Donnel Pumphrey of San Diego State headlined the first weekend of bowl games, as he cemented himself as one of college football's most productive running backs ever. But the NFL is his next challenge, and he may not be a lock as a high draft pick. MOCK DRAFT: Who will Browns take? Also in this week’s NFL draft spotlight, quarterback needs once again run rampant across the league, and we could see as many as 10 quarterbacks drafted within the first 100 picks. Plus, a list of the top 10 prospects you should be watching in this week’s bowl games.
Quarterback needs once again all over the NFL
Donnel Pumphrey of San Diego State headlined the first weekend of bowl games, as he cemented himself as one of college football's most productive running backs ever.
But the NFL is his next challenge, and he may not be a lock as a high draft pick.
MOCK DRAFT: Who will Browns take?
Also in this week’s NFL draft spotlight, quarterback needs once again run rampant across the league, and we could see as many as 10 quarterbacks drafted within the first 100 picks.
Plus, a list of the top 10 prospects you should be watching in this week’s bowl games.
There are three levels of need in the NFL QB market: desperate, needy and seeking. Desperate teams have no choice but to find a new quarterback immediately. Needy teams are likely to covet quarterbacks but could punt if they don’t find ideal fits. Seeking teams either wouldn’t mind an upgrade for the long term or are in the market for a backup/developmental passer.
This year, as many as four teams are desperate, and all likely will be picking in the top 10.
The 49ers might have some optimism with Colin Kaepernick and coach Chip Kelly, but they’ll be intrigued by DeShone Kizer or Deshaun Watson in the draft. The Jets have a Petty/Hackenberg question for next year, but neither QB can turn the team around. The Browns have to decide whether Cody Kessler is the answer. The Cardinals’ loyalty to Carson Palmer and delay in finding his heir apparent has closed their championship window.
After those teams, the quarterback market becomes very interesting.
Will the Bills get out of their Tyrod Taylor contract? Will the Jaguars move on from Blake Bortles? Will the Texans bite the bullet on Brock Osweiler? From what I’ve been told, all are more likely than not, which would throw three more teams into the quarterback market.
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Now add the facts that the Chiefs are considering options for Alex Smith’s future replacement, the Bears have a decision to make on Jay Cutler, the Saints need a Drew Brees heir-apparent and the Steelers, Chargers and Giants all have backup quarterbacks who will be free agents.
The free agent quarterback market isn’t great this year, assuming the Redskins lock in Kirk Cousins and the Cowboys don’t trade Tony Romo. But fear not, quarterback-needy teams: The 2017 NFL Draft quarterback class isn’t near as bad as some have made it out to be.
Kizer might be the most NFL-ready quarterback in terms of mechanics and footwork in the last five years, and he has the arm talent and movement to merit a top-five pick. Watson hasn’t developed as much this year as hoped but still will get NFL teams excited.
Patrick Mahomes, who put up gaudy numbers at Texas Tech, is my pick to be the quarterback who rises the most during the draft process. North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky went from mediocre sophomore to a junior NFL teams paid close attention to this year during his efficient, impressive season.
Passers like Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, Washington State’s Luke Falk, California’s Davis Webb and Miami’s Brad Kaaya all have second- and third-round grades from NFL teams.
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Donnel Pumphrey: Record holder’s place in the NFL
After his 115-yard rushing performance against a talented Houston defense (second in the country), Pumphrey surpassed Ron Dayne for the most rushing yards in a college career. His team’s win came as a surprise, especially in near-blowout fashion, but it capped off Pumphrey’s career perfectly, as he is a player who consistently exceeds expectations.
Pumphrey will be at the Reese’s Senior Bowl next month alongside the country's best running backs and against the top defensive linemen and linebackers. The all-star circuit can play a huge role for players like Pumphrey. Despite his production, it’s difficult to accurately project whether his numbers will translate and in what role/at what position.
The question of where, or how, Pumphrey will play in the NFL will be a fascinating discussion in NFL war rooms. Pumphrey may be compared to former NFL great Warrick Dunn or current undersized offensive centerpiece Darren Sproles, as laid out by Shawn Seigle at RotoViz.
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