Where Graham Mertz and a former Wisconsin QB land in PFF’s preseason QB rankings

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ProFootballFocus’ annual preseason quarterback rankings are out and there is more than just one name to note on the list.

The piece ranks the starters for all 130 FBS football teams, so Graham Mertz’s slot is obviously a focus. But Notre Dame’s starting quarterback happens to be former Badger Jack Coan, a catalyst for the team’s highly successful 2019 campaign.

Mertz and the Badgers will face off against Coan and the Fighting Irish on September 25 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. I will leave my thoughts on that matchup and its magnitude for later next month.

For now, here is where Mertz and Coan fell in PFF’s preseason QB rankings:

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Graham Mertz -- No. 26

Kelli Steffes, UW Athletics

Here's what they had to say about the Badger quarterback:

If anyone is moving up a tier from this group, it’s probably Graham Mertz. At the same time, though, he has every bit of a chance to slide some. Mertz joined Wisconsin in 2019 as the 65th-ranked recruit in the 2019 class, according to 247Sports, and had one of the best starting debuts of the PFF College era. Against Illinois last year, he didn’t throw a single uncatchable ball and tossed three big-time throws en route to a 93.9 passing grade. Mertz reportedly suffered a shoulder injury in Wisconsin's next game against Michigan but played through it. That partly explains why he earned a poor 53.4 passing grade over his last five games, far from the passer we saw to open the year. Only time will tell how much that injury affected him, but he has shown he possesses as high of a ceiling as anyone outside of the top two tiers.

Jack Coan -- No. 32

May 1, 2021; Notre Dame, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Jack Coan (17) runs the ball in the first half of the Blue-Gold Game at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Here's what they had to say about the Notre Dame starter:

Coan will take over as the Fighting Irish's starting quarterback after serving as Wisconsin's starter when last healthy in 2019. That year, Coan earned a decent 77.0 passing grade but made more turnover-worthy plays than big-time throws. That perfectly encapsulates the kind of passer he is: He can play in structure and is accurate underneath but won’t lead an exciting, explosive passing offense. Coan’s big-time throw rate in 2019 tied for 89th in the FBS, and he produced a turnover-worthy throw rate on 20-plus yard throws that ranked second-to-last.

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