Joe Burrow is the first quarterback who will be taken in the 2020 NFL Draft. But the QB talent of this class does not start and end with Burrow. Jordan Love will hear his name called not long after Burrow.
Love attended Liberty High School in Bakersfield, California. He played football and basketball in high school, and in his senior year, he was a dual-threat player. Love passed for more than 2,000 yards and also ran for another 800. He accounted for 32 total touchdowns that year.
247Sports had Love rated as a three-star recruit and ranked No. 70 among Pro-Style quarterbacks in the 2016 recruiting class. He was not heavily recruited and received only five offers from schools. He signed with Utah State in December 2015 and redshirted his first season in 2016.
Love has the second-most passing yards of any QB in Aggies history. He is also tied for second place in terms of touchdown passes. Love was not able to transfer the rushing deeds of his high school days to college, although he was able to pinch the odd rushing touchdown.
It may concern some evaluators that Love’s production fell off quite drastically between 2018 and 2019. His completion percentage, adjusted yards per attempt and touchdowns all reduced. His interceptions did not. Many of his struggles can be partially explained away by the many changes the Aggies had on offense in 2019. But Love did own his interception issue, saying that on occasion he tried to do too much. This self-awareness is good to see in a young QB.
Love is not going to be the first overall pick. But he is a player that most ranking services seem to like. He’s the QB5 over at CBS, who have him ranked as the No.36 prospect in the entire draft. The Draft Network and Draft Scout are in agreement with each other and have Love ranked as QB4. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah sent Love to the Indianapolis Colts with the 13th overall selection in his first mock draft, making him one of four QBs to be taken in the first round.
Love did himself a power of good at the Senior Bowl last week. Emory Hunt wrote that
The traits that made Love such a talked-about prospect were on full display.
has arm strength for days and athleticism that draws comparison to Patrick Mahomes.
In the interest of balance, it should be stressed that Love is not without fault. Joe Marino of the Draft Network notes that
Love needs to improve his field vision and awareness. (He) often fails to recognize or completely disregards coverage rotations and it doesn’t have a great enough impact on his decision making.
Marino does end his analysis on a mostly positive note, however, stressing that Love’s “arm talent and mobility is perfect for the trends of today’s NFL and there are no limitations to what he can do on the field.”
There is little doubt that Love has already gone a long way towards ensuring his name will be among the first 32 to be called out in Las Vegas. Whether he is entrusted with a starting gig straight away or asked to learn behind a veteran, his landing spot should dictate. But does our research support the idea that Love can be a fantasy-relevant performer in the NFL?
THE ROTOVIZ ANGLE
Blair Andrews has done tremendous work regarding the age of rookie QBs, and how this relates to long-term fantasy success. The chart below shows average fantasy points per season by draft age.
As Blair himself noted,
the top-performing cohort is the group of players who were 21-year-old rookies. However, the gap between the age-21 cohort and the age-22 cohort is considerably smaller than at other positions.
Love will turn 22 years old in November 2020. His age is, therefore, a positive factor in determining if he will be someone we can rely on in fantasy circles in years to come.
Blair also looked at the percentage of player-seasons that finish in the top 12. This is where the age of a rookie like Love becomes even more interesting.
QBs who were 22-year-old rookies have produced almost as many QB1 seasons as those who were 21. This is yet another positive indicator for Jordan Love.
There is little doubt in my mind that unless Jordan Love turns up for his interviews with NFL teams wearing nothing but a Cowboy hat and a smile that he will be a first-round draft choice for someone in 2020. There are enough reports in his favor to suggest that last season was an explainable blip. History also suggests that he will post fantasy-relevant seasons in the NFL. Waiting to see where he lands will be one of the more fascinating minor storylines come draft day.