Draft season never ends. Although the lights have turned off at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago and the lectern has been put away, teams are already setting their boards. With that in mind, Mark Schofield has an early look at the top QBs in the 2016 NFL draft.
Brandon Doughty – Western Kentucky
After being awarded a sixth season of eligibility from the NCAA because of a medical hardship, Doughty thrilled Hilltoppers fans and coaches alike by deciding to stay in school for one more season. Doughty suffered season-ending injuries in 2011 and 2012, but finished the 2013 season completing 66% of his passes for 2,857 yards and 14 touchdowns, with 14 interceptions. While those numbers were sufficient to make him the school’s single-season leading passer, Doughty shattered those statistics in 2014. He completed 68% of his passes for 4,830 yards and 49 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions.
The rising star led Jeff Brohm’s squad to an 8-4 finish last season, including a thrilling 49-48 victory over Central Michigan in the Bahamas Bowl. The Doughty-led offense posted a number of top-five offensive statistics in FBS, including ranking fourth in yards per game (534.6) and second in passing yards per game (374.3). These stats all led to Doughty being selected the Conference USA Player of the Year. He returns to the field this year ready to build on his 63 passing touchdowns, tops among active FBS players. In Brohm’s offense, Doughty displays both a strong arm and tremendous poise and vision, shown on this touchdown against the Chippewas:
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The Hilltoppers have Doughty in the shotgun with 21 personnel on the field against Central Michigan’s nickel using Cover 1. The QB does a great job of looking the free safety over to the slot side of the field before coming back to his TE on a post route for a touchdown. Doughty places this throw perfectly, showing his precision in the passing game.
While he is somewhat undersized for the position ‒ 6-foot-2 and 208 pounds ‒ and has a knee injury history that might concern NFL coaching staffs, Doughty likely possesses the strongest arm in next year’s draft class. A solid – and injury free – 2015 will move him from “relative unknown” to “hot prospect” quickly in draft circles.
Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkSchofield.