Jake Haener won’t receive the same pre-NFL Draft hype as Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Will Levis, but the former Fresno State Bulldog is among the most productive quarterbacks in this year’s NFL Draft.
Haener, who began his career at Washington before transferring, threw for 9,120 career yards, 68 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions in 32 career games. Haener had a breakout junior season, throwing for 4,096 yards, 33 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He threw for 455 yards in a win over UCLA.
Accuracy and anticipation are strengths for Haener, who completed 72% of his passes in 2022. He doesn’t have unbelievable arm strength, but Haener puts the ball on target, often with nice touch.
What Team Drafted Jake Haener?
Haener was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the fourth round with the 127th overall pick.
Some of the top quarterbacks in the draft have exceptional athletic traits. Young’s quickness makes him a weapon to scramble, while Levis has a big body and powerful arm. Haener doesn’t quite have that same level of elite athleticism or size, but most of his traits are above average.
For quarterbacks who are solid, albeit not a generational talent, the franchise they land in is as important as anything. If Haener falls into the right NFL offensive system, he’s plenty capable of having success.
Look at Brock Purdy with the San Francisco 49ers. He’s not the most gifted passer or athlete in the NFL by any means, but he’s in an elite offensive scheme with exceptional playmakers. Purdy’s above-average traits coupled with a stellar offense have the 49ers rolling through teams.
Purdy isn’t a perfect comparison, but it’s evident that an important part of any NFL player’s career is their situational fit. Haener, like most quarterbacks capable of making an NFL roster, needs a system that plays to his strengths.
Haener is only about 6-foot and 200 pound, but he’s good at anticipating throws and throwing with accuracy. He’s not the next Patrick Mahomes, but Haener has potential to develop into a starting quarterback.
Even if Haener doesn’t develop into a starting quarterback in the NFL, he’s good enough to be a reliable backup quarterback. Haener does well to process defenses, and his accuracy is impressive, especially in short and intermediate passes.
Haener’s accuracy makes him a likely candidate to be drafted in the late rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft. It’s unlikely the team drafting him expects him to earn a starting job immediately, but teams in need of depth at the quarterback position can do worse than Haener.
Perhaps most impressive for Haener are his performances against Power Five schools in recent years. He torched UCLA in 2021 for 455 passing yards. That same season he threw for 298 yards and a touchdown against Oregon.
Earlier this season, Haener threw for 360 yards and a touchdown against a quality Oregon State team. Haener suffered an injury in a loss to USC, but his recent Power Five showdowns went well from an individual perspective.
An increased level of competition didn’t stop Haener from exceeding, and he improved throughout his collegiate career. His skill set and production make him one of the most intriguing Day 2 or Day 3 quarterback prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft.