Could one of the 2023 NFL Draft QB prospects be the next Brock Purdy? | News, scores, highlights, stats and rumours

Max DugganJeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last year, Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy was the last pick of the NFL draft. “Mr. Irrelevant” himself. By the time January rolled around, Purdy was anything but irrelevant – he would make five regular season starts for the San Francisco 49ers, winning all five. Purdy completed 67.1 percent of his passes, threw nine more touchdown passes than interceptions, posted a 107.3 passer rating and even won two playoff games.

If not for the elbow injury that led to his loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game in San Francisco, it’s not a stretch to say that Purdy (rather than Trey Lance) would have entered the offseason as the likely starter for a Super Bowl. antagonist.

Now, it’s not particularly realistic to expect a Day 3 pick to come in and have the success that Purdy did – prospects fall on the final day of the draft for a reason. Waiting for a Day 3 pick to snag a Tom Brady and go from sixth-round pick to seven-time Super Bowl champion is beyond realistic and delusional.

But Brady and Purdy aren’t the only late-round picks who started a playoff run last season. Dak Prescott was a fourth-round pick out of Mississippi State in 2016. Kirk Cousins ​​was a fourth-round pick out of Michigan State in 2012. Like Purdy, Skylar Thompson was a seventh-round pick out of Kansas State.

Now, there’s a big gap between Brady on one end of that spectrum and Thompson on the other. Purdy is somewhere in between. But there’s no doubt that whether as a backup who starts a game here and there or as a regular starter, finding a capable NFL quarterback on the third day of the draft can be a godsend for a franchise.

And there are a few prospects in the 2023 class who have the potential to be the next Day 3 discount diamond.

Stetson Bennett, Georgia

If stocks were based solely on collegiate achievements, then Stetson Bennett could be the first quarterback off the board in April. All Bennett did the last two seasons was throw for nearly 7,000 yards, throw four times as many touchdown passes (56) as interceptions and lead the Bulldogs to back-to-back national championships.

But of course, the draft stock is much more than what Bennett achieved in Athens. And it doesn’t take long for the red flags to start piling up.

At just 5’11” and 190 pounds, Purdy is undersized by NFL standards. He’s also the Methuselah of this rookie class—he’ll turn 26 during his rookie season. Bennett was arrested in January for public intoxication. And as Ian Cummings wrote on the Pro Football Network, Bennett is widely regarded as such an arm talent — at best.

INGLEWOOD, CA - JANUARY 09: Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) throws a pass during the Georgia Bulldogs game against the TCU Horned Frogs in the College Football Playoff National Championship game on January 9, 2023 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA.  (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“The biggest thing working against Bennett is his middle arm talent,” Cummings wrote. “His arm strength isn’t a liability, but he struggles to generate velocity on his throws at times, and his arm isn’t the most elastic. He doesn’t have the arm talent needed to throw layers. In tight windows, that limits him. the number of shots he can take at the next level.”

Bennett is experienced though – he started 29 games over the last two seasons for the Bulldogs. He is accurate, completing 65 percent of his passes in college. And Bennett is certainly no stranger to high-pressure situations — in fact, he’s played some of his best games when the stakes are higher. In many ways, Bennett is an older, more successful version of Purdy — until he shares criticism for a relative lack of arm talent.

Max Duggan, TCU

Duggan was one of college football’s biggest stars in 2022, throwing for nearly 3,700 yards and 32 touchdowns while adding nine more scores on the ground en route to leading TCU to arguably its best season. While making a February appearance on The Rich Eisen ShowDuggan said (at the 5:56 mark) that he models his game after two of the NFL’s best.

“A guy I’ve been watching a lot, even recently, has been Joe Burrow. What he does with his moves and his efficient moves and how he is in the pocket,” Duggan said.

“I don’t know if I’d say I play like him. Probably someone I’d like would probably be Jalen Hurts. Kind of a hard-nosed leader. He can make the throws at all times. He can lead a group of guys. He fought through adversity. Things like that. ».

TCU quarterback Max Duggan (15) during the first half of the NCAA College Football Playoff Fiesta Bowl game against Michigan, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, in Glendale, Arizona.  (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

Wow, Max. Let’s dial it back a bit.

Duggan admittedly had a great season. But if the 6’1″, 204-pounder were a combo platter with Joe Burrow’s talent and ability to read defenses and Jalen Hurts’ scrambling ability, he would be the first overall pick. The NFL Draft Bible’s assessment of Duggan’s talents and The prospects were, um, let’s go with less diffusion.

“Duggan is a gritty quarterback with the mobility on defenses and the arm strength to take advantage of vertical opportunities,” they wrote, “but he lacks accuracy, ball placement, footwork and other key intangibles necessary to be an NFL player. “

These reviews have some value. Duggan’s accuracy came and went at TCU, in part because his footwork and mechanics were inconsistent. He also wasn’t asked much in college to read opposing defenses and process his moves. He also struggled at times to make shots through the window or get his receivers open.

But Duggan has shown an ability to raise his game at critical moments. His athleticism and breakout ability will appeal to many NFL teams. He has decent arm strength and nice touch on vertical throws, and most of his flaws are relatively common among quarterbacks entering the NFL.

Is Duggan Jalen Burrow? No. But with some development, he could easily surpass his potential draft position.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA

If Stetson Bennett presents as a high-floor, low-ceiling prospect, then UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson is the opposite. His floor plays in the XFL. But with his combination of arm talent and athleticism, Thompson-Robinson may well have the highest ceiling of any Day 3 prospect in the 2023 draft.

Thompson-Robinson’s mechanics and accuracy can be inconsistent, though his passing stats in 2022 (69.6 completion percentage, 3,169 passing yards) were easily the best of his career. As Brentley Weissman wrote for the Draft Network , Thompson-Robinson’s athleticism and improvements as a passer make him one of the more intriguing guards later in the round.

“While there is work to be done as a passer,” he wrote, “there’s no doubt that Thompson-Robinson has an exciting skill set that an NFL team might want to get their hands on. He’s excellent as a runner, shows great speed, change of direction and instincts that make him a threat whenever he decides to pull the ball down and take off. With the success that other athletic quarterbacks in need of development like pass rushers have had in recent seasons, Thompson-Robinson deserves more than a late-round flier.” .

EL PASO, TEXAS - DECEMBER 30: UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson #1 warms up before his team's game against the Pittsburgh Panthers in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl game at Sun Bowl Stadium on December 30, 2022 in El Paso, Texas.  (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)

Sam Wasson/Getty Images

Thompson-Robinson is on the smaller side—just 6’1″ and 205 pounds. A scrambling quarterback with that small frame is cause for genuine concern. And despite extensive starting experience at UCLA, Thompson’s decision-making and development- Robinson through The readings are both works in progress.

But at the very least, Thompson-Robinson has the potential to be a positive backup for teams with athletic starters under center who don’t want to nullify half the offense if said starter goes down. And if he lands the right offense with a pitching staff willing to exercise some patience, it could be more than that.

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