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2017 NFL Draft: Top 5 Senior Quarterbacks
It’s that time of year again folks, college football is coming to a close and it’s getting precariously close to NFL Draft time. Teams are going to start being eliminated from the playoffs and fans will start turning their attention completely to the draft. And while not every team will need to look at taking one early, the most talked about position in the draft is always the quarterback position. At this point, we still don’t know who all is going to declare for the draft. With that in mind, I’m going to tell you my top 5 quarterbacks for the 2017 NFL Draft.
1. Chad Kelly | Ole Miss
Chad Kelly is by far the biggest names among the senior quarterbacks, but he is one of the most talented too. Kelly brings good athleticism and a big arm, able to make any throw. Kelly throws a fantastic back shoulder throw as well as a good deep ball. Kelly can fit a ball into a tight window, putting it where only his receiver can make the catch. Kelly uses big receivers size to his advantage very well, throwing the ball up where they can go up and get it. There is no denying he will make big plays for his team, but he will also make some pretty bad mistakes as well. Kelly will make some absolutely terrible decisions to throw into coverage and trust his arm too much. It’s not something that he will likely ever be able to be broke from doing. That is just his mentality. With Kelly you just have to take the good with the bad.
2. Gunner Kiel | Cincinnati
Kiel is another quarterback that just can’t seem to stay healthy. If he could stay healthy, Kiel would likely be my top senior quarterback and a top 64 for pick for me. Kiel does so many things well on the football field. He can go through progressions and find the open man. He is accurate, though he can fail to follow through and throw the ball high, which leads to some bad interceptions. Kiel can also stare down receivers from time to time, which he must work on moving to the next level. He is athletic enough to make some plays with his legs. The biggest issue with Kiel to me is his inability to stay healthy.
3. Seth Russell | Baylor
Russell has had some real bad luck with injuries the last two years. He broke his back last season and then this season he dislocated his ankle, ending his college career. Russell is hard to get a good read on because of the offense that he played in at Baylor but Russell showed off nice accuracy and the ability to hit his receiver in stride. Russell has a strong arm, but will overthrow his wide receivers. He is inconsistent throwing on the run one moment throwing a perfect bullet, the next overthrowing his receiver. Russell is very athletic and will hurt defenses with his legs. If he can stay healthy, Russell could develop into a very nice quarterback.
4. Davis Webb | Cal
Webb looks like the prototypical NFL quarterback. Webb is a big, strong armed quarterback who can throw the ball down the field. He isn’t nearly as athletic as the three guys above him, but he can move just a little bit. Webb is able to fit the ball into a spot that other quarterbacks just can’t. He has the arm to make all of the throws in the NFL. I thought he had pretty good accuracy, but he had some issues with his mechanics, whether it was his weight transfer or his follow through that caused him to be inaccurate at times. I admit I had some trouble scouting Webb because of the Cal offense. Webb will likely go before any of the guys I have ranked higher than him and he has the talent to be an NFL quarterback.
5. Antonio Pipkin | Tiffin
Pipkin is a small school quarterback who will have a lot to prove at the Senior Bowl. That being said, Pipkin has a lot to like about his game. Pipkin is an athletic quarterback who can buy himself times and make plays with his legs. He is very good at moving around in the pocket and keeping his eyes downfield. He plays very instinctual. Pipkin shows good accuracy to all parts of the field, but will try to make something out of nothing from time to time. He has shown to have a good arm and the ability to process plays very well against his competition. If he can do those things against the leap in competition at the Senior Bowl, it will go a long way towards helping his draft stock.
Honorable Mention: Patrick Towles | Boston College and Joshua Dobbs |Tennessee
These are two senior quarterbacks who are on the developmental end of the spectrum. Both are big, athletic, strong armed quarterbacks that NFL personnel seem to love. Neither has been very consistent and has had as many bad games as they have had good, but both have tools. Neither should be taken early or expected to become big time NFL quarterbacks, but if you are asking me to pick 2 late round developmental quarterbacks out of this crop of seniors, they are the guys. Dobbs is the more polished and consistent of the two, boasting better accuracy and consistency. Towles has flashed potential, both at University of Kentucky and Boston College, but could never put it together for more than a game or two at a time.