Ahead of the Curve – Quarterbacks

Ahead of the Curve – Quarterbacks

 One of my tactics when playing devy is trying to draft guys earlier than consensus, believing they will be a much more valued asset by the end of the season.

This tactic can be hit-and-miss. However, the hits can be super beneficial for your teams at the next level. Below are a few Quarterbacks that I’ll be trying to target earlier than the ADP.

 Cameron Ward, Washington State

With just two offers coming out of high school, Cameron Ward chose to play his football at Incarnate World. In just 6 games of his freshman season, Ward threw for 2,260 yards, 24 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Last season, in 13 games, he totalled 4,648 yards, 47 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Ward showed excellent composure in the pocket and can extend plays.

His rushing stats might not look too pretty. However, stick on the film you will see he has the traits to make plays with his feet. All this and being able to throw to all levels of the field, it makes you wonder why offers are so small.

 FBS Chance

From no offers from FBS schools out of high school – to multiple after entering the transfer portal in December 2021. Ward narrowed his options down to a handful, with Washington State winning the battle for his commitment. Ward was the 4th highest rated QB in the transfer portal, in front of the likes of Dillon Gabriel and Kedon Slovis. Eric Morris, the head coach at Incarnate World, became the offensive coordinator at Washington State. It was one of the reasons that Ward decided to commit to the Cougars.

 With starting quarterback Jayden de Laura heading out of Pullman, Ward has a clear shot at being the starter. As mentioned, the 3rd year sophomore has tons of talent. He is also under valued at around the QB 10 spot in devy start-ups. Ward will have a familiar face in Eric Morris, and has solid receiving targets in De’Zhaun Stribling and Renard Bell. The move will be a big test of his credentials, as he faces higher quality opposition. Players will be targeting Jaxson Dart and Tyler Van Dyke in the second round, so I’ll be looking to take him in the early 3rd round of start-ups.

Ward’s ceiling is high If he continues to grow. If the performances and numbers stay on track, he’s going to be an early devy selection if he stays in school. If he enters the draft in 2023, players will be scrambling to acquire him via trades and could be willing to overpay.

 Sam Huard, Washington

Sam Huard was the number 3 prospect at his position in the 2020 recruitment class, behind Quinn Ewers and Caleb Williams. The 5 star prospect followed in family footsteps and committed to Washington. Unfortunately, he was thrown in the deep end in his first start as a true freshman. In the rivalry game against Washington State, Huard threw 4 interceptions, completing only 17 passes from 31 attempts for 190 yards and a TD. The interceptions were avoidable and something we didn’t see much off on his High School tape.

However, the 2021 season was clouded with bad offensive play calling and negative energy around the team. As a result, Head Coach Jimmy Lake was fired a couple of weeks before the Washington State game. Sadly, morale stayed low even after his departure – not the best environment for a young freshman quarterback to be in!

After the season, Washington appointed Kalen DeBoer from Fresno State as their new HC. Even before a ball had been thrown, DeBoer installed a better atmosphere to the Huskies team. Surely, a better situation for Sam Huard to blossom.

 Quarterback Battle

11 of the Huskies’ 2021 games saw Dylan Morris as the starting Quarterback. And,  somehow, he is still on the Roster. Michael Penix Jr. has also transferred from Indiana. Penix is known well by Kalen DeBoer, having been his offensive coordinator and QB coach in 2019 at Indiana. He is a solid QB, but struggles to stay on the field due to injuries. No disrespect to Penix and Morris, but the starting job is there to be taken this Spring for Huard.

 If you are hitting the devy start-ups before spring practice, be cautious. Huard is coming off the board in the 10th round for a reason. However, if he cements the starting job going into the summer, I expect him to move up boards. I’m willing to jump ahead of devy consensus and take him in the 7th or 8th round. Ahead, of guys like Kyle McCord and Hendon Hooker. If he can win the starting job and produce in 2022, it looks an excellent decision.

Anthony Richardson, Florida

A 4 star prospect in the 2020 recruitment class, Anthony Richardson stayed home and committed to Florida. After red shirting his 2020 season, he looked to take the starting job in 2021.

However, head coach Dan Mullen seemed to prefer a quarterback by committee role alongside Emory Jones. When Jones had some bad games, Richardson would replace him. The next week, Mullen would more often revert to Jones as the starter again. In the limited game time Richardson saw, he put up 529 passing yards from 38 completions and 6 touchdowns. He also showed his dual threat qualities, with 401 rushing yards from 51 attempts.

 When Richardson was on the field, he was exciting to watch. All the talk from Gator fans was that this kid needed to start football games. Whatever the reason, Dan Mullen decided against it. He would send him in for 2 explosive plays, then drag him back out.

What I love about Richardson is that he is so elusive when running with the ball, Lamar Jackson like. He can throw the deep balls and has excellent ball placement. Early in the spring practices in Florida, he looked to be even better. His hips and legs are quieter when throwing the ball, which is going to benefit him going forward.

 A New Era

Since the end of the season, changes have happened.

Dan Mullen has departed and in comes popular choice Billy Napier. The Quarterback room looked crowded with Ohio State transfer Jack Miller III heading to Gainesville. Senior and 2021 starter Emory Jones entered the transfer portal a few weeks back. Richardson is the talent in the group and was slated to be the first choice heading into the season. And one less guy snapping at your heels is going to be beneficial.

 Richardson is averaging about a late 3rd round pick in start-ups. It’s a fair spot to take him as we have only a small sample size from last season. Also, for as much as he looked an exciting prospect, he did have his share of mistakes. This Includes 5 interceptions across a 3 game spread.

Personally, I think his upside is high. I like what I’ve seen early in spring practice and I think 2022 is going to be a massive season for the Junior. I’m looking to target him in the late 2nd round of devy drafts. Guys will be targeting Jaxson Dart, Tyler Van Dyke and potentially the new 2022 freshman QBs in the 2nd round. Richardson will be seen as a reach. But, with a good season like I expect, it will be a savvy pick up.

Jordan – @5yarddevy

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