2025 NFL Draft: Top quarterbacks in key PFF categories

2X12WKC Athens, GA - APRIL 13: Georgia Bulldogs Quarterback Carson Beck (15) looks down field during the G-Day Red and Black Spring Game on April 13, 2024, Sanford Stadium in Athens, GA. (Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

• Connor Weigman was an elite quarterback before getting hurt: Weigman played in just four games in 2023 before losing the rest of his season to a foot injury. In those four games, he recorded an elite 90.7 passing grade without play-action.

Shedeur Sanders and Dillon Gabriel impress: Both quarterbacks finished top three in multiple PFF passing categories.

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Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

As we’ve begun our summer scouting for the 2025 NFL Draft, we wanted to share some key findings from PFF's data for 20 of the top draft-eligible quarterbacks. Here is how some of the best 2025 quarterback prospects performed in some key PFF metrics and grades last season. 

Passing Grade With No Play-Action: Conner Weigman, Texas A&M

Runner Ups: Carson Back, Dillon Gabriel

Weigman played in just four games in 2023 before losing the rest of his season to a foot injury. In those four games, he recorded an elite 90.7 passing grade when play-action was not used. Play-action is useful and even encouraged, as it adds another layer that the defense has to consider when reacting post-snap. Nonetheless, it can also be a bit of a crutch for quarterbacks in their post-snap reads, so observing how well they play both with and without play-action is useful when making professional projections. If you aren’t happy with Weigman being the choice given his lack of games played, Carson Beck, Dillon Gabriel and Shedeur Sanders all graded very well in situations without play-action. 

Passing Grade On Early Downs (first and second): Carson Beck, Georgia

Runner Ups: Tyler Van Dyke, Dillon Gabriel

Early down success is a translatable trait to the NFL level. Beck’s 90.4 passing grade on early downs tied Miami‘s Tyler Van Dyke, but Beck did it despite 100 more dropbacks. Beck also recorded the most passing yards on early downs of any of the 2025 quarterbacks we observed. 

Avoiding Negatives: Conner Weigman, Texas A&M 

Runner Ups: Carson Beck, Shedeur Sanders

In the four games Weigman suited up for in 2023, he received a poor grade on just 10.3% of his dropbacks. Both Beck and Sanders were close with many more games played, both tied for second at 10.7%. Weigman will have a lot of expectations on his shoulders due to how well he was playing before going down with injury. It is worth noting his competition level was not the strongest in those four games when considering his low rate of avoiding negatives. 

Third-and-long (seven-plus): Noah Fifita, Arizona

Runner Ups: Connor Weigman, Dillon Gabriel

Despite measuring in at just 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds, Fifita was one of the top quarterbacks in the country. Following in Bryce Young’s footsteps, Fifita was defying the odds in 2023, including on third down. Fifita’s 91.8 grade on third-and-long was the top mark for the 20 quarterbacks we measured for this piece. He did not record a turnover-worthy play on third-and-long all season while 49.0% of those throws were past the sticks. Gabriel produced more big-time throws but also more turnover-worthy plays while Weigman’s grades were similar to Fifita’s but with many fewer games played.

Intermediate Middle (10-19 yards, between the numbers): Shedeur Sanders, Colorado

Runner Ups: Noah Fifita, Quinn Ewers 

Sanders isn’t the biggest quarterback in the class, as he will likely measure in officially between 6-foot-1 and 6-foot-2, which would put him around the 30th percentile in height for NFL quarterbacks. Nonetheless, that didn’t stop him from efficiently throwing over the middle of the field, earning a 93.7 grade in that category. He recorded three big-time throws and just one turnover-worthy play when targeting that area of the field. Surprisingly, another quarterback of even smaller stature, Fifita, finished with the second-highest grade when passing in this category.

Play Under Pressure: Graham Mertz, Florida

Runner Ups: Conner Weigman, Noah Fifita

Mertz played the best season of his career in 2023. His big time throw rate was down, but that was the price for being one of the most efficient and smart quarterbacks in college football. His 80.5 passing grade under pressure was best of the bunch, which was an incredible improvement for him, as his previous single-season high in that category was 52.4. If he can push the ball with more regularity while keeping the ball out of harm's way in 2024, he could shoot up QB rankings for the 2025 draft.

Wins Above Average: Carson Beck, Georgia 

Runner Ups: Dillon Gabriel, Shedeur Sanders

Beck’s 1.19 wins above average mark was the highest amongst the 20 2025 quarterbacks we tracked for this article. Wins above average combine how well a player performed in each facet of play (using PFF grades) and how valuable each facet is to winning football games. Beck performed at a high-level last season, especially down the stretch. Gabriel was next with 1.01 wins above average and Sanders was third at 0.85.

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