Last year’s NFL draft featured five first-round quarterbacks, that included a former Heisman winning passer going with the first overall pick in Baker Mayfield to the Cleveland Browns and the last pick of the first round in Lamar Jackson, another Heisman winning quarterback, to the Baltimore Ravens with the 32nd overall selection.
This year’s quarterback crop is not as deep and nowhere near as front-loaded as last year’s class but there are at least two players at that position that are pretty much locks to be selected into the first round in this year’s upcoming draft in Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins and Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray.
Both were one-year starters at their respective universities and were Heisman finalist before Murray ultimately won the award. However, with Murray’s interest previously being torn between professional baseball or continuing to play football at the next level before he made his announcement last week, Haskins is still being mocked and is being projected to be the first quarterback that will be selected come April by draft experts.
Haskins is not only viewed as a probable top 10 pick in the first round, but he is also believed to be the best pure passer of all of the quarterbacks in this year’s draft class.
In his last season at the helm for the Buckeyes he threw for 50 touchdowns to just eight interceptions, passed for nearly 5,000 yards and completed 70 percent of his passes in 14 games.
His play progressed as the season went on as he operated a pro-style offense from almost exclusively from the pocket as a passer. He only accumulated 108 rushing yards on 79 attempts and just four touchdowns compared to Murray’s 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns on 140 attempts last year at Oklahoma.
Although Murray is the more gifted and polarizing athlete, the former Buckeye is bucking the trend that the only African American quarterbacks that are worthy of a top 10 selection in the draft are better athletes than pocket passers. While Haskins does possess some mobility, he has the opportunity to prove that an African American quarterback can be a passer first and runner if necessary.
Many draft pundits are predicting that he will go to the New York Giants with the sixth overall pick, barring any trades of other quarterback-needy teams that might want to trade up to select him before the Giants get on the clock. If taken by New York, he will be the successor to longtime signal caller and two-time Superbowl Eli Manning and will be paired with two of the NFL’s brightest young stars and former Offensive Rookie of the Year recipients in running back Saquon Barkley and receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
If they manage to get Haskins and sure up their shaky offensive line, the Giants would be able to field one the leagues next great offenses under Head Coach Pat Shurmur and viewed as serious contenders in the NFC but any team that selects him will get a potential prolific passer first and a runner second.