The quarterback landscape for the 2019 NFL Draft class is one of the more interesting ones in recent years. Not one appears to stand out far and away from the others, and none of them look to compare to another class. Does this mean none of them will be successful at the next level? Not at all. Like all rookies, ideal landing spots are huge in regards to a prospect’s development. Let’s dive into some key landing spots for a few of these prospects.
Is Kyler Murray better than Josh Rosen? Possibly. Does he deserve to be the starter in Arizona? It depends on who you ask. Rosen undoubtedly had a disappointing rookie year for the 10th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but that’s not to say he’s a bad football player. He definitely has the ability to succeed in the NFL, but may need to be on a different team. The Cardinals offensive weapons are very bleak. When you look at the options Rosen had to throw the ball to, it’s difficult to point out which one was worse. The aging veteran and potential first-ballot Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald isn’t exactly what he used to be. Not to say that he hasn’t been playing at a high level. He still has tremendous hands and runs routes well, but he isn’t going to burn defenders like he used to. He brings tremendous leadership and knowledge to the locker room to mentor the young players on this team. Then there is Christian Kirk, who showed flashes his rookie year. He appears to be someone that could potentially be a reliable weapon as he continues to progress. They also have Chad Williams, who was a second-year guy that the Cardinals drafted in the third round of the 2017 draft. Most people expected him to be a burner and a good vertical threat in this offense, but this has yet to come to fruition. Then we have Ricky Seals-Jones, who did all but nothing for the Cardinals offense. He was able to find the end zone once and barely cracked the 300-yard mark for the season. David Johnson was the most productive part of this offense, and even he couldn’t do a whole lot with how poor this offensive line played. The line ranked near the bottom in both run blocking and pass blocking according to Football Outsiders. Pro Football Focus also gave them a 55.8 team pass blocking grade. Rosen was sacked 45 times in just 13 starts, which ranked as seventh worst in the league.
This is where Murray can make a big difference. He has tremendous athletic ability to escape pressure. He’s extremely mobile and when he gets into the league he may be considered the most mobile quarterback in the NFL. He’s going to need that to run away from pressure that will be in his face more often than not if the offensive line does not improve. Also, with new coach Kliff Kingsbury’s pass-heavy scheme he runs, they will need a quarterback with great arm strength that can make the big throws. This isn’t to say that Rosen isn’t able to do that, but you could argue that Murray has a more refined arm when it comes to the deep ball.
New York Giants
It is very evident that the Giants are in need of a quarterback to be the heir apparent to Eli Manning. Manning, who is on the 18th hole of his career, has definitely shown his age and has watched his production decline the last few years. Out of every active quarterback in the NFL today, Manning leads them in total career interceptions. That may look bad, but he also has thrown for over four thousand yards in four of the last five seasons. There’s a lot a young kid like Dwayne Haskins can learn from Manning. His football background goes all the way back to his father, Archie Manning, who also played in the NFL. Who’s to say that rookie quarterbacks need to step in year one and be successful. Haskins would benefit greatly from sitting behind Manning for a year and learning from a guy who’s been a pro in this league for what will be his 16th year. Haskins was a one-year starter at Ohio State; that’s not to say he doesn’t have what it takes to start year one, but the narrative that young, inexperienced quarterbacks who produced at a high level in college need to start right away is getting out of hand. Mark Sanchez and Joe Flacco are the only rookies since the 1970 merger to win a playoff game their first season. Look at what Jared Goff and Michell Trubisky have done after sitting behind veterans to start their rookie season. Both guys have had productive years in the NFL and the benefit may contribute to them taking time to learn behind veterans that have been around the league. Same goes for Haskins. If he can sit the majority of year one and learn Pat Shurmur’s system that fits Haskins abilities the best out of many teams in the league, we could be looking at a top ten quarterback in the coming years. Shurmur is notorious for running a West Coast offense which attacks the short to intermediate areas of the field. This is something Haskins excelled at during his time at Ohio State. A lot of his yards came from hitting his speedy receivers on screens or slants and letting them do the majority of the work. He would have similar weapons in New York with Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate, both guys can work in those areas. Add in the running game of Saquon Barkley and the reworked offensive line and suddenly this Giants offense looks like a contender in the near future.
The Broncos have struggled at quarterback since Peyton Manning’s 2014 season. They have seen the likes of Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, and the most recently Case Keenum all start at quarterback and do everything but succeed. Keenum came off of what was a career year with the Minnesota Vikings in 2016, where he threw for over 3,500 yards, 22 touchdowns, and just seven interceptions. In 2018, Keenum’s touchdowns dropped and his interceptions went up, not what John Elway and the Broncos expected when they signed him in free agency last season. After a down year from Keenum, the Broncos decided to move on and trade for former Baltimore Raven Joe Flacco. Flacco stands tall in the pocket and drives throws fairly well. He places the ball where it needs to be and can display his arm strength when he’s asked to. Similar to Haskins, Drew Lock will benefit greatly from sitting behind Flacco and learning from a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. Flacco, like Manning, is at the back end of his career and appears to be a bridge to what is potentially the Broncos next franchise quarterback. Lock has the potential to be that guy if he gets the opportunity to sit behind Flacco and learn an NFL system. Lock has shown his athleticism by being able to move around in the pocket and make throws downfield. One thing he needs to be more consistent at is being able to make those pinpoint throws, which is something hopefully he can pick up from sitting behind Flacco. It’s going to be interesting to see what new head coach Vic Fangio brings to the table offensively. We all know how brilliant of a defensive mind he is, but what he brings to the offense will remain to be seen. Allowing Lock to sit behind a pro like Flacco as both learn a new system will be greatly beneficial for a top quarterback prospect like Lock.