NFL Combine 2013 Invites: Top QB Prospects in Spotlight at Key Draft Event

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2013

MORGANTOWN, WV - NOVEMBER 17:  Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers drops back to pass against the Oklahoma Sooners during the game on November 17, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Top quarterbacks always dominate the headlines at the NFL Scouting Combine. This year is different, however, because teams around the league that are hoping to upgrade at the vital position are still trying to determine who those top QBs are.

Right now, there's handful of quarterbacks hoping to use the next couple months of workouts to prove they deserve to be the first player at the position off the board. The combine is a chance to stand out from the crowd in front of a huge audience of talent evaluators.

Let's examine three prospects who must rise to the occasion to help emerge from the muddled group. It's a key stop on the road to the draft. To view a complete list of players invited to the combine with hopes of improving their draft stock, visit the league's official site.


1. Geno Smith

It's impossible to ignore Smith's numbers. He threw 97 touchdowns and just 20 interceptions in three seasons as the starter at West Virginia, including a 42-to-six ratio as a senior. He also completed 71 percent of his passes in his final season with the Mountaineers.

Still, he's struggled to pull away from the pack because scouts aren't confident in how his skills will translate to the next level. It's a massive jump from Big East defenses to NFL defenses, and Smith must prove he can handle it.

The other issue teams want to know more about is his athleticism. He only rushed for 335 yards in three years. By comparison, last year's top pick (Andrew Luck) fell just shy of 1,000 yards on the ground over the same span before using his legs to help him succeed as a rookie.

Getting out of the pocket and putting more pressure on opposing defenses is becoming a key for young QBs. Smith needs to show he can do it.


2. Tyler Wilson

Wilson looks like an NFL quarterback. At 6'3'', he has good size, and when he stands tall in the pocket he can deliver a lot of strikes. Still, he has yet to display the type of consistency NFL teams need at the position, and his lack of mobility is an issue.

Unlike Smith, who's at least shown flashes of athleticism throughout his career, Wilson is a pure pocket passer. His biggest task between the combine and draft day is proving he's good enough in that role to overcome his lack of versatility.

He continues to rank high because teams are always going to give a quarterback with his type of arm strength a long look. He can make every throw, which he illustrated while tossing 45 touchdown passes, many against tough SEC defenses, in his final two seasons with Arkansas.

The successful rookie QBs from last season––Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson––could all make plays with their legs to keep defenses honest. Wilson must show he can succeed without that.


3. Mike Glennon

Although Glennon didn't post the gaudy numbers that some of his counterparts did, he's another quarterback with prototypical size that teams could fall in love with. He's similar to Wilson in regards to the lack of mobility, though.

Aside from that, the biggest concern for Glennon is his accuracy. He completed just 59 percent of his throws as a college senior. The top NFL QBs are connecting on nearly 70 percent against the much better defenses at the next level.

Glennon needs to use the combine to show progress in that area. And it's definitely one thing the workouts can expose, because if a player is missing high or wide against open air, it doesn't bode well for his chances with a pass rush in his face and cornerbacks looking to jump routes.

He has the size, arm and upside to generate a lot of interest leading up to the draft. But unless he can display improved accuracy starting at the combine, key questions are going to hurt his draft status.