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2012 NFL Draft: Ranking the Top 5 QBs by Their Clutch Factor

Jon DoveContributor IJanuary 4, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: Ranking the Top 5 QBs by Their Clutch Factor

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    Ranking quarterbacks based on their clutch factor is much different than ranking their upside. Some quarterbacks perform better in pressure situations, but that doesn't mean they are better overall prospect. However, all of the elite quarterbacks know how to win when the stakes are the highest.

    The best example of the impact a clutch quarterback can have is Tim Tebow. His play throughout the game is erratic at best, but in the fourth quarter he finds a way to win. Tebow would rank high on the clutch ranking, but lower on the overall prospect ranking.

No. 5 Case Keenum- Houston

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    Case Keenum finished his career at Houston with several pass records and a 41-17 record. His play and development helped put this program in the national spotlight. At one point this season, Houston looked like a lock to earn a BCS bowl bid.

    This past season alone, Keenum orchestrated close victories over UCLA, Louisiana Tech and UTEP. If any of those games ended in a loss, the entire season would have looked much different. Houston's lone loss resulted in an appearance in the TicketCity Bowl, which was a major disappointment.

    Clutch performances are always decided by close games. Keenum felt pressure all season long, as he was expected to help Houston to a successful season.

No. 4 Brandon Weeden- Oklahoma State

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    Heading into this season, Oklahoma State felt that it had the horses needed to make a run at a national title. Looking good on paper is one thing, and actually winning is another. Oklahoma State leaned on the play of senior quarterback Brandon Weeden to lead them to a great season.

    Weeden handled the pressure well, and produced several major wins. Oklahoma State had big victories at Texas A&M, Texas and Missouri. The Cowboys also finished the season with big wins over Oklahoma and Stanford.

    Ultimately, Weeden's three-interception performance against Iowa State keeps him from moving up this ranking. That upset cost his team a shot at playing for a national title.

No. 3 Kirk Cousins- Michigan State

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    Michigan State's past two seasons have been very successful. During that period, the Spartans have compiled a record of 22-5. A lot of their success is thanks to the play of quarterback Kirk Cousins. His steady and consistent play helped this team notch some major victories.

    He led one of the more dramatic comebacks of the season against Wisconsin. That game ended with a 44-yard Hail Mary pass from Cousins to Keith Nichol. The win over Wisconsin really helped propel Michigan State towards their appearance in the Big Ten Championship Game.

No. 2 Andrew Luck- Stanford

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    Andrew Luck comes in at No. 2 on this list because of his failure to meet expectations. Many felt that Luck's return to Stanford would spur a strong run at a national title. However, another loss to the Oregon Ducks derailed those hopes.

    Despite the disappointment, Luck still orchestrated some really clutch performances. His three-overtime victory over USC is just one example of how well he plays in pressure situations. There is little doubt that Luck is the top prospect in the draft, but he isn't the most clutch quarterback.

No. 1 Robert Griffin III- Baylor

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    When you're the quarterback for a team that that doesn't feature strong defensive play, you need to be a clutch performer. In every game this season, the winner of Baylor's games scored an average 50 points. This put a lot of pressure on Griffin III to perform at a high level each and every week.

    Griffin III didn't shy away from this pressure; he welcomed it and succeeded. The biggest win of the season was the upset over the Oklahoma Sooners. At the time of that win, Oklahoma still had hopes of earning a national title game appearance.

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