CLEMSON, SC - NOVEMBER 03: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers reacts after throwing a touchdown pass against the Louisville Cardinals during their game at Clemson Memorial Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images


EXCLUSIVE: NFL Insider Breaks Down Top Quarterbacks Ahead Of Draft Day

The time between the Super Bowl and the NFL Draft can seem like an eternity. It’s the perfect time for NFL fans to comb over their team’s draft needs and for NFL experts to pick apart the prospects. And no position is picked over more than the quarterbacks. 

With the draft just over a week away, I sat down with NFL insider and Denver sports radio host Benjamin Allbright to discuss the quarterbacks in the upcoming draft. 

DAILY WIRE: Let’s start with the consensus number one pick in Trevor Lawrence. Is he as “can’t miss” as everyone says? Is he the best prospect since Andrew Luck?

ALLBRIGHT: I certainly think he’s a prospect that has some of that similarity to Luck. The one thing that bugs me about him is he has a bit of a thin frame. He’s 6-6 213 lbs. That’s built like a high school small forward, not an NFL quarterback. But other than that, he’s got game. He’s a quick processor and everyone knows how good of a player he is. I think that’s part of the reason he’s not getting talked about. 

Everyone knows how good of a player he is. Everyone knows he’s going number one and he’s not the world’s most ‘high wattage’ personality off the field. So, I don’t think there’s anything to be controversial about with Lawrence. 

We use the term ‘generational’ a little bit too often, but I think he’s one of those guys that fits in that mold. Everyone knows he’s going number one. This is a slam dunk thing and the city of Jacksonville will finally get a quarterback that can hopefully carry them. 

DAILY WIRE: Will Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer use Lawrence in the way he was used at Clemson? With lots of RPO’s (run, pass option) or will he try to develop him into more of a pro-style quarterback?

ALLBRIGHT: I think they’ll run what Urban Meyer has always run, but I think they’ll have to make some changes to the concept of the offense. In college you have the wider hash marks which creates natural space on the wide side of the field, and Meyer’s offense was a lot about that. Creating that space, putting your best athlete in that space, and letting them create. 

You’re not going to be able to do that at the pro level. So, I think you’re going to see a lot of the RPO stuff, but I think you’ll see him incorporate some pro concepts a little bit more. You know, we’ve seen Kliff Kingsbury (head coach, Arizona Cardinals) kind of tune his offense up for the NFL. I think we’ll see Urban Meyer tune his up to the NFL as well. 

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DAILY WIRE: Are you comfortable saying that Meyer is going to be successful in the NFL? We’ve seen how difficult it can be for college coaches to adapt to the NFL style. 

ALLBRIGHT: That’s the big thing for me. It’s less about the X’s and O’s and more about the Jimmies and Joe’s because you’ve got to navigate ego’s. You’re not big daddy who’s coaching these kids the first time they’re away from their parents. You’re the guy who’s having to deal with a whole bunch of people who have millions of dollars in their pockets, and it’s just a different kind of environment. That said, Urban Meyer has been successful literally everywhere he’s been. So, it’s tough for me to bet against him in that regard. I don’t know that what he does will be successful, but I’m certainly not laying any money against him given his track record.

DAILY WIRE: Let’s move on to, in my opinion, quarterbacks two and three. And that would be Zach Wilson and Justin Fields. Who do you have as the second best quarterback? Because most of the rumors and the conversation right now is that he’s the second best quarterback in the draft and my New York Jets will be taking him with the second pick. Are you in the same vein of thinking as everyone else?

ALLBRIGHT: Yeah, I think so. He’s going to be the number two quarterback and I’ll tell you right now, there are actually teams out there that have him number one on the board over Lawrence. I know that sounds surprising to people, but there are teams out there that believe in him more than they believe in Lawrence. 

Scouts have had their eye on him for a while. The media and the public just kind of caught up to him this past year. But he’s a good player with a lot of ability. If you can reign him in a bit to get the kind of player that everybody wanted Johnny Manziel to be — without the substance abuse problems and everything else.

DAILY WIRE: You’re not worried about the fact that he wasn’t elected a captain at the beginning of the year?

ALLBRIGHT: So, there’s this weird captaincy structure at BYU. He actually was (a captain) if you want to see the “C”on his chest. They have this weird captaincy structure where the seniors get to be the captains and the people who’ve been on their missions get to be the actual captains. And then there’s this other thing called the “Leadership Council”, which is all the guys that would have been counted as seniors. And so Zach fell into that group. But yeah, he wore the “C” on his jersey and I talked to people up there and he definitely was a captain.

DAILY WIRE: Let’s move to Justin Fields, who I love. I think it’s one of those situations where he was always the number two quarterback. Coming out of high school, it was him and Trevor one and two. It’s almost like we got too used to watching him. We started nitpicking him — I started doing it — where you almost want to knock him down a peg or two. But when you go back and watch the tape, the guy can make all the throws. He’s clearly athletic, he’s big. I think whoever takes him in the draft is getting a franchise quarterback for the next 10 to 12 years. Are you on the same page?

ALLBRIGHT: Yeah. People talk about his processing and second read stuff — and 90% of people that are saying this stuff don’t know what they’re talking about — but you look at the tape, and you see a guy who holds onto the ball for too long and that’s the one thing that concerns me. 

Now, when you go back and look though, that’s kind of a function of the Ohio State offense. Still, because Ohio State has superior athletes across the board, they can afford to run that offense. It’s deep developing vertical routes, which is a lot of what their offense is — vertical option routes. And so you get this long term protection because you have better offensive lineman and faster receivers. So, your offense is naturally designed to do a little bit more with that kind of stuff. And so I think he gets dinged a little bit for that and you know, you can kind of coach that out of him a little bit in the NFL. 

The other thing is that for all the athleticism he has, you don’t see him use it that much. You see him try to buy time to throw down the field and you want to see him use that athleticism and pick up a few yards in the pros. Now, you don’t want him to take unnecessary hits but you do want to see him use it a little more. I think those are the two things if you’re going to nitpick him. I think he’s going to be a successful NFL quarterback. I think there’s four quarterbacks in this class. 

Now, you go back and you talk to people and there’s some people that say he’s got a little bit of an attitude. He’s kind of ‘me against the world’ all the time. And that wears thin on people. But you know, that’s anecdotal stuff you don’t know. You don’t know who that’s coming from. You don’t know what their axe is to grind. So, I don’t know if you can trust that. But I also don’t want to say don’t put stock in that because you don’t know where that’s coming from. 

DAILY WIRE: Another guy who was surrounded by great athletes is Mac Jones, who has skyrocketed up the board. A lot of people see him going three to San Francisco. What do you think about Jones? And then the picture that has now surfaced of him that is going to cause a lot of controversy. Is that going to play into where he goes in the draft?

ALLBRIGHT: He’ll have to explain it. I don’t think that picture in and of itself is going to sink him because, at the end of the day, it’s not like he threw on blackface. But that picture is not sensitive. So, it’s one of those things where you’re going to have to explain it. For Jones, it’s not really just the picture. It’s the history of bad decisions. The DUI and the fake ID. All these little things over the course of his collegiate career. He’s going to have to explain why he came across as kind of entitled, a guy who constantly made bad decisions and how he’s going to clean that up if we’re about to give you millions of dollars. So, I don’t think it’s necessarily that picture for Mac. I think it’s just like the resume that you’ve got to explain to these decision makers. 

He looks like Andy Dalton to me. A guy who can come in and be in the league for a decade. He’s got some tools and if you have a good enough defense, you’ll make the playoffs. I don’t know that you’re winning with him, but he’s good enough to be good enough. And unfortunately that’s really dangerous. That’s the guy you get comfortable with that can’t win you a Super Bowl, but are you comfortable for a decade?

DAILY WIRE: I don’t think bust is the right word, but if you’re drafting somebody in the top five, you’re looking for a guy who can win right away. And I have a hard time picturing Jones being an all-pro quarterback for years to come. I would be more comfortable going with somebody like Trey Lance who has a much higher upside.

ALLBRIGHT: I totally agree and Trey is one of my favorites in this class. I think he’s like a tall Russell Wilson, but he’s raw. He’s a guy that you’re just going to have to make sure that you’ve got enough time to develop. So, if you have a plan in place and he’s going to play in three years because you have Jimmy Garoppolo in place, a natural succession plan – or maybe Matt Ryan – that makes sense for Trey. 

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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