2013 NFL Draft Order: Projecting Where First-Round Quarterbacks End Up

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2013

USC Trojans QB Matt Barkley
USC Trojans QB Matt BarkleyStephen Dunn/Getty Images

As if anybody doubted the effect of a rookie quarterback, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson illustrated what drafting the right QB can do for a franchise.

This year's crop of quarterbacks eligible for the NFL draft lacks the star power of last year. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of impact players.

Wilson was only a third-round pick, and while some people did predict he would be very good in the NFL, nobody expected the kind of season he had.

Here's the quarterbacks who will likely go in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.


1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, West Virginia

The Kansas City Chiefs are a team in rebuild mode. In most cases, the first place a team starts with rebuilding is at quarterback. It makes sense for Kansas City, as Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn both had awful years.

Geno Smith is almost the consensus top quarterback on most experts' rankings. The Chiefs could also take Luke Joeckel here, but Smith makes a lot of sense.

Smith is far from simply a product of the offensive system at West Virginia. The Mountaineers QB has very good accuracy and arm strength. He's not the most mobile quarterback, but he has enough to slip outside the pocket to avoid the rush.

The problem with Smith, though, is how much he played out of the shotgun while at West Virginia. He'll take a little while to adjust to playing under center in the NFL


7. Arizona Cardinals: Matt Barkley, USC

No draft prospect's star has fallen as far as Matt Barkley's. Before the season, you would have been hard-pressed to find a mock draft that didn't put him at the top of the board.

Due to injury and a failure to live up to the Heisman hype, Barkley plummeted down the draft rankings. When he hits the combine, many will be reminded of Barkley's skills.

Like former Trojans quarterback Matt Leinart, Barkley's arm strength has come under question at times.

However, few are as adept as Barkley at reading the entire field. He can check down all of his options and find the open receiver.

The Arizona Cardinals have many positions to address, but their quarterback situation is one of the worst in the league. Almost any option in the draft is better than the likes of Brian Hoyer, Ryan Lindley and John Skelton.


8. Buffalo Bills: Tyler Wilson, Arkansas

Ryan Fitzpatrick is not a bad quarterback, but he's not the kind of player you build a franchise around. The Buffalo Bills need to find a young QB to support C.J. Spiller, who could make the jump to elite status next year, and Stevie Johnson.

It might be a reach to select Tyler Wilson at the eighth pick, but he should become a very good starter in the NFL.

Wilson has very good arm strength and accuracy. He might not have the name recognition of Barkley, but at this stage, he looks every bit the NFL prospect that the former Trojan does.

The biggest problem with Wilson is that he can be a bit of a gunslinger at times. He tries to throw himself out of too many situations, and the results can be pretty bad.

That should improve, though, with the right coaching when he hits the NFL.