This is Part II of an article focusing on quarterback values in Campus 2 Canton startup drafts. There are a number of lower tiered quarterbacks that can provide point value on the college side of Campus 2 Canton leagues. This article is not intended to identify those players. This article is intended to dig specifically for value at quarterback for players who may have an NFL future.
Catch up on Part I here.
5. Tyler Buchner, Notre Dame
The Golden Domers are searching for a new signal caller after the departure of Ian Book. Head coach Brian Kelly could not have two players at further opposite ends of the athletic spectrum than graduate transfer Jack Coan and the rocket footed freshman Tyler Buchner. In Coan, Notre Dame gets the battled tested drop back passer who lost his starting job at Wisconsin to Graham Mertz. With Buchner, Notre Dame would feature perhaps the most electric dual-threat quarterback in the 2021 freshman class. As a junior at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, California, Buchner put up running back statistics with 1,640 yards and 28 touchdowns.
Buchner’s perceived athleticism isn’t superficial either.
Buchner’s 4.65 verified forty time is plenty fast for a quarterback, specifically considering that Saquon Barkley posted a 4.66 forty coming out of high school. While even “verified” athletic numbers for a high schooler should be taken with a grain of salt, Buchner’s 4.10 shuttle time would have been the third fastest time amongst defensive backs tested at the 2020 NFL combine (Myles Bryant 4.02; Alohi Gilman 4.08).
It must be noted that Buchner did not play high school football as California shut down the state’s football season during the pandemic. As a result, Buchner was unable to improve his 247 rating or recruiting pedigree. Four stars or five stars aside, I’ve projected Buchner as the freshman quarterback with the highest ceiling.
While Coan is the lead candidate to begin the season as the starter, it seems inconceivable that Notre Dame wouldn’t use Buchner on some specifically designed plays early in the season.
March ADP Analysis – 65.60
I love Tyler Buchner. He is my 11th rated quarterback and my top freshman as of the writing of this article. He is being selected as QB 17 and before Matt Corral, Graham Mertz, Taulia Tagovailoa and Malik Willis. Buchner is a really fun player, but that’s a lot of risk for a player who has yet to play a snap.
Seeing a lot of freshman QBs going early in the C2C leagues and mocks that I’ve been doing so far this offseason and saw someone talking about hit rates and it got me curious. Went back and looked at the top 15 QBs acccording to @247Sports from 2008-2017 and here’s what I found— DynastyPJ (@mastapj) March 13, 2021
At his current ADP, he would need to lock up the starting up to return a value. There’s a chance he doesn’t. But there’s also a chance he’s a Lamar Jackson level player.
4. Hudson Card, Texas
The train carrying the Hudson Card fanclub hasn’t quite left the station yet. But expectations are mounting for the young dual-threat signal caller, specifically with offensive shaman Steve Sarkisian joining the church in Austin. Card is surrounded by weapons in consensus no. 1 running back Bijan Robinson, deep threat Joshua Moore, slot receiver Jake Smith, RB/WR hybrid Jordan Whittington, and burgeoning redshirt freshman Troy Omeire.
The famed Lake Travis high school product, and former wide receiver, could conceivably be a top 5 quarterback in Campus 2 Canton formats this time next year.
While dangerous from inside the pocket, Card is especially lethal on the move, and he is just fine improvising when the play breaks down.
March ADP Analysis – 47.40
Card is currently being drafted as the QB 10, with an ADP of around 47.40 as of March 2021. That’s probably just about right as the combination of Sarkisian and Card could launch Card’s value into the stratosphere. He’s a potential high end college quarterback with 1st round NFL draft capital not out of the question. However, there are players being drafted behind Card with more proven production.
3. Carson Strong, Nevada
Strong was very much a game manager as a redshirt freshman, but he evolved into an aggressive down field passer as a redshirt sophomore, often hitting deep threat Romeo Dubbs down the sideline.
Strong increased his yards per attempt from 6.2 in 2019 to 8.1 in 2020. His YPA may seem a little lower, but Nevada frequently throws no step screens to its wide receivers when defensive backs play soft coverage.
There is already some first round buzz circling the Nevada quarterback and it makes sense. At the conclusion of the 2021 season, Strong will be a 3 year starter with demonstrated arm talent. He also has ideal size for the position at 6’4, 215 pounds.
While he adds virtually nothing as a rusher, Strong shows good pocket mobility and more natural opposite hash arm strength than say, Mac Jones.
Strong is my quarterback 5. He’s not being drafted in C2C start ups like a 1st round NFL draft pick, but he is. Strong can also win you a championship on the college side of your C2C leagues with Nevada’s high volume passing offense and a supporting cast including tight end Cole Turner, Dubbs, and Elijah Cooks.
March ADP Analysis – 57.00
A combination of Strong’s production and podcasts like the Devy Debate have had their effect. While still a value, Strong is no longer an afterthought going after the 35th round in startups. He’s a slight value going after Caleb Williams, Desmond Ridder, CJ Stroud and Kedon Slovis. Let someone else take these quarterbacks and grab Strong after.
2. Casey Thompson, Texas
If you think Thompson’s placement here is based on one half in the Alamo Bowl against an overmatched Colorado team, well, then you’d be right, at least partially. Thompson played with no conscience after coming in for an injured Sam Ehlinger near the end of the first half of Texas’s bowl game going 8 for 10 for 170 yards and 4 touchdowns.
But Thompson’s counting stats do not do his performance justice. He threw (and completed) vertical shot after vertical shot, refusing to let up on Colorado’s secondary while averaging 20.00 ypa, seemingly going for the jugular with every single throw.
Content made on Kapwing
Thompson’s aggressive and accurate downfield passing piqued my curiosity. So I started digging and learned that’s just who Casey Thompson is. As a freshman in Texas’s 2018 spring game, Thompson showed a preference for the shot downfield as opposed to the checkdown.
Even as a high school quarterback, Thompson averaged 14.7 per attempt for his career.
Casey Thompson has arm talent, pocket mobility, and an absence of fear.
Even if Hudson Card is named the starter for Texas, Thompson has developed quite the audition tape for a potential new destination.
March ADP Analysis – N/A
Thompson has a non-existent ADP and I seem to be on an island here. Even if he doesn’t win the job outright, which he could, Thompson is a candidate to transfer to another program and take the helm for two years. Quite simply, he’s a good player. Don’t be too focused on the short term. Thompson is virtually free and could return
1. Jake Haener, Fresno State
As of the publishing of this article, Haener’s Campus 2 Canton startup ADP is virtually non-existent. But if I am going to convenience the public in general that Haener is a value at the position, I should probably start with my own fellow Campus2Canton Co-Founders, who have Haener woefully underranked:
The 2020 season was Haener’s first as a starter after transferring to Fresno State from Washington in 2018 and sitting out all of the 2019 season. His counting stats are decent, especially for a shortened 6 game season. He posted a 14/6 touchdown to interception ratio. But more than that, Haener showed that he was a versatile playmaker at the position, which is why I am so bullish on him at his value:
This ball probably floats just a touch too much for me, but you get a sense for Jake Haener’s opposite hash arm strength here. pic.twitter.com/VuIoVmU9vw— Felix H. Sharpe II (@sharpereview) March 1, 2021
Jake Haener to the the ol’ turkey hole. pic.twitter.com/ckAVXTTIjw— Felix H. Sharpe II (@sharpereview) March 1, 2021
The ball placement here is just absurd with a defensive end bearing down. pic.twitter.com/P1T6fa5pkh— Felix H. Sharpe II (@sharpereview) March 1, 2021
Haener is just about everything you would want in a Campus 2 Canton asset. He’s young – Haener will have two additional seasons of eligibility pursuant to the NCAA granting an additional year of eligibility. He plays in a wide open pass heavy offense, in a wide open conference that isn’t particularly known for its defense. He has very good NFL arm talent. He has above average mobility and has demonstrated the knack for making plays off script. He’s surrounded by playmakers in running back Ronnie Rivers (potential RB 1 for the college side), junior wide receiver Jalen Cropper, and returning senior wide receiver Keric Wheatfall. Finally, given his talent level and the opportunity provided by his offense, Haener could see himself drawing the eyes of NFL evaluators.
Best of all, fun players make fantasy football fun. And Haener is plenty of fun.
March ADP Analysis – N/A
Haener is an afterthought in most Campus 2 Canton leagues. A site subscriber messaged me recently that he was trading up in the 43rd round to draft him. Others also attempted to trade for the pick to draft Haener, so his stock may be on the rise. Don’t draft him too early. You don’t have to. Pick him up at the end of your rosters and see his stock increase throughout the 2021 season.
Honorable mention: Connor Bazelak, Missouri; Ken Seals, Vanderbilt; Will Rogers and Sawyer Robertson, Mississippi State; Jeff Sims, Georgia Tech; and Sam Hartman, Wake Forest.
For more content and player evaluations, follow Felix @sharpereview on Twitter and listen to the Devy Debate podcast!
*ADP data provided by Austin Nace @devydeets.