Why NFL Teams Draft Project Quarterbacks
NFL teams draft a "project quarterback" earlier than many fans and evaluators think they should be drafted. What is so enticing about these QBs?
NFL teams have always taken the approach of taking “project quarterbacks” with the hopes of unlocking their potential as a franchise quarterback. In the past, the thought was “this player is going to be great because they have the tools to be great” but in recent years as teams have taken more analytics-based approaches, the thought process has shifted more towards “this player might be great but he might not - and we’re fine taking that risk to land our guy because he has the tools.”
What do people mean, though when they say “project quarterback”? Typically, a tall, well-built quarterback with a big arm but struggles with accuracy, consistency, and doing the little things well. Mobility is always a plus but isn’t required here. They’re often the most polarizing quarterbacks in each draft class because the tools are there to be great but the film is often inconsistent.
Players like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Cam Newton are often brought up when talking about project quarterbacks - but for every Patrick Mahomes, there’s another JaMarcus Russell or Paxton Lynch. Mahomes, Allen, and Newton are the exception, not the rule but teams will still look at project quarterbacks and think “what if?”