April's 2013 NFL draft is full of uncertainty, especially at the quarterback position. Many teams are in search of their franchise savior and many new head coaches will be looking to draft their quarterback of the future.
However, most experts and evaluators agree that this draft lacks elite talent at the most important position in football, and with a number of teams searching to fill their biggest hole, it's likely many teams will reach and find themselves unhappy with their return on investment.
With that said, here is the list of who many believe are the top available quarterbacks in next years NFL draft. These are the landing spots and destinations I believe are most desirable and beneficial for all parties involved.
QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
Best Fit: Kansas City Chiefs
Although new Chiefs general manager John Dorsey recently stated the team would not reach for a quarterback and would likely to stick to the best-player-available approach, it seems unlikely the team will pass on taking a rookie signal-caller.
While he may not be worthy of the No. 1 overall pick, Geno Smith does have a lot of positive attributes that would mesh nicely in Kansas City.
New head coach Andy Reid has been known to get the most out of his quarterbacks, helping Eagle QBs like Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb realize their potential. Smith offers a nice arm to stretch the field for playmakers like Dwayne Bowe and Jon Baldwin, while also offering the ability to run read-option alongside running back Jamaal Charles.
If Reid plays to Smith's strengths as a passer and puts him in an offensive scheme that fits his skill set, the young quarterback can be successful and help make the Chiefs respectable once again.
Other Potential Suitor(s): Oakland Raiders
QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
Best Fit: New York Jets
The Buffalo Bills also make sense for Wilson, but new coach Doug Marrone may opt for familiarity and draft his former college quarterback at Syracuse, Ryan Nassib. Wilson makes sense in New York because of his style of play, but also because of his toughness, poise and physical demeanor.
In a city of die-hard football fans, the Jets expect perfection and place a great deal of pressure on their team’s starting quarterback. Tyler Wilson may be the right guy for the job because of the thick skin and moxie he showed this year for an Arkansas program that had everything go wrong in 2012.
While he struggled at times this year, Wilson also showed flashes of the talent we saw in 2011, when he had more going right around him. Surely his big arm would be a welcome addition to a depth chart of Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow and Greg Mcelroy—quarterbacks with average to below-average arm strength.
With that said, the Jets and Rex Ryan have to make a more authoritative effort to put pieces around Wilson. There's the talented-but-raw wide receiver Stephen Hill, but in general Wilson would not have the necessary skill-position players in place to help him turn around a team in a manner like Andrew Luck did with Indianapolis.
Still, because of both his personal and physical qualities, Wilson seems poised to handle pressure-packed New York, where quarterbacks have failed to live up to expectations as of late (see: Brett Favre, Mark Sanchez).
Other Potential Suitor(s): Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals
QB Ryan Nassib, Syracuse
Best Fit: Buffalo Bills
Many might see this as a lazy justification but Nassib would seem to be the guy new coach Doug Marrone would target next April. Familiarity and comfortability are two underrated qualities when speaking about the quarterback position.
Having coached and developed Nassib at Syracuse, Marrone is most apt to know what this young quarterback excels at. On the other hand, he's also likely to know what the quarterback needs to improve on and can implement a system similar to what Nassib ran at Syracuse, thereby playing into his strengths as a passer.
While Mike Glennon or Tyler Wilson may also be good fits, I honestly believe the trust and familiarity between one coach and quarterback will win out in this case. A young and talented offensive line and a dynamic running game that ranked towards the top of the NFL last year should make Nassib’s job a little easier. However, growing pains can be expected as Nassib will likely be more of a project than a finished prospect.
One of the more intriguing quarterbacks in this class, Nassib could very well end up being one of the biggest reaches in this draft. However, the new CBA has made such a leap of faith less risky, and Nassib has the tools to have an Andy Dalton-type impact if put into the right situation.
Other Potential Suitor(s): Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles
QB Mike Glennon, NC State
Best Fit: Buffalo Bills
It’s apparent the Bills are ready to move on from incumbent starter Ryan Fitzpatrick. With a new sheriff in town in Doug Marrone, it’s likely a new franchise quarterback is already on the horizon.
While this may not be the most desirable year for quarterbacks, a change must be made, making this decision all the more critical.
Mike Glennon is a gifted pocket passer when he is able to stay clean and generate the necessary time to find his intended target. His live arm and ability to spray the ball to all areas of the field should pair up nicely with playmaker Stevie Johnson and 2012 third-round pick T.J. Graham, whom the team moved up to select last April.
While more pieces are necessary to facilitate Glennon’s transition to the pro game, a talented offensive line and receiver out of the backfield in C.J. Spiller would surely help mask some of the mobility concerns associated with this young quarterback.
Either way, expect Buffalo to make a splash this offseason at the all-important quarterback position, where they will likely have to reach at No. 8 overall to secure their quarterback of the future.
Other Potential Suitor(s): Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets
QB Matt Barkley, USC
Best Fit: Arizona Cardinals
There is not another quarterback, or maybe even another player in this draft, who would like a do-over more than Matt Barkley. In a season that started out filled with hope and optimism, he and his USC Trojans fell flat on their collective face.
Now, Barkley faces a steep uphill climb to reclaim his previous pre-draft position and ranking before a disappointing senior season sent him plummeting down draft boards. While he may fall some, there is a chance he may find himself in a better situation overall than he otherwise would have been had he chose to enter last year’s draft.
The Cardinals have yet to name their new head coach, so it’s hard to project what Arizona's new regime will want to do at the quarterback position. Kevin Kolb proved serviceable before his injury left the team in shambles, and ruined any hopes an impressive 4-0 start had brought to the fanbase.
Barkley is far from a flawless prospect but does have good leadership skills and the football IQ to somewhat make up for his lack of superior physical skills at the position. Barkley is the type of quarterback who needs solid players around him to do well.
The Cardinals defense is one of the best around and big targets like Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd will help immensely for a slightly undersized quarterback like Barkley.
The Cardinals should focus on offensive line help early and often while also finding a dynamic tight end to take some pressure off the quarterback. Barkley could fall, very much like Colt McCoy did in the 2010 NFL draft before being picked in the third round by the Cleveland Browns.
If this happens, expect a team like the Cardinals to recognize Barkley's value and pounce on a player they can groom and bring along slowly, while seeing what they truly have in Kevin Kolb.
Other Potential Suitor(s): New York Jets, Houston Texans