Every quarterback has questions to answer during the NFL Draft evaluation process. For Utah State signal-caller Jordan Love, the big question is why he didn’t progress in 2019. He went from a solid, toolsy starter in 2017, to a breakout player in 2018 who looked like a potential first-round pick with proper progression in 2019. Instead of progressing, Love’s PFF grade dropped from 82.8 to 75.0 as he finished with the seventh-highest percentage of turnover-worthy plays (4.7%) — by far the highest rate among quarterbacks whose names are being discussed in the first round. Love’s actual interception number went from six in 2018 to 17 last year, and that’s the number evaluators are trying to figure out.
There’s more to the Love evaluation than just interceptions, and given the fickle nature of interceptions and turnover-worthy plays, it really shouldn’t be the focus. We will look at Love’s ability to make NFL throws all over the field, but it’s his aggressive nature that will lead to a wide range of outcomes, meaning high-level seasons could be in there, but disastrous seasons should be as well. Love’s game elicits classic debates about tools vs. production, but it goes deeper than that. Let’s take a look.
So many evaluations start with the question, “Can he make all of the throws?” Love certainly can, and his highlight reel makes him look like a top-10 pick. Love has spectacular throws from the pocket, on the run, into tight windows, in the red zone, with great zip, and with great touch. For scouts looking to “tick all the boxes,” Love has plenty of ticks in the arm talent department.
Love doesn’t turn down many throws, and that leads to his variety of big-time throws. He can drop it in the bucket or layer it over linebackers, while scouts have also thrown around the Mahomes comparison due to a few tight-window lasers and off-schedule plays. Love has made so many outstanding throws around defenders that he’s not afraid to continue trying them. This is the part that goes in the “good” and “bad” category.