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QB Jake Haener: NFL Draft scouting report

We break down Fresno State QB Jake Haener with a scouting report heading into the 2023 NFL Draft.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 04 Reese’s Senior Bowl Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints drafted Haener with the No. 127 overall pick in the draft. He wore Drew Brees’ No. 9 in college and now joins New Orleans. He should be the backup to quarterback Derek Carr if he can beat out Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill on the depth chart.

Jake Haener is another developmental prospect who’ll no doubt entice teams in the middle rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft. It may be a tall order for players in that category to find lasting success in the pros, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility, making Haener a player to watch in the draft this year.

Haener came to Fresno State in 2019, forced to sit that season after transferring from Washington. He made his debut with the Bulldogs in 2020, seeing action in six games. The year after that, he played in 13 games, throwing for an impressive 4,096 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Last season, in 10 games, he completed 72 percent of his throws, totaling 2,896 yards and 20 touchdowns with a scant three picks.

Jake Haener: Scouting Report

Haener isn’t going to impress anyone with his arm. It’s fine, but it’s not the kind of arm that’s going to threaten NFL defenses with a deep passing game. Haener’s strength as a passer is his ability to get the ball out quickly. It helps him stay out of trouble in the face of oncoming defenders and makes him a decent option for an offense based on quick, rhythmic throws to the short and intermediate part of the field.

Another area where Haener stands out is his football IQ. He can read a defense well and make outstanding pre-snap adjustments to the offense. His leadership ability and trustworthiness in critical situations are other traits scouts have praised throughout the pre-draft process. And while he’s not a true dual threat, he can keep plays alive with his running ability.

Haener’s size could be an issue. At 6 feet, 207 pounds, he’s below average for pro quarterbacks, and while that hasn’t hurt some players—like Kyler Murray or Russell Wilson—Haener lacks the overall skill sets that have helped those signal callers transcend size concerns. He’s also dealt with injuries in his college career.

Mock Draft landing spots

ESPN’s Matt Miller has Haener landing with the Lions in Round 5, CBS’ Ryan Palmer sees him going to the Vikings in the fifth, and The Athletic’s Dane Brugler has the Browns taking him in Round 4.

Fantasy football implications

Haener is an interesting prospect. He’s a very talented player who, due to size and strength limitations, may be already very near his ceiling. However, he reads defenses well, gets the ball out quickly and accurately, and doesn’t panic under pressure — all of which makes for an excellent and reliable backup.

He could easily rise to the QB2 spot at any of these three locations. While we won’t expect to see him start in his rookie year, an injury to Kirk Cousins or Jared Goff could put the rookie out there. While he might not be hitting those impressively long passes, Haener could be a solid fantasy addition if he gets playing time. With potential targets like Justin Jefferson and Amon-Ra St. Brown, that accuracy in coverage would be important. However, he won’t be worth any fantasy consideration barring an injury to his team’s starter.