Finally, we break down two QB Prospects that will be drafted to be backups but could make a splash when given the opportunity.
With the draft less than a week away, analyses and opinions on the top NFL Draft prospects have largely been staked. Day 3 is for the scouts. Players are usually selected on traits that coaches could develop down the line.
We’ve all heard about Bryce Young and CJ Stroud, but what about some Day Three prospects who could make a fantasy splash one day?
Below is a breakdown of two QBs that will hear their names called on Day 3 of the Draft and have to carve out backup roles wherever they land. But don’t be surprised if they do well when given snaps.
Houston QB Clayton Tune
Career Numbers: 956/1498 Passing, 11,996 yards, 104 TDs, 41 INTs (47 games)
Clayton Tune might be the most intriguing QB in this class. There are several assumptions one may make looking at Tune in pregame warmups. He has average height and weight, a good, not great recruiting pedigree, and production in a system that produces yards on a whim. This year’s Quarterback class has a clear top tier poised to step into starting positions. Tune may be the readiest to be a spot starter and regular backup of the rest.
You don’t often see a player who has passed for as many yards and touchdowns as Tune. It’s even rarer to see that passer have a 9.83 RAS. With every reasonable QB testing number 80th percentile or better, Tune is a rare athlete that would be much more remarkable if Anthony Richardson was not in the same draft class. He could probably be a decent runner should he choose to, given his athletic testing numbers.
Instead, Tune moves well within the pocket, allowing some deeper route concepts to develop, to compensate for a poor offensive line. In 44 college starts, he completed almost 64% of his passes for the second-most FBS passing yards in the class. All while never shying away from the difficult or even improbable throws. Whenever he can set his feet, he has the arm strength and accuracy to place any pass within 35 yards. This particular skill has been displayed late in games and clutch situations.
For all the positive outcomes of his heroics and athleticism, Tune’s traits can also be a detriment. One of the Tune’s biggest highlights is a long pass downfield to a streaking Dell despite being off balance with an iDL in his lap. While the outcome worked out, the throw was ill-advised at best and reckless at worst. He probably would have had a much higher completion percentage had he had settled for more check downs and taken a more conservative approach.
Notably, Tune quickly loses velocity when forced to make throws without a firm base. His height is probably largely to blame for this loss of velocity. He’d have a greater range of motion to pull power from if he were taller, even without a perfect base. The gumption that brought success in college will have a much higher variance of outcomes at the next level.
Bryce Young may be the cowboy of the QB class, but Tune is a gunslinger in his own right too. Say what you will about his risky tendencies or the benefits a QB-friendly air raid scheme provides, but Tune still threw for 70 Touchdowns in two seasons. With his talent, he can already be relied upon in spot starts early in his career. He may be able to carve out a bridge role further down the road with additional development and maturity in his decision-making. Because his skillset will typically fit in most systems, Tune will likely hear his name late on Day 2 or early Day 3.
UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson
Career Numbers: 860/1359 Passing, 10,710 yards, 88 TDs, 36 INTs (50 games)
Dorian Thompson-Robinson (DTR) turned heads at the NFL Combine with a supposed 62 miles per hour throw velocity. Though some may argue that the UCLA offense was buoyed by the dominant rushing presence of Zach Charbonnet, DTR contributed over 5,500 passing yards and 1,250 rushing yards over the past two seasons. His 48 career starts in a pro-level offensive system should have prepared him well to run different offenses. Even those not necessarily designed for his skillset.
DTR’s throw velocity can be attributed to his throwing style. His release is quick and compact, translatable from multiple platforms. He can make throws in or out of the pocket, especially with his 97th percentile 40-yard dash speed, which was in the 99th percentile in the 10-yard split. Few true dual-threat QBs find success at running and passing, even at the college level. On the other hand, DTR threw for 88 TDs and ran for another 28 in his college career. Perhaps his best quality is his sixth sense of when to pull the ball down and run versus hanging tough and throwing a dart. He won’t be throwing too many nine routes, as his hard-throwing tendencies tend to make his trajectories a bit low. His solid fundamental throwing motion will translate well to some of the cleaner NFL pockets.
Quick feet are usually an indicator of positive traits, but in this case, they may play a negative role sometimes. One of the habits that spelled the downfall of Mitch Trubisky as a long-term NFL starter was his happy feet which indicated panic. While DTR doesn’t possess that quick of a fight or flight instinct, he also gets a case of the happy feet. This hinders his usually fundamental throwing motion, resulting in errant passes. His 36 career INTs and a slight tendency to fumble will also need to be monitored at the next level. However, his skillset can be productive enough for injury relief for a prospect that will be a backup for the foreseeable future.
Accuracy and arm strength are the only facets of being a good Quarterback. DTR has those two traits but lacks a future as a long-term starter due to his small frame and hasty tendencies. Granted, we just saw Tyler Huntley make the Pro Bowl after getting a chance, thanks to Lamar Jackson’s injury. I predict a similar future for DTR. He will be most successful when he can be a long-term backup in an offense built to showcase a mobile QB. Expect better draft capital for DTR than Tyler Huntley, as he is about the same size but a better thrower and runner than the former Ute. I expect him to come off the board around Round 5 or 6.