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Meet the 2019 NFL draft quarterback class: Everything you need to know

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Haskins: I'm ready for the NFL (0:33)

Dwayne Haskins discusses the possibility of going pro, saying if he does decide to declare for the NFL draft, he is confident he'd be successful. (0:33)

The quarterback class for the 2019 NFL draft became clearer as Oregon's Justin Herbert, who was ranked the No. 1 QB by ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., announced that he is returning to school for another year. Herbert will join a loaded 2020 class with the likes of Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa, Georgia's Jake Fromm and others.

The 2019 class, though? There's still much to be decided in the four months until April's draft.

After five quarterbacks went in Round 1 this past April, the 2019 class isn't as top-heavy, partially because the NFL's worst teams took QBs in 2018. The Giants and Jaguars are the only teams projected to pick in the top 10 that have glaring needs at the position (unless Raiders coach Jon Gruden decides to dip his toes into the water).

Who are the top QBs in the 2019 class now? Let's meet the 10 candidates who are jockeying for position, with notes on each from Kiper and Todd McShay, insight from talent evaluators in the NFL and everything else you need to know about the 2019 rookies (updated on Jan. 8):

Jump to a QB:
Haskins | Jones | Grier | Lock
Finley | Stidham | Murray | Best of the rest


Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

Year: Third-year sophomore | Ht/Wt: 6-foot-3, 220 | Career starts: 14

Total QBR: 86.3 (Fourth in FBS) | Full stats

Who he is and where he ranks

So long, Herbert. Hello, Haskins? In any other year, Haskins might have been a lock to win the Heisman Trophy. Instead, he finished third behind two of the greatest QB seasons of all time. He threw 50 touchdown passes and just eight interceptions while leading the Buckeyes to a Big Ten title and win in the Rose Bowl. Besides Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, Haskins is the biggest draft riser in the Class of 2019. He has an effortless throwing motion and he was clutch in Ohio State's season-defining wins over Michigan and Northwestern. Check out this beautiful bomb in the conference title game.

The biggest question about him? Sample size. Those 14 starts are far fewer than NFL teams would like to see before they invest in a first-round quarterback. There is a recent precedent, however, as Mitchell Trubisky started just 13 games at North Carolina before the Bears took him No. 2 overall in 2017. Haskins, by the way, received a first-round grade from the NFL's college personnel advisory board, according to a report by ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

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Jones shows off pinpoint accuracy

Duke QB Daniel Jones showed enough flashes this season to be considered a first- or second-round prospect in the draft.

Kiper's draft ranking: No. 2 QB (behind Herbert) and No. 7 overall prospect. From Kiper's Big Board: "He has a big arm, shows great anticipation on his throws, takes care of the ball and has solid athleticism."

McShay's draft ranking: No. 1 QB and No. 18 overall prospect. From McShay's Top 32: "Based solely on his physical tools, the bar is really high for the Ohio State starter despite a limited college career."

What the NFL thinks of Haskins

"I like Haskins. He reminds me of Teddy Bridgewater as a prospect, when he was a first-round pick [No. 32 overall in 2014]. You might be able to get Haskins later in the first round. I think he is a little more known than some of the others in terms of projecting what he will be." -- NFL evaluator, as told to ESPN's Mike Sando

What's next?

Haskins announced on Jan. 7 that he's entering the 2019 draft. Kiper weighed in on the decision.You'll see Haskins next at the NFL combine, which starts Feb. 26. McShay pegged Haskins to the Giants in the top 10 of his Mock Draft 1.0.

Learn more about Haskins: Video: Playing QB at Ohio State a 'dream come true' ... Haskins was destined to select Ohio State. Next up: Become the next Peyton Manning ... Is Haskins the Big Ten's best quarterback ever?


Daniel Jones, Duke

Year: Fourth-year junior | Ht/Wt: 6-5, 220 | Career starts: 37

Total QBR: 71.6 (38th in FBS) | Full stats

Who he is and where he ranks

Keep an eye on quarterback whisperer David Cutcliffe's latest project, who could be the biggest beneficiary of Herbert's staying in school. The Duke coach has raved about Jones, a three-year starter who took a big step forward in 2018. His career numbers don't scream first-rounder -- 52 touchdown passes and 29 interceptions, while completing 59.9 percent of his passes -- but Jones didn't play with high-end talent. He's a dual-threat signal-caller -- Jones rushed for 186 yards (and threw for 361) in the Blue Devils' win over rival North Carolina. Need proof of his toughness? Jones broke the collarbone in his left, non-throwing arm in September and missed only two games. Jones is expected to be in the mix to be the top QB off the board, and he just threw five touchdown passes in Duke's bowl win.

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Gunslinging Grier ready for NFL

Check out some highlights from the 2018 season of West Virginia QB Will Grier.

Kiper's draft ranking: No. 3 QB and No. 25 overall prospect. From Kiper's Big Board: "... The most impressive trait I've seen from Jones this season is his ability to buy time in the pocket and use his feet to get square and make a throw."

McShay's draft ranking: No. 7 QB and No. 71 overall prospect. From McShay's preview of the Independence Bowl: "[Jones has] been accurate and shown a lot of toughness, especially in that Clemson game."

What the NFL thinks of Jones

"There are similarities to Carson Wentz -- great kid, great family, big body, makes all the throws, pretty smart, but does have an injury history. What he's got going for him is the guy coaching him [Cutcliffe]. That is going to play so much in his favor. He could end up being the top quarterback drafted." -- NFL evaluator, as told to ESPN's Mike Sando

What's next?

On the heels of passing for 423 yards and scoring six total touchdowns in a Walk-On's Independence Bowl win, Jones will forego his final season of eligibility and enter the 2019 NFL draft. He got a late invite to January's Senior Bowl and will compete against a solid group there.

Learn more about Jones: From 3-star to first-rounder: Jones peaking at just the right time ... How Jones played through pain and got his team to a bowl game


Will Grier, West Virginia

Year: Senior | Ht/Wt: 6-2, 221 | Career starts: 27

Total QBR: 81.6 (Eighth in FBS) | Full stats

Who he is and where he ranks

Grier might not be the most famous member of his immediate family -- seriously, his siblings have millions of Instagram followers -- but he could be a first-round pick in April. After redshirting at Florida in 2014, he led the Gators to a 6-0 start in 2015 ... and then was suspended for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance (an over-the-counter supplement, he said). Grier decided to transfer, ending up at West Virginia, where he put up bonkers numbers (76 total TDs) in Dana Holgorsen's spread attack the past two seasons. Grier doesn't have outstanding measurables, but scouts love his accuracy and moxie. Kiper and McShay rate him as a Day 2 pick with the potential to move up during the pre-draft process.

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NFL teams have an eye on Lock

Missouri's Drew Lock showed off his arm strength during the 2018 season.

Kiper's draft ranking: No. 5 QB.

McShay's draft ranking: No. 3 QB and No. 39 overall prospect. From McShay's preseason scouting report: "[Grier] has average zip on intermediate throws but can drive the ball vertically, although it requires full-body effort."

What the NFL thinks of Grier

"I think it's going to be a thin crop of quarterbacks in the end, and so a guy like Grier could go earlier than he should. I think most of the league is going to look at him as a low-end starter or high-end backup." -- NFL evaluator, as told to ESPN's Mike Sando

What's next?

Grier skipped West Virginia's bowl game to prepare for the draft, and he has accepted an invite to participate in the Senior Bowl. He'll jockey for position in practices in Mobile, Alabama, with a few other quarterbacks and compete against more of the nation's best upperclassmen prospects.

Learn more about Grier: Grier's family is Instagram-famous, but he is scrambling to duck the spotlight ... How Grier got into the Heisman conversation ... Grier balances football, fatherhood


Drew Lock, Missouri

Year: Senior | Ht/Wt: 6-3, 228 | Career starts: 46

Total QBR: 82.0 (Sixth in FBS) | Full stats

Who he is and where he ranks

Lock burst onto the draft radar after a 44-touchdown season in 2017, and he was the first quarterback off the board in McShay's way-too-early mock draft in early May. McShay even called him a "poor man's Patrick Mahomes" before the season. His stock has fallen a little, but he has been more efficient (improved QBR and completion percentage with fewer picks) in 2018. Critics, however, will point to a horrid three-game stretch against Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama in which Lock had seven turnovers (five INTs) and just one touchdown pass while completing only 48.2 percent of his throws. Turn on the tape of Missouri's upset of Florida, though, to see Lock show off what scouts see in him. You might also remember him from his unique trash talk in the 2017 Texas Bowl.

Kiper's draft ranking: No. 4 QB.

McShay's draft ranking: No. 4 QB and No. 49 overall prospect. From McShay's preseason scouting report: "If developed properly, he has the natural tools to start in the NFL."

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Finley's skill set has him on NFL teams' radars

Check out some highlights from the 2018 season of NC State QB Ryan Finley.

What the NFL thinks of Lock

"He's one of the more talented quarterbacks in this class and should go in the first couple rounds. He is capable of looking like an NFL starter but has just been inconsistent in terms of his accuracy and his decision-making. Somebody will like him because he has all the physical tools. Playing in more of a pro-style offense this year will help him. He might need some development, but he has more upside than most of these other guys." -- NFL evaluator, as told to ESPN's Mike Sando

What's next?

You'll next see Lock, who threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, at the Senior Bowl, in which he should turn heads in practice with his strong arm.

Learn more about Lock: How Lock's sixth-grade team shaped him ... Lock doesn't care if you like him; it's respect he's after ... The rise of Lock into one of NFL's hottest QB prospects


Ryan Finley, NC State

Year: Senior | Ht/Wt: 6-4, 208 | Career starts: 41

Total QBR: 78.5 (13th in FBS) | Full stats

Who he is and where he ranks

Is it possible for a sixth-year senior to be under the radar? That could be Finley, who spent three years in a crowded quarterback room at Boise State before graduating and transferring to NC State, where he has started 38 games and led the Wolfpack to back-to-back nine-win seasons. Finley began the season at No. 16 overall on McShay's ranking of the best 2019 prospects, and like Lock, he dropped as Herbert and Haskins moved up. Finley, however, had an improved senior season, throwing 25 touchdown passes and just 11 interceptions. He has stellar touch on his throws -- check out this touchdown against East Carolina -- but is inconsistent down the field and is only an average athlete. Finley has a chance to rise in the class.

Kiper's draft ranking: No. 6 QB.

McShay's draft ranking: No. 5 QB and No. 61 overall prospect. From McShay's preseason rankings: "He gets through progressions quickly and shows good poise and feel inside the pocket."

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Stidham dials up long TD

Jarrett Stidham double-clutches and throws a deep pass to Seth Williams for a 45-yard Auburn touchdown.

What the NFL thinks of Finley

"He is accurate, he is smart, but just from a physical standpoint, I think people will see him as a backup, just because of his size, his talent, arm and those things." -- NFL evaluator, as told to ESPN's Mike Sando

What's next?

Finley is headed to the Senior Bowl in Mobile in late January.

Learn more about Finley: Finley isn't wasting any of his extra time at NC State ... Unique path has Finley ready for what comes next ... Finley preparing to take his place among NC State QBs in NFL


Jarrett Stidham, Auburn

Year: Fourth-year junior | Ht/Wt: 6-3, 215 | Career starts: 30

Total QBR: 63.4 (56th in FBS) | Full stats

Who he is and where he ranks

Stidham, the 2017 SEC newcomer of the year who entered the season with 20-1 odds to win the Heisman Trophy, took a step back in 2018 (as did 7-5 Auburn). The Baylor transfer began the season as one of the draft's top prospects -- "I think that's a fair assessment," coach Gus Malzahn said in August -- but now finds himself in the middle of the pack in the class. Stidham completed 63.4 percent of his passes and threw 36 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in two seasons at Auburn in Malzahn's run-heavy spread offense, but he isn't much of a running threat and looked out of sorts at times with the Tigers. He lit up Purdue for five touchdown passes in Auburn's bowl game -- could he make a leap over the next few months and rise after the combine?

Kiper's draft ranking: No. 10 QB.

McShay's draft ranking: No. 6 QB and No. 67 overall prospect. From McShay's preseason scouting report: "[Stidham] can fit the ball into some tight spots and shows the ability to drive the ball vertically."

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Murray's Heisman season filled with highlights

After throwing for 40 touchdowns and leading the Sooners to the Big 12 title, Kyler Murray got Oklahoma back to the CFP.

What the NFL thinks of Stidham

"He has a good arm, but his decision-making, anticipation and some of those things you need as a quarterback probably are not where you would like them to be. To me, his ceiling is as a backup. He has been really inconsistent this year." -- NFL evaluator, as told to ESPN's Mike Sando

What's next?

Stidham has already announced that he is entering the draft. He will next be seen at the combine in early March.

Learn more about Stidham: Video: Stidham's long road to Auburn ... Meet the best QB in Alabama ... Stidham at peace with family, football


Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

Year: Junior | Ht/Wt: 5-10, 195 | Career starts: 17

Total QBR: 95.8 (First in FBS) | Full stats

Who he is and where he ranks

Surely you know about the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner, right? Murray put up one of the best seasons in college football history in leading Oklahoma to the College Football Playoff, but he might not even play professional football. He was picked in the first round in the MLB draft and got a $4.6 million signing bonus with the Oakland Athletics. The reason Murray is on this list? There's at least a small chance that he tries to play both sports or gives up baseball for football. If he commits to football -- and gives up that guaranteed money from the A's -- McShay believes he will be a first-round pick, while Kiper thinks he'd go on Day 2 in April. Murray is a dynamic dual-threat quarterback, but his true height is an issue for football. Not so much on the baseball diamond.

What the NFL thinks of Murray

"Of all these guys, Kyler Murray is probably the rarest in terms of his talent as a runner, his speed, his athletic ability, and then he can pass, but he is as small as we have ever seen. He is smaller than Russell Wilson, but like Russell, he is smart. You see the baseball player in him -- he gets down, does not take big hits. As the NFL game goes more toward the college game and as the rules limit how defenses can hit, there may be a place for him because he is talented. He is the wild card who could go early, but we just don't know." -- NFL evaluator, as told to ESPN's Mike Sando

What's next?

Murray and the Sooners lost to Alabama in the Capital One Orange Bowl, and The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Jan. 9 that the A's expect Murray to declare for the 2019 draft. The A's report for spring training in February, and Murray could still join up with the team while entering the draft.

Learn more about Murray: Murray balances football and baseball while replacing a legend ... After historic season, will Murray still give up on football? ... Video: Murray won't stop until he wins a national title


Best of the rest

These quarterbacks are all thought to be likely Day 3 picks, but they could move up before the draft:

Gardner Minshew, Washington State

A graduate transfer from East Carolina, Minshew excelled under Mike Leach in 2018, throwing 38 touchdown passes and nine interceptions and finishing fifth in the Heisman race. Minshew has impeccable style, and the fifth-year senior is the No. 9 QB on both Kiper's and McShay's draft boards. Scouts will get a closer look at him at the Senior Bowl in January.

Trace McSorley, Penn State

McSorley doesn't have great size (6-foot, 200 pounds) or a great arm, but he was one of college football's most productive quarterbacks the past three seasons. McShay wrote in early December that McSorley was his favorite late-round prospect to watch. He'll be among the contingent of QBs at the Senior Bowl, where he'll get his shot to impress against some of the draft's best senior prospects.

Clayton Thorson, Northwestern

Since redshirting in 2014, Thorson has started 53 games for the Wildcats. He has the physical tools (6-4, 225 pounds) to be an NFL quarterback, he never put together a consistent season, and he threw 32 touchdown passes and 27 interceptions the past two seasons. Thorson will also be at the Senior Bowl.