With five of the thirty-two teams in the NFL currently starting rookies, the 2013 class has a lot to live up to. Certainly, there isn’t the top end talent that the 2012 NFL Draft featured. Without the Andrew Luck/Robert Griffin III headliner, it appears teams will be limited in selecting atop the draft when it comes to the quarterback position.
Matt Barkley and Tyler Wilson entered the season as the top signal callers but it appears both have been and will be surpassed by West Virginia’s Geno Smith and possibly NC State’s Mike Glennon. Barkley and Wilson have struggled mightily through the first half of the season while Smith has been near perfect and Glennon presents significant physical tools.
Where this draft gets interesting is in the depth at the quarterback position. There’s three or four guys that could be had in the second or third round range that have starter ability.
Much was expected of the underclassmen but those expectations have yet to come to fruition. Logan Thomas and Tyler Bray are extremely gifted from a physical tools standpoint but neither can put together any semblance of consistency. I will sum up this junior class by saying it may be best served if all returned for their senior seasons.
Enough of the talking, here’s a look at the 2013 quarterback class.
1. Geno Smith I West Virginia I 6’3” I 214
Geno Smith has emerged as 2013’s top quarterback and likely first quarterback off the board in April’s draft. Smith has shown the arm talent with pocket presence and smarts to pace this class. He’s not in the class of an Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin but is probably more in the Ryan Tannehill range. If you’re ok with taking Tannehill first overall, have at Smith.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 1
2. Tyler Wilson I Arkansas I 6’3” I 220
I was a torch bearer for Wilson to begin the season. I fell in love with him throughout the course of the 2011 season. Clearly, he has been hampered by injuries and the coaching change. I still see Wilson as worthy of a first round selection with his blend of arm talent, sneaky athleticism, and toughness. Arkansas can’t protect Wilson and he’s developing some bad habits because of it. If he reverts back to 2011 form during the second half of the season its conceivable that Wilson could still land in the top 15 of the 2013 NFL Draft.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 1-2
3. Mike Glennon I NC State I 6’6” I 232
Glennon has incredible physical tools. He’s a super-sized QB with a rocket arm. He has nice touch on his passes and fits it in where others just can’t. His tendency to get lazy with the ball is a problem and he lacks the mobility to escape heavy pressure. That said, if he had USC or West Virginia’s weapons we may be talking about him as a top 10 pick. This is a guy that could rise significantly during the pre-draft process.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 1-2
4. Matt Barkley I USC I 6’2” I 220
Barkley’s draft stock has really taken a hit in the first half of the season. He has not been helped out by the fact that his offensive line has struggled but there are some clear down sides to a guy that many projected as the first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Barkley has made some bad decisions with the ball and lacks elite tools. He has all the intangibles to be a good one but I’m not sure that his ceiling is big enough for him to go in the first round.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 1-2
5. Ryan Nassib I Syracuse I 6’2” I 229
Nassib is a great example as to why you don’t put stock in stats. His stats are about as incomplete of a picture as you can paint. Nassib has little in the way of weapons and has played on some pretty poor teams. That said, I think he’s a guy that brings eventual starting capabilities in the second day of the draft.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 3
6. Zac Dysert I Miami (OH) I 6’4” I 214
Dysert has a chance to be the next big time MAC quarterback. He is viewed by many as a system quarterback but has the skill set to be an NFL starter in my opinion. This guy brings a ton of value if he falls into the late second, early third portion of April’s draft.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 2-3
7. EJ Manuel I Florida State I 6’5” I 238
You couldn’t draw them up any better than Manuel from a physical standpoint. He’s as physically gifted as any quarterback in this draft but lacks the consistency and accuracy to warrant a top selection. Manuel’s FSU career has been all over the board. He’s played his best football as a senior but there are still some major question marks as to his viability as an NFL starter.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 2-3
Landry Jones is a bit of an enigma. He has all the physical tools to be a starting quarterback in the NFL but is so inconsistent. His OU career has been a story of inconsistency. Once thought of by many to be a future top quarterback prospect, Jones could never put it all together. His accuracy and decision making are spotty, at times, causing some to think he’s a long term project.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 4
9. Seth Doege I Texas Tech I 6’1″ I 200 I 4-5
10. Sean Renfree I Duke I 6’5” I 230 I 4-5
11. Nick Florence I Baylor I 6’0 I 205 I 5-6
12. Matt Scott I Arizona I 6’2 I 198 I 4-5
13. Colby Cameron I Louisiana Tech I 6’1 I 205 I 5
14. Jordan Rodgers I Vanderbilt I 6’1 I 212 I 7
1. David Fales I San Jose State I 6’3″ I 220
Fales is the best QB that you’ve never heard of. Fales is deadly accurate and has a ton of pocket presence. He possesses an above average arm and throws a catchable ball. In addition, he’s a good enough athlete to extend plays. He’s likely to stay at SJSU for his senior season but could be one to watch for the 2014 NFL Draft.
2. Aaron Murray I Georgia I 6’1” I 210
Murray is a bit up and down. His struggles in big games has me worried about his viability as a big time player at the next level. He has a lot of physical tools minus the NFL size.
3. Tyler Bray I Tennessee I 6’6” I 213
Bray has elite physical tools but has yet to reach his potential due to issues with consistency. His decision making and accuracy can be spotty at times. One more year of college football may be good for Bray but he should monitor his receivers (Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson) status as declaration time comes. There is a little buyer beware on Bray as he doesn’t invoke a lot of confidence that he is willing to put work in to be a top QB in the league. Bray is likely to declare so teams will have to weigh his physical talents versus decision making, accuracy, and work ethic.
4. Logan Thomas I Virginia Tech I 6’6” I 260
Thomas is a physical specimen that will struggle to make the transition to NFL quarterback. Are you noticing a trend here? Thomas was expected to challenge Barkley for the top QB spot but his junior season hasn’t panned out the way he thought. He needs another season of collegiate quarterbacking before he takes on the NFL.
5. Tajh Boyd I Clemson I 6’1” I 225
It’s hard not to like Tajh Boyd. He doesn’t possess typical NFL measurements but he’s as good as anyone when it matters. It’s going to be hard for scouts to ignore his combination of arm talent and athleticism despite his smallish frame.
6. Casey Pachall I TCU I 6’5” I 226
Pachall would be my top junior quarterback but off-the-field issues are running rampant. If he could get himself together he could challenge for the top QB spot in 2014. That’s a big if. Pachall is currently suspended and reportedly left school for inpatient rehab. Best of luck to a kid with loads of talent.
7. Bryn Renner I North Carolina I 6’3” I 215
8. Zach Mettenberger I LSU I 6’5” I 230
9. Keith Price I Washington I 6’1” I 202
10. Kurt Hess I Youngstown State I 6’3 I 230