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NFL 2016: NFL Quarterbacks Of The Future
Gil Brandt's choices for the top QBs in college and Tom Lemming's top seniors in high school today
The success of a team often hinges on the production at the quarterback position.
"Everybody feeds off of what the quarterback can and cannot do," says Pro Football Hall of Famer and ESPN NFL analyst STEVE YOUNG. "The foundation of the game is really built off of responding to what the quarterback presents."
Gil Brandt, who oversaw the Dallas Cowboys' personnel department for 29 years and currently shares his gridiron knowledge as a senior analyst for NFL.com, sees plenty of quarterback talent coming up the pike.
"The quarterbacks we see in college now are so much more developed passers than the quarterbacks we saw 25 years ago, simply because teams are throwing the ball so much more at the high school and collegiate level," says Brandt. "The 7-on-7 summer football camps have also really helped these young quarterbacks develop their passing skills."
Following are Brandt's choices for the top QBs in college today (listed alphabetically):
C.J. Beathard, Iowa
"Last season was Beathard's first as the starter and he threw 17 touchdowns, leading Iowa to an undefeated regular season. He is very smart with good leadership qualities and has good arm strength."
Luke Falk, Washington State
"Luke threw for 38 touchdowns last season and had a 69.4 completion percentage. He had three games with at least 497 passing yards against good teams -- very accurate and well coached by Mike Leach."
Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati
"He is a senior, who had a 65.2 completion percentage last season, and is very athletic with excellent arm strength and accuracy. His uncle, Blair Kiel, played seven years in the NFL."
Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech
"Entering his third year as a starter, Mahomes is probably as athletic as any of the quarterbacks we'll see this year. He has a strong arm and threw for 598 yards against Baylor. His father, Pat, pitched 11 years in Major League Baseball."
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
"Mayfield started 2013 as a walk-on at Texas Tech and transferred to Oklahoma after the season. Last year, he threw for 36 touchdowns and completed 68 percent of his passes. He is a Fran Tarkenton-type of quarterback because he moves around well and makes things happen."
Deshaun Watson, Clemson
"Watson is the real deal. He has excellent running ability with great arm strength and accuracy. He led Clemson to the National Championship game and was a Heisman finalist last season."
Gil Brandt's Honorable Mentions
J.T. Barrett, Ohio State; Max Browne, Southern California; Brad Kaaya, Miami (FL); Chad Kelly, Mississippi; Josh Rosen, UCLA; Seth Russell, Baylor.
Gil Brandt's Freshmen To Watch
Shea Patterson, Mississippi; Jacob Eason, Georgia.
The talent pool will only deepen with these five high school seniors, rated in order of talent by CBS Sports Network recruiting expert TOM LEMMING:
Jake Fromm Houston County (GA)
"He reminds me of Brett Favre. He's a gun slinger and he throws a 90+ mph baseball pitch. He's a great pocket passer and a pro-style quarterback. He's committed to the University of Georgia."
Dylan McCaffrey Valor Christian (CO)
"Dylan was the player of the year in Colorado. He's another pro-style quarterback who is very tall and comes from an athletic family. His brother is Stanford running back and Heisman hopeful Christian McCaffrey."
Hunter Johnson Brownsburg (IN)
"He is very talented. He had a great year and a great sophomore year. He's got all of the tools and is committed to Clemson."
N'Kosi Perry Vanguard (FL)
"The kind of kid you're looking for in college now, someone who can run and throw. He's got a lot of confidence. Overall, he is a great athlete -- great basketball player and track star."
Tate Martell Bishop Gorman (NV)
"He led Bishop Gorman to the National Championship the past two years. He's a Russell Wilson-type quarterback, who can run and throw. He throws exceptionally well on the run."
Tom Lemming's Honorable Mentions
Kellen Mond, IMG Academy (FL); Ryan Kelley, Basha (AZ); Shawn Robinson, DeSoto (TX); Avery Davis, Cedar Hill (TX); Jake Bentley, Opelika (AL); Davis Mills, Greater Atlanta Christian (GA); Myles Brennan, St. Stanislaus (MS); Hendon Hooker, Dudley (NC); Bailey Hockman, McEachern (GA).