Media conference calls are an annual staple of the pre-draft process. Analysts like Mike Mayock, Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay hold court with reporters from around the country to provide their insight and expertise.
But Jon Gruden's media session may be the most unique. The "Monday Night Football" analyst and former Super Bowl-winning head coach is perhaps the most qualified person to evaluate quarterback prospects. Gruden hosted this year's top signal-callers at his annual quarterback camp held during the pre-draft process.
Seven QBs from this class have met with Gruden: Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer, Nathan Peterman, Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, Davis Webb and Joshua Dobbs.
On Wednesday, Gruden shared his thoughts on all seven. Of note, he said that he expects four quarterbacks to go in the first round: Watson, Mahomes, Trubisky and one additional sleeper, which could be any of the remaining four names.
Here are Gruden's full comments:
Deshaun Watson, Clemson
"His body of work impressed me the most. He went to back-to-back national championship games. He beat the best teams in college football. I love the poise that he plays with. He played his best football when Clemson was behind and all the chips were on the table. He's got thick skin, and he's mentally tough. I saw him overcome three interceptions to come back and beat Louisville. I like his overall game. He's athletic. He's a dual-threat. He's got the intangibles that everyone craves."
DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
"I liked him when I met with him. He's obviously very sharp and well spoken. He's charismatic in a lot of ways. He's not real proud of (Notre Dame's) 4-8 record. But I did like him. I thought he had a genuine, sincere, honest nature about him. I like his obvious size, and the strength of his arm is impressive. Would I use a first round pick on him? Probably not. I don't think the body of work is complete. I think there are some things that he's got to resolve in terms of late game situations. There are some things where I think he's still a little rough around the edges. But from an athletic standpoint he's got a lot of ability. He's athletic, he's tough and he's got a cannon of an arm."
*Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina *
"Do the 13 starts concern me? Yes, they do. I don't remember many quarterbacks with just 13 career starts. They didn't finish strong, either. They lost in the bowl game to Stanford. The Virginia Tech game was not good. They lost to Duke in a big game. I would have liked to see him stay (in school). But, he is talented, and he did get results. He had some really good moments – in Tallahassee against Florida State and bringing them back to beat Pitt. He's a dual-threat. I don't think people realize how athletic Trubisky is. He's still a big mystery to a lot of people. It will be very interesting to see how high he goes."
Nathan Peterman, Pitt
"I like the kid at Pitt, honestly. if you said I had to go out there today as a head coach, I'd go out there with Nathan Peterman. He'd allow us to do just about anything in the game plan. I think he throws the ball pretty darn well, and he's very sharp. He's a lot like Andy Dalton to me. I'd go with Peterman if I had to put him out there in a few months.
"His passing mechanics and his whole demeanor – he's buttoned up all the way. He is sharp. I think he's going to be a real good pro quarterback. I just have a real confidence in that. He can memorize. He can execute any play you dream up. I'm smitten with him a little bit as a player.
Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech
"Mahomes is the most intriguing player in this draft. His arm talent is special. He can really rifle the ball, not only with velocity and accuracy, but he can do it from awkward positions. He can throw the ball side arm, off balance and under duress. He can really rip it. I just think he's got a big time arm. He's athletic. He's got a huge upside. It's going to take a little time to make the transition as he was a true junior. You can't forget that."
Davis Webb, Cal
"Davis Webb is interesting. He transferred from Texas Tech to Cal. He played in a no-huddle offense similar to the one that Jared Goff played in. He displays some touch, accuracy and arm talent. He's not a mobile quarterback. He's not the athlete that Mahomes is. But, he is accurate, and he had a very good week of practice at the Senior Bowl. He proved he could adapt quickly and learn. I think he's going to be in the conversation for a lot of these teams in the first three rounds of the draft."
Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee
"I would love to get my hands on Dobbs. He, to me, is a great sleeper in this draft. He played in an offense where there weren't a lot of pure drop backs. He was a running quarterback. He ran for more than 2,000 yards in the SEC. But if you watch the second half of the Florida game, and if you watch the Nebraska game, you see passing ability. He, much like Davis Webb, stood out in the Senior Bowl as a guy who could make a quick transition. This kid is smart, he loves it, he'll be a quick study and his athleticism is going to be hard to keep off the field. This guy has the heart of a champion. I really like Dobbs a lot. Hopefully someone with a real creative mind gets him."