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#pounditSaturday, August 8, 2020

Ranking the best quarterback prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft

Joe Burrow

2019 was a big year for quarterbacks in the NFL Draft, and 2020 is similar.

Four quarterbacks may go in the first round of the draft, with a handful of others waiting behind them to potentially go on the second day. Young franchise quarterbacks are the dream for teams who don’t already have one, and this year is not expected to be any different.

Here are rankings of the seven best quarterbacks in the class of 2020.

7. Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma

NFL teams are still working on projecting Hurts, who was very successful in his lone season at Oklahoma. He’s not likely to be a high draft pick, but he apparently impressed teams at the NFL Combine. Hurts is a good dual threat who showed off some solid quarterback skills in college. He lacks the instincts and overwhelming physical tools to be higher up on draft boards, but he’s shown enough that he should be comfortably drafted and stick at the quarterback position.

6. Jake Fromm, Georgia

Fromm looked like a rising star after his freshman year at Georgia, but did not take the anticipated steps forward in his second season. He lacks the arm strength and physical tools of some of his peers, though he’s great at reading defenses. His NFL future may be as a game manager. To be clear, that’s a way to carve out a long career as a backup and spot starter, but he doesn’t look like the regular starter that he seemed to have the potential for not too long ago.

5. Jacob Eason, Washington

The man displaced by Fromm at Georgia may end up being a better pro quarterback. Eason landed at Washington last year, and he has the look of a pro-style quarterback with a quality arm. Unlike Fromm, he lacks the composure and ability to read a game that many pro scouts seek in top quarterbacks. Perhaps that can be learned, as he’s still fairly inexperienced at the position. Eason has the physical tools, but his mental game is what’s holding him back right now.

4. Jordan Love, Utah State

Love has a lot of pluses but is surrounded by uncertainty. Tall, fast, and with a big arm, Love is the prototype that NFL scouts crave these days — a mobile quarterback who can make plays with his arm. That alone should make him a fairly high draft pick and potential NFL starter. He suffered from inconsistency at Utah State in his final season, and cutting down on the turnovers is a must. Love profiles as a high-risk, high-reward pick shrouded in uncertainty.

3. Justin Herbert, Oregon

Herbert has all the attributes to start quickly. Poised and smart, he can read defenses and probably start immediately upon being drafted. He comes with questions, as there’s a perception that Herbert didn’t really win enough or dominate enough given his natural talent level. Herbert should be a solid NFL quarterback, and he might be the safe pick for teams in the top half of the first round who want to draft a signal-caller. The question is whether he has enough about him to be a star.

2. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

Everyone has seen how exciting Tagovailoa can be. He has a good arm and quick feet, making him a threat in the air and on the ground. He was a consistent winner in college. He has all the tools NFL teams are looking for. But he has two big questions. One is whether he’s durable enough to hold up in the NFL after suffering a hip injury that ended his junior season. The other is how he’ll do without being surrounded by Alabama’s talented supporting cast, which is a big enough concern that some teams are dropping him on their draft boards as a result. Tagovailoa still seems likely to go quite high and could be a franchise-changer if he can stay on the field.

1. Joe Burrow, LSU

Burrow is not the most physically gifted quarterback in the draft, but the likely first overall pick knows exactly what his strengths and limitations are and plays to them. He’s poised, smart, and incredibly accurate, even though he doesn’t have a cannon for an arm. Burrow is the smartest quarterback in the draft and can read and pick apart defenses at will. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts with him, and Burrow should be a steady success in the NFL. It’s easy to see why the Bengals are enamored with him.

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