NCAA

These 3 College Quarterbacks Are Already Ready for the NFL

Being a college quarterback is vastly different than competing at the professional level. The game is faster and more complex. After failing to adjust, many great college quarterbacks go on to be considered “busts” or experience mediocre NFL careers.

That said, a few prospects playing on Saturdays already look like they have what it takes to thrive on Sundays. Let’s take a look at three college quarterbacks who are ready for the NFL. 

1. Joe Burrow

Right now, LSU’s Joe Burrow is considered the top passing prospect in college football, and for good reason. He’s had an otherwordly season so far. Burrow began his career at Ohio State before transferring to LSU. It was clearly the right move, as he’s thriving in the SEC. Here are his current stats

  • Seven games 
  • 173 completions on 218 pass attempts for 2,484 yards 
  • Completed 79.4% of all passes 
  • 11.4 yards per pass attempt
  • 29 touchdowns 
  • Three interceptions 
  • 216.2 passer efficiency rating

The book on Burrow is that he runs the play-action pass better than just about any college quarterback. This will suit him well in the pros, where play-action is common. Although Burrow is average-sized with average speed, he does a good job when he has to get outside the pocket and make a play with his arm. He’s also got great downfield vision. 

2. Jalen Hurts

Before Jalen Hurts was a standout passer at Oklahoma this season, his future was in flux. Despite leading Alabama to an undefeated season two years ago, Nick Saban replaced him in the national championship game.

Hurts rode the bench in 2018 before transferring. Now he’s proving that he belongs on the field. Here’s what Hurts has done in 2019 so far: 

  • Seven games played
  • 114 completions on 214 pass attempts for 2,074 yards 
  • Completed 74% of all passes
  • 13.5 yards per pass attempt
  • 20 touchdowns 
  • Three interceptions 
  • 226.1 passer efficiency rating 

While Hurts benefits from the playcalling of offensive mastermind Lincoln Riley, there’s no denying his talent. The only big question mark is how much of his success in Oklahoma is due to the system and how much is due to Hurts himself.

One knock against the QB — though this isn’t his fault — is that the last two first overall NFL draft picks were Oklahoma quarterbacks. Despite this, Hurts shows the ability to beat teams on the ground or through the air. He’ll be a hot commodity come draft day 2020. 

3. Tua Tagovailoa

The quarterback who unseated Hurts at Alabama has done nothing but win in his absence. Here’s what Tua Tagovailoa has accomplished with the Crimson Tide in 2019: 

  • Seven games played
  • 145 completions on 194 pass attempts for 2,166 yards 
  • Completed 74.1% of all passes 
  • 11.2 yards per attempt
  • 27 touchdowns 
  • Two interceptions 
  • 212.4 passer efficiency rating 

At 6-feet, 230 pounds, Tagovailoa has the size to be an NFL quarterback. He also has “NFL-ready” arm strength, showing the ability to make big throws while withstanding pressure. With above-average accuracy, the 21-year-old has a quick release and already shows tremendous footwork in the pocket. All the tools are there for the next great NFL quarterback. 

Right now, Burrow is having the greatest season of the three, but Tagovailoa may end up being the best of the bunch. He has the highest ceiling and the most tools of the trio. The prediction? Teams will draft the three in this order: First, Tagovailoa. Then, Burrow. And finally, Hurts. Either way, all three will be first-round picks in April.