Positively Gruden: The QBs of the 2017 NFL Draft

Welcome to a special “NFL Draft” rendition of “Positively Gruden,” where we chronicle the top praise, plaudits, and pontifications from America’s favorite fawning former coach. With the NFL season over four months away, this is time of year for optimism, filled with dreams of “upside potential,” before the stark reality of actual games brings down to earth anyone who isn’t a Patriots fan. And what better minstrel of these natural good vibes than the famed Simpsons monorail salesman himself, Jon Gruden.

Gruden has been doing his “QB Camp” for several years now, but this is the first one that we at TFG had decided to put pen to paper on and document. It was a good choice because the Grudenisms were simply flying off the page! In a year that most draft analysts consider to be a down one for sure thing quarterbacks, Gruden simply gushes about the potential of his star pupils: Deshaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky, DeShone Kizer, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Dobbs, Nathan Peterman and Brad Kaaya. Our Grudenisms come merely from his one-hour “best of” show because if we included the whole series, our output would be longer than a Peyton Manning snap count.

Gruden later proclaimed on an ESPN conference call that he could see four QBs drafted in this first round this year. Though he wouldn’t predict who those four would be, he did offer his favorite of this year’s class. You’ll have to read below to find the answer, but here’s a hint: he happens to be a gunslinger.

All the quotes set below are real, coming straight from the Y Banana-man himself (though lightly edited for readability). As always, top Grudenisms are presented on a sliding scale of hyperbole, vivid imagery, and outright absurdity.

Setting the Stage

“I thought this year’s quarterback class was as surprisingly good as any class we’ve had.”

“It’s gonna take a little time, but you never rush greatness, especially at the quarterback position.”

“If I can help these guys get one percent better, I’ll feel good about myself.”

“This is the show of the year right here.”

Deshaun Watson

“Watson’s got the heart of a lion.”

“One of the things that really excited me about you is your experience, as a football player and as a person.”

On Watson’s communications degree, “What’dya want to be, like an announcer? I still got a couple years left on my contract.”

Bay Lake, FL - March 23, 2017 - Wide World of Sports: Jon Gruden and Deshaun Watson during the 2017 class at Gruden Camp (Photo by Heather Harvey / ESPN Images)
(Photo by Heather Harvey / ESPN Images)

On Watson’s bow and arrow celebration, “I tell everybody, I said this pretty much epitomized Deshaun Watson because he is a Dragonslayer. You slayed college football. Just like that, you shot down the best that college football has to offer.”

“I’m gonna start doing that when I get par on the golf course.”

After a five-yard completion in drills (against no defense), “That’s not good, that’s outstanding.”

DeShone Kizer

“Kizer was an amazing talent. There’s some great upside there.”

“This is what you look for. He’s athletic, he’s got size, and he’s got a big arm.”

On the play “76 double double go” out of trips formation, “You love it. You don’t like it, you love it.”

“Man, the luck of the Irish is what that is to have a quarterback who can stick that ball in there.”

On Kizer’s diverse music selection (spanning from Lil’ Wayne to Kenny Chesney), “You might be my favorite quarterback this year. You got a little versatility.”

Patrick Mahomes II

“I think Mahomes is the most interesting player I’ve seen in this draft.”

“You’re a gunslinger, aren’t ya’. There’s a lot of Favre in you.”

“I get excited watching you play. I really do.”

“This throw against Louisiana Tech is my favorite throw. . . That’s the damnedest throw I’ve ever seen. No one can do this. I have never seen a throw like that. . . . That’s the greatest throw I’ve ever seen.”

“You’re feeling the buzz out there. People are talking about you. They haven’t seen throws like this.”

“Let’s not abuse the freedom, let’s not take advantage of the talent. And listen, no matter what happens, you got more talent than 99% of the guys I’ve met.” [Really giving the tough love here.]

On the Texas Tech-Texas film (last play of the game where Mahomes threw an interception to lose), “the gunslinger, he just got shot dead.”

“He’s got incredible arm talent, he’s a gunslinger, he’s courageous. You better get up and get this kid because he’s got rare stuff.”

“Don’t just be another quarterback in another huddle. Be the gosh dang gunslinger, man.”

Gruden should really check out this new Idris Elba movie:

Mitch(ell) Trubisky

“Trubisky is one of the great mysteries in this draft in the last ten years.”

“I love the fact that he didn’t quit. He stayed there for two years and backed up Marquise Williams. And when he got his shot, he lit it up, man.”

Bay Lake, FL - March 13, 2017 - Wide World of Sports: Jon Gruden and Mitchell Trubisky during the 2017 class at Gruden Camp (Photo by Heather Harvey / ESPN Images)
(Photo by Heather Harvey / ESPN Images)

“He has an incomplete body of work to say the least, but he’s accurate, he’s athletic, he’s got a real aptitude for is. You can feel his passion when you’re around him.”

[Note: Gruden complimented Trubisky less than other QB. That should tell you something.]

Nathan Peterman

“Tell me about this MBA, what does that mean?” (Spoiler: Master’s in Business)

“You’re buttoned all the way up, man.”

“Based on the film that I have of you going all the way back to Knoxville, you’re about as NFL-ready as any guy that has come through here.”

“Any doubt anybody has about how you deal with adversity tell then to pick up the Clemson film. Story of the year, man.”

Brad Kaaya

“You get your teeth knocked out on a RPO (run pass option). You’re the only guy in the world who hates RPOs more than me.”

“Is he waiting for the tooth fairy or what?”

“That’s the greatest story I’ve ever heard man. He lost a tooth on an RPO. You’re gonna go on my hall of fame wall. That’s why I call them, RPO. Ridiculous protection offense, make a note of that.”

“He wanted to stay. He’s wants to come back down and do more football. He’s a junkie when it comes to this game, and it’s gonna be one of the reason that he makes it.”

Joshua Dobbs

“Dobbs is my sleeper. He’ll be a steal in this draft.”

“You are a legitimate rocket scientist.”

“This man’s a rocket scientist, and he plays like a rocket.”

“You walk around campus with airplanes, huh?”

When his cell phone rings, “Is that an astronaut? Is that NASA?”

Bay Lake, FL - March 16, 2017 - Wide World of Sports: Josh Dobbs and Jon Gruden during the 2017 class at Gruden Camp (Photo by Heather Harvey / ESPN Images)
(Photo by Heather Harvey / ESPN Images)

“I get excited watching a pocket passer that can run it and compete. And think. That’s a great person. Those are the kind of guys that play the band.”

“You sure you got time to be here today? I’m sure there’s a Boeing that needs to be checked out.”


“I hate RPOs [run pass options]. They really piss me off. That’s what I call them.”

“If I see one more bubble screen or one more quick screen, I might be in a padded room with no screens.”

On Future, “who the hell’s that?”

“I gotta get some Future, every guy that’s come in here says I gotta listen to Future. You ever heard of Nazareth. Make a note, Hair of the Dog.”

“By the end of Gruden’s QB camp this year, everybody’s going to be tired of RCE (recognize, communicate, execute). I want a tattoo on your arm.”

Channeling his inner Alex Jones, “The great thing about a huddle is you get can in a huddle every once in awhile and say SHUT THE BLEEP UP. LOOK AT MY EYES, LET’S GO!….. I’m sorry for yelling.”

Who would I take number one? I’m gonna take Mahomes out of Texas Tech. As an ex-Raider, I think I’d take this Red Raider gunslinger, I think I’d have a lot of fun with him.”

“That was a tough decision. I like a lot of these guys this year.” (Truer words were never spoken)