By Lance Zierlein
March 21, 2013
|Geno Smith||West Virginia||1st|
|EJ Manuel||Florida St.||2nd/3rd|
|Mike Glennon||NC State||2nd/3rd|
|Zac Dysert||Miami, OH||4th|
We all know this is a poor year for franchise QBs or even full-time starters, but there are some interesting prospects to talk about.
Geno Smith has the best combination of athleticism, arm, size and makeup, but he is certainly no sure thing. I would have liked to see Smith run a little more last year when the opportunity arose because the ability to create when a play breaks down would be a big plus in the NFL.
Matt Barkley is worth a late first round pick in my opinion, but only to a team who has a starter in place and who is looking to try and groom him. If a bad team drafted him and tried to plug him in right now, I think he would fail and potentially fail miserably. He needs more coaching.
To me, the guys with the biggest upsides are Mike Glennon and EJ Manuel, but for different reasons. Glennon has the size and the arm, but he makes poor decisions at times which results in turnovers and he will get sacked a ton. If you plugged him in with a strong offensive line and gave him time to throw, he could be a QB who attacks defenses down the field as he showed the ability to strike with the deep ball quite often at N.C. State. Anything short of a great pair of tackles and he will get creamed.
Manuel is a pure projection. His stats from Florida State look good on paper, but his play didn't always say "first three round QB". What I really like about Manuel besides his size and ability to operate outside of the pocket is that he's got moldable traits. He has played out of gun, under center and run some zone-read. He's the perfect prospect for a team looking to diversify their offense. He's got a high ceiling, but a low floor so taking him within the first two rounds is a swing for the fences.
Tyler Wilson showed a desire to survive last year which meant getting rid of the ball quickly. He is better than what we saw at times last year behind that offensive line and with that lack of skill talent, but I don't think he has the type of NFL arm most teams will look for. He needs to be in a west coast offense.
As for Ryan Nassib, he's intelligent and competitive, but I can't get past the fact that so much of his game looks so average. I just don't see the 1st round grades that some are putting on him.
Tyler Bray's measurables are very intriguing, but I would have liked to have seen even more production considering he was playing with NFL-caliber WRs and an NFL-caliber left tackle in Dallas Thomas.
Zac Dysert appears to be relatively average in every way as well, but I like him. I saw poise when I studied him and I think that is a very important trait for a potential NFL starter. Landry Jones has a decent arm and a quick set-up but his accuracy inconsistencies are hard for me to get past.
When I grade and rank QBs, I'm interested in finding guys who I believe can be starters in the NFL. There are certain traits I look for like poise, accuracy and ability to fit into certain schemes. While I might like one QB better in college than another, that doesn't mean I'll like that same QB better as a pro prospect.