The 2013 NFL draft approaches, and as always, teams picking at or near the top of Round 1 are in need of quarterback help.
The problem this year is that there isn't a single quarterback worthy of a first-round grade—let alone the No. 1 overall pick. Last year's legendary haul won't be replicated in 2013, as there are no players who compare favorably to Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III or Russell Wilson.
That won't likely matter to a few teams, though.
Teams without a franchise quarterback don't typically have success in the NFL, so teams that have been without one for an extended period of time almost always reach for one in the first round.
Quarterbacks Taken in Round 1 the Past 10 years
There have been at least two quarterbacks selected in Round 1 every single year since 2003.
Three times we've seen four quarterbacks taken in the first 32 picks, and three quarterbacks have been taken four times.
In total, 30 quarterbacks have been taken in Round 1 in the past 10 seasons.
Of those 30, only 10 have lived up to their high grade by my estimation:
- Andrew Luck (2012)
- Robert Griffin III (2012)
- Cam Newton (2011)
- Matthew Stafford (2009)
- Matt Ryan (2008)
- Joe Flacco (2008)
- Aaron Rodgers (2005)
- Eli Manning (2004)
- Philip Rivers (2004)
- Ben Roethlisberger (2004)
And of the 30, 15 of them have been tremendous reaches, by my estimation—if not irrefutable busts:
- Brandon Weeden (2012)
- Jake Locker (2011)
- Blaine Gabbert (2011)
- Christian Ponder (2011)
- Tim Tebow (2010)
- Mark Sanchez (2009)
- JaMarcus Russell (2007)
- Brady Quinn (2007)
- Vince Young (2006)
- Matt Leinart (2006)
- Alex Smith (2005)
- Jason Campbell (2005)
- J.P. Losman (2004)
- Carson Palmer (2003)
- Byron Leftwich (2003)
- Kyle Boller (2003)
Looking at the history of the draft the past 10 years, it seems clear that at least two teams will take a quarterback in 2013, no matter what.
Quarterbacks That Are Most Likely To be Selected in Round 1 in 2013
As we've already covered, there isn't a single quarterback in this year's draft class with the combination of physical prowess and technical skill to be taken in Round 1 if all things were equal.
All things aren't equal, though, and it won't shock anyone to see up to four quarterbacks drafted in the first round.
Here are the players with the best chance:
- Geno Smith, West Virginia: Smith has the size and arm strength teams look for in a pocket passer, and he has enough athleticism to move around in the pocket when under pressure. He doesn't have as strong an arm as RG3 or Russell Wilson, and he isn't nearly as fast as either of them. Even more troubling is the fact that he's really raw at diagnosing defenses, and he'll be limited as a rookie.
- Tyler Wilson, Arkansas: Wilson is slightly more athletic than Smith and has a better deep ball, but he's wildly inconsistent and can be wildly inaccurate at times. Wilson has a gunslinger's mentality, and he often makes incredible throws into tight windows, but he also makes crucial mistakes at inopportune times.
- Ryan Nassib, Syracuse: Nassib really struggled at the Senior Bowl, showing above-average arm strength and erratic mechanics. He is a player who may succeed in the NFL, but thus far in the scouting process, he has yet to show any one attribute that jumps out as a huge positive.
- Michael Glennon, NC State: Glennon may end up becoming an excellent pro as a pure pocket passer, but from what we've seen this past week at the Senior Bowl, he has a long, long way to go before he's ready to lead an NFL team. Glennon can make some incredible throws, and he has enough arm strength to make all the throws, but he's a statue in the pocket and displays poor mechanics.
Based on true value, all of these players should have a second-round grade or lower.
But given the emphasis on quarterback play, at least two of them will be taken this April in Round 1.
My thought is that Smith and Wilson will both be taken within the first 15 picks. Nassib and Glennon shouldn't be touched until Round 2, but then again, the Cleveland Browns had no business taking Weeden late in Round 1 last year.
Final Verdict: Two quarterbacks will be taken in Round 1 in 2013.
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