Tue, 06 Jun 2023

Triple Take: Second look at the quarterbacks

The Steelers
21 Mar 2023, 05:30 GMT+10

The "Triple Take" team takes a deeper dive into the quarterbacks in their second look at the position. In this installment of this draft prospect preview by position, the Steelers Radio Network trio of Matt Williamson, Dale Lolley and Mike Prisuta give their takes on the top prospects at the safety position. If you want to hear the audio version of "The Triple Take" click here.

The opinions of these Steelers Radio Network personalities do not reflect the views of the Steelers organization.

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Dale's Take ...

First Draft

5 - Hendon Hooker, Tennessee (6-4, 218 lbs.)4 - Will Levis, Kentucky (6-3, 232 lbs.)3 - Anthony Richardson, Florida (6-4, 232 lbs.)2 - C.J. Stroud, Ohio State (6-3, 218 lbs.)1 - Bryce Young, Alabama (5-10, 194 lbs.)

After Further Review

5 - Will Levis, Kentucky (6-3, 232 lbs.)4 - Hendon Hooker, Tennessee (6-4, 218 lbs.)3 - Anthony Richardson, Florida (6-4, 232 lbs.)2 - C.J. Stroud, Ohio State (6-3, 218 lbs.)1 - Bryce Young, Alabama (5-10, 194 lbs.)

Analysis: I'm bumping Levis behind Hooker. Hooker is a bit overaged at 25, but his tape is just better. And he'll recover from his ACL tear.

ALSO WORTH CONSIDERING

Georgia's Stetson Bennett threw the ball really well at the NFL Scouting Combine and obviously knows how to win after leading the Bulldogs to back-to-back national titles. But he's also already 25 years old and was 5-11, 192 pounds. ... While Anthony Richardson's 4.43-second 40-yard dash opened some eyes at the Combine, so too did that of TCU's Max Duggan. At 6-1 ½, 207 lbs., Duggan also was a little bigger than some thought he might be, as well. ... Houston's Clayton Tune is a nice late-round sleeper. At 6-2 ½, 220 pounds, he has pretty good size, and he threw the ball well at the Combine. He was a four-year starter and three-time captain at Houston, throwing for nearly 12,000 yards with 104 touchdown passes and 41 interceptions. He showed he's more athletic than most thought, running a 4.64 40 at the Combine with a 37.5-inch vertical jump. ... Tyson Bagent of Division II school Shepherd in West Virginia was invited to the Senior Bowl and didn't look out of place in that quarterback group. Bagent accounted for over 17,000 yards in college with 171 total touchdowns.

Mike's Take ...

First Draft

5 - Hendon Hooker, Tennessee (6-4, 218 lbs.)4 - Will Levis, Kentucky (6-3, 232 lbs.)3 - C.J. Stroud, Ohio State (6-3, 218 lbs.)2 - Bryce Young, Alabama (5-10, 194 lbs.)1 - Anthony Richardson, Florida (6-4, 232 lbs.)

After Further Review

5 - Hendon Hooker, Tennessee (6-4, 218 lbs.)4 - Will Levis, Kentucky (6-3, 232 lbs.)3 - Bryce Young, Alabama (5-10, 194 lbs.)2 - C.J. Stroud, Ohio State (6-3, 218 lbs.)1 - Anthony Richardson, Florida (6-4, 232 lbs.)

Analysis: I'm all over the place at this position. In our video review of the QBs I elevated Stroud to No. 1. Now I'm back to Richardson and his hit-the-lottery upside if I can only pick one. The situation remains subject to change.

ALSO WORTH CONSIDERING

Malik Cunningham of Louisville accounted for a school-record 120 touchdowns by rushing for 50 and throwing for 70 (Lamar Jackson had 119 at Louisville). NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah thinks Cunningham is a candidate to make a practice squad initially, "and if you get the passing game to get anywhere near where he is as a runner you might really have something." ... Aidan O'Connell of Purdue threw for 50 TDs the past two seasons, trailing only Stroud (85) among Big Ten QBs. O'Connell completed a school-record 66.7 percent of his career passes (826-for-1,239). Drew Brees, Bob Griese, Jim Everett, Mike Phipps, Gary Danielson and Len Dawson also played quarterback for the Boilermakers, among others. ... Jake Haener of Fresno State was the MVP of the Senior Bowl, where he drew comparisons to Brock Purdy. ... Stetson Bennett of Georgia won back-to-back national championships for the Bulldogs and was the Offensive MVP in both National Championship games. NFL Network analyst Charles Davis maintained Bennett has "more athleticism than we're giving him credit for." ... Tyson Bagent of Shepherd threw 159 career touchdown passes, an NCAA record for any division. He'd be the sixth Division II quarterback drafted if it comes to that (and first since Keith Null of West Texas A&M was taken on the sixth round by the Rams in 2009). ... Max Duggan of TCU won the Davey O'Brien and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm awards and was the Heisman Trophy runner-up. His competitiveness and aggressiveness stand out, particularly when he's on the run. When he's throwing he likes to throw for a home run. "He likes to try and eat the sandwich in one bite." Jeremiah noted. ... Stanford's Tanner McKee played in a pro-style offense at Stanford and threw for a career-high 2,947 yards last season. He spent almost two years on a Mormon mission between high school and Stanford and initially had offers from Texas and Alabama.

Matt's Take ...

First Draft

5 - Hendon Hooker, Tennessee (6-4, 218 lbs.)4 - Will Levis, Kentucky (6-3, 232 lbs.)3 - Anthony Richardson, Florida (6-4, 232 lbs.)2 - C.J. Stroud, Ohio State (6-3, 218 lbs.)1 - Bryce Young, Alabama (5-10, 194 lbs.)

After Further Review

5 - Hendon Hooker, Tennessee (6-4, 218 lbs.)4 - Will Levis, Kentucky (6-3, 232 lbs.)3 - Anthony Richardson, Florida (6-4, 232 lbs.)2 - Bryce Young, Alabama (5-10, 194 lbs.)1 - C.J. Stroud, Ohio State (6-3, 218 lbs.)

Analysis: I'm bumping Stroud ahead of Young for the No. 1-spot after his excellent throwing session at the Combine, where Young chose not to throw.

ALSO WORTH CONSIDERING

It isn't common for a quarterback prospect to run sub 4.6 at the Combine. Of course, Anthony Richardson achieved this accomplishment, running a crazy 4.43. But three lesser-known prospects at this position TCU's Max Dugan (4.52), Louisville's Malik Cunningham (4.53), and UCLA's Dorian Thompson-Robinson (4.56) also came in well under 4.6...Speaking of explosive quarterback testers other than Richardson, Houston's Clayton Tune (37.5), Shepherd's Tyson Bagent (36), and Fresno State's Jake Haener (35) all came in at 35 inches or better. Taking it step further, three of these prospects recorded below a 4.4-second short shuttle, something that used to be reserved for wide receivers and defensive backs. Those were Georgia's Stetson Bennett (4.20), Tune (4.25), and Bagent (4.36). These are all exceptional numbers for quarterbacks. Clearly this is an athletic class overall at a time in NFL history when such traits are more important than ever for quarterbacks. Such athletic ability gives these guys something to lean on as they learn the finer points of the sport's most difficult position to transition to and the league now understands how to use that athleticism better than ever.

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