The 2013 NFL draft quarterback class isn’t making very many waves across the football landscape. That’s thanks to a class of QBs that, on paper, fails to live up to the massive success of last year’s quarterbacks.
Three rookies led their teams to the postseason in 2012.
Is there anyone in this class that could be able to do that for their future franchise? Opinions on this vary across the business, but we won’t truly know until we see these guys on Sundays.
Let’s take a look at a couple of potential first-round QB selections. Then we’ll break down who NFL teams should draft first when trying to solve their personnel problems at the game's most important position.
1. Geno Smith, West Virginia
The Mountaineers’ QB boasts a good combination of size, speed and an ability to get the ball out quickly. NFL football is currently moving more towards an option-type quarterback system, and Smith could definitely fit that mold, although it isn’t his primary style.
His nearly 6’3” frame is lean at 208 pounds, but he has room for growth and muscle gain once working with a professional training staff.
Positives: Smith has fast feet and a good initial burst that allows him to pick holes in defenses and exploit them. However, perhaps his biggest strength is that he doesn’t look to run the ball too often or too early.
Throwing the ball, he has good accuracy and decent arm strength. His nice touch allows him to fit the ball into some tight spaces without making crucial mistakes, especially down the field.
Negatives: He releases the ball a tad late, and it results in batted down passes, especially against a defense with a tough front seven (i.e. Iowa State).
Sometimes he seems to leave the ball short for his intended target on out routes and deeper throws. Those throws were a result of poor releases, wind or timing. College defensive backs didn’t feast on some of these throws, but defenders in the NFL certainly will.
2. Mike Glennon, North Carolina State
Mike Glennon is 6’6” and has the arm strength every NFL general manager loves in a quarterback. That alone won’t send him shooting up team’s draft boards, but there are plenty of other things to like about the senior QB.
Positives: Glennon is well-versed in a pro-style offense while working in North Carolina State’s system for the past two seasons. Arm strength is the biggest positive for the tall and imposing QB, with a good velocity from his throws as a close second.
The best part of Glennon’s game is that not only can he chuck the ball down the field, he’s pretty accurate and throws a nice ball while doing it, too.
Negatives: Like every tall, strong-armed QB, Glennon struggles with escaping pressure in the pocket. He isn’t as mobile as the other quarterbacks on this list because of his average at best speed and his inability to sense pressure at times.
The biggest knock on Glennon was and continues to be his decision making while pressured.
3. Matt Barkley, USC
Matt Barkley returned to USC for his senior season and was the consensus preseason favorite to be the first quarterback picked in the 2013 NFL draft. Like Barkley, the USC Trojans’ expectations couldn’t be higher, as they were No. 1 in the AP and USA Today Polls.
That has changed after the team and QB, limped their way through the season and finished with a disappointing 7-5 record.
Positives: Barkley has a quick release that, combined with his instinct and timing, allows him to fit passes into tight windows, usually before receivers are ready for it.
Mobility isn’t a big positive for the QB, although he does use excellent vision of the field to create room in the pocket. He also makes defense and throws well on the run.
Negatives: He isn’t going to blow the top off of a defense due to his lack of a “cannon” arm as some QBs in the NFL boast. He does have good arm strength that’s aided by his quick release, but likely isn’t going to consistently beat defenses' defense.
4. Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
The Arkansas Razorbacks didn’t enjoy very much success in 2013, but that wasn’t solely due to the struggles of their quarterback. The 6’1” QB doesn’t have prototypical size but makes up for it with strong intangibles, good athletic ability and impressive leadership skills.
Positives: Patient in the pocket and calm in the face of pressure. Has a reputation as a film-room warrior, always putting in ample work and preparation.
Wilson’s biggest strength is probably his most understated. He has above average speed and an ability to run the football when coverages or breakdowns of the pocket prompt him to.
Negatives: One of the biggest drawbacks for Wilson is his arm strength and accuracy. He isn’t bad in either area, but could definitely use room for improvement in his throwing motion.
Throwing on the run and decision making while on the run are also areas for improvement. He seems to lose even more accuracy when scrambling and is prone to making poor decisions that result in turnovers.