The Flawed Four of the 2016 NFL Draft

The 2016 NFL Draft will be an interesting one in terms of the quarterback position. There are several teams without a viable starter on the roster, and many more in the dreaded quarterback purgatory, and could certainly upgrade, so there could conceivably be more than one taken in round one of this year’s event. It seems to be a four horse race for to be the first passer taken, depending on what one uses as criteria. The problem is that each of those players comes with a major flaw, making them risky first round selections. In 2011, quarterback need pushed guys like Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, and Jake Locker into the top 12. Will 2016 be a repeat of that?


Carson Wentz

The number of mock drafts with Wentz being selected with the second overall pick is increasing daily, and there are plenty of reasons that this is a good idea. He’s big, athletic, and he has the necessary arm talent in terms of strength and velocity. He’s also coming off a much-celebrated career at North Dakota State, where he won two National Championships as a starter. His NFL workouts have only helped him leading up to the draft.

The Flaw: Coming from an FCS team isn’t necessarily a detriment. Joe Flacco has had a fine career, for instance. However, it does have disadvantages. Wentz has the confidence to make throws into traffic, and into tight windows, but this is much easier against lesser talent. Adjusting the the professional level is difficult for almost every quarterback, but jumping from the FCS adds a degree of difficulty. Some of the other areas where Wentz needs work, such as tendency to flee the pocket too soon, will not be helped by the sudden jump in opposing talent. Off-the-charts upside may get him selected in the top five, but he’s no sure thing.


Jared Goff

Most of the crowd that doesn’t have Wentz as the top quarterback, have Goff in that spot. He’s tall in the pocket, is confident in his ability, and can make every throw, spectacularly at times. He sees the field well, and is his strong mental makeup allows him to find the open receiver and make the correct pre-snap reads. He appears to have the leadership abilities that NFL teams desire as well.

The Flaw: Goff comes with concerns about his physical makeup, including a somewhat thin frame, and less-than-ideal hand size. Lacking bulk isn’t always a detriment, but it certainly could raise injury concerns in the NFL, where defenses are so big and fast. Possibly a bigger issue is the small had measurement. At an even nine inches, Goff is definitely on the small side. Two years ago, Teddy Bridgewater dropped to the final pick of round one, in part due to concerns about the same issues facing Goff. Bridgewater is more thickly build, and has bigger hands.


Paxton Lynch

It’s easy for scouts to fall in love with the physical tools Lynch brings to the table. He’s huge, with a strong arm, and shows flashes of being a stud passer. He had a big-time performance against Ole Miss in October that really put him in the national spotlight and showed he wasn’t fazed by anybody he faced.

The Flaw: Lynch is big, with a big arm, but didn’t get to show it off much in a simplified offense that didn’t ask him to make plays or decisions. A majority of his throws were screens and quick passes to his first option. This will make him more difficult to project to the NFL, where he will have to make throws down the field much more often. The questions that go along with this are whether or not he can read defenses and make correct pre-snap decisions, and if he can progress through his receivers to find the open man.


Connor Cook

Cook is, perhaps, the overlooked member of the potential first round picks. He’s an experienced player, having started the past three seasons at Michigan State. With the experience comes the knowledge to make smart decisions with the ball and how to read defenses and run the offense to its full potential.

The Flaw: Cook has plenty of detractors who point out various flaws, but his biggest flaw is simply in his arm talent. He makes plenty of very nice throws, but his career 58% completion percentage is sub-par for a player of first round caliber. His lack of velocity is a part of this. Velocity isn’t a stat that’s publicized, and historically, a lot of the top passers don’t participate, but Cook did, and his recorded 50 mph is low. In the NFL, a quarterback doesn’t always have to have a cannon, but it does have relevance, and could affect his ability to become a top-tier player as a professional.


These four players are likely to be the first quarterbacks taken, in some order, in this year’s draft, and at least one of them, possibly a few, might go inside the top 10. They could all have terrific NFL careers, but it’s certainly possible that none of them are the answer. Each of them have a pretty noticeable flaw in their game. Only time will tell if that flaw is too big to overcome.

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