As the Broncos steadily increase their draft position, plenty are clamoring for us to draft the QB of the future next season. And while there is some talent out there, next year's crop definitely is probably at a much talent threshold than this past season. So lets take a look at possible QBs. I wrote a similar piece at the beginning of the season, so this is being updated.
Malik Willis, QB Liberty - Willis appears to be pulling ahead in the race to be the top QB taken next year. He is a fantastic athlete with a monster arm and may remind some of Michael Vick in his ability to run and make huge throws. The issue are two fold with Willis, one is that he plays in a conference where he is going up against the likes of Middle Tennessee State and Old Dominion, when he has faced stiffer competition is say University of Louisiana Monroe or Syracuse, he has looked more than pedestrian, some of that is likely due to the talent he has around him but one has to question how long it is going to take him to adjust to playing at the NFL level. It's one thing going from the SEC or Big Ten to the NFL, it's another to go from Liberty to the NFL. He still has too many hero throws where he tries to force bad throws. If that can be corrected and he can have the tutelage of a good coordinator and QB coach who can use his talents, he has a chance to be a very good QB at the next level similar to a Lamar Jackson or Kyler Murray or Deshaun Watson. While I think he likely is a top 5 pick, I seriously doubt he will be the top overall pick just due to he is at least a season away from being able to start in the NFL (IMO).
Matt Corral, QB Ole Miss - In my latest mock draft I have us picking Corral. He may surpass Willis as the first QB taken, especially if he continues to put up good numbers in the SEC. Last season he was better in a lot of aspects, this season he obviously has been working on making sure to protect the ball. As his accuracy has dropped somewhat but his int have also dramatically decreased to throwing only one this season. The problem with him is he definitely has benefitted from being in the system he is, and seems to take way too many sacks than he should, which seems to be due to not being able to quickly come off his primary receiver if the defense is taking it away. While he had a decent game against Tennessee, he definitely struggled. He has a solid attitude playing the position and is a excellent runner with the ball. I compared him to a poor man's Baker Mayfield. Maybe that is a bit harsh, but I think it's kind of apt. Much like Willis, I don't think Corral is ready yet to start in the NFL and I don't think he has that high of a ceiling. I think he can be a decent QB in the NFL, but likely nothing more than a top 15 type of player.
Carson Strong, QB Nevada - I like Strong a lot more than some others. He has been very good this season, with only one mediocre performance against K State. His accuracy is good, he has an excellent arm and very nice touch on throws. He has solid footwork and mechanics in the pocket. The issues mainly arise in he is a pocket passer and takes too many sacks waiting for players to come open and he has some injury history and concerns with his knees. If he can up his processing and not sit on receivers, I think he has the tools to be an excellent QB in the league. I do think he will have a bit of a learning curve coming out of Nevada and the level of competition he has faced, likewise he has benefitted from having some excellent WRs who simply can outrun most defenders at that level. I would compare him to a poor man's Drew Brees as far as potential.
Sam Howell, QB UNC - Here's a guy who early in the season was thought to be a sure fire 1st rounder and potentially the top QB taken. This season has been disappointing to say the least, the QB has played OK, but definitely has regressed from last season. Honestly at this point I seriously doubt he is selected before round 2 and maybe that is stretching it. Someone will likely see the "potential" and likely draft him higher than he should go, frankly, I don't see it, he looks destined as a decent backup in the NFL. Hitting on just over 60% completion percentage with his experience doesn't bode well, especially considering if you take away his first game against UVA this season, it's actually under 60%.
Spencer Rattler, QB Oklahoma - The guy most thought (including myself) would be the top QB picked this year has had a disastrous season and likely will be looking to stay in school and transfer to another school to attempt to get his career back on track. One has to wonder if he can rebuild it, if he couldn't succeed with Lincoln Riley and OU, I seriously doubt he will be able to turn his career around.
Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati - Ridder was an interesting prospect going into the season, definitely one of the most athletically gifted QBs on the list, this season it appears he has consciously tried to show he is a more than a duel threat QB and consciously not run the ball as much. While his Cincinnati team has had an amazing season so far, with road wins at Notre Dame and at Indiana being highlites, Ridder's play has been good enough to win but make no mistake, Cincinnati is winning more due to their defense than outstanding play from the QB position. Ridder likely will be one of those QB that gets picked in the back end of the 1st round as someone jumps up to pick them so they can get the 5 year rookie deal. I honestly haven't seen the growth in Ridder's game this year to warrant a 1st round pick, I think he might be worth a flyer in Round 3, but he has a lot of issues with consist accuracy, mechanics, and progressions to be considered a first round pick. Someone will likely view him as a player they can fix, but generally speaking, that is hard to accomplish.
JT Daniels QB Georgia - Another guy who got injured and now looks to have essentially lost his job at Georgia. Honestly, with Stetson Barrett in at QB for Georgia they look like a different team, a better team. Kirby Smart is playing it close to the vest, but it's unlikely Daniels is going to see a whole lot of action the rest of the season unless there is a major injury to Barrett or the wheels come completely off. Daniels may still get a shot in the NFL, but likely will have to work his way up from a backup and take an opportunity to succeed. Hey it happened to Tom Brady, nothing says it couldn't happen for Daniels.
Kenny Pickett QB Pittsburgh - Honestly he was not on my radar this season, but Pickett has been impressive this season. Arguably, he has been playing the best of any QB on this list. The question will be is this a one year wonder as his previous seasons were all underwhelming. He's a well put together prospect and shows nice touch and accuracy this year. He has improved his accuracy dramatically this season and has 21 TD compared to 1 int this season. What was once a guy who likely was going to be an UDFA, his stock has definitely skyrocketed this year. The question will be how much of his play this season is sustainable and how much is just he is having a great season. Athletically he is average and his arm strength is decent but not what you want for an NFL QB. While I think he is an interesting prospect, I don't think anyone should get him higher than the 4th round as I don't see him as being a starter, but should be a fine backup.
Will Levis QB Kentucky - Another guy who has kind of shot up the boards, I think he would be well served to stay another year at Kentucky. The issue with Levis is he has struggled against the top defenses he has faced, and while not a whole lot of shame in struggling against UGA and UF, I think his stock would do well with another season at the helm in Kentucky to show he has progressed. Right now he would be another developmental prospect way too green to throw into a starting lineup this soon. He has definitely shown flashes, if he can show he can progress he could be a favorite to be in the 1st round next season, right now I think he is somewhere between round 4 and 7, if he comes out this season.
Kedon Slovis QB USC - Another guy who was getting a lot of praise coming into the season where the wheels have come off. How much of that is that USC is a dumpster fire versus how much is Slovis is hard to determine. Slovis always had some limitations coming into the season, with injury issues, arm strength issues, and athletic limitations, Slovis is a player who seems to do about as well as his coaching and talent level around him will allow. He looks destined to be a backup in the NFL and likely won't get picked any higher than the 5th round.
Phil Jurkovec QB BC - He was kind of my sleeper type player, but after getting injured and now out for the season, he likely will be coming back next year. He actually started the season well, and looked like he might have a great season that would propel him into an early round selection. Think similar to Kirk Cousins, that being said, if he does come out this year, I would be wary of drafting him too high, since he has a limited body of work.
There are some others that I am sure may get drafted, but I am not seeing any that scream starting QB, even the ones who likely are going to be drafted in the 1st round have issues. In any instance, we will need to make sure the coaching staff is in place that can develop a QB, right now, I have serious doubts with the current staff.