The quarterback class for the 2013 NFL draft may appear to be weaker than usual, with no signal-callers that teams are drooling to take at the very top of the first round—but expect some surprises on the first day of the draft.
Nakia Hogan of The Times-Picayune argues this could be the first draft since 2000 that a quarterback is not selected with one of the first three picks. Of the top seven prospects at the position, NFL.com draft analyst Josh Norris has just one quarterback—West Virginia’s Geno Smith—slated to go in the first round.
But while teams at the very top of the draft may not select a quarterback, come April 25, expect multiple NFL teams to pull the trigger and draft signal-callers in the first round.
Consensus is that Smith is the best prospect at his position in the 2013 draft class—Peter King of Sports Illustrated calls him the “presumptive top quarterback in the draft”—but teams could look to make a splash at the game’s premier position.
King says when he speaks to team sources, Florida State’s E.J. Manuel and Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib are both touted as “late-first-round prospects.”
ESPN analyst Jon Gruden even said in an interview with King that Nassib could go to the Buffalo Bills at the No. 8 pick in the draft. According to ESPN, the Bills are looking for a young quarterback to learn under Kevin Kolb and new Buffalo head coach Doug Marrone coached Nassib in his college days at Syracuse.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter said one NFL general manager expects quarterbacks to “fall like logs” in the draft, and several other signal-callers could see their names called early on.
This is especially due to how the rookie contract rules work under the current NFL collective bargaining agreement, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole.
Cole argues that prospects like Nassib, USC’s Matt Barkley and North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon could all be taken in the first round by teams trading up from the second round of the draft, as teams control first-round selections for five years but second-round picks for four.
So while this year’s QB crop may not yield a top selection, signs point to multiple quarterbacks being selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.