3 Quarterbacks to Watch at the NFL Scouting Combine

Shawn TigheCorrespondent IFebruary 20, 2013

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 01:  EJ Manuel #3 of the Florida State Seminoles throws a pass against the Northern Illinois Huskies during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 1, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

To win a Super Bowl a team must have an impact quarterback.

Besides the 2001 Ravens and the 2003 Buccaneers (Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson, respectively), every team that has won a Super Bowl in the past 20 years has had a legitimate game-changer at quarterback.

So why are none of the top quarterback prospects getting any love from scouts and general managers this year?

Every quarterback in this year's class comes with questions, but a few have potential to be big time players at the next level. With an impressive showing at the NFL Scouting Combine this weekend, the following players could show teams that they are those game-changers.


E.J. Manuel

Lost in the shuffle at the top of the quarterback class is Florida State's E.J. Manuel. Comparisons are commonly made to West Virginia's Geno Smith, but Manuel is a completely different player than his counterpart.

While Smith ran strictly the spread offense at West Virginia, Manuel ran a hybrid spread/pro-style offense at Florida State. His experience playing under center will be critical for his development in the NFL, as his learning curve will be much steeper than Smith's.

Evaluators seem to overrate players who are similar to whatever the hot new trend is in the NFL. Remember when Pat White was a second-round pick because the Wild Cat was the "it" thing in 2009? Smith is going to fall into that same boat.

People around the league are enamored by the ability of RGIII and Colin Kaepernick to run the ball, but as Aaron Rodgers said (per NFL.com):

Things have come back around that have been used 20, 30 years ago. But this, too, I think, will pass. Some of the pistol, read-option stuff will eventually pass.


Even if it doesn't pass, is this suddenly fashionable offensive approach sustainable? RGIII has already torn his ACL and the constant beating a spread quarterback takes in the read-option will shorten their career by years. If given the choice between Geno Smith and E.J. Manuel, I'd take Manuel.

He's more accurate, has a better arm and didn't have the luxury of playing against some of the worst defenses in the history of college football as Geno Smith did. The combine this weekend will prove that Manuel is a better player, vaulting him up draft boards.


Mike Glennon

When I see Mike Glennon I'm reminded of Joe Flacco: big, goofy, unheralded, huge arm, not too vocal—but overall a good NFL prospect.

Standing at 6'6" Glennon is the tallest quarterback in this year's draft class, giving him the luxury of seeing over the offensive line and smaller defenders. NFL teams usually find this trait desirable, making Glennon a prime candidate to move up draft boards with a good showing in Indianapolis.

The one thing Glennon cannot do, which will work against him, is move around well. He is never going to run by anybody, as he is reminiscent of a statue in the pocket. Teams will knock Glennon down a few pegs after he runs the 40-yard-dash in well over 5.0 seconds, but this shouldn't scare them away.

Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't the statue we know as Joe Flacco just beat the new hip, mobile quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the Super Bowl?

It may take some time for Glennon to be successful in the NFL, but a team picking in the early second round should take a flier and hope Glennon can develop the way Flacco has.


Matt Barkley

He's made all the wrong news this week so far. Even though he won't be throwing at the combine, this weekend will be very important for the former USC star. I've went into detail about why I think Barkley will be a successful NFL quarterback, and teams will see some of that this weekend.

One thing is certain, Barkley will nail all of his team interviews. One of the smartest and most capable quarterbacks in this draft, Barkley has a chance to impress teams in chalkboard meetings with his command of X's and O's. He may lack certain physical skills, but Barkley has the mental makeup to be a successful quarterback in the NFL for a long time if he lands in the right system.

Another important part of the weekend will be how Barkley stacks up physically. College teams usually overstate the height, weight, 40 time and just about anything else you can think of. If Barkley can measure out similar to his stat sheet then he should be in good shape, but if he is significantly shorter than the 6'2" he is listed at, he could be in trouble.

The most critical part of the weekend for Barkley though will be the medical examinations. Coming off a separated shoulder, teams will want to know if Barkley will be able to fully recover before spending a high pick on him. While he says everything is good, it will be up to individual team doctors to green light his status as draftable.

Although he may not throw at the combine, this weekend is just as important for Barkley as it will allow him to ease team's concerns about his health and future.