Depending on which NFL talking head you talk to, Haskins is either the top quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft, or a close number two behind Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray.
And depending on where he goes, he could land on a team with a quarterback that he can sit behind for a year — or at least the first few weeks. Or he may end up with a franchise that is ready to turn the keys over to him and begin the learning process immediately.
While Haskins — like all players — would like to play sooner rather than later, he’s not going to stress out about where he is selected.
“It’s up to the team that wants to pick me,” he said on Wednesday, “but I feel like I’m the best player in the draft.”
If he does end up getting drafted by a team that wants him to start in 2019, he believes he’ll be ready.
“I’ve been ready for the NFL,” he said. “I’ve been preparing for it for all of my life and I knew I was ready to play in the NFL even before the season started. After declaring and being a professional athlete, it hits you fast. Definitely been able to learn on my toes and it’s been a fun but hard experience.”
Haskins is plenty aware that the speed of the game is about to change, just as it did from high school to college. He has been preparing for that as well.
“What me and [personal quarterback coach] Quincy [Avery] say is that in college it’s windows, in the NFL it’s keyholes,” he said. “So to be able to put the ball on a spot anywhere is definitely important and then it really all comes down to timing, anticipation and accuracy and to be able to know where the guy’s at before he’s there, and I feel like I have a great feel for that.”
Haskins has shown that accuracy and anticipation from the very first time he came into a difficult situation against Michigan in 2017. He came in cold off the bench, and even though the Michigan defense was licking their chops, he was able to continuously put the ball where only his man could catch it.
It’s something that he’s been able to do for a very long time.
“Since about eight years old. It’s just come pretty natural,” he said.
It comes naturally?
“I just feel like I have a great feel of hitting moving targets and knowing the trajectory of the football, how much arc needs to be added to it and how fast the ball needs to be in the air,” he explained. “Just a whole bunch of stuff that happens in 0.002 seconds. I just process it so fast and to be able to still be able to throw with defenders and people in my face makes it that much more fun.”
Coaches say iron sharpens iron, and the secondaries early in Dwayne Haskins’ early career opened his eyes about what it would take to succeed at the college level. He will take that same understanding to the NFL with him as well.
“The biggest thing is getting adjusted to different speed,” he said. “And going from high school to college, I’m throwing to lacrosse kids in high school. So now I’m throwing to 4.2, 4.3 receivers and they’re moving, so you have to fasten your feet up and be able to anticipate, especially versus press coverage that we see all the time in practice at Ohio State. My freshman year, having Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley and Malik Hooker, and Denzel [Ward] was a young guy at that point, but all those guys just got me ready to play.”
And lest you think he may end up in a city with too much of a microscope pointed at him, he has been prepared for that as well.
“Before [Cleveland Browns quarterback] Baker [Mayfield] got here, the Ohio State quarterback was the most famous person in Ohio,” he said. “Watching J.T. [Barrett] my first two years was like watching somebody who was a celebrity. Everywhere he went he got stopped. So it’s not going to be that different.”