With his scouting report, how does Fresno State QB Jake Haener contribute to the depth of the 2023 NFL Draft quarterback class? It gets murky after the top few options, but Haener is a prospect who could go on to play above his draft billing.
Jake Haener NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Quarterback
- School: Fresno State
- Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height/Weight: 6’1″, 200 pounds
The Fresno State Bulldogs have only had three quarterbacks selected since the turn of the century — and two of those quarterbacks had the last name “Carr.” But this April, Haener could soon become the fourth to be selected, joining David Carr and Derek Carr in an exclusive club for the Mountain West powerhouse.
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Haener’s career at Fresno State was a storied one. But it started with him at an entirely different school. Haener first joined the Washington Huskies as a three-star recruit out of Monte Vista High School in Danville, California.
At Washington, Haener played sparingly — completing just 9 of 13 passes for 107 yards, a touchdown, and an interception in 2018. He’d eventually enter the transfer portal and make the trip to Fresno — less than three hours from his home town.
At Fresno State, the local California kid thrived. 2020 got his feet wet, but 2021 was his true breakout campaign. In 2021, Haener completed 329 of 490 passes for 4,096 yards, 33 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. The season was highlighted by a legendary win against UCLA, in which Haener fought through injuries to drag his team to the finish line.
In 2022, Haener returned and held the ship steady in the absence of head coach Kalen DeBoer, who’d moved on to Washington. Haener completed a career-high 72.6% of his throws while amassing 2,616 yards, 18 scores, and three picks. And along the way, he led Fresno State to its first Mountain West Championship since 2018.
Jake Haener Scouting Report
- Above-average arm strength
- Above-average creation capacity and athleticism off-script
- Has the arm elasticity to adjust throwing angles and throw off-platform
- Remarkable competitive toughness and resolve
- Clutch playmaker in crucial moments
- Adept processor who can progress, manipulate, and trigger quickly
- Able to anticipate windows downfield and outside the numbers
- Accurate distributor with smooth pocket navigation
Areas for Improvement
- Overall lack of elite raw traits and creation ability
- Sometimes gets happy feet at the top of his drop
- Will drift back at times when encountering early rushers
- Inconsistent precision and touch on deep passes
- Sometimes tries to force throws slightly beyond his arm caliber
- Will try to force dangerous throws under pressure
- Lighter frame and projected durability
Fresno State QB Jake Haener Current Draft Projection
Past the top group of signal callers, Haener is one of the most intriguing value passers in the 2023 NFL Draft. He grades in the early Day 3 range, and although concerns surrounding his injury history and lighter frame may cloud his stock, he has the ability to play and potentially find his way into a starting role on Sundays.
To be clear, Haener won’t be drafted as a starter. While he has above-average arm talent and creation capacity, he doesn’t have the high-level natural talent coveted in early starters. But if you’re looking for a high-quality backup who can hold his own when tasked with spot-starting for long stretches — in the mold of Taylor Heinicke or Mike White — Haener is your guy.
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Haener has a passable baseline of physical traits, but the operational components are most impressive on his film. He’s a superb processor who goes through progressions quickly, anticipates windows, throws to receiver leverage, and has great field vision to all three levels. He navigates the pocket well, gets consistent rotation mechanically, and has the toughness, confidence, and clutch ability to make things happen when his team needs a jolt.
His lack of elite traits will put a cap on his ceiling. But in a quality backup or spot-starter, you look for passable mobility, steady operational ability, and toughness first. Haener has all of that, and his arm isn’t half bad. He’s a passer who can keep the engine humming and carve out a respectable career for himself in the process.