NFL Draft Notebook: Jalen Milroe is overrated while Ethan Garbers could breakout in 2024 season

Explore why Jalen Milroe may be overrated and why Ethan Garbers could shine this upcoming season.
Ethan Garbers
Ethan Garbers / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

Now that the 2024 NFL Draft is officially in the books NFL Draft Notebook will start breaking down each position in the 2025 NFL Draft. Earlier this week we released our top five quarterbacks and in this week’s article, we preview the overall class.

We start by naming our quarterbacks for different categories including top player, most overrated quarterback, and player who should have a big season this year. Then NDN gives some news and notes on some of the more interesting prospects and finally wraps up by giving our stats of the week.

2024 NFL Draft Quarterback Preview

Top Player: Shedeur Sanders, Colorado

Shedeur Sanders out of Colorado is a clear standout as the top quarterback prospect for the 2025 NFL Draft in terms of talent. His exceptional accuracy, highlighted by a record-setting 69.3 percent completion rate last season, distinguishes him. Notably, these completions weren't just short passes but often aggressive downfield throws, showcasing Sanders' willingness to challenge defenses. His physical prowess is another strength, evident in his ability to evade tackles in the pocket and possess one of the draft's stronger arms. However, concerns arise regarding his mental game. Sanders took 49 sacks last season, partly due to holding onto the ball too long and also because of his team's subpar offensive line. Additionally, his maturity level might be a drawback for more conservative teams looking for a first-round caliber quarterback.

Guy I would stand on the table for: Graham Mertz, Florida

A player I am higher on than other people is Florida quarterback Graham Mertz. One of the reasons I am so high on him is the strong season last year he had for Florida. He completed a school record 73% of his passes which is an impressive record considering the quarterbacks that played under Steve Spurrier. He also only threw three picks on the year and one of those interceptions bounced off his receivers' hands in the Kentucky game. I would not be surprised if Mertz had a similar raise up the draft board that we saw from Bo Nix this year.

Overrated: Jalen Milroe, Alabama

One player the media is likely much higher than NFL Draft scouts are is Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe who is widely projected to be a first-round pick. However, I only have him graded as a fourth-round pick going into the year. The biggest reason for this is he is far from an NFL passer. He misses way too many throws and only had a 68 grade on throws from 0-19 yards according to Pro Football Focus. He also has trouble going through his reads which allowed opponents to sack him 44 times last year, and he held onto the ball for an FBS-leading 3.45-second average according to PFF. On the positive side, he does have a strong arm and consistently hit the deep ball last year. His biggest asset though is his running ability which saw him account for 35 runs that went for at least 10 yards last year. As a runner, he is a physical runner who reminds me of Cam Newton in this area,

Sleeper: Dillon Gabriel, Oregon

A player who is being overlooked despite putting up outstanding production is Dillion Gabriel who will be playing for his third school this fall. Over his five-year career, he has thrown for 14,865 yards and 125 touchdowns while only throwing 26 interceptions. This season could be his best year as well as he will be playing in Oregon’s high-flying offense that averaged 41 points per game last season. As a pro prospect, his top trait is his ability to create plays downfield when things break down. He does this by showing good pocket presence and consistently keeping his eyes down field. Another positive is despite his ability to play out of structure he doesn’t turn the ball over much and over the last two seasons he has only a 2 percent turnover-worthy play rate. The one question he will need to answer this season though is that he has the arm strength to be a day-two pick in the 2025 NFL Draft.

Biggest risk: Tyler Shough, Louisville

Tyler Shough is a risky prospect because of his long history of injuries. He has suffered significant injuries each of the past three seasons, and over that time has only been able to start 15 games. When healthy though he does show NFL caliber traits including NFL size coming in at 6-foot-5 230 pounds, the arm strength to throw any pass in an NFL offense, and impressive mobility for a bigger quarterback.

Breakout player: Ethan Garbers, UCLA

A player who looked promising in his little playing time last year is UCLA’s Ethan Garbers who threw for 1,136 yards and 11 touchdowns while completing 67% of his passes in six games. This season he looks to be the full-time starter and he has the traits to move up teams draft boards. These traits include NFL size, good arm strength, and the mobility to escape the pocket when things break down.

NFL Draft news and notes

Injured again: Former Duke quarterback Riley Leonard missed significant time last year due to an ankle injury and this same injury has caused him to sit out Notre Dame’s spring ball. This is not good news when you see that he had to undergo another surgery on his ankle and also battled turf toe recently. On the field, Leonard is an athletic pocket passer, who has the traits including a strong arm to be a second-day pick in 2025. However, to live up to that potential he is going to need to show much better footwork when it comes to not getting happy feet in the pocket and stepping into his throws.

Must improve footwork: A quarterback who needs a lot of work on his footwork is Penn State’s Drew Allar. Several concerns arise when watching him in this area. The first concern is that he throws off his backfoot way too often. Another issue that arises is that he often has too wide of a base in the pocket, and both of these issues severely hurt his accueracy. Last season, he only completed 60% of his passes and in his teams biggest games of the year against Ohio State and Michigan he completed under 46% of his passes. In order to see these numbers improve he will need to fix these issues with his footwork.

The next Russell Wilson: A quarterback who impresses me and reminds me of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson is Arizona’s Noah Fifita. His most impressive trait is his football IQ which his coaches rave about, and this trait is evident on his film too by often how well he goes through his reads. He also has a strong arm which allows him to throw under pressure evidenced by his 73.3 Pro Football Focus grade when under pressure this past season which ranked fifth in the FBS last season. One reason he could fall in the draft if he declares after this season is that he is on the shorter side coming in at only 5-foot-11.

"Noah is different than the guys that I’ve coached, but the one thing you notice is how sharp his mind is, how accurate he is with the football and how he makes things happen. All of those qualities are qualities that lead to not only a fantastic college career, but an NFL career."

Arizona OC Dino Babers on Noah Fifita

Steelers could be looking at QB in 2025: One team who could be in the market for a quarterback in the 2025 NFL Draft, despite adding two quarterbacks this offseason is the Pittsburgh Steelers. With Russell Wilson on just a one-year contract, and Justin Field's having yet to prove himself as a high-quality starter taking a quarterback in the first round could be in the cards for Pittsburgh. Two quarterbacks who could make sense for the Steelers are Colorado's Shedeur Sanders and Georgia's Carson Beck.

Rams another team in the 2025 QB market: Another team that will be paying close attention to the 2025 quarterback class is the Los Angeles Rams. The reason for this is Matthew Stafford is 36 years old and the team has little behind him. 2024 draft pick Stetson Bennett has not looked like a future starting quarterback and his commitment to football has to be seriously questioned. Along with Sanders and Beck another quarterback to watch for the Rams is Jaxson Dart of Ole Miss.

NFL Draft stats of the week

52 percent: New Notre Dame Riley Leonard quarterback completed under 52 percent of his passes against all four of the top 25 teams he played last season.

5: The number of games Penn State quarterback Drew Aller completed under 50 percent of his passes last season.

239: The number of consecutive passes without an interception Florida quarterback Graham Metz went without an interception last year which is a school record.

61: The number of touchdowns Central Missouri quarterback Zach Zebrowski threw last season. The Division Two prospect should be brought into training camp as an undrafted free agent after the 2025 NFL Draft.