2023 NFL Draft Profile: Fresno State QB Jake Haener
Where will Jake Haener land after an impressive career with the Bulldogs?
Jake Haener’s Draft Profile
Jake Haener has been selected by the New Orleans Saints with the 127th overall pick, in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) April 29, 2023
Former Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener is set to begin his NFL career in a few short weeks.
He is ready to join the likes of Trent Dilfer, David Carr, Derek Carr and Tom Brandstater as an NFL quarterback. Haener’s journey to the NFL was one that was not forecasted when he began his college career in 2017. Haener first joined the University of Washington and spent two seasons with the Huskies.
Following the 2018 season, Haener transferred to Fresno State and sat out the 2019 season due to the transfer rules. When Haener received his first starting opportunity as a quarterback in 2020, he made the most of the new situation at Fresno State. In a COVID-19 pandemic-shortened season, Haener proved himself to be a quality starting quarterback. In 2020, Haener finished the season with 14 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, and 2,021 passing yards in six games.
In 2021, Haener made a significant jump in his second season with the Bulldogs. Haener guided the Bulldogs to a 10-3 record and a New Mexico Bowl win against UTEP. That season, Haener passed for 33 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, and 4,096 yards.
Before the end of the 2021 season, Haener’s future at Fresno State was in question. Kalen DeBoer, who was Fresno State’s head coach at the time, left Fresno State for Washington. Haener entered the transfer portal in December 2021 and planned on returning to Washington to play for DeBoer in 2022. Ultimately, Haener removed his name from the transfer portal and decided to play for Fresno State in the 2021 New Mexico Bowl.
Haener remained at Fresno State in 2022 and that decision worked out in his favor. Haener suffered an ankle injury against USC in Week 3 and missed four games before returning on Oct. 29. With 10 games under his belt last season, Haener threw for 2,896 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions in 10 games.
The Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl was one of Haener’s best performances in 2022. Haener’s two touchdowns and 280 passing yards led Fresno State to a 29-6 win over Washington State in the LA Bowl in December.
Measurables (taken from Mockdraftable and Kyle Matson)
In three seasons at Fresno State, Haener proved himself as an accurate passer. At Fresno State, he completed 68.2% of his passes. In his final season, Haener had a completion percentage of 72%. In addition to being accurate, Haener was extremely careful with the football. In three seasons, Haener had a 67:17 TD-INT ratio for the Bulldogs. His three interceptions in 2022 was his lowest in a single season since he transferred to Fresno State.
As a smaller quarterback with below-average arm strength, Haener will likely start out as a backup quarterback. His inability to get the ball out quickly and make deep throws could impact his draft stock. Defenses will force Haener to make throws in tight windows with little time to adjust. Haener will need to pick up blitzes and pressures and get rid of the ball.
Haener and Heinicke are averaged sized quarterbacks with below-average arms. Heinicke relies on his decision-making process. Haener will need to make wise choices in the pocket to have success in the NFL. Haener mirrors Heinicke’s ability to move inside and outside of the pocket to make throws.
Haener will likely begin his career as a backup quarterback and could see playing time if a starter gets injured. If Haener succeeds as a backup, he could have a long career in the NFL. Another quarterback that Haener can have a similar career path as is Baltimore Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley.
Expect Haener to be drafted late on Friday or early Saturday afternoon. Haener will be drafted early in the fourth round.