Recapping the 2019 college seasons of top NFL draft QBs


As many as four quarterbacks could be selected Thursday night in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft. And another three could have their names called on Friday as the second and third rounds of the draft are held.

Here’s a look back at the 2019 seasons of the first seven quarterbacks expected to be taken in the draft. This list is in alphabetical order, though it’s a very safe bet that Heisman winner Joe Burrow will be the first QB to hear his name called.

Joe Burrow, LSU2019 stats

402-of-527 passing for 5,571 yards; 60 TDs and 6 interceptions

Burrow put up video game numbers as LSU rolled to the national title. His completion percentage of 76.3 led the nation and he averaged 10.8 yards per passing attempt, up from 7.6 yards per attempt in 2018 in his first year as LSU’s starting QB.

Best game

Let’s go with a playoff game. Burrow and the LSU offense made a massive statement in the Tigers’ dramatic win over Texas in Week 2. That game, where Burrow completed nearly 80 percent of his passes and threw for 471 yards, was a sign of things to come. But the obvious answer here is Burrow’s seven touchdown game against Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl. Burrow was 29-of-39 passing for 493 yards as the Tigers blitzed the Sooners in the first half on the way to an easy win.

Worst game

This one is relative, of course. But Burrow’s “worst” game of the year came in the national title game win over Clemson. And yes, he threw for 463 yards and five touchdowns. However, his completion percentage was just 63 percent. That “lackluster” effort meant that Burrow didn’t break the single-season record for best completion percentage.  

Projected draft range

It’s going to be a seismic shock if Burrow is not the No. 1 pick by the Cincinnati Bengals

Jacob Eason, Washington2019 stats

260-of-405 passing for 3,132 yards; 23 TDs and 8 interceptions

Eason was solid in his only season with Washington. He was the team’s starting quarterback in 2019 after sitting out the 2018 season following a transfer from Georgia. 

Best game

Oregon pulled off a comeback win against Washington on Oct. 19. But it wasn’t because Eason played poorly. Eason completed nearly 77 percent of his passes and threw for 289 yards and three touchdowns. 

Worst game

Washington broke a two-game losing streak against Oregon State on Nov. 8 but Eason struggled. He was just 16-of-32 passing for 175 yards and threw two interceptions. The Huskies went 1-2 in the three games after losing to Oregon as Eason threw five of his eight interceptions in that span. 

Projected draft range

Eason could be selected Friday in either the second or the third round of the draft. 

Jake Fromm, Georgia2019 stats

234-of-385 passing for 2,860 yards; 24 TDs and 5 interceptions

Fromm had the worst season of his college career in 2019 under one-and-done offensive coordinator James Coley. Yeah, his five interceptions were the fewest he’d thrown in three seasons, but his yards per pass fell from 9.0 to 7.4 and his completion percentage of 60.8 was the lowest of his career. 

Best game

This one is easy. Fromm was 20-of-30 passing for 279 yards and two touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ win over Florida on Nov. 2. It was just one of four games all season where Fromm threw for over 275 yards.

Worst game

This one is easy too. The Bulldogs lost to South Carolina at home on Oct. 12 as Fromm threw three interceptions. 

Projected draft range

Like his former Georgia teammate Eason, Fromm could be taken on Friday. Eason transferred from Georgia after Fromm emerged as the starter in 2017 following Eason’s knee injury in the first week of the season.

Justin Herbert, Oregon2019 stats

286-of-428 passing for 3,471 yards; 32 TDs and 6 interceptions

Herbert could have been a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft but decided to come back for his senior season. That worked out nicely as he completed over two-thirds of his passes, averaged over eight yards an attempt and threw for over 30 touchdowns for the first time.

Best game

Herbert was fantastic as Oregon rocked USC at the Coliseum on Nov. 2. Herbert was 21-of-26 passing for 225 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for a TD in the Ducks’ 56-24 win. 

Worst game

Herbert threw interceptions on back-to-back drives in the third and fourth quarters against Arizona State. The picks led to 10 points for the Sun Devils, who went up 24-7 with less than nine minutes to go. While Oregon scored 21 points before the end of the game it wasn’t enough as the Ducks’ playoff hopes vanished in a 31-28 loss.

Story continues

Projected draft range

The No. 18 prospect according to Yahoo Sports’ Eric Edholm, Herbert could be a top-10 pick on Thursday night. 

Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma2019 stats

237-of-340 passing for 3,851 yards; 32 TDs and 8 interceptions

Hurts didn’t become the third different Oklahoma QB in three years to win the Heisman in 2019. But he did finish second in his only season with the Sooners. In addition to throwing for nearly 4,000 yards, Hurts also rushed for 1,298 yards and 20 touchdowns as he posted 53 total touchdowns. 

Best game

We got an immediate glimpse of how good Hurts could be in an Oklahoma uniform in Week 1. He was 20-of-23 passing for 332 yards and three scores while rushing for 176 yards and three scores as OU easily beat Houston. It was the first of five games where Hurts both threw for more than one TD and rushed for more than one score.

Worst game

While Burrow shined against a much-maligned Oklahoma defense, Hurts struggled against LSU. He was just 15-of-31 passing for 217 yards and didn’t throw a TD pass for the first time all season. His 43 rushing yards was also his second-lowest output of the season.

Projected draft range

Hurts could go as early as Friday in the second or third rounds. If he’s not picked in the first three rounds then you can bet he’ll be one of the first players chosen Saturday morning. 

Jordan Love, Utah State2019 stats293-of-473 passing for 3,402 yards; 20 TDs and 17 interceptions

Love is the only potential early-round pick in the draft who threw for more than eight interceptions in 2019. Love was fantastic in 2018 as he threw for 32 scores and tossed just six picks. But his stats took a step back across the board as Utah State returned just two starters on offense in 2019 and coach Matt Wells went to Texas Tech. 

Best game

Love was 30-of-39 passing for 388 yards and two touchdowns in the Aggies’ rollercoaster win over Fresno State on Nov. 9. Love’s two TD passes helped USU jump out to a 28-14 early in the third quarter, but Fresno State scored three TDs to take the lead ahead of Utah State’s game-winning field goal as time expired.

Worst game

It was not pretty when Love and Utah State traveled to LSU on Oct. 5. He was just 15-of-30 passing for 130 yards and three interceptions in the blowout loss. It was a very anti-climactic matchup of two potential first-round QBs. 

Projected draft range

Love is at No. 31 on Edholm’s prospect list and could be taken in the first round on Thursday night. Because of his stat line and his school and conference, Love is the most unknown of the early-round QB prospects to casual football fans. But there’s a chance that he could be the second or third QB off the board. 

Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama2019 stats

180-of-252 passing for 2,840 yards; 33 TDs and 3 interceptions

By now you know that Tagovailoa’s season was cut short because of a broken and dislocated hip against Mississippi State. That injury came after Tagovailoa suffered an ankle injury against Tennessee. Before the hip injury, Tagovailoa was on pace to have a better season than he did in 2018 when he completed 69 percent of his passes and threw for 43 TDs and just six interceptions.

Best game

Tagovailoa was fantastic against South Carolina as he was 28-of-36 passing for 444 yards and five touchdowns. Until he left the Tennessee game with that ankle injury without throwing a TD pass, Tagovailoa had thrown at least three TDs in each of the first six games of the season. 

Worst game

Like Burrow, this is a hard one to answer. Tagovailoa didn’t have a “bad” game. Though there’s a moment in the Tide’s loss to LSU that makes that game the obvious pick.

LSU went up 26-13 in the second quarter after an Alabama punt. On the first play of the Tide’s next possession with just 26 seconds left in the half, Tagovailoa threw a pass that was intercepted by Patrick Queen. LSU scored just before halftime to go up 33-13 on the way to a 46-41 win.

Projected draft range

Who knows? If Tagovailoa ended the season without the hip injury he’d be vying with Burrow to be the Bengals’ choice. Instead, he’s facing the prospect of being a top-five pick or potentially falling toward the middle of the first round. 

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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