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Browns Quarterback Watch: Week 14 Ranking for Top 2014 Draft QB Prospects

Nov 3, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Jason Campbell (17) gets set to run a play against the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Andy McNamaraCorrespondent IIDecember 5, 2013

Cleveland's 2013 quarterback nightmare continues heading into Sunday as a starter has still not been named by head coach Rob Chudzinski.

However, draft options for the Browns' next franchise QB also got cloudier as injuries, poor performances and a player returning to school added up this past week.

The top nine NFL draft quarterback prospects, according to CBS Sports, will be ranked weekly here on Bleacher Report to determine who would best fit this Browns organization. A 10th "wild card" option is added in as a potential later-round developmental project for Cleveland. 

NCAA Quarterback Week 14 Results
Name & RankingSchoolPassing TouchdownsInterceptionsPassing YardsRushing YardsCompletion Percentage
1. Teddy BridgewaterLouisvilleNo GameNo GameNo GameNo GameNo Game
2. Derek CarrFresno State615193276.0
3. Johnny ManzielTexas A&M101952168.6
4. Brett HundleyUCLA002088066.7
5. Zach Mettenberger (injured)LSU01156-2763.6
6. Tajh BoydClemson022251670.4
7. A.J. McCarronAlabama302771658.6
8. Jimmy GaroppoloEastern IllinoisNo GameNo GameNo GameNo GameNo Game
9. Aaron Murray (injured)GeorgiaDNP (Did Not Participate)DNPDNPDNPDNP
11. David Fales (wild card)San Jose State605473382.2
Stats by ESPN.com and ranking by CBSSports.com

 

Wild Card: David Fales

One game doesn't make a career, but David Fales came to play on Nov. 29, when he outdueled rising star, and this report's top-ranked Browns' quarterback prospect, Derek Carr, in San Jose State's wild 62-52 victory over Fresno State.

The San Jose State senior exchanged touchdowns with Carr, with each tossing six apiece, though Fales did not throw an interception. Fales' magical night saw him complete over 82 percent of his passes and put up 547 yards through the air.

Although the Spartans finished the season with a .500 regular-season record, the win demonstrated that he can rise to the occasion in a high-profile matchup.

In 2013, Fales threw 33 touchdowns to just 13 interceptions. He racked up 4,189 passing yards and had a rating of 153.3. Despite the prodigious numbers, his overall production actually slipped from that of his 2012 season, including a dip in completion percentage and passer rating. And he turned the ball over four more times in 2013 than he did a year ago.

However, in the last four contests Fales continuously improved in all passing categories and posted a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 15-to-3. 

A projected fourth- or fifth-round pick by CBS Sports, the signal-caller is versatile and has had success working in the shotgun and pistol formations as well as from under center. He can scramble when needed, but he also displays toughness and a willingness to stay in the pocket.

Fales' footwork, snap delivery, work ethic and ability to read defenses are his core strengths. Areas for concern include an inability to drive the ball effectively over 15 yards, which leads to high, floating passes on deep throws.

 

Power Rankings: Week 14

The below power rankings are based on which quarterback's skill set and most recent statistics would be most suitable for Cleveland's desired game plan to aggressively push the ball downfield.

Ideal qualifications include an accurate arm with deep ball strength, quick decision-making ability and some mobility in and out of the pocket.

 

Power Rankings: Top Five Week 14 Prospects for Cleveland
Name & RankingSchoolHeight/Weight2013 TD/INT2013 Passing Yards2013 Completion Percentage2013 Passer Rating
1. Derek CarrFresno State6'3"/21845/54,46270.3163.3
2. Teddy BridgewaterLouisville6'3"/19625/33,26871.0172.8
3. Jimmy GaroppoloEastern Illinois6'3"/22248/84,48965.0170.6
4. Brett HundleyUCLA6'3"/22222/92,84567.8153.7
5. Zach Mettenberger (injured)LSU6'5"/23022/83,08264.9171.4
ESPN.com

 

Browns Quarterback Prospects of the Week:

Derek Carr remains atop the Browns' power rankings for a third consecutive week, which is no surprise considering the circumstances surrounding the other highly touted quarterbacks. 

LSU's Zach Mettenberger sat second in these power rankings the last two weeks and looked to be a sure-fire first-round selection in May's NFL draft. The Tigers' signal-caller slumped over his last three outings as he threw only three touchdowns during that stretch, twice failing to pass for more than 200 yards in a game.

More concerning, of course, is that Mettenberger joined Georgia's Aaron Murray with a season-ending ACL tear. Leaning on crutches, the injured QB watched from the sidelines, as his Tigers came back to defeat Arkansas on Nov. 29.

When news broke about the severity of the knee injury, Mettenberger's draft stock plummeted on some mock draft boards, including that of CBS Sports, which now has him falling out of the first round.

LSU QB Zach Mettenberger on crutches and with an ice pack on his injured left knee
LSU QB Zach Mettenberger on crutches and with an ice pack on his injured left kneeCrystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Mettenberger still remains at the bottom of Cleveland's top-five prospects because his size, downfield-throwing ability and quick reads are very much in line with what a Norv Turner offense looks for. 

Like Murray, this ailment requires a long recovery time. With Brian Hoyer rehabbing the same type of injury, do the Browns really want their new recruit coming in as damaged goods?

Highly touted, but infuriatingly inconsistent, Oregon's Marcus Mariota decided to return to school for his junior year.

Mariota was rated by Scouts Inc. as the No. 3 overall player available in the upcoming draft, but, per CBS Sports' draft breakdown, the Oregon quarterback's occasional subpar play in recent weeks bumps Derek Carr up to the second-ranked QB behind Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater.

This is potentially bad news for the Browns if they are coveting Carr, since quarterback-seeking teams are above them on the draft board.

Disappointing efforts plagued several prospects over Thanksgiving weekend. Johnny Manziel, Brett Hundley and Tajh Boyd all put up below-average or disappointing numbers. 

It was the second straight dud for Manziel, and both Hundley and Boyd continue to be alarmingly inconsistent.

Bowl season is fast approaching. There is still plenty of time for these NCAA quarterbacks to turn heads and raise their value to eagerly awaiting scouts.

 

Andy McNamara is an international sports broadcaster and journalist.

Follow Andy on Twitter @AndyMc81

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