2012 NFL Draft: Top 10 Quarterback Prospects

Keaton WolfeContributor IIIFebruary 29, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: Top 10 Quarterback Prospects

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    There is plenty of talent in this year's quarterback class for the 2012 NFL draft, including Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. That's a good thing for NFL teams, because many of them could use a franchise quarterback.

    History has shown that if teams don't have a franchise quarterback, they most likely won't make it to the Super Bowl. Quarterbacks taken high in the draft are high risk/high reward, and picking the wrong quarterback could set back NFL teams for five years.

    Here are my top 10 quarterbacks in the 2012 NFL draft.

10. Chandler Harnish, Redshirt Senior: Northern Illinois Huskies

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    Harnish is 6'2'' and 220 pounds. He ran the ball a lot while at Northern Illinois, so he is a good athlete and it reflected at the combine.

    He did play in a weak conference, as did Case Keenum and Ryan Lindley, but can get the job done, as he threw 28 touchdowns, six interceptions and over 3,200 yards. He should likely be selected between the fifth and seventh round in the draft.

9. Case Keenum, Redshirt Senior: Houston Cougars

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    Keenum threw the football a lot at Houston, and that's an understatement. He broke many NCAA throwing records, including career touchdowns.

    In 2011, he was 428-of-603 for 5,631 yards, with 48 TDs and only five INTs. He threw nine TD passes in one game, and has decent size at 6'1'', 210 pounds.

    He will have to show if he can throw from under center and that he isn't just another system quarterback. He understands how to read coverages and is very accurate throwing inside the pocket. 

8. Ryan Lindley, Redshirt Senior: San Diego State Aztecs

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    Lindley is a strong armed QB who struggles with his accuracy and will take time to develop into a possible starting QB. He makes bad decisions at times, relying too much on his arm.

    Lindley is pretty athletic and can run and get some yards if he needs to. He also has the NFL size, being 6'4'' and 230 pounds. He completed only 53 percent of his passes, and had 23 TDs and eight INTs.

7. Brandon Weeden, Redshirt Senior: Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    Weeden is 28 years old, but is pretty polished as a quarterback going into the draft. He's a lanky 6'4'', 220 pounds, is very accurate when pressure is not in his face and has a pretty good arm. He completed 72 percent of his throws for 4,727 yards, 37 TDs and 13 INTs.

    Having the best WR in college football also helps pad those stats, but you still have to have a QB who can get the ball in your playmaker's hands, and Weeden did that throughout the 2011 college season.

    Weeden could end up being a very serviceable backup in the NFL who could start games.

6. Nick Foles, Redshirt Senior: Arizona Wildcats

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    Foles looks excellent in some games, and then just OK in others. At 6'5'', 240 pounds, he is a big QB who doesn't have great mobility. He does have a strong arm and was the only reason the Wildcats were merely competitive in some games in 2011.

    He threw the ball 560 times, completing 69.1 percent of them for 28 TDs and 14 INTs. Most of his INTs were forced, but as a QB, that is what you have to do when your team is behind all the time. You have to take chances. He should be selected by the fourth round. 

5. Russell Wilson, Redshirt Senior: Wisconsin Badgers

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    I am very high on Wilson more than most. He makes smart decisions and holds the record for for most attempts without throwing an INT while he was at North Carolina State. He ran a 4.55 40-yard dash, and showed excellent agility in the 20-yard shuttle and three-cone drill.

    He was very accurate in college. Coming into a big time program in Wisconsin, he became a leader and directed the Badgers to a Big Ten championship and a Rose Bowl appearance.

    His only knock is his height at 5'11''. If this guy was 6'3'', people would be saying he would be a first-round draft pick. He reminds me of Drew Brees and could be a late bloomer in the NFL. He completed 72 percent of his passes for 33 TDs and only four INTs in 2011.

    He could end up being the steal of the NFL draft.

4. Brock Osweiler, Junior: Arizona State Sun Devils

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    Osweiler is a very tall (6'7") QB who possesses good athletic ability for his size. He completed 326 out of his 516 passes for 4,036 yards, 26 TDs and 13 INTs. Osweiler has good feet in the pocket and a quick release. He's got an NFL-caliber arm to make all the throws and can get on a roll in a game quickly when his accuracy is good.

    He should be selected in the second or third round, with his draft stock still rising.

3. Ryan Tannehill, Redshirt Senior: Texas A&M Aggies

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    Tannehill is a quarterback who should only get better with time. Once a good wide receiver for the Aggies, he was switched to quarterback after poor play from the other Aggie QBs and did very well.

    With several teams in need of a franchise QB, he is likely to be selected in the first round in the draft. He has the NFL size at 6'4'', 220 pounds, can throw from the pocket and also is a threat to run at any time. Tannehill completed 61 percent of his 531 attempts in 2011, for 29 TDs and 15 INTs.

    One concern is that the record the Aggies had in 2011 was way below expectations—they always seemed to lose the close games and give up big leads, and some of it had to do with Tannehill.

2. Robert Griffin III, Redshirt Junior: Baylor Bears

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    RG3 was the Heisman Trophy winner for the 2011 college season, and his draft stock is going through the roof after an impressive combine. He nailed the interviews and also posted a 4.41 40 time. He not only can run, but he can throw the ball as well, and that has the media wondering who is going to move up and get this guy in the draft.

    Griffin has good size at 6'2'', 220 pounds, and is very smart and collected. He threw for over 4,200 yards at 72.4 percent completion, 37 TD passes and only had six INTs.

    RG3 should only get better, and has incredible upside for the NFL as long as he can stay healthy.

1. Andrew Luck, Redshirt Junior: Stanford Cardinal

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    Luck is supposed to be the best pro-ready college QB to be in the NFL draft since John Elway. People are already talking Super Bowls for this guy, and for good reason.

    He's 6'4'', 235 pounds, athletic, intelligent and has proven he is a winner. Luck completed 288-of-404 passes for 3,517 yards and 37 TD passes to only 10 INTs. He is very mobile, makes smart decisions and is extremely accurate.

    Look for Luck to be the No. 1 overall selection in the 2012 NFL draft, and be the face of a franchise for many years to come.