The only guarantee when looking ahead a year to the next year’s draft is that things are sure to change. The 2013 NFL Draft was expected to be a strong quarterback draft in May of 2012. Names like Matt Barkley, Logan Thomas, and Tyler Wilson littered the top of draft boards early in the process. Things didn’t work out so well for the 2013 class and we saw Barkley and Wilson fall into the fourth round and Logan Thomas didn’t enter the draft after a subpar (at best) season.
The 2014 NFL Draft is expected to give fans everything 2013 didn’t – headlining top end talent consisting of a once in a generation defensive talent (Jadeveon Clowney) and the potential for an elite quarterback (Teddy Bridgewater).
This group is sure to change as the 2013 college football season progresses but with a fairly strong group of senior quarterbacks, I’m certain teams will have their pick of quality quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft.
After the break check out our early 2014 quarterback rankings.
Fales emerged onto the national stage last season after spending a season at Nevada and two at Monterey Peninsula College. Fales has an NFL arm with better than advertised athleticism. His pinpoint accuracy has the NFL Draftnik community buzzing about him but he’s more than just hype. I think he nudges out the likes of Tajh Boyd to be the top senior QB in the 2014 class.
It seems that every year Boyd is in the Clemson program he adds to his ever growing NFL repertoire. Boyd could have entered the 2013 NFL Draft and challenged to be the top quarterback in the draft with relative ease but opted to stay at Clemson for his senior season. Boyd will miss DeAndre Hopkins but has the tools around him to have a special season and challenge to hear his name called in the top 10 picks next April.
3. Stephen Morris, Miami
Blessed with the strongest arm in the draft – hands down – Morris is going to rise up draft boards throughout the process.He could be the most frustrating QB prospect in this draft as there are times he looks like a sure-fire first round pick and others when he’s hard to watch. With a year of experience under his belt, I expect Morris to take steps forward in his growth as a quarterback and expect him to move up in the national spotlight.
4. Aaron Murray, Georgia
The knock on Murray will be size and some spotty decision making. I think he can overcome the size issues but has to show better poise when he wants to force the ball into tight windows. He has a nasty tendency to hold onto the football too long, taking unnecessary hits. That said, he has a better than advertised arm and the accuracy to push the top of the draft with a solid senior season. His combination of arm talent, athleticism, and experience will have NFL talent evaluators taking a long look at him during the pre-draft process.
5. A.J. McCarron, Alabama
The question everyone will be asking when it comes to A.J. McCarron as an NFL prospect – is he a product of all the surrounding talent or a legit NFL talent? My take, thus far, is a little of both. I can’t see McCarron coming off the board in the first round but a team could be willing to take a shot on him on day two. He has plenty of arm talent and has a bit of the “it” factor that teams crave.
6. Derek Carr, Fresno State
Carr and McCarron were neck and neck for me. I could see Carr rising near the top of this list after this season. He’s the least talked about quarterback with the goods to be a top level talent. He’s burdened by poor footwork but has the arm talent to surpass quite a few names on this list. If Carr can clean up some bad habits he will be a candidate to have a better NFL career than his brother, David.
7. Jeff Matthews, Cornell
Matthews has been a force since stepping on the field at Cornell. The California native has prototypical size for the position and the arm to make waves out of the Ivy League. The only question with Matthews will be the level of competition and he will be one to watch through the pre-draft process.
8. Bryn Renner, North Carolina
9. Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech
10. Zach Mettenberger, LSU
11. Tyler Russell, Mississippi State
12. James Franklin, Missouri
13. Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois
14. Keith Price, Washington
15. Kurt Hess, Youngstown State
**Casey Pachall of TCU is one of my favorite QB prospects in the draft but we’ll take the wait and see approach given his off the field issues but we are hopeful that he returns to his old form on the football field and has aggressively tackled the issues that haunt him.