The 2018 NFL Draft Prospect series breaks down draft-eligible players, highlighting their college production as well as their NFL potential. Daily fantasy players should know about NFL rookies before they’ve played a down of professional football because they are among the most misvalued assets in all of DFS. People who know NFL rookies have a significant DFS edge. The draft will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, from April 26-28.
This piece is on Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert.
For more on all the other passers in the class, see our 2018 NFL draft quarterback rankings.
Updated as of Mar. 5.
Redshirt Senior | 6’3″ and 218 Pounds | Born July 17, 1995 (Age: 22) | Projection: Rounds 4-6
Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.95 sec | bench reps: 16 | 3-cone: 7.15 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.33 sec | vertical: 31 in | broad: 112 in
Benkert is basically the cheap version of Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen: He’s big, and in October he was considered by a few NFL executives to be the most underrated passer in the draft class (per NFL Media’s Daniel Jeremiah). A ‘toolsy’ player with an above-average arm, Benkert possesses a lot of what numbers-agnostic gut-oriented talent evaluators want out of a boom/bust quarterback.
A skinny two-star recruit who got no offers from Power Five schools, Benkert graduated early from high school and enrolled at East Carolina in January 2013, redshirting his first year on campus and serving as a backup the next year. Benkert was slated to be the starter in 2015, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury shortly before the campaign begun. After the season head coach Ruffin McNeill was fired by ECU and hired by Virginia as an assistant, and Benkert — after graduating early in May 2016 — decided to follow McNeill to UVA with two years of eligibility left.
Once at UVA, Benkert quickly became the starter. Although he broke some of Matt Schaub‘s school records — for instance, Benkert is the first quarterback at UVA to pass for at least 3,000 yards in a season — his production as a Cavalier was rather uninspiring. At UVA, Benkert completed just 57.5 percent of his passes for 6.3 adjusted yards per attempt. On top of that, he exhibited limited mobility, as he rushed for -1.3 yards per carry (including sacks). Overall in 2017 he led a passing attack that was just 90th out of 130 in success rate (per Football Study Hall). Benkert had some hype entering the Senior Bowl, but he had a mediocre week in Mobile, and the numbers suggest that he’s a bigger and less productive Nathan Peterman-esque prospect likely to enter the NFL as a Day 3 selection who will disappoint whenever he inevitably and randomly gets a spot start.
Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports