Because of the relative lack of depth at the position in 2013, the upcoming NFL draft isn’t going to see too many quarterbacks getting picked early on unlike last season, with two can’t miss prospects. The likes of Matt Barkley and Geno Smith create a lot of interest among NFL teams, but it’s hard seeing anyone at the moment becoming an immediate starter.
Behind Smith and Barkley, potential first round picks (Smith is in 100%), Mike Glennon of North Carolina State, despite his rawness, seems like a player a lot of teams are interested in trying to develop. Behind him are questionable guys like Nassib, Bray and Wilson, with questionable potential and ceiling.
Ryan Nassib, Syracuse
Nassib seems to be one of the quarterbacks who no one doubts their mental and physical toughness, but find it hard to standout with the things that easily standout – accuracy, arm strength and his ability to run with the football and make plays outside the pockets. His tendency to rely on his arm and not move his feet gets him into dangerous situations, but he did have a very good senior season, throwing for 3749 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. At the moment, he looks like a late second-round pick.
Tyler Bray, Tennessee
Bray has the arm and the accuracy on his good days, but he finished with 59.4% on his junior and final season with the Vols, leading the team to a 5-7 record on the only season as a starter. Scouts are afraid his decision making isn’t good enough for the NFL, certainly not as a future starter, while his passion for the game has also been put in doubt. In any case, based on his arm strength alone Bray should be a pick late in the third round or early fourth.
EJ Manuel, Florida State
Manuel has the size and speed scouts love in the “modern” NFL quarterback. His passing velocity is one of the best in the upcoming class, helping him get 3397 yards with 23 touchdowns last season, leading the Seminoles to a BCS Bowl victory. However, his ability to handle pressure and pass-rushing, leading to a steep drop in accuracy is going to hurt his draft stock, possibly falling into the third round.
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
Wilson got hurt by staying for his senior year in college, with Bobby Petrino leaving the team and his top two wide receivers leaving as well. His numbers didn’t improve because his team was much worse than in 2011, and it raised questions about his ability to succeed in the NFL – while having good accuracy and mental toughness according to his college career, teams are afraid his small stature and hands won’t cut it in the NFL.
Matt Barkley, USC
Matt Barkley could have been a high first round pick had he left the Trojans after the 2011 season, but staying for his senior for the eventual false notion of winning an NCAA title proved to be the wrong decision, as he threw 15 interceptions, more than double his 2011 number. Scouts still love him because he ran a pro offense at USC and knows how to make changes on the line of scrimmage, but it remains to be seen how much his average arm strength and mobility will drag his number down, possibly even out of the first round.
Mike Glennon, North Carolina State
If there’s a project worth investing in, Glennon seems to be the one. He’s not going to be able to start right away, but his size and his gradual improvement during the second year as a starter, especially in the final games with wins over Clemson, Maryland and Louisville, should be enough for someone to take him in the first three rounds and tried to develop him into a worthy NFL quarterback.
Geno Smith, West Virginia
On one hand, it’s hard to ignore Smith’s numbers for the Mountaineers in 2012, with his 71.2% completion percentage probably standing out more than anything else. The problem NFL scouts have with Smith, despite being quite impressive in his workouts, is playing in a spread offense on his final three seasons, knowing how to operate out of the shoutgun alone. If it wasn’t for that issue, he would be a potential top 10, maybe even top 5 pick. When you’re a quarterback who does everything well but nothing in an extraordinary level when it comes to pro-potential, you’re not going to get a high pick in the draft.