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3 Underrated College QBs to target NOW
3 Underrated College QBs to target NOW

November 15, 2022

The top college QBs that will head to the 2023 NFL draft are no longer an obvious value in the Mojo market. The top end of the class is very clearly Bryce Young ($35.93, most expensive NCAA QB) and C.J. Stroud ($34.53, 2nd). Both signal callers are currently priced at almost double Kenny Pickett ($19.71, 43rd most expensive NFL QB), a 2022 first round pick. They are priced more than NFL starters Mac Jones ($32.02), Zach Wilson ($32.02), and Justin Fields ($28.57, eyeball emoji). The value may be lost on the 2023 class but fortune favors the bold, and so we must look ahead to the cheaper 2024 class to invest. 

Investing in College QBs is a bet on their future NFL statistics

When you Go Long in the Mojo market, you’re betting that the player will exceed their given share price. Their share price reflects what they have done and what the market thinks they will do in their NFL career. When evaluating collegiate prospects, the goal is identify players who will be drafted higher than the market expects; whether that's the 1st round instead of the 2nd round or the 6th round instead of undrafted, etc.

Here are some players that I believe can significantly exceed expectations. (Make sure you tack on their 3x Multipliers if you want a chance for higher returns in a short period of time.)

JJ McCarthy ($9.20), QB, Michigan

At this share price, we can infer that McCarthy is viewed as a 3rd round pick by the market. He is priced slightly above NFL QBs Desmond Ridder and Malik Willis.

A highly touted, five-star recruit, McCarthy had to wait a little longer than expected to be given the keys to the Michigan offense. He sat behind a very average Cade McNamara in 2021 and then the starter “battle” raged into Week 3 of the college football season. However, he has been very effective as the starter this season and has the Wolverines in position to challenge for a playoff berth.

McCarthy displays a blend of arm talent and athleticism that scouts will value. If you thought Will Levis was exciting, wait until the pre season hype starts for McCarthy as he enters 2023 as the no-doubt starter. While the overall passing volume is lacking in the Michigan offense,  completing nearly 70% of his passes with a solid 8.2 yards per attempt. Both marks are encouraging for his future potential. He’s suited for the modern game as well, chipping in 195 yards on the ground. He’s a discount Drake Maye, and while I love Maye’s game, McCarthy comes at half the price. 

McCarthy is the 61st highest QB stock on Mojo

Bo Nix ($3.81), QB, Oregon

Nix is +43% over the last month, which means a $500 Long Bet with his 3x Multiplier one month ago would be worth $1,155 today. But you're not too late; there's still upside! At this share price, we can infer that Nix is viewed as a 6th round pick by the market. That means all Nix has to do to return value is convince the market he will be a day 2 draft pick. He is priced similarly to Cooper Rush, which speaks to the upside of Going Long on Nix now. 

I am including Nix here because he will have one more season to play with the COVID freebie in his back pocket. Should he decide to stay an extra year, Nix could put together two outrageous seasons back to back in 2022 and 2023. Nix, a former five star recruit, toiled away in agony and anonymity at Auburn for the first three years of his career. A fresh start in the Pacific Northwest has revitalized his game and he is showing all the potential that has been waiting to explode.

In 2022, Nix has been nothing short of sensational. He has exceeded his career completion percentage by 10 points to over 70%, his yard per attempts have gone nuclear from a middling career mark of about 7 to an excellent 10.1 in 2022. He’s also been a more effective runner this season, compiling 512 yards at a healthy 6.5 yards per attempt. The NFL will absolutely be interested in a late riser like Nix who has always shown flashes of his talent but continued to make bad mistakes that held him and his team back. Whether it’s veteran maturity or just getting out of Auburn, Nix is now a potential first round NFL draft pick when he decides to declare. While this is a 2023 article, if he comes out in 2022, I would still be buying at the current price. 

Riley Leonard ($0.6002), QB, Duke

At this share price, we can infer that the market does not believe Leonard will be drafted. If Leonard is selected at all, it’s likely he will double in value or more. 

Ok, this is a very deep shot, but a calculated one. Leonard is an athletic freak who can score points on the gridiron but is no slough on the hardwood. Just take a look at this helicopter dunk from high school. He plays at Duke, but if he performs there’s no reason that will hold him back from being a high NFL draft pick. The redshirt freshman has enjoyed a breakout season for the Blue Devils and has them bowling at a 7-3 record. Of course I will cite two of the most important metrics in QB evaluation: completion percentage and yards per attempt. 

He is completing 64% of his passes, which I would like to see improve but as a second year guy, this isn’t concerning. The yards per attempt is lacking at just 7.6, however given his youth and the surrounding talent, that can be excused. Modern NFL scouts go wild for dual threat QBs in this era, and Leonard performs in that area. He’s tallied a remarkable 625 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He leads his team in both categories. But he is not just an athletic runner, I have seen him make NFL throws. This investment takes some projection, but at $0.60 there is almost no risk. 

Riley Leonard "could be going pro in something other than sports." If he is drafted, his stock price could skyrocket.
Prices are current as of 11/15/22 at 2:00 pm EST
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