Compared to last April’s NFL draft, 2013 is a garbage year for quarterback prospects.
Of course, the play of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson this season embarrasses the vast majority of rookie QBs in league history, so don’t feel too bummed out. And besides, while Luck and RGIII were projected to be studs, Wilson wasn’t.
Therefore, even though the upcoming class doesn’t seem overwhelmingly talented, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of hidden gems.
Here are side-by-side comparisons of passers in the 2013 class to this season’s breakout stars.
Note: The following comparisons were made because of similar attributes and/or playing styles, not overall skill level or potential.
Andrew Luck Comparison: Geno Smith, West Virginia
Both Luck and Smith are sturdily built QBs—Luck at 6’4”, 234 pounds and Smith 6’3”, 214—who can’t run circles around opposing defenders but will effectively tuck the ball and take off when need be.
However, Luck wasn’t just labeled the best quarterback prospect since John Elway last year because he was an impressive athlete who could make every throw on the field. His football IQ is off the charts as well.
Smith also showed impressive intelligence this season, finishing with a jaw-dropping touchdown-to-interception ratio of 42-6.
Robert Griffin III Comparison: Tajh Boyd, Clemson
No quarterback prospect outside of Denard Robinson boasts RGIII-like speed, but because Robinson will be forced to play running back or wide receiver at the next level, Boyd is the best comparison.
The Clemson QB rushed for 514 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, and while he isn’t nearly as dangerous of a runner as Griffin, Boyd can certainly do damage with his legs. What makes RGIII special, though, is that he’s a phenomenal passer who only scrambles as a Plan B.
Boyd is the exact same way. His senior season at Baylor, Griffin attempted a pass 2.2 times more often than he ran. This year with the Tigers, Boyd recorded 2.3 times more passes than rushes.
Russell Wilson Comparison: Aaron Murray, Georgia
At 6’1”, Murray isn’t as vertically challenged as the 5’11” Wilson, but he’s short enough to make GMs think twice about drafting him.
And like Wilson was, Murray is currently a Day 2 prospect despite putting up outstanding numbers against top-notch competition. The Bulldogs' QB became one of the greatest passers in SEC history after throwing for over 3,000 yards in three straight seasons.
Wilson was able to continue his impressive production in the NFL thanks to his prototypical intangibles and Murray will have to rely on his elite leadership and work ethic to make it at the next level as well.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.