NFL Draft 2013: Tracking the Best Available QBs
This year's crop of quarterbacks is a tricky group because they all come with glaring question marks in their game.
That being said, teams in need of a new signal-caller will surely be excited about whoever it is their team selects. But who are the best quarterbacks available now?
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller gave 16 quarterbacks a draftable grade in this year's class. Here is a running list of the best ones available.
6. Tyler Bray, Tennessee
You can view Tyler Bray's complete scouting report here (via Ryan Lownes).
Bray has a big arm, but he's also very accurate when he has good fundamentals (more on that later).
- Tremendous arm strength, delivers with impressive velocity
- Impressive deep accuracy
- Ideal height at roughly 6'6"
- Flaws appear correctable for the most part
Bray will need to work on dropping back from under center after working primarily out of the shotgun in college. He also can get a bit reckless with his fundamentals, and needs to work on putting the ball in the right spot to help his teammates avoid big hits.
- Erratic accuracy, throws too many passes high or out of bounds
- Maturity is a red flag
- Inconsistent, sloppy footwork
- Lacks athleticism and mobility
Overall, Bray ranks as the sixth best quarterback in the 2013 NFL draft class.
8. Matt Scott, Arizona
You can view Matt Scott's complete scouting report here (via Ryan Lownes).
Scott has great velocity on this throws and solid accuracy to fit it into tight windows. He has great feet, as well, with the ability to evade pressure in the pocket to allow himself space to make a throw.
- Mobile and athletic, a scrambling threat
- Good velocity on intermediate passes
- Throws accurately on the move
- Shows a competitive streak
Scott played well in the spread offense, but it's fair to wonder how his skill set translates to a pro-style offense. He also gets a little frantic at times when under siege.
- Inconsistent accuracy, ball placement
- Does not look comfortable in the pocket
- Struggles to read defenses
- Passes often batted down at the line
Overall, Scott ranks as the eighth best quarterback in the 2013 NFL draft class.
12. Jordan Rodgers, Vanderbilt
You can view Jordan Rodgers' complete scouting report here (via Wes Stueve).
NFL teams love pedigree, and Aaron Rodgers' little brother could get more than a few looks for that reason alone. He knows how to run the spread, and has solid arm strength to be effective on most throws.
A strong athlete, Rodgers is adept at moving outside of the pocket and making throws. He ran a spread-option offense at Vanderbilt and could be used similarly in the NFL.
Rodgers also possesses a fairly strong arm and can make most throws. Throwing a good deep ball isn't the same as having a strong arm, but both are positives for Rodgers. He gets some air under his deep ball, but it is often on target.
Rodgers might like to step out of his brother's shadow sooner than later, but he won't do that until he gets better at making the smart decision with the football. He also lacks the natural pocket awareness of his brother.
Despite possessing solid arm strength, Rodgers isn't always the best at using it. He floats too many balls that should be gunned, and his ball wobbles too often, often slowing down his passes. Rodgers' ball placement is also a concern, as he misses on far too many throws.
Perhaps Rodgers' biggest issue, though, is his decision-making. He throws the ball across his body into coverage with surprising frequency, and he repeatedly makes the same mistakes. Vanderbilt's weak supporting cast certainly didn't help here, though.
Another major concern is Rodgers' pocket presence. He leaves the pocket too early, often when he isn't under any pressure at all. Rodgers never truly looks comfortable when sitting in the pocket, and he looks to escape at the earliest opportunity.
Overall, Rodgers ranks as the 12th best quarterback in the 2013 NFL draft class.
13. Jeff Tuel, Washington State
You can view Jeff Tuel's complete scouting report here (via B/R featured columnist Chris Roling).
Tuel has the intelligence and accuracy that could help him be a solid pocket quarterback in the NFL, but he's not limited to that, as he has the legs to make defenses pay when they're out of position. He delivers a mighty fine deep pass, as well.
- Good size at 6'3" and 218 pounds
- Mobile in pocket to extend plays with his feet
- Solid throwing motion/great touch on passes
- Smart, aware player with solid character
Can Tuel stay on the field for a full season, though? He missed time in three of his four seasons as a starter. He's also not going to wow anyone with his arm strength.
- Didn't have to make many reads in college
- Serious injury history
- Mediocre arm strength
Overall, Tuel ranks as the 13th best quarterback in the 2013 NFL draft class.
14. Ryan Griffin, Tulane
You can view Ryan Griffin's complete scouting report here (via Matt Waldman of The Rookie Scouting Portfolio).
Griffin didn't win a lot of games at Tulane, and that has caused him to fall out of favor with some scouts, but how important are quarterback wins? Griffin may not have the mobility of, say, Robert Griffin III (no relation), but he has solid arm strength and could be an effective pocket passer in the NFL.
Tulane’s Ryan Griffin is the example of a talented quarterback lacking the surrounding talent to elevate his draft status. Unlike Jay Cutler, Griffin lacks the mobility to make big plays with his legs or the extraordinary arm talent to make pinpoint throws from corners that defenses paint him into. Griffin is a classic pocket passer.
And while pocket passers are becoming less and less the norm in the pro game, that role is not dying off completely.
What Griffin’s game displays that’s as good or better than the likes of Barkley or Glennon is his in-game acumen, pocket presence, maneuverability, and accuracy down field.
Overall, Griffin ranks as the 14th best quarterback in the 2013 NFL draft class.
16. Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech
You can view Colby Cameron's complete scouting report here (via BJ Kissel).
Cameron has great mechanics with a quick release and a varying delivery style depending on the throw and the coverage. He knows how to get a team to rally around him, especially in clutch situations.
Strengths (via Kissel)
- Good athlete
- Doesn't force throws
- Compact release, efficient body mechanics
Cameron isn't going to jump off the page with his physical tools. He's also not particularly well-versed throwing the deep ball.
Weaknesses (via Kissel)
- Not ideal arm strength
- Doesn't throw accurately into coverage
- System-friendly scheme helped statistics
Overall, Cameron ranks as the 16th best quarterback in the 2013 NFL draft class.
4. E.J. Manuel, Florida State
You can view E.J. Manuel's complete scouting report here (via Sigmund Bloom).
Manuel has the arm and foot speed to be a dual threat quarterback in the NFL, but he's not going to tuck tail and run at the first sign of pressure, either. He is a disciplined pocket passer, and can make throws down field.
Manuel is a big, strong, fast athlete who keeps defenses on their heels. He smoothly executes play fakes and roll-outs with precision.
Manuel's delivery is clean and he seems to have natural feel as a passer in the short and intermediate areas of the defense, whether he's throwing a touch pass or a fastball. Manuel isn't always accurate as a deep passer, but he has the arm strength to stretch NFL defenses. While he is a dangerous runner, Manuel doesn't abandon the pocket at the first sign of trouble, but he has good vision and can make strong throws downfield outside of the pocket.
Strengths aside, he'll need to work on his discipline in going through his progressions. He also needs to improve on his overall accuracy, but especially downfield, where he can be particularly erratic.
Manuel hasn't demonstrated that he can patiently go deep into progressions or process defenses at an advanced level. In general, he wasn't asked to do many advanced tasks as a passer at Florida State. He sometimes looks hesitant to pull the trigger and tends to err on the side of taking his checkdown option. Manuel's deep-ball accuracy is very erratic.
Overall, Manuel ranks as the fourth best quarterback in the 2013 NFL draft class.
Drafted: Round 1, Pick 16, Buffalo Bills
1. Geno Smith, West Virginia
You can view Geno Smith's complete scouting report here (via B/R draft lead writer Sigmund Bloom).
Smith lit the college football world on fire in 2012, starting off the season with 25 touchdown passes and no interception in the first six games. He showed off his big arm time after time, and his ability to run with the football will be coveted after the success of Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.
When Smith is on, he is a hyper-accurate passer in the short and intermediate passing game, with lightning quick reads and release. He is excellent at anticipating breaks in routes, leading his receivers, and putting the ball in the perfect spot for run after catch opportunities.
His play fake, ball-handling and play execution are all very crisp. Smith is a cool, tough customer in the pocket, and he is very elusive when pressure is on. He keeps his eyes downfield on the move, and he is also a top-notch athlete outside of the pocket. He is also patient in the pocket and able to go through his progressions quickly with excellent field vision.
Smith is still flawed as a passer, and needs to work on his footwork as well as his throwing mechanics overall. He was inconsistent at times in hitting open receivers, as well.
Smith's footwork is beyond inconsistent. He needs to tighten up his mechanics to iron out issues that result in him missing throws that he should be able to make. He doesn't have a great deep arm, and sometimes, his throws to the sidelines have too much air under them.
When Smith misses, he misses high, which results in bad things in the pros. Smith faded at the end of his senior season, reverted to bad habits, and came up small against the toughest defenses he faced.
Overall, Smith ranks as the best quarterback in the 2013 NFL draft class.
Drafted: Round 2, pick 39, New York Jets
7. Mike Glennon, N.C. State
You can view Mke Glennon's complete scouting report here (via Ryan Lownes).
Glennon may be one of the best pure arm talents in the class. He can throw the entire route tree and he's accurate in doing so.
- Has the arm strength to make every throw
- Stands tall in the pocket and sees the field well at 6'7"
- Anticipates routes well, generally good ball placement
- Pushes the ball downfield, fits into a vertical offense
Glennon is considered one of the most erratic quarterbacks in this year's class, looking like a future All-Pro at times while looking like the next big draft bust at other times. He's not going to elude many defenders in the pocket.
- Lacks mobility, has trouble escaping pressure
- Questionable pocket awareness, does not feel the rush well
- Throws too many up for grabs and tests traffic
- Has a tendency to get lazy with his footwork
Overall, Glennon ranks as the seventh best quarterback in the 2013 NFL draft class.
Drafted: Round 3, Pick 73, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2. Matt Barkley, USC
You can view Matt Barkley's complete scouting report here (via B/R featured columnist Ryan Lownes).
Barkley is one of the most NFL ready quarterbacks entering the draft. He has extensive experience in the West Coast offense, having run it for the past eight years straight. He is known for being cerebral at the line with pre-snap checks and audibles.
The first word that comes to mind when watching Matt Barkley is "polished."
It is hard not to be impressed by his clean mechanics and smooth delivery. For a college quarterback, he has been exposed to a wide variety of pro-style concepts. Additionally, he shows an advanced ability to manipulate coverage using his eyes and body position.
Flashing precision, excellent anticipation and a good understanding of timing, Barkley will be able to excel in offenses that can emphasize his mental capacity. Intangibly, there is not much more you can ask for, as he is a proven leader on and off the field.
His ceiling is not as high as for some other prospects as a result of a lack of arm strength and overall athleticism. He's also not consistent in terms of his accuracy, which can lead to interceptions at times.
While Barkley has earned the reputation as a solid game manager, he is too erratic at times with his decision making and accuracy. He is often guilty of trying to do too much and will test traffic more than he should. Furthermore, physical limitations (athleticism, arm strength, size) may take him off some boards.
Though I believe Barkley to be an adequate physical specimen, he is not going to hurt you with his legs, nor is he going scare defenses with his arm talent. He may have been able to rely on his talented receivers in college, but at the next level he will have to quickly adjust to the speed and athleticism of defenders.
Overall, Barkley ranks as the second best quarterback in the 2013 NFL draft class.
Drafted: Round 4, Pick 98, Philadelphia Eagles
3. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse
You can view Ryan Nassib's complete scouting report here (via Sigmund Bloom).
Nassib knows how to run a West Coast offense, as well, having executed Doug Marrone's playbook for the past four years. He is accurate in the short and intermediate areas, and disciplined in pre-snap checks.
Nassib is a quick thinker and actor who is immediately aware of checkdowns and will jab a defense to death with accurate, short, quick-hitting throws that keep the chains moving. He is a competitor who plays with a sense of urgency and sets the tempo for his offense.
He can make accurate throws when his mechanics and platform aren't ideal, and he can handle pressure or a play going off script. Nassib's execution and understanding of his offense is advanced, including pump fakes and play fakes.
There is some concern with Nassib about a lack of arm strength. He's also not as tall as an ideal quarterback, at just 6'2".
Athleticism is not a strength for Nassib. His deep accuracy is mediocre to poor, and it goes on the fritz when he tries to put zip on the ball more than 15-20 yards downfield. He moves well and makes good decisions in the pocket, but he sometimes bails instead of staring down the barrel and taking a hit to make a throw.
Nassib also sometimes fails to recognize the blitz, and his lack of athleticism gives him no chance to escape. Most of his success was on short throws, rarely going deep into his progressions or displaying patience. He does get a little frenetic in the pocket and appears to play rushed at times.
Overall, Nassib ranks as the third best quarterback in the 2013 NFL draft class.
Drafted: Round 4, Pick 110, New York Giants
5. Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
You can view Tyler Wilson's complete scouting report here (via Ryan Lownes).
Wilson has a big arm and he knows how to use it. He is physically and mentally tough, showing the ability to hang in the pocket when the pressure is on and also to bounce back from a bad play.
- Keeps his eyes downfield at all times
- Senses the rush, good pocket awareness
- Tremendous toughness, a competitor with moxie
- Displays mobility, shows the ability to improvise
Wilson is a little overconfident in his arm, at times, and tries to fit the ball into tight windows where he probably shouldn't. He's also not a great athlete and won't regularly extend plays outside the pocket.
- Inconsistent ball placement
- Ball flutters too much, small hands (8 3/4")
- Occasionally erratic decision-making
- Adequate physical tools, roughly 6'2", 215 lbs., with a 4.95 40 time
Overall, Wilson ranks as the fifth best quarterback in the 2013 NFL draft class.
Drafted: Round 4, Pick 112, Oakland Raiders
9. Landry Jones, Oklahoma
You can view Landry Jones' complete scouting report here (via Sigmund Bloom).
Jones is a prototypical pocket passer, with the 6'4" 225-pound frame scouts will be confident with. He has a very quick release, which makes him incredibly effective on short and intermediate routes.
Jones is very good at crisply and effectively executing plays within an offensive system. His play-fakes are sharp, and he sets up to deliver the ball quickly with the defense still off balance. Jones exhibits the arm strength to out-throw a deep safety's range, and his throws downfield over the middle have good velocity.
With good height, size and athleticism, Jones is an above-average physical NFL quarterback prospect, and he can use that athleticism to keep plays alive and create a lot of space to operate on rollouts.
At times, his patience and field vision create big plays when Jones has to improvise. You'll see two or three difficult throws a game that Jones places perfectly on target, and he can throw with both velocity and distance on the run.
Jones is not considered an elite athlete. He is also inconsistent with his touch and accuracy. He struggles while under pressure, doesn't have the quickness to evade it, and oftentimes perceives pressure that isn't there.
Jones doesn't play with much edge, conviction or urgency. Without a clean pocket, many of his passes lack the zip and accuracy to create good run-after-catch opportunities. He operated in an offense that mostly asked him make quick, short throws, and his inconsistent pocket presence indicates that might be his best use in the pros.
Sometimes Jones seems to surrender under pressure instead of attempting to elude the rusher or throw the ball away. Occasionally, Jones will make terrible decisions under marginal pressure that are at a high risk of turning into interceptions.
Overall, Jones ranks as the ninth best quarterback in the 2013 NFL draft class.
Drafted: Round 4, Pick 115, Pittsburgh Steelers
15. Brad Sorensen, Southern Utah
You can view Brad Sorensen's complete scouting report here (via Sigmund Bloom).
Sorensen has a great deal of zip on his throws, and can fit it into tight windows when it's needed. He has the ideal frame for a pocket quarterback, at 6'4" and 229 pounds.
The ball gets downfield in a hurry when it comes out of Sorensen's hand, even though he doesn't appear to exert a lot of energy when he throws. He can get the ball on a line to a receiver running a deep out, and he isn't afraid to throw to receivers in tight coverage downfield and give them a chance to make a play.
Sorensen will throw the ball into small windows, and he can make a stick throw when he wants to.
Sorensen moves well enough for a big enough, including in the pocket. He can sense pressure but doesn't get rattled by it. He scans and processes the field quickly and resets his feet as he goes through his progressions.
Sorensen won't pose a threat with his legs, and he also doesn't help his receivers out with well-thrown balls. Some mechanical issues in his technique are evident.
Sorensen's mechanics are odd, and he doesn't transfer his weight at top of his drops. His deep ball is often underthrown, and he depends on his receivers to make plays for him a lot. Sorensen appears to aim rather than trust his arm and throwing motion, and often his passes require large adjustments from his receivers.
He's also not a great athlete and won't threaten defenses with his mobility.
Overall, Sorensen ranks as the 15th best quarterback in the 2013 NFL draft class.
Drafted: Round 7, Pick 221, San Diego Chargers
11. Zac Dysert, Miami (OH)
You can view Zac Dysert's complete scouting report here (via Ryan Lownes).
Dysert has some athleticism to his game, and while he has solid mechanics in the pocket, he isn't afraid to tuck and run when he needs to. His release and accuracy are highly regarded in NFL draft circles.
- Very good pocket presence, poised and maneuverable
- Possesses the arm the make any throw and has above average deep accuracy
- Impressive mobility, can escape pressure
- Prototypical size at 6'3", 231 pounds
Dysert may take a minute or two to transition to a pro-style offense, having worked in a spread offense out of the shotgun at Miami (OH). He also didn't have to make deep throws on a consistent basis, which could limit how some scouts see him as a fit in the NFL.
- Tests tight windows too often, throws into double coverage
- Development may have been stunted due to line struggles and system changes
- Inconsistent accuracy, ball placement
- Can he step it up on the big stage?
Overall, Dysert ranks as the 11th best quarterback in the 2013 NFL draft class.
Drafted: Round 7, 234, Denver Broncos
10. Sean Renfree, Duke
You can view Sean Renfree's complete scouting report here (via B/R featured columnist Wes Stueve).
Renfree had a successful senior year at Duke, despite their win-loss record, throwing for 3,113 yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He showed strong pocket awareness and the ability to make effective pre-snap reads on a consistent basis.
Renfree is clearly a smart, prepared quarterback. He goes through his progressions quickly and won't stop until he finds an open receiver. The Duke product throws with great anticipation and timing. He can sense when a throwing lane will open up instead of waiting to see it.
Stueve also suggests that Renfree has fantastic touch, and rarely panics when he's under pressure. However, he also has his downsides.
Renfree lacks even average arm strength. He struggles to drive the ball downfield and often fails to fit the ball into tight gaps. Renfree's weight transfer is off, and he doesn't really transition his energy from his back foot to the front. Also, despite good balance and coordination, he's not particularly quick on his feet and could well struggle to run out of potential sacks.
Overall, Renfree ranks as the 10th best quarterback in the 2013 NFL draft class.
Drafted: Round 7, Pick 249, Atlanta Falcons