Two B1G players among Todd McShay's top NFL quarterback prospects
Chances are, you already know that Todd McShay is high on two B1G quarterbacks.
His decision to put Mitch Leidner in his way-too-early 2016 mock draft raised some eyebrows, to say the least. It raised enough eyebrows for us to investigate it with an in-depth film study with Pro Football Focus.
You also might know that McShay is a believer in C.J. Beathard. When he sat down and watched the film, he called the Iowa quarterback “underrated” and said that he liked what he saw.
Naturally, both B1G West quarterbacks earned spots among McShay’s top 10 quarterback prospects.
They were, however, slotted differently than when McShay came out with his first mock draft back in May. Leidner dropped to No. 6 among quarterback prospects while Beathard made a significant leap. He jumped all the way up to No. 3 among McShay’s favorite quarterback prospects, behind only Heisman front-runner DeShaun Watson and Miami’s Brad Kaaya.
Here’s what McShay wrote about Beathard, who earned a grade of 75:
Beathard showed great toughness and leadership last season, as he played through injury and led the Hawkeyes to a Rose Bowl berth. He can drive the ball vertically with his quick, compact delivery and has the quickness to slide in the pocket to elude pressure. If Beathard continues to improve his footwork, he could be an early-round pick in 2017.
And here’s what he wrote about Leidner, who earned a grade of 62:
Leidner does not have a big arm, but he can improve his ball velocity by getting his lower body more involved in his throws. He plays in a zone-read-heavy run offense and is a competitive runner with above-average vision, speed and toughness. Leidner hung tough in the pocket behind an offensive line that struggled to protect. He has elite intangibles.
Both of those number grades might look a little low, but McShay gave Watson, his No. 1 quarterback prospect, an 88. Only he and Kaaya earned grades in the 80s.
It’ll be interesting to see if both B1G signal-callers can live up to or even exceed those rankings. Beathard was a second-team All-B1G quarterback despite playing through multiple lower-body injuries. Leidner also played through lower body injuries, and like Beathard, he’s expected to be healthy for 2016.
Will either end the B1G’s 21-year drought without a first-round quarterback?