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PROSPECT WATCH: Heisman Edition

Welcome Nicholas Perlich to Fantasy Sharks. He’s our new NCAA/NFL Draft specialist whom we’ll be hearing a lot more from leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft.

We are coming into Bowl Season for College Football. The NFL Draft order is starting to take shape with four games left in the season. To me, that signals the true start to Draft Season! Starting December 6th, College Football Awards Shows will start and go throughout the weekend leading up to the Heisman Trophy Presentation December 8th. One thing that always interests me is games of these great college players transfer to the NFL. Here I am going to take a look at the three Heisman Finalists’ NFL prospects:

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Tua is a true sophomore so will be playing at least one more season at Alabama before making the jump to the NFL. Based on the film so far in his career, he will be highly coveted when he does make the jump. He isn’t the biggest guy at 6’1″, but shows good athletic ability and movement skills to be able to find open passing lanes. Tagovailoa prefers to stand in and make throws from the pocket, but has shown the ability to create big plays with his legs (like this play vs. LSU):

Tua has the arm strength to make all the NFL caliber throws with good timing. What really sets him apart, though, is his accuracy and touch. He throws catchable balls with a beautiful spiral and puts the ball squarely where only his receivers can get it. Tagovailoa has shown all the tools to be successful in the NFL with his biggest knock so far likely being his lack of height. He will be drafted in the first two rounds when he is able to declare, unless something unexpected happens.

Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

Kyler Murray is an interesting case. He was actually a Top 10 pick in the most recent MLB Draft by the Oakland Athletics and had a clause in his contract to be able to play this season for Oklahoma. And he certainly made the most of it. The same athletic ability and arm strength that are the reason he was chosen as a top outfielder was on display all season as a quarterback. The athleticism and arm of Murray, the scheme of Head Coach Lincoln Riley, the explosiveness of his receivers, and the excellent OL in front him all combined for a historically explosive offense for the Sooners. Murray made big, explosive plays with his arms and legs. Here is the evidence just in a few highlights from the Big 12 Championship Game:

You can see his touch and accuracy on that first throw dropping the ball right over his wide receivers shoulders. He shows the ability to throw from multiple angles to get the ball through tougher passing lanes due to his lack of height. You see a hint of his explosiveness and elusiveness on the ground. This run against Texas earlier in the year is a better example of his pure speed that makes defenders look foolish:

Kyler Murray has the obvious athleticism that would allow him to play somewhere in the NFL. Quarterbacks like Murray are always a part of the “move to RB or WR” conversation. But I think he showed the arm strength and accuracy that he can be an NFL quarterback in similar fashion of another former baseball player with a smaller stature like Russell Wilson. If Murray does decide to try the NFL, I think he will also be picked in the Top 2 Rounds, but all signs point to him sticking with the MLB and playing outfield next year in the Oakland A’s farm system.

Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

Dwayne Haskins is the one guy out of this group of finalists that may actually be an option for NFL teams in April. He is in his 3rd year out of high school as a redshirt sophomore and has a very good argument to being the first quarterback taken. Haskins has the prototypical NFL size at a thick 6’3″ and 222 lbs. He has very good arm strength to make all the NFL throws as well as the ability to stretch the field vertically. This throw against Minnesota shows his ability to throw the ball 20+ yards down the field on a rope with very good velocity to get it in between two closing safeties:

You also get a glimpse of Haskin’s solid accuracy on that throw. He has more athleticism than given credit for with good ability to feel pressure to move around in the pocket and keep plays alive with his eyes focused down field. He also flashed the ability, especially later in the season, to generate solid yardage with his feet when plays would break down or on designed runs. Take this play vs. Maryland for example where he shows solid feet and power to get into the endzone in OT:

Dwayne Haskins is the current top quarterback on my board should he decide to declare for the 2019 NFL draft. He has the best overall skill-set of the possible quarterbacks in this draft and shows much better consistency than a guy like Justin Herbert that has been talked about all season as a QB1. Haskins will need some time to work out some kinks and get used to the speed of the NFL, but has definitely shown the talent to be a franchise quarterback in the league. Dwayne Haskins may be (if he declares) the only one of the Heisman finalists to enter the NFL Draft this season, but he could arguably have the best career of the three if/when Kyler Murray and Tua Tagovailoa enter the NFL.

About Nicholas Perlich

Nicholas is one of our summer guest writers. We hope you enjoy his perspective.