This year's crop of quarterbacks is better than last year's wasteland but there is really no clear-cut No. 1 prospect. There is some consensus, though. Four quarterbacks will be taken in the first 30 or so picks who are viewed as the same quality of prospect with different strengths and weaknesses.
Bryce Young is a Heisman Trophy winner but does not have the prototypical size for a QB and is, in fact, one of the smallest elite QB prospects to enter the draft in recent years. C.J. Stroud has the size and the physical traits but played at Ohio State in Ryan Day's system which has not produced a good NFL quarterback yet. Will Levis also has the size and physical traits but played at Kentucky against lesser competition and did not put up big numbers. Anthony Richardson has all the physical traits but struggles to actually quarterback on tape.
There is a "but" for every prospect. Legitimate doubts, not weird nitpicky issues that popped up two weeks before the draft because everyone watched too much film. It doesn't really matter, though, because a competent quarterback on a rookie deal is the most valuable asset in football and teams will absolutely burn a high first-round pick for the slimmest chance of acquiring one.
This is probably why Mel Kiper Jr. predicted there will be four quarterbacks taken in the first 10 picks in his first mock draft of the season. Kiper has Stroud going second overall to the Houston Texans, Young at fourth overall to the Indianapolis Colts, Levis at fifth overall to the Seattle Seahawks, and Richardson at ninth overall to the Carolina Panthers.
Richardson going ninth is as high as he can possibly go. He's a developmental prospect that everybody universally agrees needs at least a year before he can be effective at the highest level. It's wild that Kiper thinks Stroud will go before Young after an entire year spent assuming Young will be the first QB off the board but it isn't that crazy after the College Football Playoffs.
Levis to the Seahawks is the biggest wild card, though. Geno Smith was pretty good this year! He is definitely an above-average quarterback. Seattle has to be convinced that Levis is a star in the making to use their highest pick in 14 years on another QB. And if Levis were that obvious a star in the making he'd go higher. Kiper Jr. clearly thinks highly of the Kentucky product.
And we aren't even in true Mock Draft Szn yet. Buckle up, folks.