NFL Draft: Previewing Quarterbacks from 2017 Class

Sep 17, 2016; South Bend, IN, USA;  Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer (14) attempts to throw the ball against the Michigan State Spartans during the first quarter of a game at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 17, 2016; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer (14) attempts to throw the ball against the Michigan State Spartans during the first quarter of a game at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

With the Jacksonville Jaguars struggling to find any sort of consistency from quarterback Blake Bortles, the team may be forced to draft a quarterback in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft if Bortles can’t turn it around. Bortles has regressed by a significant margin in almost every important passing category, no more so than in his mechanics. Bortles’ throwing motion was never perfect, but it’s also gotten worse since his rookie season in 2014. Mechanical flaws are arguably the toughest facet to fix in a quarterback, and in most cases, they can’t be improved. After flashing promise in 2015, Bortles might have to fight to maintain his starting job in 2017 if he doesn’t show unflappable improvement in the team’s final eight games.

Here are some quarterback prospects to keep an eye on in the 2017 NFL Draft:

1. Notre Dame QB Deshone Kizer

Kizer is the top quarterback prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft by a wide margin, and has become the most likely candidate to get drafted number one overall in the spring. A lot of NFL teams need an improvement at the quarterback position, and Kizer would help in that regard.

Kizer has tremendous arm strength, mostly due to his large 6-4 frame, and has shown the ability to make beautiful touch passes with superb accuracy. He also has the best field vision of any QB prospect in the 2017 Draft, and has consistently maintained his poise in the pocket when faced with a pass rush. Kizer is also a great athlete and is frequently featured in the running game at Notre Dame. His projected 40-time is 4.70. A true dual-threat quarterback that relies on his arm more than his legs.

Unless Jacksonville ends up with the first overall pick, it’s unlikely that Kizer ends up in northern Florida.

2. North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky

This is where there’s a significant drop-off. There’s no clear-cut number two quarterback prospect in this year’s draft, but Trubisky has been rocketing up draft boards because of the great season he’s having at North Carolina. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. actually has Trubisky as the top quarterback in next year’s draft, but he is operating in the minority in that regard.

Trubisky has tremendous accuracy, completing over 70 percent of his throws in 2016. Trubisky is also a great decision-maker, throwing only two interceptions this season compared to his 19 touchdowns. The biggest concern about Trubisky is his lack of starting experience. He’s only started eight games for the Tar Heels, and was a backup for the majority of his career.

3. Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes

Mahomes plays in a gimmick college offense that produces a lot of points, but Mahomes has shown characteristics that will translate over to the professional level. First of all, arm strength. Mahomes can really fling it, and has shown great poise when facing a pass rush. Mahomes father also played 11 years in the pros, which may be the reason why he carries such a calm demeanor. Second of all, he has the quickest release of any quarterback in this class.

The biggest concern surrounding Mahomes is the system he plays in. Texas Tech has failed to produce any legitimate starting quarterbacks in the NFL, which will be a major hindrance to Mahomes’ draft stock. He could go as high as the first round, but could also slip to the third or fourth round.

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