2020 NFL Draft prospect rankings: Quarterbacks
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theScore's Mike Alessandrini and Dan Wilkins break down the top quarterback prospects in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft as part of a position-by-position series.

Top 50
QB | RB | WR | TE | OL
DL | EDGE | LB | CB | S

1. Joe Burrow

School: LSU
Height: 6-3
Weight: 221 lbs

Positives

  • Sublime accuracy and ball placement to all levels of the field
  • Excellent touch and trajectory on vertical throws
  • Extends plays within and outside the pocket with masterful improvisation
  • Maintains accuracy when throwing on the run
  • Poise to stand in and deliver with minimal impact against pressure
  • Reads the field well pre- and post-snap
  • Works through multiple progressions from the pocket
  • Historic season came against top competition

Negatives

  • Only one year of high-level production
  • Average arm strength
  • Below-average hand size
  • Older than most top prospects

Bottom line

Burrow is a fascinating prospect. Once a backup at Ohio State, nobody could have seen him going on to lead LSU to a national title with arguably the best season for a quarterback in college football history. He was that good. The relatively small sample of high-level productivity will give some evaluators pause, but this was no fluke. Burrow's brilliance from start to finish in 2019, improving when competition intensified against fellow SEC powerhouses and then Clemson in the national championship game, makes him one of the easiest quarterbacks to evaluate since Andrew Luck. Burrow is a shoo-in for the No. 1 pick in this year's draft.

Grade: Top 5

2. Tua Tagovailoa

Todd Kirkland / Getty Images Sport / Getty

School: Alabama
Height: 6-0
Weight: 217 lbs

Positives

  • Excellent timing and ball placement at all levels of the field
  • Arm talent to drive the ball up the seam and to the far sideline
  • Throws receivers open with great anticipation
  • Efficiently works through reads and makes good decisions
  • Isn't fazed by pressure
  • Extends plays with quick movements in the pocket
  • Shows athleticism to escape and make plays on the run
  • Maintains eye level to look downfield while improvising
  • Two years of elite production in the SEC

Negatives

  • Recovering from a major hip injury
  • Dealt with other nagging lower-body ailments
  • Lacks an ideal frame for the position

Bottom line

Tagovailoa was supposed to be the prize of this draft, and he certainly could still be in the long term. He's had NFL teams eagerly awaiting his arrival ever since he stepped in on the biggest stage as a freshman and led Alabama to a national title win over Georgia. The superstar left-hander has the arm talent and accuracy to make and deliver on every throw on the field, and he's particularly lethal when attacking defenses vertically. His raw ability as a passer, intelligence, and athleticism make him an elite prospect and a fit for any NFL offense. Were it not for a major hip injury that ended his 2019 season, Tagovailoa could have been neck and neck for Burrow for the No. 1 spot, perhaps even holding the advantage due to a more extensive track record. He's still not far behind, as he's certainly a potential franchise quarterback.

Grade: Top 5

3. Justin Herbert

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

School: Oregon
Height: 6-6
Weight: 236 lbs

Positives

  • Ideal height and weight for the position
  • Big arm allows him to attack downfield and challenge tight windows
  • Athlete who can make plays as a runner by design or when the play breaks down
  • Accurate to short and intermediate levels
  • Proficient with pre-snap reads
  • Works through multiple progressions post-snap

Negatives

  • Often slow to make decisions in the pocket
  • Sails too many driven throws downfield
  • Doesn't throw with anticipation
  • Effectiveness drops significantly when facing pressure
  • Lack of production against top competition

Bottom line

Herbert is a highly touted prospect entering the NFL after returning to Oregon for his senior season. Scouts will be enamored with his frame, arm talent, and athleticism, as that combination gives him the upside of a solid starter at the next level. He remains a first-round prospect, as he would have been had he declared as a junior, though returning to school didn't do anything to boost his stock. He'll need to be brought along as a developmental quarterback early on in his pro career. The upside is there, but patience may be required before he's potentially able to make the most of his raw talents.

Grade: Rounds 1-2

4. Jalen Hurts

Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

School: Oklahoma
Height: 6-1
Weight: 222 lbs

Positives

  • Generally accurate on short and intermediate throws
  • Improving touch and trajectory on vertical shots
  • Incredible sense for pressure and ability to extend plays by improvising
  • Maintains accuracy when throwing on the run
  • Turns into a running back with ability on designed runs
  • Powerful and shifty as a ball carrier
  • Rises to the occasion to make plays in big moments
  • Reputation as a great leader

Negatives

  • Long release
  • Too quick to pull it down and run
  • Spotty decision-making can lead to turnovers
  • Must continue to improve finer aspects of ball placement
  • Production suffered against top opponents
  • Only one year of consistent production as a passer

Bottom line

Hurts is far and away the most interesting name in the second tier of quarterbacks. He didn't seem to have much of an NFL future after failing to show much promise as a passer at Alabama and losing his starting job to Tagovailoa. Then came his transfer to Oklahoma, where Hurts' production went through the roof. It's fair to wonder just how much Lincoln Riley's offense propped him up considering the limitations he'd demonstrated beforehand, but Hurts made some major strides as a passer and now comes with a ton of upside. If some early-career development can help him to make quicker and better decisions with the football, he can be a solid starter at the next level. His ability to contribute as a high-volume runner and make off-script plays in the passing game makes him a particularly intriguing prospect in today's NFL.

Grade: 2nd round

5. Jordan Love

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

School: Utah State
Height: 6-4
Weight: 224 lbs

Positives

  • Big-time arm talent
  • Highly accurate when his mechanics are on point
  • Connects on wild off-platform throws
  • Extends and creates plays with his athleticism
  • Effective runner when the play breaks down

Negatives

  • Sloppy footwork leads to occasional accuracy issues
  • Inexcusable turnovers in his final college season
  • Constantly misses underneath defender in coverage
  • Doesn't read the field well or throw with anticipation
  • Drop-off from his sophomore season with a new supporting cast

Bottom line

Love is not Patrick Mahomes. You'll almost certainly hear the MVP's name mentioned in discussions about Love, but nobody is actually making a direct comparison. That said, it isn't difficult to see why Mahomes' name is brought up. Love is a project but the elite arm talent is impossible to miss. His turnover issues are where things get dicey. The good news here is that Love's strengths are rare and not teachable, while the more troublesome areas can be rectified. Mechanics and decision-making are things he can work to master with an NFL staff. While there's no guarantee he ever puts it all together, the upside is worth a gamble.

Grade: 2nd round

6. Jacob Eason

Alika Jenner / Getty Images

School: Washington
Height: 6-6
Weight: 231 lbs

Positives

  • Prototypical size and arm talent
  • Aggressive and successful in attacking all areas of the field
  • Good velocity to challenge tight windows
  • Accurate on intermediate and vertical throws from a clean pocket
  • Good trajectory and touch on deep balls

Negatives

  • Entire process falls apart against pressure
  • Bails from the pocket instead of stepping up and looking downfield
  • Throws off his back foot, leading to accuracy issues
  • Decision-making falters when under duress
  • Doesn't have the athleticism to extend plays
  • Takes too many sacks
  • Can be slow to process the defense in front of him

Bottom line

Eason looks like a first-round quarterback prospect when everything around him is clean. His arm talent and all-level accuracy could lead to a great future if he's fortunate enough to have a system and supporting cast that set him up for success. But he isn't a Day 1 quarterback because his effectiveness is so situational. Not gifted with athleticism to extend plays, Eason overcoming his issues in the future will depend on his ability to improve his movement within the pocket and remain composed in the face of a pass rush. The raw upside as a passer is there, and he's a particularly appealing option for teams that want to attack downfield, but it'll take either a perfect situation or some major strides in the more nuanced areas for him to tap into it.

Grade: 3rd round

7. Jake Fromm

Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images Sport / Getty

School: Georgia
Height: 6-2
Weight: 219 lbs

Positives

  • Moves well within the pocket
  • Makes good decisions with the ball and throws with anticipation
  • Accurate to short and intermediate areas
  • Works through full-field progressions
  • Remains poised under pressure

Negatives

  • Lacks the arm talent to drive the ball downfield
  • Can't challenge tight windows
  • Generally far too conservative
  • Isn't athletic enough to break the pocket

Bottom line

Fromm will make the jump to the NFL fresh off three productive seasons against SEC competition as Georgia's starting quarterback. He's an intelligent player who protects the ball and throws his receivers open with good ball placement and anticipation. His lack of natural arm talent limits him beyond that, though. Fromm has the potential to be a starter in a system built around a quick passing game that attacks defenses horizontally. Barring that perfect scheme fit, his ceiling may be that of a capable backup.

Grade: Rounds 4-5

8. Anthony Gordon

Bob Levey / Getty Images

School: Washington State
Height: 6-2
Weight: 205 lbs

Positives

  • Quick, compact release
  • Accuracy and touch for consistently good ball placement
  • Enough arm strength to maintain accuracy downfield
  • Throws receivers open with anticipation
  • Patient making reads from the pocket
  • Stands in against pressure
  • Can become a runner when plays break down

Negatives

  • Slender frame
  • Content to stand flat-footed in the pocket
  • Telegraphs intentions by locking in on one receiver
  • Trusts his arm too much with throws into coverage
  • Needs to incorporate his lower half to generate better velocity.
  • Only one season as a starter

Bottom line

Gordon boasts a number of traits that make him an intriguing draft-and-develop option. He's a highly productive passer with a compact delivery who is accurate at all levels of the field. The arm strength isn't elite, but the precision he maintains in the vertical game suggests it's more than enough. He'll need work when it comes to going through progressions and refining his footwork. Gordon could be an excellent backup and perhaps more in the right system.

Grade: Rounds 5-6

9. James Morgan

Mark Brown / Getty Images Sport / Getty

School: Florida International
Height: 6-4
Weight: 229 lbs

Positives

  • Natural arm talent
  • Can drive the ball to all areas
  • Flashes accuracy on vertical throws
  • Hangs tough against the pass rush to deliver
  • Attacking mindset leads to big plays

Negatives

  • Accuracy comes and goes due to mechanics
  • Focuses on one receiver rather than reading the whole field
  • Aggressiveness can hinder decision-making

Bottom line

Morgan is a developmental quarterback prospect. His raw arm talent jumps off the film. The accuracy is there in spurts and can be particularly impressive when he's driving the ball vertically, but undisciplined mechanics lead to far too much inconsistency in that regard. Morgan's natural gifts will certainly earn him a shot at the next level, and making improvements in the finer points of quarterback play could see him carve out a career as a backup.

Grade: Round 7/UDFA

10. Nate Stanley

Andy Lyons / Getty Images

School: Iowa
Height: 6-4
Weight: 235 lbs

Positives

  • Arm talent to make every throw
  • Can drive into tight windows or throw over defenders
  • Great trajectory and accuracy on downfield throws
  • Good ball placement to maximize YAC
  • Takes care of the ball with good decisions

Negatives

  • Process falters when dealing with pressure
  • Gets stuck on one receiver instead of working through progressions
  • Largely conservative and quick to settle for an underneath option
  • Won't extend plays with athleticism
  • Underwhelming production

Bottom line

Stanley will be a developmental prospect who'll hope NFL coaching can help make the most of his size and natural arm talent. With a good combination of velocity and touch, Stanley can make every throw on the field from a clean pocket. Issues arise when he faces pressure, as he can be slow to process and ultimately take too many sacks. Stanley is a potential backup who could be effective in spurts as part of a quick passing game.

Grade: Round 7/UDFA

Other notable prospects

Steven Montez (Colorado)
Cole McDonald (Hawaii)
Brian Lewerke (Michigan State)

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2020 NFL Draft prospect rankings: Quarterbacks
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