Eleven quarterbacks were taken in the 2013 NFL Draft – EJ Manuel by the Buffalo Bills, Geno Smith by the New York Jets, Mike Glennon by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Matt Barkley by the Philadelphia Eagles, Ryan Nassib by the New York Giants, Tyler Wilson by the Oakland Raiders, Landry Jones by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brad Sorensen by the San Diego Chargers, Zac Dysert by the Denver Broncos, B. J. Daniels by the San Francisco 49ers and Sean Renfree by the Atlanta Falcons.
How many of them will become NFL stars? Impossible to know. But it’s easier to predict how many of them will become meaningful players quite soon, Guessing according to their talents and the quarterback situations in their new teams, it seems like EJ Manuel, Geno Smith and Matt Barkley are the likeliest of players to get their first career starts in 2013.
EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills
Manuel’s competition? He has Kevin Kolb and Tavaris Jackson to compete with. Doug Marrone hasn’t sounded so impressed from the first couple of days of the minicamps, but it really means nothing. Kolb is obviously the biggest name entering the competition for the position, but it’s hard to believe Jackson is in it to. He’s there as a backup, and nothing that’ll happen is going to change that.
Manuel? If he does show consistency in his throwing, something that has eluded him for most of his college career, the Bills will eventually use him. Kolb is a good quarterback, but not someone immune to changes if things don’t go well. Manuel is the only QB picked in the first round, and that does mean something. The Bills liked his size, which goes well with the weather that’s usually a problem for quarterbacks playing in Buffalo. It’ll need a really bad start for the Bills to put him in the position, but Manuel might get a start, two or even more by the end of the season.
Geno Smith, New York Jets
Some scouts and GMs really don’t like Smith because of his ‘diva-like attitude’ and other personal issues, but there’s rarely been a bad word about him professionally from those who have seen him work out. No one saw him as franchise changing quarterback; no one in this draft initially looks that way, unlike at least two guys (Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III) in 2012. But Smith has accuracy, has arm and he’s walking into a situation which might not be the healthiest for anyone to succeed, but it does seem like a fertile ground for someone new to take on the role of quarterback.
He’s competing with Mark Sanchez and David Garrard for the starting position, while Greg McElroy and Matt Simms are also there. While Sanchez is who Ryan is backing to be the number one quarterback eventually, there’s a good chance that the last couple of seasons haven’t done him a world of good in terms of confidence. Smith isn’t generating the Tebow buzz, but this being New York, there’s plenty of attention. It’s a little too early to tell, but Smith won’t be ignored like Tebow was, when the need to make a switch at quarterback comes up.
Matt Barkley, Philadelphia Eagles
Barkley was the 98th overall pick in the draft, which usually means he’s not counted on to become a starter anytime soon. But the Eagles are in an interesting situation. They have a creative head coach, who knows that running the exact same system he did with Oregon isn’t going to work in the NFL. A running quarterback like Michael Vick or Dennis Dixon might not be the answer to the Eagles’ problems; good throwing is something that’s always in need, and Barkley might be the best thrower out of the five man group at QB (also with Nick Foles and G.J. Kinne).
Vick is the favorite to win the spot – the money he’s making and his talents. The Eagles are going to look better at offensive line than last season, which means it might be a much better season than the pathetic four wins they produced in 2012, but Vick is hardly someone who’s likely to play in all 16 games. So many hits and concussions take their toll, and unless Barkley has been faking it for most of his college career, he’s the second best quarterback the Eagles have going into the season.