Former NFL head coach and current ESPN analyst Jon Gruden held a conference call on Thursday to discuss the top quarterbacks in the 2016 NFL Draft. Gruden recently worked with seven of this year's best signal-callers during his annual QB camp.
Here are the top notes about each quarterback prospect from the hour-long media availability.1. Jared Goff, California
Gruden spoke to the challenge of Goff transitioning from Cal's no-huddle offense to a pro-style system that will put him under center for the first time since high school.
"Jared Goff comes from a no‑huddle, shotgun, spread offense where most of the information comes from the sideline, so that will cause him to have some serious adjustments," Gruden said. "But after spending a day with him, he is a quick study. He's got a real strong group of intangibles for him. He's got a great family background that has pushed him and pushed him to this level.
"I think Jared Goff has everything I'm looking for in the pocket. He has great feet. He keeps his feet alive at all times. He takes punishment. He'll create new launching spots. He's a very talented pocket passer. I would want him if I were still coaching."2. Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
Now that the Eagles have traded up to the No. 2 pick, there's a good chance that Wentz lands in Philadelphia. One reporter asked Gruden how he'd be able to handle the intense pressure in the "City of Brotherly Love."
"The one thing that stands out about Wentz is his off-the-field intangibles," Gruden said. "He's a two‑time captain, he's a 4.0 GPA, he's a fifth‑year finishing senior, valedictorian in high school, very faith-oriented. If anybody can stand the mental pressure that comes with playing in Philadelphia and withstand the physical pressure that it takes to play at a high level, it's Carson Wentz."3. Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Most draft analysts consider the Memphis product to be the third-best quarterback in the draft. Some project him going as high as the top-15, and others see him as an early pick on Day 2.
"Lynch is, to me, the most intriguing man in this draft because of his size and his athletic ability," Gruden said. "You don't find guys that are 6-foot-7, 245 that can run this fast. He's got a 37-inch vertical jump, and he put Memphis on the map of college football. This man is winning a lot of games at Memphis where football really was an afterthought. He's a dual‑threat with over 280 career rushes. He has a poor man's Cam Newton style about him. You don't realize how much they rely on him as a runner in this offense. I like the way he's been coached."4. Connor Cook, Michigan State
Many people have been banging Cook's drum as the draft nears, and Gruden might be leading that charge.
"I'm a big believer in body of work, and Connor Cook's body of work at the college level is as good as anyone in this draft and in many drafts that I've seen in recent years," Gruden said. "He's 34‑5. He beat five top-10 teams. He's the all‑time leading passer at Michigan State. He had a chance to redshirt and watch Kirk Cousins for a full season, and I think that's beneficial. I love the system of football that this kid comes from. He's not completing a bunch of pop screens and bubble screens and quick screens like all these other quarterbacks. He's coming out of the huddle and he's ripping it down the field."
Gruden added that he believes Cook would be a "great pick for the 49ers."5. Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
The former Penn State signal-caller didn't have a stellar senior season from a statistical standpoint (16 touchdowns and six interceptions), but Gruden believes his game will translate to the NFL.
"I think he's put together, he's smart, he's tough," Gruden said. "He's a lot better athlete than you think. He just has this presence about him. He has the loudest, most commanding snap count that I've heard since Andrew Luck. He has a lot of playing experience in two different systems. I think he competes his butt off. I think he wants this real bad. He and Connor Cook had six or seven fourth‑quarter comebacks. I like this kid a lot. I think he's got the NFL size, the strength in his arm and the desire to be great that you need to have at this level."6. Cardale Jones, Ohio State
The 2014 College Football Playoff National Championship-winnnig quarterback is far from a polished product, but Jones' size and skill set is impossible to ignore.
"Well, obviously the size, the arm strength, the nickname, '12-gauge,' and the athletic ability impressed me," Gruden said. "I saw him jump over a guy a few years ago against Maryland, and I said, 'Who the hell is that guy?' And then I saw the arm strength in the playoffs, and I said, 'I've got to meet this young man.' He has a 36-inch vertical jump, 250-plus pounds, he can run under 4.8, and he has a rocket for an arm."7. Dak Prescott, Mississippi
The opinions vary on what round Prescott should go in the draft, leaving it up to the preference of what each team is looking for in their quarterback prospects.
"You have to take a good look at the production, running and passing, the last two years he had at Mississippi State," Gruden said. "I don't know anybody that's really won (there). He's won at Mississippi State. This team was No. 1 in the nation at one point last year or two years ago. He's a big, strong, powerful kid. You can be really creative with your game planning with a man like this. I just think he's got to continue to tighten up his passing release."