Better late than never, right, Matt Barkley and Ryan Nassib?
Barkley was projected as a possible top 10 pick in last year's draft. He chose to stay in school and instead found himself drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL draft.
Nobody would have been surprised to see Nassib go in the first round this year. Instead, he, too, fell to the fourth round.
The selection of Barkley started a run on the position that saw four QBs go in the space of 17 picks. Here are the grades for the teams that drafted a quarterback in the fourth round.
No. 98 Philadelphia Eagles: Matt Barkley, USC
Of the four QBs who went in the first round, Barkley is the best. Unfortunately for him, he's going to a Chip Kelly-coached offense. It's hard to think what the Eagles saw in Barkley to believe that he'd be able to handle the quick of quick-tempo offense Kelly utilized with the Oregon Ducks.
Barkley isn't very mobile and he isn't known for making the kind of short, quick throws that move the offense forward incrementally. He would fit in much better with a pro-style offense. Maybe Kelly will start to transition his offense over, and Barkley's the guy he sees as the franchise quarterback.
Trent Dilfer of ESPN is pretty confident about Barkley's chances:
There's no getting around the fact Barkley is one of the most polished passers in this draft. He lacks the upside of some of his counterparts, but Barkley is very accurate with an above-average arm. For those reasons, it's hard to knock the Eagles too much. But Philadelphia should have gone elsewhere for a quarterback.
No. 110 New York Giants: Ryan Nassib, Syracuse
Well, Nassib only went 102 picks later than some experts had him going. That's why they get the big bucks.
Nassib looked like a smart pick for the Buffalo Bills at No. 8, but they moved down and drafted E.J. Manuel.
Who was the best QB to go in the fourth round?
The problem that created for Nassib is that that meant Doug Marrone was passing on him. If his college coach wasn't sold he could become an NFL quarterback, why should any other team? That appears to have been the case since he fell all the way to the fourth round.
Nassib's misfortune is the Giants' gain. New York is getting a good quarterback in the fourth round.
At 32 years old, Eli Manning is not as young as you sometimes think. He can't be the starter forever, so it makes sense for the Giants to start working on a backup plan. In the present, Nassib is a much better backup option than David Carr. You never know what could happen with Manning, so Giants fans should feel reassured Nassib is waiting in the wings.
No. 112 Oakland Raiders: Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
The Oakland Raiders have killed it in this draft. Each of their picks have been very good, which is uncharacteristic for the organization. Despite the value the Raiders already got, it's with Tyler Wilson Oakland did its best work.
On one hand, you've got to feel for Matt Flynn. He was signed by the Seattle Seahawks last season, only to have the starting job usurped by Russell Wilson. He gets traded to the Raiders, and now there's another Wilson waiting to take his job (h/t NFL: Around the League):
You can't blame the Raiders for hedging their bets here. Flynn has yet to establish himself as a reliable starter, and with Wilson on the board, you can't pass up that kind of talent.
Wilson has a great arm. Sometimes that arm strength leads to problems because he tries to make throws that aren't there. He's got good enough mobility to elude the initial rush and buy himself more time to find an open man.
No. 115 Pittsburgh Steelers: Landry Jones, Oklahoma
It was awesome to see Landry Jones drafted, if only for this fact (h/t Gil Brandt of NFL.com):
Husband and wife drafted in same month. Landry Jones to Steelers in #NFLDraft and Whitney Hand to WNBA's San Antonio Silver Stars— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) April 27, 2013
You can see why the Pittsburgh Steelers would want to find a backup quarterback. When Ben Roethlisberger went down, they had to rely on Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich. A replacement are needed.
Is Jones that replacement, though?
He's a very good pocket passer with a combination of accuracy and arm strength. When he's got plenty of time to throw, Jones is very dangerous. Unfortunately for him, he's going to have to make quicker decisions.
Jones really had a hard time in college when under heavy pressure. Roethlisberger's success has come in part from the way he can shrug off tacklers and dance around in the pocket. The Steelers offensive line hasn't done him any favors.
Considering the kind of pressure he'll see in Pittsburgh, Jones could have a hard time in the NFL, at least initially. His inability to handle a rush leads to poor throws, which result in incompletions—or worse, interceptions.