s being compared to Andrew Luck is the school he went to – Luck is just far more physically gifted. But mentally, Hogan is far more advanced than most players coming out of college.
- Fantasy Analysis: Hogan fits in Kansas City like a glove. The Chiefs just lost a smart backup QB in Chase Daniel to the Eagles, and Hogan should be able to fill that role in a short time. He has to compete with Aaron Murray and Tyler Bray behind Alex Smith, but he’s more talented than Murray and way more developed than Bray. The Chiefs are more than content with Smith, but Hogan has the look of a 10-year NFL backup, who may eventually prove to be a capable starter for the right team. If he were to be forced into action, he has the running ability to make a Smith-level impact, which means he’d be an adequate streamer in the right matchup.
Below, we rank this year’s rookie class based on long-term potential for the next few seasons.
- Carson Wentz (Phi, 23) – The draft’s most balanced QB in terms of physical skills and mental ability, Wentz may not play right away but clearly the Eagles have a plan for him to take over by 2017 at the latest.
- Jared Goff (LA, 21) – It will be a shock if Goff isn’t starting immediately for Los Angeles, and the Rams focused on building up the skill-position players around him in the Draft.
- Paxton Lynch (Den, 22) – An athletic freak, Lynch ideally won’t play right away but he has the weapons around him and the physical tools to put up big fantasy numbers once he develops.
- Christian Hackenberg (NYJ, 21) – Hackenberg has a huge arm, but his poor college tape means he’s best suited for sitting and learning. Will he have that luxury given the Jets’ current QB situation?
- Jeff Driskel (SF, 23) – An intriguing developmental talent with great athleticism, Driskel is attempting to parlay a great final year in college into a productive NFL career, and he lands in a good fit with Chip Kelly.
- Cody Kessler (Cle, 23) – Kessler is smart and accurate with good pocket feel, so Hue Jackson could see an Andy Dalton type, though Kessler may have the worst arm of any QB drafted this year.
- Dak Prescott (Dal, 23) – Jerry Jones couldn’t land Paxton Lynch, but Prescott is a solid consolation prize. A good athlete with similarities to Brett Hundley, he may immediately be the best player behind Tony Romo.
- Connor Cook (Oak, 23) – A “winner” and producer in college, Cook could be a steal and could have a long NFL career but reportedly fell because of character and leadership concerns.
- Cardale Jones (Buf, 23) – Jones needs to learn how to play the QB position pretty much from the ground up, but Buffalo’s offense is a great fit for his extremely impressive skill set.
- Kevin Hogan (KC, 22) – Smart, athletic, and well respected, Hogan doesn’t have a huge arm but has the ability to stick in the league for a long time, potentially getting a shot to start down the road.
- Jacoby Brissett (NE, 23) – A lower-case Jameis Winston, Brissett is a better prospect than many others drafted in the 2016 class, but he’s currently buried behind Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo.
- Nate Sudfeld (Was, 22) – We view Sudfeld as having a career backup ceiling, but then again, many thought that about Kirk Cousins as well.
- Brandon Doughty (Mia, 25) – An excellent deep ball thrower with an injury history, Doughty processes things too slowly and he’s an older prospect.
- Trevone Boykin (Sea, 23) – Boykin lacks the size and arm strength teams desire in a passer, but he was a “winner” in college and lands in a good spot for him.
- Jake Coker (Ari, 24) – Coker has a solid arm, but his pocket presence will almost certainly prevent him from being more than a backup in the NFL.
- Brandon Allen (Jac, 24) – Allen was one of a handful of solid backup type prospects in this class, but is currently behind both Blake Bortles and Chad Henne.
- Jake Rudock (Det, 23) – A slow mover with a poor arm, Rudock nonetheless knows the game well and likely tops out as a solid backup, if he ever gets that far.
Source: Fantasy Guru
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