NFL Draft: Breaking down the top QBs
There is a constant internet rumor that says this quarterback class is weak, doesn’t have talent, and is full of question marks.
Now it is rare that a quarterback class has no question marks in it, and this class is absolutely littered with them. That doesn’t make it a bad class — it just makes it a normal class.
Note: Rankings are based on where I believe the prospect will be at when their career is said and done, not where they will be drafted.
Full prospect scouting reports will come over the next three months
1. Geno Smith, West Virginia – 6-3, 220 lbs
Smith is not my favorite quarterback in this class, but I do see him as being the most NFL-ready as well as the guy that could become the “franchise” quarterback everyone is looking for.
He possesses ideal size, an above average arm, and the ability to move in and outside the pocket with excellent effectiveness while keeping his eyes downfield.
There are questions about his ability to drive the ball downfield into tight windows, and he picked up some bad habits as the year went along at West Virginia, including lazy footwork, bad mechanics and locking into his primary read far too often, which led to a drop in play.
Still, Smith is the top player at the most important position in the draft.
Projection: Top 5 pick
2. Tyler Wilson, Arkansas – 6-2, 218 lbs
Wilson was dealt a terrible hand for his senior year, and it showed up not just on the stat sheet, but also on film.
A guy that I believed was the top QB prospect entering the college season, Wilson had to deal with losing his top three wide receivers to the NFL as well as the firing of of his head coach all in one offseason.
Wilson, much like Smith, fell into terrible habits like bad footwork and throwing off his back foot, which led to a drop in accuracy.
Wilson has a very good arm but relies on it far too often, and he doesn’t set himself up properly and doesn’t drive the ball down the field, but a lot of his flaws are correctable with coaching.
Projection: Top 15 pick
3. Zac Dysert, Miami of Ohio – 6-3, 224 lbs
A common theme within the quarterback prospects for this season is good players that regressed either from their 2011 performances or during the 2012 season.
Dysert is another in the line, and while he was let down greatly by his teammates in his 2012 showcase game against the Ohio State Buckeyes, he has put out enough good tape for me to feel like he can come in, sit for a year or two and then become a quality NFL player.
Dysart is another guy who developed some awful habits behind a bad offensive line throwing to not-so-good receivers. He was awful during Senior Bowl week and maybe I am too stubborn with my rankings in not moving him down, but his problems in Mobile seemed to be different than his problems during the season.
Dysert has a strong arm, moves well in the pocket and shows an ability to stand tall and make his reads. He is a guy who needs some time to simmer before he is game-ready, but I believe given that opportunity he could be a solid NFL starter.
Projection: Second round
4. Tyler Bray, Tennessee 6-6, 215lbs
Bray is an upside pick, plain and simple. He has a howitzer for a right arm, but has flaws that make that arm seem weak at times.
He can be lazy with his footwork, and combine that with the fact that he is rather slow-footed and you have a guy with a penchant for throwing off his back foot when faced with any type of pressure.
There are concerns with a lot of the things Bray does technique-wise, but he gets away with things because of his arm strength. He also does an excellent job driving the ball down field, especially in a vertical scheme attack.
Projection: Third round
5. Matt Barkley, USC – 6-2, 230 lbs
One of the more polarizing players in the 2013 NFL Draft is Matt Barkley. While many point to his numbers, leadership, heady play and poise in the big game, none of that necessarily translates to the NFL field.
Barkley possesses rare accuracy at the collegiate level, both standing in the pocket and while on the move, but many of his throws, like Geno Smith and Zac Dysert, were quick, underneath routes that lead to his high completion percentage.
Barkley struggled to drive the ball down the field consistently with any authority or success, and his accuracy waned greatly when he was asked to deliver the ball into tight windows making NFL caliber throws.
Projection: First Round
6. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse – 6-2, 225 lbs
The darling of the post-college football season, we have seen the stock of Nassib skyrocket to the point it’s possible he could be the number one overall pick.
While I don’t see that happening, I do see a guy that has a lot of the talent you look for in a quarterback with room to grow.
Nassib possesses a strong arm, good movement ability within the pocket and good footwork that allows him to drive the ball with authority.
Nassib too often loses touch on the ball because of velocity and needs to work on his accuracy and touch when pushing the ball down the field.
Projection: First round
7. Mike Glennon, North Carolina State – 6-6, 220 lbs
Glennon is another QB with a cannon for an arm, but also has cement feet that causes me much concern to see so many people mocking him in the first round to the Arizona Cardinals.
Glennon has the stereotypical “can make all the throws” type of arm strength and can move on designed rollouts and make throws.
He absolutely needs a clean pocket to make NFL-level throws, but with a clean pocket, you are often left saying… “WOW”.
Projection: First-second round
8. EJ Manuel, Florida State – 6-4, 235 lbs
The Jekyll and Hyde of this year’s NFL Draft process, Manuel is the one quarterback outside of Barkley that had talent surrounding him and yet never put it all together.
He struggles with decision making, accuracy and ball security, but he has a lot of tools.
Manuel possesses excellent athleticism, a strong arm and the ability to make plays with his legs, not just his arm at the next level.
Like Dysert, Manuel needs to simmer for a while before knowing whether or not he can be an NFL starter, but he has a future in the league as a backup quarterback at least.
Projection: Fourth round
9. Landry Jones, Oklahoma – 6-4, 220 lbs
Jones’ numbers scream that he’s a top of the line QB; luckily that isn’t how quarterbacks are drafted.
Jones struggles with decision making, can imagine pressure too often and look to dump off the ball instead of progressing through his reads. Unlike Glennon, Dysert and others in this class, he doesn’t trust a fairly strong arm to make throws in tight windows.
Projections: Fourth-fifth round
10. Matt Scott, Arizona – 6-2, 205 lbs
A smaller-framed quarterback who was an ideal fit in Rich Rodriguez’s spread offense, Scott has all the things you want in a quarterback, he just never seemed to be able to put it all together.
Scott displays a good arm, excellent mobility, and a does a solid job of throwing on the run, but is susceptible to long spells of inaccuracy and bad decision making that may come from lack of playing time at the collegiate level.
There isn’t a ton of film on Scott, but he shows flashes of starter ability, and even when mixed with his bad streaks, it shows he is more than just draftable — it shows a guy that could mature into something down the line.
Projections: Fourth-fifth round