Detroit Lions 2016 Draft Overview: Quarterback

In this series, I’ll be looking at five college players that might get drafted by Detroit position-by-position, breaking down the positives and negatives of each player and projecting if Detroit were to take them, which round they would be taken in. The first position I am looking at is:

Quarterback

Matt Stafford is the deep ball quarterback teams would love, and we’ve got him on our side. He has been the quarterback Detroit has never had before, able to throw the ball deep, escape pressure at times to keep the play alive, run if needed and he can take some tough shots (just look at last season). Now just this past week, Detroit had re-signed Dan Orlovsky to a contract, no news on how long it is for or how much, but he most likely will be back in 2016. Detroit went last season with only two quarterbacks and the last time they had a third string it was Kellen Moore. Now, quarterback is not a dire need on this team. We could easily go another season with just Stafford and Orlovsky, but taking a quarterback in the later rounds and developing him into a good backup and possibly a replacement is not a bad thing – look at Aaron Rodgers. I hate to have you all think about those cheeseheads on this website, but he was a backup to Favre for three years, came in the league as the starter and won the Super Bowl in 2010. That doesn’t mean the quarterback we draft will lead us to the championship game, but having a young quarterback learn from a veteran for a few years and possibly replace him or become a solid backup is never a bad thing either.

Quarterback draft options:

1. Brandon Doughty (Western Kentucky)

Talk about production. Doughty threw for 12,855 yards, 111 touchdowns and 34 interceptions in five years at Western Kentucky. He is the best late round quarterback for Detroit. In the past two seasons at Western Kentucky, he threw for over 4,800 yards each year and over 45 touchdowns. Also, in 2015, his completion percentage was 71.9%, that is an accurate and a smart quarterback who knows when and where to throw it, and when to get rid of the ball.  At the Combine, scouts, coaches and everyone else noticed he has good mechanics. He can zip the ball quickly out of his hands and he can throw the ball downfield, but on some of the longer routes he had issues with his footwork and it affected his power. He can feel the pressure at times and start being inconsistent and he can’t escape pressure that much. He can read a defense pretty well and always has a plan before the huddle is even happening.

In the end, Detroit could take him in the fifth, but a team may take a risk on him and he could be gone by the fifth for Detroit.

2. Nate Sudfeld (Indiana)

Sudfeld was my number one, but fell with Doughty doing well at the combine. Sudfeld in his two seasons fully healthy did well at Indiana. He threw for 6,096 yards, 48 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in just those two years. He is the height you want in a quarterback at 6 foot 6 and he led the Big Ten with 8.2 yards per play, showing he has a deep ball arm. His weak spot is zone coverage where he struggles to find the open guy and make the right throw. He can run if needed which is nice to have in a quarterback and he can make the balls easier for receivers to catch overall.

I see Detroit taking him in the fifth round if Doughty is off the board. He has the strong arm power like Stafford and with a couple of years learning from Stafford, Sudfeld could be a valuable asset to this team.

3. Kevin Hogan (Stanford)

Hogan has the most experience out of all of these quarterbacks with 51 games played in four years. He was the quarterback to replace Andrew Luck – big shoes to fill but he did a fine job at it. He finished with 9,385 yards, 75 touchdowns and 29 interceptions in his four years. He is a tough quarterback who isn’t afraid to take the big hits and will fight for every inch on the field. Footwork is the big issue for him, and his mechanics are something that needs work. Hogan has good height at 6 foot 3 and an intelligent player, he could be a guy that with some help could improve himself and his stock over the years.

Detroit could take him in the sixth if they see bigger needs elsewhere. Like I said, he has issues with footwork and mechanics, but with the right coaching and veterans ahead of him, those problems can get worked on.

4. Jake Rudock (Michigan)

From Iowa to Michigan, Jake Rudock thought his time in the state of Michigan would only be for one year, but it has a chance to last longer. Rudock, the former hawkeye quarterback, transferred to Michigan last year and after a rough start week one got better and better as the season moved on. He ended with 3,017 yards, twenty touchdowns and nine interceptions. For his career, he ends with 7,836 yards, 54 touchdowns and 27 interceptions. Rudock can detect pressure and escape it when needed, he also isn’t afraid to tuck the ball and run for a touchdown or a first down. One issue he had was connecting on the deep ball. Last season, he would overthrow receivers early on, missing by anything from inches to several yards.  As the season went on though, he connected on the deep balls and it became a real weapon for Michigan. In the NFL however, you can’t risk a few weeks of developing that chemistry and knowing the receiver will be there.

Detroit could end up taking Rudock in the seventh round, but the chances of him getting drafted are low already, so a undrafted free agent pickup here wouldn’t be a bad option either.

5. Dak Prescott (Mississippi State)

Dak Prescott was my number three quarterback, but with a DUI according to many media reports, he fell on my board, and I am sure many teams moved him down, or even off overall. He had a good career at Mississippi State, throwing for 9,376 yards, 70 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. He was also a duel threat quarterback, so his production on the ground was impressive. He ended up with 2,521 yards and 41 rushing touchdowns in four years as well. Last season, he had to convert to a pocket passing quarterback and limit the amount of times they had design quarterback runs. He can get the ball out quick and when he has time in the pocket, he makes perfect throws. His production on the deep and medium throws dropped last season, while he threw an huge amount of short passes, going from 86 in 2014 to 208 in 2015. His feet are a thing that need help ASAP and he tends to throw the ball directly at the receiver instead of at times leading them or making it possible for just them to make the catch. He has the mental and physical toughness to take a beating, which is great to see a young quarterback.

If Detroit took Prescott at any round higher than the seventh, I would hope they have people on hand to make sure he stays out of trouble and can focus on football. Detroit is known for avoiding players with issues over the past couple of years, and taking Prescott that high would just be hypocritical. A seventh round at best would be good for him as it is a low risk, high reward scenario. He could also be undrafted and taken then as well.

There you have it, the first installment in this series. Later this week, look for me talking about wide receivers. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BKnappBlogs, find me on Reddit at /u/sportsguy4life and leave me your thoughts on the Detroit Lions subreddit.

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About the Author

Brandon Knapp

Brandon Knapp is a senior at Central Michigan University, majoring in Journalism, minoring in Sports Management. He was born and raised in the city of Marysville, MI. He also writes for myfantasysportstalk.com and covers the Michigan Wolverines Football team (his other love). Brandon also enjoys watching the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers.