College quarterbacks look to translate skills to the NFL

Paxton Lynch throwing a pass in a game against Ole Miss

photo from

Paxton Lynch throwing a pass in a game against Ole Miss

The college football season has ended and with the NFL season winding down it’s time to look ahead to the NFL Draft.  The draft will take place April 28th-30th.  There are many intriguing story lines for this year’s draft, but none more intriguing than the quarterback position.

Let’s start with the man many are comparing to Aaron Rodgers, Jared Goff.  Goff is forgoing his senior season to apply for the draft.  The 6′-4″ gunslinger from Novota, California burst on to the scene towards the end of his sophomore season.  Goff was a three year starter for Cal.  He threw for over 12,000 yards, had 96 passing TDs along with 30 INTs in a pass-heavy offense in his career.  Goff’s strengths include: a strong arm, beautiful touch on deep passes, and experience against top level competition.  However, Goff has weaknesses. He is no threat to scramble, has poor accuracy outside the pocket, and a wiry frame that could lead to an injury problem.  As of January 21st via Goff is projected as the #1 quarterback off the board and is currently slated to go at #2 overall to the Cleveland Browns.

photo from NFL prospect Jared Goff
photo from
NFL prospect Jared Goff

Carson Wentz is a name that very few recognize, but he is surging up many draft boards.  The former North Dakota State Bison racked up over 5,100 passing yards, 45 passing TDs and had 14 INTs.  The Bismarck, ND native broke his wrist six games into his senior season, but later came back to play in the FCS championship game.  Scouts love his tall and sturdy frame, his adequate athleticism in and outside of the pocket, and that he was a part of four FCS National Championship teams.  Scouts are leary of the level of competition that he faced and he was lackluster with his decision making at times. According to, Wentz ranks as the #2 quarterback off the board, getting drafted 13th overall by the Philadelphia Eagles.  Many believe Wentz could jump all the way up to the #2 overall spot to Cleveland.

from Former NDSU QB Carson Wentz
Former NDSU QB Carson Wentz

Paxton Lynch is a tall, developmental prospect who’s looking to prove many doubters wrong.  Lynch struggled in his redshirt freshman season, only throwing nine TD passes and having 10 INTs.  Lynch would improve as time went on.  The 6′-7″ Deltona, FL native’s stock skyrocketed after his Memphis Tigers upset Ole Miss.  In that game Lynch was 39/53, threw for 384 yards and had three TDs.   Paxton Lynch’s list of strengths include: his 6’7 stature and frame, and good mobility (had 17 career rushing TDs).  His weaknesses:  didn’t throw the ball deep down the field very often in a screen-heavy offense, and he wasn’t challenged playing inferior defenses from the AAC. has Lynch slated as the #3 quarterback, going off the board 15th overall to the St. Louis Rams.

…also don’t sleep on Trevone Boykin, I see a lot of Mike Vick in him.”

— Ryan Ruehl

Connor Cook is a crafty, experienced quarterback looking to find the same success in the NFL as he did at Michigan State.  Cook was a three year starter under Mark Dantonio.  He compiled over 9,000 passing yards, had 71 passing TDs and threw just 22 INTs.  Cook was 2015 First-Team All-Big Ten and he finished his career at Michigan State with a school record .872 winning percentage. What do NFL scouts think? They  love Cook’s “easy” arm strength, and they like his ability to pick up first downs with his legs.  As for Cook’s weaknesses, scouts believe he throws off of his back foot too often.  Also, many teams are worried about his arrogance.  For example, after winning the Big ten championship he yanked the trophy right out of Ohio State legend Archie Griffin’s hand.  The 34th overall pick (3rd in the second round) is where has Cook going, a spot occupied by the Dallas Cowboys.

photo from Connor Cook after winning the Rose Bowl
photo from
Connor Cook after winning the Rose Bowl

I talked with Elder junior Ryan Ruehl about this quarterback class.  I first asked him which team(s) need a QB the most.  Ryan stated that the Browns and the 49ers are in need of a quarterback the most.  I then went on and ask Ryan who he thinks has the most potential to have success in the pros.  “It’s hard to tell since no one has played in an NFL game, but I really like Jared Goff out of California and also don’t sleep on Trevone Boykin, I see a lot of Mike Vick in him.

Boykin quarterbacked the TCU Horned Frogs, but many believe he will have to transition to the wide receiver position.  I finally asked Ryan how he thinks this class compares to the others.  “I think it’s an average class, many people may be disappointed because there isn’t a Mariota or a Winston.”

Next, I spoke with sophomore Bailey Dennis.  Dennis agreed with Ryan that the Browns are in need of a quarterback badly, but he added the Rams to the list of teams needing a quality signal caller.  I then asked Bailey who he thought had the most potential.  “I really like Jared Goff, but I think Paxton Lynch has the most potential.”  Bailey thinks this class is “pretty average across the board.”

Finally, I interviewed junior Tim Tieman.  Tim stated that the Rams are in most need of a quarterback.  I moved on to ask him about who had the most potential.  “If I had to say I’d go Jared Goff.”  Tim then added how weak he thought the quarterback class was.

“I think this class is horrendous, an FCS QB going that high is crazy,” said Tieman.  An FCS quarterback taken in the first round may seem a little strange, but Ravens QB Joe Flacco who played at Delaware went in the first round and he has won a Super Bowl.

The draft is still three months away, and a lot can change in three months.  These next few months could be the biggest of these quarterback’s lives as they try to impress each NFL team.  The next big event for these QBs will be the NFL Combine in late February.  So as the draft nears closer, these quarterbacks will be looking to steal the spotlight.