Draft Insider: A Look At This Year’s Quarterback Class

Your team may be looking for one. Usually at least two thirds of the league is, what is this thing you ask? Simple a Quarterback to lead your franchise into the future. The draft is where teams turn to turn this dream into a reality. Many try, and many more fail than succeed with picking the correct signal caller. I am covering 5 of the most talented quarterbacks in the country on the college level in this article. With that lets get into the Quarterbacks on my list. My prospect grading scales runs from 0-159, prospect skill, age, projection, are all included in this score.

 

Number 5

Kendall Bonham Penn State

Score: 92

A 4 star recruit out of Erie Pennsylvania Kendall Bonham was often admired by Penn State fans, though without a moments notice he could be on the other end of an angry fan base. Bonham is a 2 year starter at Penn State, he sat his freshman and sophomore years only playing in mop up duty. His coach at the time James Franklin was repeatedly asked about the young signal callers maturity due to a string of incidents that nearly got him thrown out of the university. A bar fight, citation for underage drinking, and resisting arrest were some of the things the 18 year old Bonham got himself into. Over time he matured and by the end of his Sophomore season Bonham was in line to be the starter. He had hot competition throughout camp in his Junior year but prevailed with the job. Penn State finished with an 8-4 record and won the Bahamas bowl against the Virginia Tech Hookies, Bonham thrived throwing 25 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions on the season passing for 3000 yards buoyed by a strong run game. Bonham took a step back his Senior season Penn State finished 5-6 missed a bowl game and Bonham finished with just 2200 yards 13 Touchdowns and 9 Interceptions, he and Coach James Franklin were at odds all season Bonham was benched several times in favor of a freshman quarterback. Scouts see his improvisation skills as his best attribute, he has a fairly big arm but the scouts will question his accuracy and decision making process. The red flags are out there for the trouble he go into as a youth. Kendall Bonham is your 5th ranked quarterback in my rankings.

 

Number 4

Jesse Zamora Georgia

Score: 110

A 5 star recruit out of Atlanta Georgia this underdog, undersized quarterback never fit the mold of a traditional Dawgs QB. Georgia was extremely successful in Zamora’s 3 years as the starter. Coach Kirby Smart and Jesse Zamora was a weird marriage from day one, a cult hero among the fans in Athens. Zamora won 9 games as a freshman and showed off a dazzling ability to makes plays. Zamora is an excellent student with a 3.75 GPA and is a finance major. Unlike our number 5 entry on this list Zamora has never been in trouble and frequently donates his extra time to volunteering in the community around the university. Zamora threw for 2300 yards with 10 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions, he added a Dawgs record 1000 yards on the ground adding 10 rushing touchdowns showing how well his legs work. Georgia beat Michigan in the Belk bowl and things would change drastically for Zamora on this day. In the 4th quarter of the game Zamora kept on the read option a Wolverine defender went low to tackle him and the pop heard around the world happens. Zamora tore his ACL, and PCL on the play. A clearly distraught Zamora was carted off the field, and began a long rehab process. Zamora would go on to work extremely hard on his rehab and support his team during his sophomore season. He had hoped to make it back for the end of the season but it wasn’t in the cards. With his sophomore season being a wash a new star was born and Zamora was left to fight for his job the following season, with his Senior backup having left the hot new freshman in town was pressing hard for his job. A week before the season opener Coach Smart named Zamora his starter. Zamora would go on to throw for 2800 yards, 15 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, ran for 1200 yards and 15 touchdowns. The Dawgs went 10-1 and were in the college football playoff. Zamora would shine going 22/29 for 326 yards 1 td, and added 120 yards on the ground with 3 td’s. The Dawgs defense wasn’t up to the task and they lost 31-28 in the waning moments of the game. With his Junior season over the rumors that his soon to be sophomore backup was set to take his job Zamora declared for the RZ draft despite low grades on him from scouts. Scouts love his ability to move around the pocket, escape the pocket entirely and become and explosive runner. Scouts like his arm strength but they question whether he is accurate enough to be a signal caller at the next level, many scouts have compared him to another former SEC player who did not fair well in the pros… Johnny Manziel.

 

Number 3

Josh Mclendon Toledo

Score 111

A 1 star recruit and doubted all of his life Josh Mclendon who barely edged out his Georgia counterpart for the 3rd spot on this list. Zamora is from Buford Wyoming which is a town of about 80 people. Due to the face Mclendon played alot of 7 on 7 he never got the looks from big time programs, even the instate university never offered him a scholarship. Mclendon is the exactly the opposite of Zamora, he excelled in college from the pocket and his biggest issue was pressure in the pocket and how to to navigate it in his time at Toledo. Coach James Candle was in the state when his car broke down near a small town called Buford. He was stuck there for the day and saw they had a high school figured he better use his time wisely. He went to that school met Josh Mclendon and the rest is history, he was immediately even in 7 on 7 games enamored with the quarterbacks arm and his accuracy. He told Josh that he did not have a scholarship for him at the time but to come to Toledo walk on and see what happens. Josh showed up and sat through a brutal 2-10 campaign that saw rumors of his head coach being fired at the end of his freshman season. Josh was named the backup for his sophomore season and saw limited action when the starter was knocked out of 2 games. His second season ended up with 300 yards passing 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. After his Sophomore season he was awarded a scholarship and a chance to compete for the starting job. Toledo showed some improvement moving from 2-10 to 4-8. Once Mclendon won the job his junior year, they went 8-4 his junior year and 10-2 his Senior year. His stats were impressive he combined to pass for 8500 yards 70 Touchdowns and just 8 Interceptions. They won the Boca Bowl both is Junior and Senior years. When asked about his potential NFL QB James Candle says Mclendon has all the tools. Scouts question that assertion and wonder if he will be accurate enough but they see him as the usual drop back passer who will need to hone his skills to become a starter in the league.

 

Desean Solomon Boston College

Score 137

This 5 star recruit chose Boston College over Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Penn State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and USC to name a few. Desean Solomon was Mr. Football in the state of Florida, and yet somehow he landed in Massachusetts. Coach Steve Addazio went hard recruiting this kid. Solomon and excellent student was drawn to the coaching staff, campus life, and the academics of the school. Solomon was a 4 year starter, never in trouble he is the definition of a Field General. Boston College started off a bit rocky in his freshman season and young man learning. He had 3000 yards his freshman year but struggled in the redzone, scoring 12 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. BC went 5-7 and Addazio was on the verge of losing his job. A major leap for Solomon in his sophomore season saw him go to 3500 yards 17 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions led by a strong run game they would go from 5-7 to 7-5. Entering his Junior year there was a ton of hype heaped on to the BC product. He was featured in the early Heisman rankings and BC was picked to win the ACC over the vaunted Clemson Tigers and surging Florida State Seminoles. Solomon exploded throwing for 5000 yards 50 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions over the entire season. He was invited and attended the Heisman trophy ceremony with fellow potential draftee James Walters. Both were heavy favorites for the award but as he always has Solomon brought home the hardware. BC started 12-0 including defeating Miami in the ACC championship game. BC defeated Ohio State (3) 42-28 in the opening round and advanced to the title game where he was expecting to see Alabama. FSU upset Alabama in the other semifinal, in this title mid 3rd quarter in a 21-21 game Solomon dropped back to pass and was hit by Artemis Boyuoa the defensive end slammed the quarterback into the turf he was diagnosed with a concussion. The offense sputtered without him and BC lost to FSU 35-21. Solomon was left with a choice after visiting neurological specialists, continue to play in college for free or protect his investment in him, sit out and get ready for the draft. He chose to get ready for the draft and with the questions of health aside the scouts believe this guy has the most potential of any quarterback in this class.

 

James Walters South Carolina

Score 142

James Walters a 2 star recruit out of high school was able to overcome the odds and make it to the top of this list. The dynamic quarterback out of West Palm Beach Florida has always been an excellent playmaker. He went to FIU as a freshman and never played a game. Frustrated by this he put in a transfer request. He managed to transfer to FAU but sat out his sophomore season as a result of the transfer rules. Walters then lost his chance to be the starter due to an off field car accident that put him behind in coach Kiffin’s system. Both of his former coaches raved about his talent but said they were shocked he didn’t pick things up in the pocket faster and instead relying on his natural ability to ad lib and get out of trouble. He graduated from FAU as a junior and once again entered the transfer portal looking to make the best of his last college opportunity. He transferred to South Carolina with defense first Coach Will Muschamp. Walters was immediately named the starter and took over as a leader from day 1. He led South Carolina to a 9-3 record with throwing for 3500 yards 25 touchdowns 3 interceptions and ran for 1500 yards adding 20 rushing touchdowns. He lifted a clear 4 or 5 win team to 9 wins. Scouts believe his the most pro ready quarterback today. He is not your traditional style of quarterback and will draw comparisons to Lamar Jackson for his ability to create although he is not quite the athlete Jackson is. Scouts want to know if he can hit NFL throwing windows steadily and if he can they believe he has the ability be one of the premier dual threat options this league has. Scouts are divided about who will have the better pro career Walters or Solomon but for the purposes of my rankings I have Walters ranked slightly higher than Solomon.

 

Hope you enjoy the read.

 

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