I’m writing this a little bit earlier this year for a reason, which I’ll explain at the end. Here are my early thoughts on what the 2025 draft looks like a year out.

It’s not as bad at quarterback as people are saying

What the class doesn’t have is a physical phenom right at the top, or a cluster of big names we’ve been waiting to become draft eligible. There are, however, some very interesting players to study over the summer.

I would highly recommend checking out Max Brosmer, who recently transferred from New Hampshire to Minnesota. He caught the eye studying Dylan Laube for this draft class and he has an eye-catching skill-set. His release is quick and compact and he has an easy flick of the wrist to generate velocity downfield. He’s very good at looking off defenders to throw into layered areas. His accuracy on medium-to-long range throws is good and he’s a decent athlete. Clearly we need to see him take on superior opponents in the BIG-10 next year but Brosmer is extremely interesting and someone who could generate a growing buzz.

Riley Leonard showed a lot of positive traits at Duke, including the ability to drag his team into competitive games. He had a knack of making big conversions to extend drives and he played a vital role in a win against Clemson and a near-win against Notre Dame. He has great size, athleticism, a decent arm and he’s very competitive. He can make plays as a thrower and runner. As a passer he requires more polish and he needs to improve his consistency and accuracy. At Notre Dame, he should have the kind of supporting cast to take the next step.

Quinn Ewers is going to experience a very interesting next 12 months. I like Ewers and think he deserves more positive attention. His release is beautiful and quick, he has a rare ability to produce loft, velocity and accuracy on deep throws. I really like some of the layered, technical throws he’s shown in big moments (see: Alabama road win). I watched his performance vs Washington twice and in isolation, he played very well. He has too many mental errors that still produce turnovers — but his natural talent is clear for all to see. The problem he has is momentum is already trending towards Arch Manning online and you wonder what’ll happen if he doesn’t come flying out of the traps. He’s lost two good receivers and Texas’ defense has lost some other key parts. I think he’s the kind of player John Schneider will be fond of and he’s one to keep an eye on this year.

There are others to mention too. Shedeur Sanders will be near the top of many early mock drafts and he is remarkably talented. I’m just not sure whether Colorado are good enough to enable him to stay healthy and deliver on his potential in college football. Plus, his dad seems determined to be a headache as he approaches the league. Carson Beck lacks some of the big, eye-catching physical tools but his play really came on last year and he’ll have a chance to elevate his stock further in 2024. Missouri’s Brady Cook is flying under the radar and while he too lacks the big, physical tools — he does everything well and has shown to be a playmaker. He also has the benefit of throwing to college football’s top receiver in Luther Burden.

Some big names transferred to try and improve their stock, including Tyler Van Dyke swapping Miami and Mario Cristobal for Wisconsin and Luke Fickell. It’s a great switch and could salvage his career. Will Howard has gone to Ohio State from Kansas State and with the Buckeye’s bringing back so many players from last year — he could have a big season. Cam Ward has gone to Miami, Will Rogers to Washington, Grayson McCall to NC State, DJ Uiagalelei to Florida State and KJ Jefferson to UCF.

In terms of underclassmen, I can’t say I was ever that excited watching Penn State’s Drew Allar in 2023 but he has great size, is a former five-star recruit and hopefully the offense he plays in won’t hold him back. It helps they were able to poach talented receiver Julian Fleming from Ohio State. Jalen Milroe has a chance to work with Kalen DeBoer at Alabama and that could do wonders for his stock.

There are always players who emerge, too.

There’s nearly always a reason why runs on quarterbacks happen. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we saw six taken in the top-12 in the 2024 draft — I do think it reflects on how teams view the future. Just as I think teams looked at the poor standard of the 2022 group and decided to wait, knowing better players were coming. The 2025 quarterback class will not generate much excitement this summer — but there’s a bit more to it than the media are suggesting.

Several other big names are returning to college

It’ll be a relief when the bonus Covid years are no longer a thing and we know exactly how long players will be able to stay in college. A whole bunch of prospects who were expected to be in the 2024 draft returned to school.

TreyVeyon Henderson, Tyleik Williams, J.T. Tuimoloau, Jack Sawyer, Denzel Burke, Emeka Edbuka and Donovan Jackson all announced they’re staying at Ohio State, presumably with the ambition of finally beating Michigan. There’s some decent NFL talent here, even if it doesn’t translate into future first round picks.

Wisconsin tackle Jack Nelson, Notre Dame defensive tackles Howard Cross and Rylie Mills, West Virginia defensive lineman Sean Martin, Arkansas pass rusher Landon Jackson, Miami receiver Xavier Restrepo, Tennessee receiver Bru McCoy, UCF receiver Kobe Hudson, Oregon receiver Tez Johnson, Kansas State running back DJ Giddens, Texas defensive tackle Alfred Collins, Louisville defensive lineman Ashton Gillotte, Cincinnati defensive lineman Dontay Corleone, North Carolina defensive end Kaimon Rucker, NC State defensive end Davin Vann, Georgia linebacker Smael Mondon, Clemson linebacker Barrett Carter, Utah tight end Brant Kuithe, Penn State tight end Tyler Warren and Iowa tight end Luke Lachey are also returning to their schools.

Meanwhile, receivers Josh Kelly (Texas Tech) and Julian Fleming (Penn State) have transferred, as has cornerback Trikweze Bridges (Florida) and running back Raheim Sanders (South Carolina). Texas Tech pass rusher Steve Linton has chosen to transfer to Baylor.

Who are the big name underclassmen?

Travis Hunter at Colorado is well regarded and it’ll be interesting to see if he sticks more at receiver or cornerback rather than rotating. Big things are expected of LSU pass rusher Harold Perkins so we’ll see if he can have a breakout year. Luther Burden, the Missouri receiver, is immensely talented and could propel himself into a lofty draft grade. Benjamin Morrison, the cornerback at Notre Dame, has nine interceptions in two seasons and has a shed load of potential. Former five-star tackle Will Campbell at LSU has a chance to put himself into range to be a high pick next year.

There’s no getting away from the fact, though, that there’s a relatively small list of exciting underclassmen. Players will need to emerge and develop. I’m already seeing in ‘way too early’ 2025 mocks some of the names listed above who are returning to school mocked in round one, when in reality they are mid-round players at best. That’s because there isn’t a long list of ‘wow’ underclassmen to review at this stage.

So that’s my early review for 2025. I hope you enjoyed the coverage of the 2024 draft we provided. I have to say, the last week has been a nightmare. My wife has been in and out of hospital with pneumonia, going back in on Saturday (but thankfully home again now). I’ve had the same illness, thankfully minus the pneumonia. Still, we got through the last few days somehow. But there’s just something so utterly disheartening and frustrating about this fan base at times.

In the last 24 hours I’ve been accused of everything from arrogance (you think you know everything), to being mentally ill, to being overly tired — all for the crime of saying I found Seattle’s day three picks underwhelming. That’s an opinion built off 12 months of study and research. I’ve explained why I found it underwhelming, which is hardly a damning criticism or a write-off of the players selected.

There’s no point doing the work if all some of you want is reassurance, copium and positivity. I just grade the players and then assess the picks when they’re made. I thought the first two selections were very good and all but the DJ James pick on day three provided poor value. To me that seems a fair review.

I think I’m taking a break for a few days. I’m doing the final HawkBlogger roundtable today. Then it’s time for some rest and to focus on my family and full-time job, not my hobby.

I have some broader thoughts to share on the Seahawks franchise, where they’re at and where they’re going. At the moment I think there’s little point in sharing them. One for down the line.

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