NFL Analysis


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2025 NFL Draft QB Study: Jalen Milroe Offers Highest Ceiling in Class

The 2025 NFL Draft could be chocked full of intriguing quarterback talent, but none of the top names are considered to be as revered as the elite prospects of 2024. That could change as the fall arrives. One player who has the physical profile capable of rising to be the No. 1 pick is Alabama's Jalen Milroe.

Milroe enters his second year as a starter in 2025 and is under new coach Kalen DeBoer. Can he become a first-round pick next year?

>> Other QB Breakdowns: Sanders | Beck | Ewers

Jalen Milroe 2025 NFL Draft Outlook

Milroe, standing 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, is the most physically impressive quarterback on the NFL Draft radar. He's a fantastic athlete who is as much of a threat to evade pressure — as he looks to create a clean launch angle — as he is to gallop into open space. He was Alabama's offensive hub throughout 2023, and he responded by carrying the ball 161 times for 531 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Not all went well for Milroe, but his early trajectory isn't too different from Jalen Hurts' at Alabama. Milroe started his campaign slowly, struggling to figure out the vertical passing game under offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien.

The Tide's crushing 27-14 loss against Texas in Week 2 brought out the worst in the young passer, as Milroe tossed two interceptions and completed only 14 of 27 attempts.

A brief stint on the bench allowed Milroe to reset and regain his composure. He returned to the field two weeks later and lit up Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Texas A&M. He had more confidence and made quicker decisions.

Suddenly, Milroe owned more of the offense and consistently delivered catchable passes, creating with his legs more often.

Not all was perfect. In mid-October, Milroe still tried to balance his penchant for breaking the pocket and compensating for a mediocre supporting cast. His strong arm and powerful run style helped him keep the starting quarterback job throughout the rest of the season. However, what was more impressive was how quickly Milroe expanded his game to be more than someone overly relying on his traits.

Since he had only one game with more than 27 passing attempts, Milroe was utilized far differently than recent Alabama products like Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones. His willingness to tuck the ball and run downhill, showing off tremendous explosiveness and balance, contributed to his limited passing numbers. Still, he wasn't often overlooking open reads in favor of running the ball.

As November and December arrived, Milroe rose in Heisman Trophy rankings as he became a must-watch, clutch performer. Everything was sharper in his passing process within two months of being benched, showing off a truly impressive learning curve.

Though not to be confused with an anticipatory and precise passer, Milroe's passing motion was visibly more compact, producing better accuracy even when he was on the move.

The sum of his season was impressive in retrospect because he overcame an early benching. However, there is a lot of room for improvement. Still, it's impossible to overlook the flashes of being a complete package, similar to what Anthony Richardson showed at Florida before developing into a top-five pick. 

Coaches and evaluators will love Milroe's flexible arm, which creates plus velocity even when his launch angles are compromised, or he's under pressure. He's a fearless passer who thrives in off-script situations, and his pocket movement is more nuanced than most young, athletic rushing threats.

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe (4) looks to pass in the second quarter against the Michigan Wolverines in the 2024 Rose Bowl. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports.

Can Jalen Milroe Be The No. 1 Pick in 2025?

Milroe's most applicable comparisons are to Richardson and Hurts. All three were effective, powerful runners with at least good arm strength. Richardson has a cannon that easily surpasses Milroe and Hurts, but Milroe can make every throw that will be asked of him. 

His gigantic leap from Day 1 of 2023 to his final two games against Georgia and Michigan was obvious. The aptitude to develop is clear, even with the need to continue improving his passing motion and making quicker decisions.

That's a big question mark already solved that goes in Milroe's favor.

Being under DeBoer, who famously helped Michael Penix Jr. become a top-10 pick at Washington, will push Milroe in all the right ways.

Milroe's passing motion can still be easily critiqued. He relies too much on his arm strength and natural talent instead of keeping his base balanced and shoulders controlled. Becoming more of a robot throughout his dropback until the ball is out of his hand is a positive step that will improve his long-side throw power and overall accuracy.

Even though Milroe completed 65.8 percent of his passes while averaging a ridiculously high 10 yards per attempt, these improvements will make him a scarier, more efficient passer within the offense's design.

To be a first-round pick, he must be capable of staying in rhythm and not passing on quick-hitting concepts, and DeBoer will demand that of him. The average target depth for his top playmakers reflects an overaggressive offense that was too reliant on Milroe's ability to extend plays and buy time.

Jermaine Burton's was 21 yards, Isaiah Bond's was 13.2, Amari Niblack's was 16.9, and Kobe Prentice's was 16, per Sports Info Solutions. In turn, Milroe took 19 sacks when blitzed, and his time to throw was more than 4.4 while under pressure.

It's great that Milroe can create big plays when needed, but the line between overreliance on his legs and structure is key.

Losing Nick Saban won't be good for the Tide because replacing him is impossible. But the change from O'Brien to DeBoer might be what's best for Milroe's draft stock. Becoming a more well-rounded passer from the pocket starts with his mechanical process. It will eventually include making second-level leverage reads and the finer points of maximizing his gifts. 

If Milroe takes another leap in 2024, he'll be right in the mix for QB1. Teams will love his leadership and work ethic ahead of anything else.

Failure to adjust to this new challenge could kill his 2025 draft stock, though. Doubt will creep into evaluations as to whether he's more of an athlete who can't master the details of what makes a Pro Bowl-caliber starter in the NFL.