The 2013 Senior Bowl confirmed the suspicion many prominent scouts and personnel gurus had about the impending 2013 NFL draft class: There are a scarce number of surefire franchise quarterbacks up for grabs—if any.
To be fair, West Virginia Mountaineers QB Geno Smith didn't make the trip to Mobile, and he is considered the No. 1 prospect at the position. Prolific USC passer Matt Barkley also wasn't present, as he is recovering from an injury to his throwing shoulder.
Teams surely would have liked to have seen how each of those players looked, but they may have improved their stock simply by sitting out.
Another aspect that factored into the varying degree of struggles each QB endured in this past Saturday's showcase is that this crop of prospects is absolutely loaded on the defensive side of the ball.
The fact that former Florida State signal-caller E.J. Manuel was the standout performer and isn't projected as more than a mid-round pick by most accounts indicates how lackluster the play was at the game's most vital position.
Manuel took home MVP honors for the South in its 21-16 victory, as he went 7-for-10 for 75 yards, one touchdown and an interception. On the North side, Miami (Ohio) QB Zac Dysert led the way, going 10-for-16 for 93 yards, one touchdown, an interception and a lost fumble.
Not exactly pretty.
B/R's draft guru Matt Miller walked away unimpressed, already turning his attention during the game to film from next year's class:
I am so over these QBs. I recommend watching Teddy Bridgewater film during offensive series from here on out.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 26, 2013
Former Arkansas standout Tyler Wilson threw for just 40 yards on 11 attempts, electing to check the ball down frequently. NC State product Mike Glennon flashed a big arm, but displayed the inconsistency that has scouts wary.
Oklahoma's all-time leading passer Landry Jones never got into a groove, which was also the case with intriguing Syracuse Orange prospect Ryan Nassib.
It is important not to overreact too much to such a small sample size when there are years of tape on all these players to account for. Plus, there is still plenty for these quarterbacks to improve upon at the combine, pro days and in interviews to sell teams that they can be franchise-caliber players in the NFL.
How many QBs will be selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft?
Expectations are higher for rookie quarterbacks after last year's class that produced instant successes in Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson—all of whom guided their teams to the postseason.
It looks like all six of the QBs in the Senior Bowl have a steep learning curve to endure before having success at the pro level.
However, NFL Network's draft expert Mike Mayock seems to think that as this process of evaluation continues to unfold, three or four quarterbacks will ultimately be selected in the first round in April.
It's impossible not to respect the professional opinion of Mayock, but based purely on the Senior Bowl and the raw nature of all these players, that assertion seems like a long shot right now.