2013 NFL Draft Preview: Quarterbacks
This is one of the weakest QB draft classes we've seen in years. While there are some guys who have potential, there is not one clear cut stand out prospect you can confidently say is going to make it in the NFL. Unlike last year when you had a good sense that Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III we're going to be impactful players right away, none of the QB's in this year's class inspire anywhere near the same amount of confidence. It could very well be that none of these QB's ever develops into upper echelon QB in the NFL, or for fantasy purposes.
1) Geno Smith, West Virginia: Opinions on Smith vary greatly. Some think he will be great at the NFL level. Others think he won't be. Smith has good arm strength and completed over 70% of his passes in 2012. While not a running QB, he is athletic enough to elude defenders. His 42-6 TD-INT ratio in 2012 is eye-popping though. While his stats (over 4,000 passing yards in each of the last 2 seasons) were inflated by the type of offense he ran in college, it's still notable and shows he can wing the football around. The biggest knocks on him are a tendency to throw off his back foot, his accuracy wanes on deeper passes, and his leadership has been called into question.
Projected round: 1st
2) Ryan Nassib, Syracuse: Nassib has been shooting up draft boards of late and is now likely to be selected in the latter half of round 1. A smart QB who will endear himself to coaches with his work ethic and film room study, Nassib has good arm strength, makes good reads, and has pocket presence. He is more polished than most QB's in this class when it comes to making reads, and selling the play action. While not a running QB, he has the ability to escape pressure and make throws on the run. However, he tends to wind up his arm motion and his deep balls tend to hang in the air.
Projected round: 1
3) Matt Barkley, USC: Barkley surprised everyone when he returned to USC for his senior season as he was believed to be a lock as a top 5 pick in the 2012 draft. And after a disappointing season in 2012 in college, Barkley probably wishes he would have entered last year's draft. No one questions his intelligence, work habits, or leadership capabilities; these are agreed upon by all. He also is known for his short-intermediate accuracy, ability to throw on the run, and put touch on his passes. What are in question are his arm strength, accuracy on deep passes, and his ability to deal with adversity. Also, despite being very smart, he tries too hard to make throws he shouldn't make. It was reported that an unnamed AFC executive compared Barkley to Chad Pennington when he came out in 2000. I don't know who that executive was, but I totally agree with him.
Projected round: 1-2
4) Mike Glennon, NC State: If you're looking for a QB with a rocket arm, Glennon is your guy. Tall and smart, Glennon has the look of the next Joe Flacco. But like Flacco, he may need to play for a team that has a great defense the first couple of seasons while he adjusts to the pro game. Glennon's negatives include suspect footwork, a lack of athleticism to avoid the rush (he is very much in the mold of a pocket passer, and not a running threat at all), and occasional accuracy issues. Glennon could either be very good, or he could be a sitting duck. But his arm strength, and football intelligence are going to be hard for QB needy teams to ignore.
Projected round: 1-2
5) E.J. Manuel, Florida State: Manuel has the size of a tight end and a cannon for an arm. He also fits the new version of a running QB we're seeing more of in the NFL. He has good speed, and is a legitimate threat running the ball as much as passing it. But while that may make him sound like another Colin Kaepernick or Cam Newton, he isn't nearly the accomplished passer those two have proven to be. He has a tendency to take off running if his first read isn't open. He needs to learn to go thru his progressions and to stay in "QB mode" and avoid the rush instead of tucking the ball and running at the first sign of pressure. But these things are quite likely to be coachable. His strong arm and ability to make plays with both his arm and legs are not. And those will get him drafted somewhere in the first two rounds.
Projected round: 1-2
Others to keep an eye on:
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas: Strong arm, confident passer who isn't afraid to take a hit despite not having prototypical size. Could be a nice draft day sleeper.
Landry Jones, Oklahoma: Pocket passer with outstanding college production. Easily spooked in the pocket though and can be rattled into making poor decisions with the football.
Tyler Bray, Tennessee: Gifted passer with the skills to succeed, but a lot of questions about maturity, work ethic, and ability to handle pressure.
Zac Dysert, Miami (Ohio): Has raw skills but mediocre arm strength and tries too hard to make things happen when throwing the ball away would be a better decision.
See Russ's 2013 NFL Draft Running Backs Preview
See Russ's 2013 NFL Draft Wide Receivers Preview
See Russ's 2013 NFL Draft Tight Ends Preview