Kedon Slovis has done a lot for the USC Trojans football team since jumping on the scene two seasons ago. Now that he’s entering his junior year, it’s time for the NFL draft conversation.
He played in 10 games as a freshman where he threw more than 10 passes, and he completed the season with a completion percentage of almost 72%. His sophomore season last year was shortened due to the pandemic, and he played in all of the 6 games, completing 67% of his passes.
The statistics aren’t exactly indicative of what he’s capable of doing, so his draft stock will likely change — but as high as he’s seen at the moment, it won’t rise too much, just fall.
What is the rest of the football world saying about him?
Let’s start with his scouting report.
Pro Football Network’s Oliver Hodgkinson wrote that Slovis has shown leadership attributes since taking over the starting role as a freshman, and said about Slovis that he “displays an excellent level of football intelligence … often surveys the field with urgency, moves quickly from one read to the next, and makes great decisions based on what he sees from the defense.”
This take is accurate if fans remember the comeback wins he put together last season against Arizona State, Arizona, and UCLA.
Action Network’s Matthew Freedman wrote a similarly glowing review of Slovis’ college career, including that he worked with Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner in high school, but he also included some of Slovis’ weaknesses. Freedman writes that Slovis is weak running the ball, netting a negative 1.7 yards per carry stat, including sacks, “average-at-best arm strength,” doing worse as a sophomore than a freshman, and not being recruited by many Power Five schools.
For the record, he was sacked 23 times in 2019 with a season average of negative 1.3 rushing yards per game and sacked 15 times last season with a season average of negative 2.5 rushing yards per game. As far as his arm strength, he had five passes in 2019 and one in 2020 of 50 or more yards, one of those in 2019 being to Amon-Ra St. Brown for 95 yards. 247Sports has Slovis as a 3-star recruit ranked just outside the top-25 among pro-style quarterbacks in the 2019 class. He received interest from 11 schools, but only San Jose State, Oregon State, Hawaii, and USC were strong football schools he had offers to choose from.
Meanwhile, Pro Football Focus Anthony Treash ranked the top 10 quarterbacks returning for the 2021 college football season, and he placed Slovis at the bottom of the list at No. 10, which is a little disheartening.
One thing that didn’t help Slovis’ case was his underwhelming season last year, which can be argued to be worse than his freshman season. If you really think about it, there should be an asterisk next to his name because their season was up in the air much of the time that he would’ve been training. They announced the season, canceled it, and then decided to proceed with a shortened one that was plagued with negative COVID-19 tests throughout the Pac-12 conference as well as throughout college football.
Slovis isn’t the best quarterback in college football right now, but he has a ton of potential to take that huge leap into the NFL and be successful. He has a few hurdles to jump first during his junior season before having to worry about the pressure that comes with possibly being the only successful QB to come out of USC since Carson Palmer.
His draft stock is still healthy at the moment, and the way-too-early predictions across the board say he has the potential to be a first-rounder — with them saying he can be taken no lower than the 13th selection.
We see what he’s done and the skills he has, but does he have enough to go as high as No. 1 overall?
Despite Treash writing that Slovis is the 10th-ranked QB going into the new season, he jumped on the 2-for-1 Draft Podcast and predicted Slovis will go 1st overall. To add, MGM’s odds of Slovis going 1st is +800, which could be a good payout if you risk high.
ESPN’s Todd McShay has him going 2nd overall in his mock draft.
Sports Illustrated‘s Ric Serritella placed him at 5th overall while the Action Network’s Freedman has Slovis going 6th overall as the 3rd-ranked QB in the draft behind Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler and UNC’s Sam Howell.
Draft Scout, aka Matt Miller, has Slovis going 7th overall while Reign of Troy’s Jason Reed said Slovis could be selected somewhere between 7th and 13th in the draft and predicts he’ll be the Carolina Panthers’ future QB.
Draft Wire has him going 13th behind Howell at 2nd, Rattler at 9th, and Liberty’s Malik Willis at 10th. They have two more QBs going in the first round — Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder at 16th and Georgia’s JT Daniels at 23rd, who transferred from USC after the emergence of Slovis.
Five quarterbacks were selected in the first round of the 2021 draft, so drafting six isn’t far-fetched.
Truthfully, Slovis can go as high as No. 1 overall, but it all depends on how well the Trojans play in the upcoming season. The offense should be more ready than ever with a good running game, receivers with some speed, and some backup QBs that will easily take his starting job if he slacks off.
With all things considered, Slovis is NFL-ready now, but the best situation for him would be to begin learning under a veteran QB and hit the ground running when his number is called on the bench.