5 Prospect Watch: Quarterbacks
BY: MAXWELL TRAILL
This is the continuation of a series where I look at 5 prospects that I want people to keep an eye on this season. By no means is this a ranking, nor is it a final grade. It’s 5 players that people need to pay attention to throughout the season. Specifically guys that I think could raise or lower their draft perception through the rest of the season.
KJ Costello Stanford
Costello is a QB that has improved the past 2 seasons and when watching JJ Arcega-Whiteside last season it was hard to not notice Costello making some pretty impressive plays. There are going to be people this offseason that watch Costello and drop a 1st round grade on him because of his “wow throws”. I’ve seen few QBs like him be able to line balls to WRs in tight coverage and make them open. This makes me think he will excel at throws up the seam. He also understands his WRs can win in single coverage, to be fair we saw a fair share of those go to Arcega-Whiteside, who was dominant at jump balls, but it’s a good trend to see. What I want to see Costello do better is handle pressure, typically how a QB handles pressure is volatile, but Costello consistently cannot deal with it and if Costello is thrown into a situation there is a high chance it’s with a team that has a poor offensive line. His release could use a tune up as well, but that isn’t a major concern for me, it’s not Tyree Jackson bad, its just sub optimal.
Kellen Mond Texas A&M
A very exciting quarterback to watch, Mond has upper tier athleticism and some true zip on his passes. My favorite part of Mond’s game is his throws on the run, he doesn’t seem to need balance when throwing downfield, and almost seems worse when set in the pocket. With his arm you’d think he would be better at throwing 9 routes, but he really struggles with it. I think it is fixable, and he can stay in college another year to help straighten some of this out, but it’s a shockingly bad part of his game. I think Mond can be a really fun quarterback and a true NFL quarterback if he straightens out some of the accuracy issues on deep passes. Also it would really benefit Mond to get slightly better at the intermediate areas.
Tyler Johnson UAB
Okay, fine you don’t have to watch UAB football, but at least keep Tyler Johnson on your radar. He has major flaws all around his game, specifically his release and consistency, but Johnson can make any throw on a football field. Far from a statue either, Johnson can move well. There are issues in his game, but they’re all fixable. His release looks like it’s from 1970, he never wants to go through progressions to the extent of the other side of the field, and really hates checking the ball down. Those are my biggest errors watching him. I’ll admit I haven’t been able to watch him this year, so he might be progressing and I haven’t been able to see it.
Mason Fine North Texas
I know, I know, you’re not watching North Texas football either. Most people reading this have probably heard of Fine before, but he needs some context to his game. Looking at him is strange because he is small, but he’s not able to make up for it with Drew Brees type accuracy or Kyler Murray/Russell Wilson athleticism. He has a rocket arm and delivers balls that are absolutely gorgeous downfield. Watching him is really fun, and there aren’t a ton of negatives to outweigh these amazing plays. His height definitely hurts him and will hurt him at the NFL level, but I really think he is intriguing. What I want to see him do is handle the pressure better, there are a lot of times where he makes alligator arm throws when the pocket starts bunching together, in the NFL that will be bad. Overall, his lack of pure athleticism will keep him out of the 1st round most likely, but he could be a really intriguing prospect.
Justin Herbert Oregon
Yea most people will get a good helping of Herbert this season, but here are some important things to watch for with the 4-year Oregon standout signal caller. When you watch Herbert the thing that will jump out is his big plays. The guy knows how to make big plays. He has a cannon for an arm and can drop the ball where he wants far down field. Not just distance either, pure zip on throws at the intermediate level, especially seam throws. The problem with Herbert is the consistency; he just does not seem to be able to string together good games, even against bad teams. It’s also weird how inaccurate he his before the sticks. I don’t know if it’s unwillingness to hit short throws or if it’s inability to consistently hit the short passes, but it needs to be touched up if he wants to be the 1st QB taken. Herbert was my number one coming into the year, because I projected some improvement in his final year, but Tua has taken over that spot based on their two seasons, Herbert’s weaknesses are all correctable, but accuracy has been incomparable to Tua this season.