Quarterbacks get more scrutiny than any other position, and the NFL Scouting Combine is no different. The position is among the first groups to take part in on-field workouts in Indianapolis, going alongside the tight ends and wide receivers.
The frontrunners to be the first two quarterbacks drafted, LSU’s Joe Burrow and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, didn’t participate in drills Thursday night. Burrow is letting his collegiate resume speak for itself, whereas Tagovailoa is still rehabbing his season-ending hip injury he suffered in November.
But there was still plenty of spotlight to go around. Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, Oregon’s Justin Herbert, and Utah State’s Jordan Love all had a chance to help themselves in Indy, and all of them arguably did. Other guys like Jacob Eason of Washington and Steven Montez of Colorado showed up, too.
Last year, we saw just three quarterbacks taken in the first round, a drop-off compared to five first-rounders in 2018. Will there be more this time around?
Let’s run through the QBs who stood out during combine drills, for better or worse (in no particular order).
1. Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
Folks will continue to be divided about Hurts as a passer — nothing about the combine can change that. But he did run a bit faster than expected, clocking in with an unofficial 4.59 in the 40-yard dash. His official time was later adjusted to an even better 4.54 seconds.
That’s pretty dang fast for a guy as big and bulky as Hurts is. He’s not going to outrun Lamar Jackson any time soon, but for a strong-armed big dude, he was flying. Hurts was also tied for the top broad jump among quarterbacks at 10’5.
Finally, Hurts impressed in throwing drills, too. There were no errant throws and his deep throws looked particularly good. His accuracy and consistency are two big sticking points with experts, and he passed in both marks on Thursday.
2. Justin Herbert, Oregon
Herbert fell victim to some anonymous scout reports about his “leadership,” but that didn’t stall him on the field. He looked great in throwing drills for quarterbacks, consistently hitting his marks. He was especially good on the deep ball:
In addition to excelling in the passing drills, Herbert ran a strong 40-yard dash, clocking in at an official 4.68. He also finished second among quarterbacks in the vertical jump (35.5 inches) and third in the broad jump (10’3).
Leave it to Gil Brandt to summarize Herbert’s day for you:
3. Jordan Love, Utah State
Love’s biggest knock is the number of interceptions he threw in college, but that’s not something he can really change at the combine. Still, he had about as good a day as he could have had.
He threw well in the drills, with no big drops or shaky passes. Love also finished tied for second among quarterbacks with a 35.5-inch vertical leap, and finished fifth in the broad jump at 9’10.
On the NFL Network broadcast, Ian Rapoport said buzz was picking up about Love as a potential top-10 pick.
4. Steven Montez, Colorado
Quarterbacks don’t tend to turn heads in the 40-yard dash, but Montez did just that when he put up a 4.68 in his attempt on Thursday. That wasn’t fastest among quarterbacks, but it was tied for third. And, it should be noted, he’s 6’4 and 235 pounds.
That’s a lot of man to be moving that quick.
He was also sixth-best in the broad jump at 9’9 and sixth-best in the vertical leap with 33 inches.
1. Anybody who wanted to see Burrow throw at the combine
Burrow is the consensus first overall pick and is expected to be the Bengals’ franchise quarterback of the future. Truthfully, they don’t need to see Burrow compete in any drills or run the 40-yard dash, but it would have been nice to see him buck the trend of the top passers avoiding combine work.
Despite not taking part in the on-field workouts, Burrow has already made combine headlines for his small hands, and also the silly narrative that he might spurn the Bengals if they pick him (he won’t).
2. Jake Fromm, Georgia
Fromm is one of the more divisive quarterback prospects in this draft. More than anything, he needed to come out and wow at the combine, but he failed to do that. He wasn’t awful by any stretch — but he didn’t impress in throwing drills. Notably, one of the worst throws on the day was one of Fromm’s deep balls.
That’s a worrying sign given a lack of arm strength is one of the bigger knocks against him. He did go on to complete his other deep passes, but the one that went awry floated for ages, and his other passes were a little high.
He also posted the slowest 40-yard dash among quarterbacks:
3. Whoever said Jacob Eason was “too comfortable” in combine interviews
Combine interviews are weird by design, and that generally leads to some strange reports. One that stood out on Thursday was a report from Todd McShay of ESPN claiming Eason was “too comfortable” in his combine interviews.
I have no idea what teams genuinely think about Eason’s interviews, but “too comfortable” doesn’t sound like a complaint that’s going to stick. More importantly, though, was how Eason looked when he actually took the field on Thursday.
Eason looked good throwing the ball, especially on deep passes. His accuracy was on point and he looked, well, comfortable. So maybe there’s something to that report after all.