The new season doesn’t kick off for another few months when the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears open the 100th campaign in the sport’s history, so we will have to stick with the NFL preseason schedule for now.
There are undoubtedly ups, downs, twists and turns ahead but there are a fair few quarterbacks who should be looking over their shoulders because the college system is full of aspiring young talent chomping at the bit to make the step up when the 2020 draft comes around in April and a fair few of them have the ability to ruffle the feathers of the most experienced players. Here we take a look at five young guns to keep your eyes on.
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5 – KJ COSTELLO (Stanford)
Costello left Santa Margarita Catholic high school with his name firmly in the record books after throwing record numbers – over 8,000 yards and 60 touchdowns – but he found himself as a backup at Stanford for a while before he got his chance part way through the season and posted 1,600 yards with 14 touchdowns.
He remained the starting quarterback last season and doubled both those numbers. Whilst he’ll likely be in one of the slightly later rounds, we fully expect Costello to get drafted and if he maintains his stats throughout the coming campaign, he’ll do his chances of jumping up the draft no harm at all.
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4 – MASON FINE (North Texas)
Fine is a funny one; he’s posted terrific numbers in back to back seasons in addition to scooping the conference offensive player of the year in the same two seasons, but question marks remain over his size. At 5’10 he is on the small side but there is plenty of evidence to show it doesn’t stop you being a quality QB – just look at Kyler Murray who was the recent number one pick.
Fine has thrown around 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in both the past two years and will leave the Mean Green of North Texas with a number of school records. Rumour is that teams are watching him closely so don’t be surprised to see another short quarterback throwing in a stadium near your soon. It’s likely that the team that picks him will be ‘Fine’.
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3 – JAKE FROMM (Georgia)
Georgia Bulldog Fromm has proven to be a more than competent quarterback who can win matches on his own and over the past two seasons he’s thrown over 5,000 yards and 54 touchdowns whilst his pass rating was ranked number five in the country the season just gone. A year earlier he picked up the conference’s freshman of the year award after helping them to win the SEC championship.
One of the most appealing aspects of Fromm though is his character off the field; he had to compete with Justin Fields, who has since moved on, for the quarterback role but remained a grounded figure throughout proving he’s the ultimate team player – a quality not to be underrated.
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2 – JUSTIN HERBERT (Oregon)
Herbert could be playing in the NFL now if he wanted but despite being ranked highly in all mock drafts, he opted to return to play his senior year at Oregon, where he was born and raised. Herbert became the first Oregon freshman quarterback to be officially recognised as a starter in over 30 years when he made his breakthrough and has gone on to throw over 7,000 yards in his three seasons with the Ducks. All the more impressive when you factor in the number of games played.
He is without doubt good enough to mix it up in the NFL and even though the 2020 draft is better stocked with quarterbacks he’ll be out early doors. The only question is, with strong ties to his home can this Duck take to water elsewhere?
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1 – TUA TAGOVAILOA (Alabama)
Here’s your banker for number one pick, especially given it’s likely to be the Miami Dolphins going first. Tagovailoa recently finished runner up to Kyler Murray for the Heisman trophy but did win the Maxwell and Walter Camp awards.
During 2018 he threw 4,000 yards and 43 touchdowns as well as proving he has the mentality to win over his teammates too with a string of performances whilst clearly carrying a knock to help the Crimson Tide to the play-offs. Tagovailoa will be the number one pick barring a complete disaster this coming year.
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