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NFL Draft 2016: Ranking the quarterbacks

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Here are my rankings and quick scouting reports on the quarterbacks in this year's draft.

Jared Goff- California (QB1, Round 1)

I have to admit, I don't watch a lot of college football, but I do tend to catch more Pac-12 games for reasons associated with living on the West Coast and following the Washington Huskies. I have never been a huge fan of Goff, and always felt he was a bit over-hyped and streaky.

That being said, the more I watched Goff (a lot of that came from studying Cal pass catchers), I found myself bumping him up to QB1. I think Goff is the most Pro-ready QB in this Draft class. His arm strength is more than enough, it may not be a cannon, but it's plenty. I also think he could improve that arm strength in the NFL like Drew Brees and Andy Dalton have done. Once he gets to the NFL, Goff could add 7 pounds of muscle to his frame I think, and be somewhere over 220 pounds.

He will attack the middle of the field, attack deep, and has no issue being a volume passer. This can work to his benefit as most NFL teams are volume passing offenses, and I think he can jump right in. He will have games where he throws three Interceptions in the NFL, but will probably rack up serious yards just because of the volume of passing and his talent.

Goff does not rely on athleticism (like Carson Wentz) because he is used to being a worse athlete than the defensive players in the Pac-12 he has to face week in and week out. The NFL will provide more of the same -- and he is not trying to "out-athlete" himself out of compromised pockets. He will move in the pocket and be tough in the pocket in the face of pressure, and run through his progressions then fire downfield with a rusher in his face about to make contact. He is trying to throw himself out of trouble -- and that is a good thing.

He's a 26th percentile SPARQ athlete at the quarterback position, and that does not bother me a bit. The 9 inch hands thing may lend itself better to playing in a fair-weather stadium or dome.

Goff had good weapons at Cal, with an offensive line that was nothing special. He spread the ball around to his weapons --Treggs, Lawler, Davis Anderson, Powe and others, including his running backs -- and that is a credit to him. He had an array of good targets, but perhaps never had one serious transcendent talent to throw to.

At the end of the day, I don't think you can really go wrong with either Goff or Wentz as 1a or 1b. I am not convinced that either will be elite level NFL quarterbacks, but they are both worth the risk.

Carson Wentz, North Dakota State (QB2, Round 1)

Very athletic QB with the all the physical traits and intangibles you would want from a signal caller.

He's 6052 and 237 pounds with an 81% SPARQ percentile. Ball pops off his hand and he can attack all areas of the field.

One thing I noticed the deeper I got into his games is he tends to hold the ball too long. First of all, the DL talent he faced on a week in and week out basis looked pretty bad (and he has a 3rd round type left tackle protecting him in Joe Haeg). Teams would blitz to try to get pressure on him and I noticed he would take some really bad sacks from simply holding the ball too long and trying to juke and "out-athlete" the defenders while buying time. He can get away with that a little bit at the level of his competition, but not in the NFL. I trust Goff to handle pressure better in the NFL early on than Wentz.

I think for Wentz, if you want to play him as a rookie, I would surround him with a more classic run-first/play action and defense type system and try to limit his volume. I think he would be one I would "manage" along and try to surround him with talent. Wentz could have the higher upside between him and Goff in a few years. His mental makeup looks excellent.

Paxton Lynch- Memphis- (QB3, Round 1 Late)

I think there a gap between Lynch's grade and the grades of Goff and Wentz, but I can certainly see why Lynch will go in the 1st round.

He has the tall build of a Brock Osweiler, but his athletic talent is more on par with a Colin Kaepernick. I think he is a better prospect than Kaepernick in that his throwing motion is much quicker, and his short area quickness and processing may be quicker as well.

He's almost 6 foot 7 and is an 82% SPARQ percentile tester -- he can run and has a cannon for an arm. Really good stats in the last two seasons, and he turned his 22 TD, 9 INT 2014 season into a 28 TD and 4 INT 2015 season. He is the type of QB to run over 7 times per game, but has terrible yardage (only 2.4 yards per carry). Tape can be a bit hard to watch in that he is almost never under center and it seems to be something along the lines of this every time:

"Shotgun play-action fake the inside handoff, or play action fake the jet sweep, and then pass the ball off a half-field read."

I could be totally wrong in terms of the complexity of his progressions, because I am not a QB expert, but that's what it feels like when I watch Lynch. There is enough talent there that I don't see him falling out of the 1st round, but I put him squarely behind both Goff and Wentz.

Even though he is 6-7, from the tape it seems at times the coaches call ultra-deep drops to give him space, and with his big arm, he can still attack deep downfield. Everything seems super simplified for Lynch and it can work for him because he has a big arm and is an athletic mover. He can fire the ball with heat in the middle of the field, but can also loft it with touch. He is already starting in the pistol, but they move him another three steps deeper or they have him boot right or left on an easy half field read.

He gets a lot of predetermined bubble screens in the offense, but that is prevalent across college football these days. Drop footwork from under center looks awkward when I watched him on Gruden's QB Camp, something he will work on for sure over the next few years. Memphis would use Lynch under center around the goal line to try to set up a play action naked bootleg and have him run to the pylon.

Lynch can step up in the pocket, but the sense I got when watching is he prefers to flush either left or right. Wentz is actually a more talented runner than Lynch I believe, he has more wiggle when he runs (4.8 ypc). Both of these QBs (Wentz and Lynch) are running the ball 7-9 times per game. I don't think Lynch is "Pro Ready" though, and watching his offense is not something that I get really fired up for- but I don't think he will fall past Gary Kubiak.

Connor Cook- Michigan State (QB4, Round 2)

The "not a Team Captain" thing didn't really bother me. I think the leadership intangibles are fine from the little that I have listened to him talk. Cook is a real consistent winner and has great TD to INT ratio. The only stat that really bugged me was the 56-58% completion percentage. For a player that does not have any one super special trait, you would like that to be higher.

That being said, his WR talent was NFL level, but late round type guys (Lippett, Fowler, Burbridge (who I think is UDFA), and Mumphrey). He has a nice easy throwing motion and looks clean when he can rock and balance and throw on time. He does not have a super strong arm by NFL standards, but it's good enough. He will patiently run through his progressions and is not afraid to fire into small windows.

Cook is a 56% SPARQ percentile tester -- which is solid. Is it super lazy to say I can't help but think of Kirk Cousins? Too late. There is enough there that I don't think an NFL Head Coach or Offensive Coordinator desperate for a QB will allow him to slip past 40.

Cardale Jones- Ohio State- (QB5, Round 2)

I like Jones probably more than I should. He's raw, but has a lot of talent. Could he be a bust? Yes, he probably has a pretty high bust probability, absolutely. He has only 11 career starts, and he lost his job despite having perhaps the most talented team in college football surrounding him.

He's 6050, 253 with a 36 inch vert and can run a 4.81. Has so much arm strength when he is throwing the ball deep it almost looks like he is holding back and "guiding" the ball back to keep it in the field of play.  He's so strong he can run over NFL level defenders like he did versus Alabama. That being said, I am not super sold on his intangibles and this guy is probably two years away, if ever, to playing regularly in the NFL. But, I still think he goes somewhere in Round 2 and has some elements of a "poor-man's Cam Newton."

Dak Prescott- Mississippi State (QB6, Round 3)

I really wanted to like Dak Prescott, but I just didn't when I watched him. A lot of predetermined reads and QB runs. Lacks pocket awareness. Athletic, but not fast enough to outrun NFL defenders. Folks compare him to Tebow, but he does not have the exaggerated delivery. Arm strength is solid but I don't feel like the ball is popping off his hand with ease, snap after snap. Could be a mechanical thing.

66% completion rate, but that looks inflated with short passes. To my eye, deep accuracy looks a bit scattershot. Took 32 sacks in 2015 and had recent arrest for DUI. Is said to have leadership qualities and stature with teammates, but to me the number one thing needed to lead others in sports is to be really good at your job. I think he really should have a Round 4 grade, but I think he could go in Round 3 due to positional scarcity. 67% SPARQ percentile.

Christian Hackenberg- Penn State (QB7, Round 4)

I think a lot of people are trying to make this guy "work" and make excuses for him, as he certainly looks the part and has a good arm. The reality is he never really progressed as a college QB. Hackenberg was a 53.5% passer in 2015 and to be honest, on several games I watched, this completion percentage almost feels generous. In all but one of his 13 games in 2015, his completion percentage was 60.0% or less.

He has ideal size at 6043 and 223, with good athleticism and 61% SPARQ percentile. Someone will talk themselves into taking him in Round 3, but I personally would not spend a pick on him until at least Round 4. Arm talent is good enough for the NFL, but on too many plays he ends up running around and does not look like he has a plan. Deep ball will hang up not because he does not have the power, but I just think he is not super accurate.

Kevin Hogan- Stanford (QB8, Round 4)

I think Kevin Hogan should be a solid backup QB in the NFL. Has intangibles that many teams will like, but I don't think he has enough talent to be a long term starter in the NFL. 66% SPARQ percentile tester, but I don't think he has the speed or elusiveness to run that well in the NFL. Type of guy who will run the ball 6 times per game at Stanford. Delivery is a bit slow and there are entire games where he does not do much really -- the punishing OL and Christian McCaffrey really can do all the heavy lifting. Solid Round 4 value as a backup for me.


Brandon Allen- Arkansas (QB9, Round 5)

I know this is supposed to be only the top 4 rounds, but I really liked watching this guy while I was studying Alex Collins and Hunter Henry. Allen ripped it up on the Bielema play-action system and threw the ball all over the yard in 2015. The small hands thing worries me, but in a run based system, this guy could be an ideal backup QB. Had a 66% completion percentage as a senior with a 9.3 YPA, 30 TDs and 8 Ints. 32% SPARQ percentile is good enough. He can bootleg left, right, and deep and whip the ball all over the yard. If Gary Kubiak was still in Houston, this could be an ideal backup for him.