2013 NFL Draft: Sleeper QB Prospects to Keep an Eye On
This year's 2013 NFL draft class doesn't exactly light the world on fire at the QB position.
However, since the position is arguably the most important, and equally most challenging position to get right on a yearly basis, teams will have to do some deep digging to find a guy capable of taking over its franchise one day.
That being said, we all know Geno Smith and Matt Barkley are going to get first crack at proving they belong as NFL starters. Behind them, we've started to hear names like Tyler Bray, Tyler Wilson and Mike Glennon creep up as potential first-round picks, depending on how the NFL combine goes.
When I say sleeper, I mean sleeper.
We're going way deep into the college football doldrums for these guys, and it's not because they can't play football at an extremely high level. These guys didn't receive the kind of press or accolades as the top candidates in the draft—but that didn't stop Tom Brady or Drew Brees from becoming the consumate professional.
Here's a look at three guys that won't overwhelm you, but certainly have the potential to provide a spark and certain qualities of importance at the next level.
For a complete look at some more NFL prospects at the QB position, check out CBS Sports' Big Board at QB.
QB Nick Florence, Baylor
If Baylor's defense would have stiffened up during its four-game losing streak in the middle of the season, we would have been mentioning this guy's name with every elite spread QB in the country. Instead, he's Baylor's next treasure behind Robert Griffin III and managed to lead the team to a Holiday Bowl win over UCLA in December.
Florence's stats speak for themselves: 4,300 yards passing, over 500 yards rushing and 43 total touchdowns, including a seven-game streak of scoring one rushing touchdown per game. If you look at total offense leaders, Johnny Manziel is No. 1—but No. 2 is Florence, just 18 yards off the pace from the kid that took home the Heisman Trophy. .
As a pro prospect, size and arm strength are going to hurt his chances to be an up-and-coming starter, but as the NFL seemingly shifts to different offenses each season, there's no doubt he could find a home in the fifth or sixth round with the right team. If Case Keenum and Kellen Moore can get picked up, so can Florence.
However, recent reports like this one from SicEmSports.com's Jake Shaw suggest that Florence might try and grab one more year of eligibilty. He applied for a sixth year in April, since he played just one half in 2011 in relief of an injured RG3 against Texas Tech.
We won't know if he's returning to lead Baylor one more time until the NCAA rules on the matter. If he goes pro, though, his leadership and ability to pick up an offense quickly will make him a project QB on a team with similar needs at the position.
QB Matt Scott, Arizona
Down the list on that total offense chart is Matt Scott, who finished with 343 yards per game for a team that managed to pull off a late bowl upset over Nevada.
Scott was integral in that one, as he was in Arizona's upset win over USC earlier in the season. He had a quietly productive season, including over 3,600 yards through the air and 27 passing scores. His size (6'2", 198) begs questions of durability, but he has a big arm and the kind of pedigree that begs further attention.
Inside the War Room noted much of the same on Twitter, when it discussed the kind of value pick status he might have on draft night:
Arizona QB Matt Scott is an intriguing guy...very mobile, strong arm, good in the clutch...as a 5th round pick or later, good value.— Inside the War Room (@InsideWarRoom) January 8, 2013
We'll see about his status as Arizona's pro day inches closer and more scouts evaluate what he brings to the table at the position. As of right now, don't count Scott out of being taken even earlier than many people think.
QB Matt McGloin, Penn State
McGloin got the short end of the stick as a senior without any kind of bowl to play for, but Bill O'Brien brought this kid around full circle in his first year in State College.
Which guy will go off the board first?
McGloin isn't tall (6'0") but improved dramatically in O'Brien's pro-style offense and kept his turnover numbers down all season—one of the main reasons Penn State managed to win eight games and prove doubters wrong during the first of four seasons with bowl bans being enforced.
With 24 touchdowns and just five interceptions, McGloin has improved his reads through progression, decision-making and even the will to win on a team with virtually nothing but pride on the line. Scouts won't fall in love with his arm strength or size, but they will trust O'Brien's evaluation of his progress.
Don't be surprised if McGloin creeps up into the bottom rounds as a potential third or fourth QB on a training camp roster. Even if he goes undrafted, there's plenty of room to find a team and compete for a job. He caught the eye of both Joe Paterno and O'Brien during his time at Penn State, and McGloin continues to prove doubters wrong.
Sleepers generally do.
Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team. Check him out on Twitter.
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