Draft Daily: How early is too early to take a QB?

Senior Analyst Steve Palazzolo updates you on the latest draft news from the PFF analysis team.

| 3 months ago
Deshaun Watson

(Tyler Smith/Getty Images)

Draft Daily: How early is too early to take a QB?

Pro Football Focus’ Draft Daily will hit on a number of NFL Draft-related topics including recent news, scouting reports, PFF draft takes, and much more on a frequent basis.

Question of the day

If you’re willing to draft a quarterback at No. 15 overall, should you also be willing to take him at No. 1 overall?

This is a discussion I see all over social media, and a question I posed to our PFF analysts last week. I also discussed it with PFF Senior Analyst Mike Renner on this week’s draft podcast (see below), and there are a few different angles to take.

My sentiment is that a team evaluating a quarterback is closer to a “yes” or “no” proposition, meaning that a few quarterbacks will be good enough to be taken at No. 15, yet not good enough to be taken at the top of the draft.

Regardless of draft position, that first-round quarterback is the future face of the franchise and a long-term investment. Renner’s point is that, over time, drafting for value and picking better players will pay off, and while that is a valid point, I’ve also resigned to the fact that there is plenty of human nature involved and coaches/general managers are often on a short leash to turn around their respective team. Yes, it’s better to wait it out and pick the best players, but at some point, a chance has to be taken on a quarterback, or both head coach and general manager will be out of a job regardless. If you like a quarterback, go get him.

Some thoughts from two other PFF analysts:

Drafting quarterbacks has become a nightmare for teams in today’s landscape. Anybody with the slightest chance of franchise-QB upside goes in the first round, but the top of Round 1 needs to be a hit on top talent. I’m not pushing a guy into the top five because he may have an outside chance of hitting that level if I’m not confident it’s a likely outcome. If you are, you take that guy wherever you can, because if you’re right, no spot is too high. – Sam Monson, @PFF_Sam

Drafting a QB is a zero-sum proposition. If you draft one and he becomes a hit/franchise QB, the pick was a good value no matter where he was selected. If he was a miss, he was a bad value no matter where you drafted him with the exception of drafting a late-round developmental QB. If you are a team with two first-round picks, like the Browns, and you value a QB as a mid-first-round pick, there should be no reason you shouldn’t take him at No. 1. A mid-first-round pick at QB is stating “this is our franchise QB,” and if that’s the case, he should be good enough to take No. 1 overall. – John Kosko, @PFF_John Kosko

PFF analyst draft takes

Our analysts are hard at work analyzing the 2017 draft class and adding their spin on what they’re seeing. The beauty here is that we’re not always in lockstep with each take, and it shows the unique interpretation each of our analysts can have when watching film and analyzing PFF grades and stats. Here are a few of the more interesting takes of the week:

This is a bold one from Josh, and not necessarily one I’m ready to get on board with just yet. While Adams is an excellent prospect, and he certainly looks like a cornerback the way he closes on the ball in “off” coverage, this is a class loaded with top CB prospects ready to contribute on Day 1. Adams has three years of safety experience at LSU, and that’s likely going to be his position in the NFL.

Speaking of top safeties, Baker’s name continues to come up as a player to watch either through recent film study or his offseason training. He was a game-changer at Washington, playing a safety/slot hybrid, hence the comp by Jordan. Last season, Baker played 516 of his 805 snaps in the slot (64.0 percent).

Alabama continues to churn out top-notch defensive line prospects, and Tomlinson is no exception. With bigger names on the roster the last two years, his work was often overlooked, but he finished tied for eighth in the nation among interior defensive linemen with an 87.1 grade against the run. He was no slouch as a pass-rusher, either, earning a 84.7 grade in that regard.

Be sure to keep up with @PFF_College on Twitter for more analyst takes throughout draft season.

Recent scouting reports

A look at the most recent scouting reports to hit the PFF website:

PFF Draft Podcast

The latest PFF Draft Podcast is now available, as I team up with Senior Analyst Mike Renner for our usual ramblings, including a pick-by-pick breakdown of Mock Draft 4.0. Mike brings it with his usual “hot take” of the week, and this one was burning so strong that he had to kick off the show with it. We also discuss players moving up and down the draft board, review old scouting reports (including some insight on Dak Prescott). We are also blessed with Nathan Jahnke’s mind-blowing stat of the week, quickly becoming the most-talked about segment in football podcasting.

Be sure to download and subscribe to the PFF Podcast from your favorite provider.

PFF Draft Pass

Stay tuned for a very exciting venture, as the PFF Draft Pass will be your way to access the most unique NFL Draft insights available. Release information coming soon!

| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • Tim Edell

    Well JohnKosko’s point is true except if you can draft Myles Garrett a generational type talent at 1 and still get ur QB st 12. You must understand draft value to maximize the draft.

    • crosseyedlemon

      I tend to agree with former Bears and Redskins coach George Allen that there is no value at all in drafting in the first round. It’s a crap shoot. His teams did very well by trading those picks for proven talent and not having a first round pick last season didn’t hinder the Patriots pursuit of another championship at all.

      • Frank Yi

        The value of drafting 1st-round guys comes into play with the salary cap. 1st-round players tend to be better on average than later-round selections, but come at up to 5 years of controlled salary. Draft picks give you cheaper players, which is where the value comes in. The Seahawks won a Super Bowl because they found a QB on the cheap which allowed them to spend a ton on defense. Likewise, the Colts blew the best value years of Andrew Luck by failing to build a team around him while he was cheap.

        George Allen worked in an era where player salaries were not escalating, and thus could trade away picks for players whose cost wouldn’t be a detriment to a team.

        • crosseyedlemon

          No question that the league landscape is totally different now than when Allen was coaching but his basic philosophy has been historically proven valid and PFF’s own grades of first rounders confirms this. Though there are occasional exceptions if you look at any random year you will find that 1/3 of first rounders make a solid impact, 1/3 make a limited impact and 1/3 make little or no impact at all.

      • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

        that was more true before the rookie wage scale though

    • a57se

      I hope the Browns go Garrett/Watson at 1 and 12.

  • JWeav

    Can anyone tell me Karl Joseph’s grade, I don’t have player grades I’m just a guest