What is Quinn Ewers’ NFL Draft stock? Texas QB excels in upset of Alabama

Quinn Ewers had to exit last season’s showdown against Alabama early with an injury, and Texas wound up dropping a 20-19 heartbreaker. In the rematch Saturday, Ewers was able to stick around — and he delivered an absolute statement performance. The Longhorns quarterback hit on 24-of-38 passes for 349 yards and three touchdowns, including several huge throws during the second half, as No. 11 Texas upset No. 3 Alabama 34-24 in Tuscaloosa.

Ewers entered the season as a top-20 prospect on Dane Brugler’s 2024 NFL Draft Big Board, but the arrival of mega-recruit Arch Manning sparked questions about Ewers’ job stability. He’s paid off coach Steve Sarkisian’s trust in him early on, though, by delivering back-to-back three-TD performances. (Ewers posted 260 yards passing in last week’s win over Rice.)

Top-ranked 2024 QBs (Aug. 24 rankings)

Player School Ht, Wt

1. Caleb Williams

6-1, 215

2. Drake Maye

6-4, 225

3. J.J. McCarthy

6-3, 209

4. Quinn Ewers

6-2, 205

5. Riley Leonard

6-4, 212

What did Saturday night’s performance do for Ewers’ NFL Draft outlook?

Instant reactions

This felt like a big day for Ewers before it even started, as Alabama’s defense has some legit playmakers, and we needed to see both consistency and poise from the Texas redshirt sophomore. Check and check. Ewers came up with two huge answers for touchdowns late, after Alabama had landed a pair of blows. He was able to drive the Longhorns down the field with his arm — both times — and kept everything calm while he did so.

Ewers still has some footwork issues to iron out, but this felt like the type of day you were looking for from him. He had no turnovers and was pretty darn good against pressure. His accuracy was solid, too, and he didn’t have any of those quicksand stretches in which the wheels fell off. It was a great performance, probably the best game he’s played in college — and certainly the biggest stage he’s been on. — Nick Baumgardner

Even if you believe him to be a “game manager,” Ewers proved that his ceiling is enough to get it done against the toughest competition this year.

The most impressive part of Ewers’ game at Alabama was how he managed — and left — the pocket against blitzes, which is something he struggled with severely throughout 2022. When I evaluated the data on 19 draft-eligible QBs over the summer, Ewers consistently ranked near the bottom of the list on non-play-action passes, but his biggest throws in the second half Saturday came in pure dropback situations. Maybe it’s time to take him a bit more seriously. — DianteLee


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How does this affect Ewers’ draft stock?

The Quinn Ewers on the 2022 tape wasn’t a first-round pick, but he still started No. 20 on my preseason draft board, because of his potential — and the faith I had that he would realize that potential in 2023.

Ewers’ performance against Alabama was a substantial step forward in his development, as he answered several of the questions evaluators had. Would he improve upon questionable feel for the deep ball? Ewers uncorked several perfectly placed downfield throws, and his receivers (for the most part) came through for him. Could he play a full, four-quarter game? From start to finish Saturday, Ewers was consistent and showed the poise that his team needed.

One game doesn’t make or break a prospect’s draft grade, especially in September. But right or wrong, his performance in Tuscaloosa will carry much more weight than the other games on Texas’ regular-season schedule. And Ewers delivered, with a performance worthy of a QB who will draw first-round consideration. — Dane Brugler



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Xavier Worthy and AD Mitchell are both big-play machines, so it feels like you can’t go wrong with either. For as explosive as Worthy can be with the ball in his hands, I do struggle to square his missed opportunities/drops with the strong ball-tracking skills I believe him to have — so, I’m leaning toward Mitchell right now.

His ability to generate offense vertically and in contested-catch situations stands out, and it always feels like he’s at his best when the stakes are highest. His issues are consistency and health on a week-to-week basis, and he’ll absolutely need to prove both this season before he can be graded like the top-50 talent he could be. — Lee

Mitchell’s not nearly consistent enough, and we saw some of that in this game. But when it all comes together, he’s got literally everything a wide receiver prospect could need: size, speed, burst, ball skills. The catch he made down the sideline Saturday vs. Kool-Aid McKinstry was terrific.

Worthy’s speed is legit. But, for me, the answer here is probably either Mitchell or tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders, who was also awesome in this game. — Baumgardner

Required reading

(Top photo: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

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