2013 NFL Draft: Pros and Cons of the Top 10 QBs in the Class
It's no secret that the NFL draft is all about the quarterback. It is no different in 2013, and as we all know, every quarterback has his pros and cons.
You've heard the names. Geno Smith, Landry Jones, Mike Glennon. But just who are these quarterbacks? What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses?
If you're one of the lucky fans whose team needs a signal-caller, you should know why your team is looking at drafting a particular one. You need to know what each quarterback offers your team.
Look no further. The top 10 quarterbacks in the 2013 NFL draft all have pros and cons, but how do they vary?
10. Collin Klein, Kansas State
Primarily known for his running ability, Collin Klein is a great athlete. At 6'5" and 225 pounds, he is big enough to break tackles and his speed gives him a distinct advantage. Klein is also excellent at faking handoffs on zone read plays.
Klein possesses decent arm strength and won't be limited by it too much in the NFL. He has shown an ability to consistently elude pressure in the pocket.
Klein was a successful college player, but he has much to work on to make it in the NFL. Despite completing 64.8 percent of his passes in 2012, Klein's ball placement is erratic at best. He misses far too many easy throws in an offense that is based around short passes.
Klein has limited experience going through progressions and has only on occasion advanced beyond his first read. He frequently takes off and runs after finding his first target covered.
Klein's mechanics remain a huge issue. His throwing motion is simply ugly—there's no other way to describe it—and needs to be completely reworked. Although different, his throwing motion is just as bad as Tim Tebow's.
Though Klein has a reasonably strong arm, he needs to put more velocity on certain mid-range throws.
9. Landry Jones, Oklahoma
Landry Jones possesses a strong arm, which has earned him many fans. He can throw to all levels of the field and throws a surprisingly accurate deep ball.
Jones demonstrates good throwing mechanics and has a quick release. Standing at 6’4” and 218 pounds, he has good size as well. Jones generally seems comfortable in the pocket and rarely tries to leave.
Jones’ ball placement is erratic. He will miss badly on routine throws while delivering perfect strikes on others. He is the definition of inconsistent, and with ball placement, that’s generally a bad thing. Jones too frequently forces the ball when he shouldn’t. He often makes bad decisions that result in interceptions.
Oklahoma’s offense features many quick, easy passes, and Jones rarely even attempts throwing the ball downfield, despite his accuracy there. He also rarely goes through progressions, instead throwing to his first read regardless of the coverage.
When under pressure, Jones’ footwork falls apart, and he becomes even more inconsistent. Even when facing a clean pocket, his footwork needs improvement, as his distribution of weight is off.
8. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse
Ryan Nassib possesses a strong arm and throws a tight spiral. He is capable of fitting the ball into the tightest of gaps, and wind is largely irrelevant.
Standing at 6’3” and 227 pounds, Nassib has good size and is a solid athlete, fast enough to escape from pressure and scramble for first downs. He also does a decent job of going through progressions.
Nassib’s ball placement is erratic at best. He will occasionally deliver the ball on point, but he misses on far too many routine throws. His passes can also be difficult to catch, as he lacks the necessary touch on simple passes. He also has a habit of directing his entire body towards his target, telegraphing his throws.
Nassib’s pocket presence leaves much to be desired. In the face of pressure, he often panics, running or dropping his eyes. Even when not under pressure, he never really looks comfortable.
Nassib also forces the ball into coverage too often. His release is a bit elongated, as he drops his hand down much further than is necessary. On many occasions, He will throw from awkward platforms, which affects both his ball placement and velocity.
7. E.J. Manuel, Florida State
A terrific athlete, E.J. Manuel is excellent at running and picking up yards. He can escape pressure from the pocket or even take off on designed runs. His speed, strength and agility are all valuable attributes.
Manuel has ideal size, weighing in at 6’5” and 240 pounds. He possesses a strong arm and can throw the ball through tight windows or downfield. His release is lightning-fast, and it takes him but a moment to get rid of the ball.
Manuel rarely reads the coverage and almost never makes progressions. He locks onto one receiver and either throws it to him or runs. Ball placement is horrific, with Manuel's short passes often sent sailing. His deep ball is just as bad, as he throws the ball far too high and can’t drop it in its proper location.
On nearly every pass, Manuel lifts his back foot. He struggles in the face of pressure and never looks comfortable in the pocket, even when he has plenty of time to throw. He throws too many passes that wobble through the air instead of spinning tightly.
6. Tyler Bray, Tennessee
At 6’6”, Tyler Bray is tall and can easily survey the field. He possesses a strong arm that can throw to all parts of the field and throws an excellent deep ball that stays close to the ground and is often on target.
Bray is perfectly comfortable in the pocket and can make throws in the face of pressure. He actually does a good job of throwing off his back foot when he has to, as well.
Bray excels at going through his progressions and finding the open receiver. His ball placement is good on most throws, especially deeper ones.
Bray desperately needs to improve his footwork and distribution of weight. Though he can throw well off his back foot, it's not good that he often fails to reset his feet as he goes through his progressions.
Weighing just 215 pounds, Bray needs to add bulk in order to avoid the NFL beating. He is definitely not a scrambler, which will limit play-calling options in the NFL.
Bray’s ball placement isn’t terrible, but it is somewhat inconsistent, largely because of his awful footwork. He takes too long to throw the ball, mostly because of his release.
5. Matt Barkley, USC
A four-year starter, Matt Barkley is a smart quarterback with a stable body of work. He demonstrates good ball placement on shorter passes and helps receivers to pick up yards after the catch.
Barkley generally exhibits sound decision-making and doesn’t force throws. He also displays above-average pocket presence and does a good job of moving in the pocket.
Barkley’s throwing mechanics and footwork are both solid. Also, he has spent a lot of time working under center, which is always valued. His ability to go through his progressions will also earn points with NFL teams.
While Barkley measures in at just 6’2”, his high release point will serve to mitigate deflections.
Barkley’s lack of arm strength severely limits what he can do on the field. He struggles to drive the ball downfield, and he can’t throw into as tight of gaps as other quarterbacks can. Thus, his ball placement deteriorates with distance, and he struggles to throw vertically.
When facing pressure, Barkley often throws off his back foot. When this happens, he forces the ball into coverage and loses velocity.
4. Mike Glennon, North Carolina State
Mike Glennon possesses excellent arm strength to go with a 6’6”, 232-pound frame. He can easily throw the ball to all parts of the field.
Glennon has a quick release to go with solid mechanics and footwork. Having also spent extensive time under center, he is, in many ways, polished. He does a great job of going through progressions and rarely locks onto a single target, and he rarely runs before he finds one.
At times, Glennon looks like a No. 1 overall pick, and he clearly has the natural talent to succeed in the NFL.
The biggest problem with Glennon is his inconsistency. His ball placement can be astonishingly bad, as he fails to even come close to his targets. His decision making leaves much to be desired, and he often forces the ball, as his 17 interceptions in 2012 suggest.
Glennon also looks awful in the face of pressure. He struggles to throw the ball off his back foot or from other unorthodox throwing positions and will sometimes run backwards away from pressure.
Glennon’s lack of mobility is an issue. He is essentially stuck in the pocket, and given his struggles with pressure, that is especially problematic.
3. Zac Dysert, Miami (Ohio)
At 6’4” and 228 pounds, Zac Dysert has great size and is difficult for defenders to bring down. He isn’t overly mobile, but he does a good job of finding creases and picking up available yards. His escapability in the pocket is excellent, and he can throw well on the run.
Dysert’s arm strength is perhaps his best quality. He can throw the ball to all parts of the field, and he has the best deep-ball placement of any quarterback in the draft. He's unlike most strong-arm quarterbacks, as his long ball is still accurate and rarely misses.
Rarely rattled, Dysert will stand in the face of the pass rush, running only when it becomes necessary.
Dysert’s biggest flaw is his tendency to force the ball into coverage. This could be a result of playing on a thoroughly untalented team and trying to do too much, but he needs to cut down on bad decisions. Throwing the ball away on occasion would help.
When making quick throws, Dysert will sometimes lower his release point, leading to deflections and inconsistent passing. He also throws flat-footed, though this hasn’t really had a negative impact on his accuracy. On occasion, he will throw a wobbler instead of a tight spiral.
Dysert will sometimes stand in the pocket too long and take a sack, though this is better than the alternative.
2. Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
Tyler Wilson can evade pressure in the pocket and scramble if he needs to, a skill he often had to use at Arkansas, as he was constantly under pressure. His arm is among the strongest in the draft, and he gets great velocity on throws to all levels of the field. Wilson does an excellent job of not getting too much air under his deep ball.
Wilson excels at going through his progressions and rarely locks onto a receiver. When he does find an open receiver, he wastes no time throwing the ball. He will take chances downfield and makes plays with the ball.
Wilson possesses good throwing mechanics. His footwork isn’t perfect, but it is much better than most draft-eligible quarterbacks.
Wilson’s biggest flaw is his tendency to throw interceptions. He threw 13 in 2012, though the lack of viable targets certainly contributed to this, as he often felt the need to make plays himself.
There’s no doubt that Wilson forces the ball too often, though.
Wilson’s ball placement isn’t as good as he throws further downfield, and he will miss his target on occasion. Rumored to stand at under 6’2”, Wilson isn’t tall and doesn’t have a particularly high release point either. This could lead to deflections in the NFL.
1. Geno Smith, West Virginia
Geno Smith possesses excellent ball placement and rarely misfires. He can accurately throw the ball at all levels of the field.
Smith has the athleticism to move outside of the pocket and scramble for first downs. His inclination, however, is to stand in the pocket and pass the ball.
In the face of pressure, Smith remains calm and delivers the ball without panic. He does an excellent job of throwing from different platforms and retaining accuracy regardless of how awkward the situation is. He does a great job of moving around in the pocket to avoid the rush, and he keeps his eyes downfield, running only when there are no other options.
Smith’s footwork under center is excellent. He also utilizes solid throwing mechanics and a quick, consistent release.
A smart player, Smith rarely makes mistakes and does a good job of reading the defense. He is excellent at avoiding turnovers and taking care of the football.
Smith doesn’t have a rocket arm, though it is strong enough. At times, he could stand to put more velocity on his throws instead of lofting them.
He too frequently locks onto his primary option instead of going through his progressions. Out of the shotgun, Smith struggles with his footwork and doesn’t cross his feet when dropping back. He’s much better under center.
Smith could actually afford to take a few more chances, as he doesn’t make a ton of big plays. Part of this could be West Virginia’s offensive scheme, but he should take more shots downfield.