There is something very inherently subjective in any conversation about the "best" quarterback. Whether it's the best quarterback of all time, the best quarterback in the NFL or the best quarterback in the NFL draft. The conversation is fascinating, but often without any real resolution.
So, when it comes to breaking down the prospects, and giving them rank and order, much of how that plays out is based on broad strokes. Fortunately, the league has come to understand that drafting a quarterback is more about finding a player they can build a system and team around, and less about trying to wedge a quarterback into a system.
Looking at these rankings, it is important to understand this is not a prediction of selection order. This is a prediction of success in the league based on talent.
A great quarterback that ends up on a bad team with a poor system and coaches, and all bets are off. Teams are assessing the best fit from now right up until the draft.
However, understand that this time of year, lots of misinformation will be put out there and so everything must be taken with a grain of salt. This tweet is a perfect example.
Report: The Houston Texans are leaning toward taking Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles No. 1 http://t.co/PZofnWqUzU— Bleacher Report NFL (@BR_NFL) February 4, 2014
This group comprises of three tiers.
The first tier of quarterbacks are those prospects that have been graded out as either a first- or second-round prospect. These are the players who look like, in the right system, they could develop into a franchise quarterback and lead their teams to tremendous success.
This top tier is led by Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater will be subjected to the NFL microscope for the next three months and his game will be picked apart. Criticism aside, Bridgewater has the most NFL-ready package of any of these top quarterbacks.
His game is predicated on his ability to operate with calm and poise under pressure and is always looking to make a play downfield.
Bridgewater might not be the most dynamic or exciting of the prospects on this list, so it's understandable that others will draw interest. Players like Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel or UCF Blake Bortles come wrapped in much more exciting and flashy packages. Struggling football teams want to make a splash, and selecting a player like Manziel would certainly qualify as one.
The next tier consists of those middle-round types of players. Guys who need a little seasoning and time on the sidelines to correct significant problems with their games. Nothing is assured with these players, and many are as likely to be career backups as they are starters at any point.
Perhaps the most interesting quarterback among this group is Virginia Tech signal-caller Logan Thomas. At 6'6" and 254 pounds with a howitzer for an arm, Thomas offers a slate offensive coaches would very much like to work with. Discovering if he is prepared to commit the work into his game will be key to whether or not he will flash or fizzle.
Finally, we have the developmental guys. These players typically have a part or two of their game that makes them particularly interesting, but overall their skill sets are well below the rest. Because their draft spot is low, the risk is low. If the stars align, however, the reward could be high.
Most noteworthy among the late-round players is North Dakota State quarterback Brock Jensen. As a small-school quarterback, Jensen's level of competition hasn't been great. Nevertheless, Jensen passes the eyeball test with tremendous athleticism and a live arm. Tuck Jensen away for a few seasons and see if he can get his mental game in order.
CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) January 4, 2014
Regardless of when your favorite franchise drafts a quarterback, it is obvious that quarterback play is vital to the success of any team. Finding the right player that fits the system and that can respond to coaching is what sets good franchises apart from great ones.
Be on the lookout for detailed scouting reports on many of these top prospects as the draft approaches.
|2||Derek Carr||Fresno State||6'3"||218lbs||1/2nd|
|4||Johnny Manziel||Texas A&M||6'0"||210lbs||1/2nd|
|8||David Fales||Fresno State||6'2"||220lbs||2/3rd|
|9||Jimmy Garoppolo||Eastern Illinois||6'2"||222lbs||2/3rd|
|10||Logan Thomas||Virginia Tech||6'6"||254lbs||2/4th|
|11||Connor Shaw||South Carolina||6'1"||209lbs||2/4th|
|17||Keith Wenning||Ball State||6'2"||220lbs||3/6th|
|20||Brock Jensen||North Dakota State||6'3"||225lbs||3/7th|