In the lead-up to the 2020 NFL Draft, Vikings.com is taking a position-by-position look at prospects who have garnered a range of attention from national outlets. The series will include rankings by national outlets, stats and background information for multiple prospects. We'll also include comments that experts shared during interviews.
Vikings Status at the QB Position
Minnesota is poised to return starter Kirk Cousins and backup Sean Mannion, via agreements last week. The QB room also includes Jake Browning, whom the Vikings added as an undrafted free agent last season. Cousins started 15 regular-season games and both playoff contests last season. Mannion opened the Week 17 regular-season finale, and Browning spent all of 2019 on the practice squad.
It is highly unlikely that the Vikings will be interested in a quarterback early in the draft, but the team could add competition behind Cousins in a later round.
About the expert
For quarterbacks, we reached out to Jordan Reid, a Senior NFL Draft analyst and writer for The Draft Network.
Prior to his time with The Draft Network, Reid spent five seasons as a quarterbacks and running backs coach at his alma mater, North Carolina Central University. A three-year starting quarterback during his time there (2010-2013), he holds the program's single-season record for completion percentage (62.3 percent) and is eighth on the school's all-time passing yards list (3,524). Follow him on Twitter @JReidNFL for his analysis.
Reid covered the Reese's Senior Bowl, where he was able to observe Justin Herbert, Jordan Love, Jalen Hurts, Steven Montez, Anthony Gordon and Shea Patterson in person. He also covered the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. We focused on what Reid observed at the Senior Bowl. We also asked if he thinks there is an under-the-radar player at the position with quite a bit of upside. Spoiler alert: Reid answered James Morgan. A review of Morgan, as well as five quarterbacks that Reid saw at the Senior Bowl, are included below.
Reid said he likes seeing quarterbacks in person because "you're able to evaluate exactly what type of character they have and what type of leader they are."
"Quarterbacks, you have two different types," he said. "You have guys that lead by example/through their play, or you have what I call 'rah-rah' guys that are able to galvanize everybody, not only on their offense but in the locker room, as well."
As for the on-field evaluations at QB, Reid said he most values decision-making and accuracy.
"If you're a bad decision maker, you're probably not going to have a job for long," Reid said. "If you're getting the ball out on time, if you're taking the proper steps that you're supposed to take, and if they marry-up with a certain concept that you're running, that's what I look for, and then accuracy of course. That's one thing that I believe you can't really coach or instill in someone, just because it's naturally born into you. Either you have accuracy or you don't."
NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah currently has four quarterbacks in his overall Top 50: 2. Joe Burrow, 7. Tua Tagovailoa, 20. Justin Herbert and 23. Jordan Love. Jake Fromm, at one point was No. 50, but Jeremiah moved him down.
ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr., has four quarterbacks in his overall Top 25: 2. Burrow, 5. Tagovailoa, 10. Herbert and 15. Love.
PFF included five QBs in its overall Top 100: 1. Burrow, 3. Tagovailoa, 27. Herbert, 50. Fromm and 65. Love.
Positional rankings by NFL.com's Bucky Brooks, ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr., analytics site Pro Football Focus and The Athletic's Dane Brugler impacted the players listed for this series. Rankings by each are noted under each prospect.
School: LSU | Year: Sr. | Ht: 6-foot-3 | Wt. 221 pounds
Rankings: No. 1 QB by Kiper, PFF and Brugler; No. 2 by Brooks
2019 stats: 402-of-527 passing (76.3 percent) for 5,671 yards with 60 touchdown passes against six interceptions in 15 starts; NCAA single-season records for passing touchdowns (60) and passer rating (202.0)
On the mantel: Pick a prestigious college award from 2019, and it's likely been hoisted by Burrow. He became LSU's first Heisman Trophy winner since Billy Cannon in 1959 for college football's top honor and also was named the National Player of the Year by the Associated Press. Other awards included the following: Maxwell, Walter Camp, Davey O'Brien, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm, Manning, SEC Offensive Player of the Year, SEC Championship Game MVP, CFP National Semifinal Offensive Player of the Game and CFP National Championship Offensive Player of the Game.
School: Alabama | Year: Jr. | Ht: 6-foot-0 | Wt. 217 pounds
Rankings: No. 1 QB by Brooks; No. 2 by Brooks, Kiper and PFF
2019 stats: 180-of-252 passing for 2,840 yards with 33 touchdowns against three interceptions in nine starts; suffered season-ending hip injury on Nov. 16
Biggest question: Tagovailoa's impressive career at Alabama was halted by a hip injury. Medical staffs of every team were able to examine him at the combine to assess his progress, but that might be the biggest question about the lefty.
School: Oregon | Year: Sr. | Ht: 6-foot-6 | Wt. 236 pounds
Rankings: No. 3 by Brooks, Kiper, PFF and Brugler
2019 stats: 286-of-428 passing for 3,471 yards with 32 touchdowns against six interceptions in 14 starts
TDs, one way or another: Herbert threw at least one touchdown in 35 consecutive games, a streak that was snapped in a 37-35 win over Washington State on Oct. 26. He also didn't throw a touchdown against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, but did use his legs on touchdown runs of 4, 5 and the game-winning 30-yarder in a 28-27 victory.
Reid's Review: "I thought he was very impressive. … Everybody knows about the football acumen and football IQ. He's a coach's dream, as far as what he brings to the table as a quarterback prospect, has all the arm strength in the world, is a very accurate thrower. I would say a knock against him is just some [lack of] anticipation. He has to see things happen before actually anticipating them, but I think he has the highest upside, outside of Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa."
School: Utah State | Year: Jr. | Ht: 6-foot-4 | Wt. 224 pounds
Rankings: No. 4 QB by Brooks, Kiper and Brugler; No. 5 by PFF
2019 stats: 293-of-473 passing for 3,402 yards with 20 touchdowns against 17 interceptions in 13 starts
Troubling trend: Love holds school career records in total offense (9,003) and 300-yard passing games (12) and multiple single-season and game records, but his interceptions may cause concern to prospective teams. Love threw at least one interception in his final four games and had five games in 2019 with two or three interceptions, compared to just four games without a pick.
Reid's Review: "I'm a big fan of Jordan Love. He came into the last season with a lot of hype. In 2018, he threw 32 touchdowns and six interceptions, so a lot of people were excited about how he could transform this year. His stats dwindled, but he lost a lot around him. He lost his head coach, his offensive coordinator and his top five targets. He lost a whole bunch, but upside is something he brings to the table. You see the off-script throws, and that is something that is really a custom in the league now. You want a quarterback that can create outside of structure. He can throw from some of those funky arm angles that you see some of the other quarterbacks around the league throw, Matthew Stafford, Pat Mahomes and all of those other guys. His footwork is really good, but decision-making is something that he needs to clean up."
School: Georgia | Year: Jr. | Ht: 6-foot-2 | Wt. 219 pounds
Rankings: No. 4 QB by PFF; No. 6 by Brugler; No. 7 by Kiper
2019 stats: 234-of-385 passing for 2,860 yards with 24 touchdowns against five interceptions in 14 starts
Impactful debut: Fromm started 14 of 15 games as a true freshman in 2017 after an injury to Jacob Eason and led the Dogs to the CFP National Championship Game. Georgia played in the SEC Championship Game in each of Fromm's three seasons.
School: Washington | Year: Redshirt-Jr. | Ht: 6-foot-6 | Wt. 231 pounds
Rankings: No. 5 QB by Kiper and Brugler; No. 7 by PFF
2019 stats: 260-of-405 passing for 3,132 yards with 23 touchdowns against eight interceptions in 13 starts
Teammate to transfer: Eason, a native of Washington, began his college career at Georgia as the starter in 2016-17, but an injury led to Fromm's running with the Bulldogs and Eason heading out to join his home-state Huskies. Eason then teamed with Browning in 2018 while redshirting. Eason's passing yards in 2019 are the fourth-highest total in a season by a Washington QB, trailing Cody Pickett (4,458 in 2002) and Browning (3,430 in 2016 and 3,192 in 2018).
School: Oklahoma | Year: Sr. | Ht: 6-foot-1 | Wt. 222 pounds
Rankings: No. 5 QB by Brooks; No. 6 by Kiper; No. 10 by PFF
2019 stats: 237-of-340 passing for 3,851 yards with 32 touchdowns against eight interceptions in 14 starts
Hitting the ground running: Hurts transferred from Alabama, where he was a teammate of Tagovailoa, to Oklahoma and started immediately. He rushed 233 times for 1,298 yards and 20 touchdowns for the Sooners in 2019, vaulting to eighth in school history in career total offense (5,149 yards) in only one season. Hurts was runner-up to Burrow in the competition for the Heisman Trophy.
Reid's Review: "I like what he brings to the table. 'Poise,' that's the one word I would use to describe Jalen. Just talking to him at the combine and Senior Bowl, he never gets too high or too low. Ultimate leader, that's something you notice about Hurts. He has the personality to galvanize that complete locker room. That's what he showed in going from Alabama to Oklahoma. He was a team captain at both stops, so that just shows you the type of personality that he brings to the table. As far as a thrower, I think he's gotten better at every stop, because he really wasn't allowed to throw the ball a bunch at Alabama. It's a very run-centric offense … but when he was paired with Lincoln Riley, I thought he was able to show off more as a thrower. Each step he has taken in the pre-draft process has really helped himself a whole bunch."
School: Colorado | Year: Sr. | Ht: 6-foot-4 | Wt. 231 pounds
Rankings: No. 8 QB by Kiper
2019 stats: 255-of-405 passing for 2,808 yards with 17 touchdowns against 10 interceptions in 12 starts
Drawing it up: In addition to noting multiple records that Montez set, his Colorado Buffaloes bio notes that his hobbies include "dabbling in the fine arts (drawing and painting)." He also is the school's all-time passing leader in yards (9,710), passing touchdowns (63) and total offense (10,681 yards). Montez's father, Alfred, was a college quarterback at Texas Tech and Western New Mexico who played one NFL season with the Raiders.
Reid's Review: "He was brought up through the ranks as a football lifer. There's some excitement about him as a late-round guy, a really strong arm, that's something he brings to the forefront. Accuracy needs to be cleaned up a little bit, but very smart. He gets the ball out on time."
School: Florida International | Year: Redshirt-Sr. | Ht: 6-foot-4 | Wt. 229 pounds
Rankings: No. 9 QB by Kiper and Brugler
2019 stats: 207-of-357 passing for 2,585 yards with 14 touchdowns against five interceptions in 12 starts
Green to Green: The Green Bay native began his college career in 2015 as a redshirt at Bowling Green State. After two seasons, he transferred to Florida International in 2018, which was his best statistical season of all. Morgan had career bests of 213 completions, 2,727 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Reid's Review: "I think he's a guy that could probably go in the fifth- or sixth-round range, and it wouldn't surprise me if he ended up being a starter, maybe three or four years down the road, just because he's a big, sturdy guy, but he can move, not only inside the pocket, but outside the pocket. Now, he's not a super-mobile guy, but he can create some of those off-schedule throws. He's another guy that is a fantastic leader."
School: Iowa | Year: Sr. | Ht: 6-foot-4 | Wt. 235 pounds
Rankings: No. 10 QB by Kiper
2019 stats: 237-of-399 passing for 2,951 yards with 16 touchdowns against seven interceptions in 13 starts
Bowling strikes: Another Wisconsin native (Menomonie), Stanley is one of two quarterbacks in school history to go 3-0 in bowl games, joining Ricky Stanzi. Stanley ranks second in school history with 68 career touchdown passes and 8,302 passing yards behind Chuck Long.
School: Washington State | Year: Redshirt-Sr. | Ht: 6-foot-2 | Wt. 205 pounds
Rankings: No. 6 QB by PFF; No. 7 by Brugler
2019 stats: 493-of-687 passing for 5,579 yards with 48 touchdowns against 16 interceptions in 13 starts; set school and Pac-12 single-season records for passing touchdowns and yards, completions and total offense (5,559)
Prolific passers club: Gordon stepped in and continued a run of prolific passing by Cougars QBs. After Luke Falk (a sixth-round pick of Tennessee) finished four seasons with a school-record 14,481 yards, Gardner Minshew followed with 4,779 in 2018 before he was selected in the sixth round by Jacksonville last year. Gordon overtook Minshew's marks in yards and touchdowns by 10 but threw eight more picks.
Reid's Review: "Anthony Gordon is a guy who is very similar to Gardner Minshew. I don't think his arm is as strong, but he really exemplifies that Mike Leach-type of quarterback, underdog, had to go that JuCo route, didn't get any offers. That's really Mike Leach's type. He doesn't have the strongest arm in the world, but where he wins is his smarts. He's able to anticipate and see things before they happen. He knows he doesn't have a strong arm, so he has to beat things to certain spots."
School: San Jose State | Year: Redshirt-Sr. | Ht: 6-foot-2 | Wt. 205 pounds
Rankings: No. 8 QB by PFF
2019 stats: 293-of-481 passing for 3,923 yards with 22 touchdowns against eight interceptions in 12 starts
A little of the unknown: Josh Love is the only player listed among these 13 quarterbacks who was not invited to the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. San Jose State's Pro Day, which was originally scheduled for March 18, was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so he was unable to throw for scouts in that setting. In any case, it's not the first time he's flown under the radar. The native of Mission Viejo, California, walked on with the Spartans and was redshirted in 2015. He was placed on scholarship in 2016 and became the first QB in school history to start season openers in three consecutive seasons since Adam Tafralis from 2005-07.
School: Hawai'i | Year: Redshirt-Jr. | Ht: 6-foot-3 | Wt. 215 pounds
Rankings: No. 9 QB by PFF
2019 stats: 326-of-511 passing for 4,135 yards with 33 touchdowns against 14 interceptions in 14 starts
In the running: McDonald provided a dual threat for the Rainbow Warriors, totaling 880 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns on 251 career rush attempts (7.6 attempts per game). He showcased his legs at the combine with a time of 4.58 seconds in the 40-yard dash, the fastest time among QBs this year and 11th-fastest by a QB since 2010.