Should You Draft The 2016 Quarterback Prospects?

With the publication of the likely final edition of the RotoViz Scouting Index, I thought I’d share my final thoughts on the 2016 quarterback class. Specifically, should you draft rookie QBs like Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Paxton Lynch? And how do they compare to the 2017 QB class?

First, here are the results of the most recent Index:

Carson Wentz61.510510
Jared Goff61.510510
Paxton Lynch63.09630
Connor Cook64.38840
Dak Prescott56.26450
Christian Hackenberg56.46360
Cardale Jones56.6627-1
Kevin Hogan57.85680
Jacoby Brissett59.64790
Brandon Doughty510.642100
Vernon Adams612.042103
Nate Sudfeld512.03512-1
Brandon Allen512.43313-1
Cody Kessler513.82614-1
Jake Coker514.22415#N/A
Jeff Driskel514.82116#N/A

Shout out to our editor Charles Kleinheksel, who has done a tremendous job with the RSI this year.

Last time around, I tried to put this year’s top QBs in historical context, showing how they stacked up against other recent prospects. That brings us to the million dollar question: should you actually draft these guys?

Out of the 15 QB prospects I evaluated, I slotted Wentz, Goff, and Lynch as the eighth, ninth, and 10th best QBs respectively. As a reminder, these rankings were for fantasy purposes. It might be easy to look at those rankings and think I’m lukewarm on these prospects, or that I actively dislike them. That’s not the case. I believe they’re all legitimately good, if not great prospects.

I probably wouldn’t use a premium rookie pick on them in traditional one QB formats, but you probably won’t have to either. I project these guys to all be more-or-less fairly valued and expect to have some exposure in my various dynasty leagues. If you’re on the clock and not sold on any of the running backs or wide receivers available, don’t hesitate to draft one of these three.

However, there are situations where I wouldn’t draft these three. I wouldn’t reach on these guys just because you need a QB. I definitely wouldn’t take one of these guys if I felt it would preclude me from taking a QB in next year’s draft. You only have so many roster spots and you don’t want to devote too many of them to QBs. If you’ve only got room for one young QB, wait until 2017, because the 2017 class is shaping up to be significantly better than this one.

Let’s start with Baker Mayfield. Mayfield is an incredible prospect. If he had declared this year, he would unquestionably be my top prospect in this class, for both the purposes of fantasy and the NFL. I compared my top fantasy prospect in this year’s draft, Carson Wentz, to Blake Bortles. I said he was like an older and less efficient version. Well Mayfield would be a version of Bortles that was a more efficient passer and also a more productive rusher. Keeping in mind that I pegged Bortles as the fourth best fantasy prospect over five classes, that’s very high praise. In fact, if Mayfield ends up getting drafted first overall in the 2017 NFL Draft then I would even slot him above Andrew Luck.

There’s also Heisman finalist and National Championship runner-up Deshaun Watson. Watson was a revelation in 2015, passing for 4,109 and 8.6 adjusted yards per attempt.1 More intriguingly, he ran for 1,105 yards and 12 TDs while averaging 5.3 yards per rushing attempt. That is a very impressive average considering college numbers include sacks. If Watson can improve his passing efficiency some in his final year I would slot him even above Mayfield.

It’s of course possible that both of those QBs falter in 2016, hurting their prospect profile. That being said, I think both have some room to underperform in 2016 and still be better prospects than the offerings in this class. It’s also possible that they don’t declare, though it’s being treated as a given that Watson will and I don’t see much incentive for Mayfield not to. And of course, there will likely be other interesting QBs that emerge as well. I can’t wait to examine the 2017 QB class in more depth next year.

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  1. AY/A is a variation of yards per attempt that values TDs as 20 yards and INTs as -45 yards.  (back)
By Justin Winn | @TheHumanHuman | Archive

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