Published On: Fri, Jun 8th, 2018

5 QBs who could be 1st-rounders in next year's draft

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It’s never too early to talk about the quarterbacks of tomorrow.

With the 2018 NFL Draft in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to look ahead to the 2019 QB class.

Five signal-callers were drafted in the first round this year, and the same could be true next year. A number of franchises are still in search of future options at the position, including the Dolphins, Patriots, Broncos, Chargers, Giants, and Saints.

Here are five college quarterbacks worth your attention this season who could find themselves in first-round contention in 2019.

Justin Herbert, Oregon

Herbert missed six games in 2017, and the Ducks clearly missed him. Oregon went 6-2 with Herbert under center and 1-4 without him.

There are plenty of things to love about this Pac-12 quarterback. He possesses prototypical size (6-foot-6, 230 pounds) and athleticism, but his ability to deliver quality throws on multiple levels of the field makes him stand out from his peers. Herbert is a tough, accurate passer who makes plays on the move with both his legs and arm.

He has just 16 games of college experience under his belt, but a strong 2018 campaign could make him the first quarterback off the board next April.

Will Grier, West Virginia

Grier’s first season at West Virginia was productive, as the Florida transfer accumulated 34 touchdowns to 12 interceptions in just 11 contests, leading a dynamic Mountaineers offense.

The 23-year-old looks and plays the part of a pro quarterback. He’s an aggressive passer who excels against the blitz and completes a number of NFL-level throws that will have scouts salivating. He’s also adept at manipulating defenses, as demonstrated below.

But don’t let the big-arm narrative fool you; the former top-50 recruit is accurate, too. His touch passes on post and corner routes are perhaps his greatest strength.

With Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph now in the NFL, Grier stands an excellent chance to earn first-team Big-12 honors in 2019 and a spot in the draft’s first round.

Jarrett Stidham, Auburn

Stidham is another transfer who excelled with his new team in 2017. Auburn finished with a 7-1 record in college football’s toughest conference thanks in large part to its young signal-caller.

When watching Stidham’s game film, the first thing that stands out is his smooth throwing motion and quick release. He couples that with a good throwing base that allows him to deliver high-velocity passes.

Stidham’s athleticism and mobility are added bonuses. With a bit more polishing, he could rocket up draft boards next year.

Drew Lock, Missouri

The nation’s leader in touchdown passes last season is firmly in the mix to be the 2019 class’ top quarterback.

Let’s be clear on one thing, though: Drew Lock is nothing like Missouri’s most recent NFL quarterback, Blaine Gabbert. Lock has a big arm, and can make a number of difficult throws look easy. He profiles closer to Detroit Lions quarterback and former No. 1 pick Matthew Stafford. At the same time, the Tigers passer also excels in the quick passing game – a quality NFL coaches and scouts will love.

While he still has room for improvement, Lock possesses the size, production, and arm talent to enter the first-round conversation.

Trace McSorley, Penn State

McSorley doesn’t exactly look the part or play in a similar style to that of other top-tier prospects, but need we remind you that the same could’ve been said for 2017’s No. 1 overall pick, Baker Mayfield.

The Penn State signal-caller doesn’t have the strongest arm, but he delivers highly accurate passes consistently and processes the game well for a college quarterback. McSorley doesn’t play in a pro-style offense, but just what is pro-style exactly in today’s NFL? The senior excels at making quick decisions and eluding would-be tacklers. His grasp of run-pass options and production on third downs are translatable to the pros as well.

McSorley’s athleticism, leadership, and high football IQ will certainly intrigue a number of coaches, and he could be one of the most polarizing, and interesting, prospects to study in 2019. He’ll need to measure over 6-feet at the combine, though.

Other names to watch: Shea Patterson (Michigan), Clayton Thorson (Northwestern), Brian Lewerke (Michigan State), Ryan Finley (North Carolina State)

(Photos Courtesy: Getty Images)

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