Star QBs Falling in the NFL Draft Shouldn't Reflect Negatively on SEC Football

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterMay 12, 2014

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Former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel waited around in the green room at the NFL draft a little longer than he anticipated, before he was selected No. 22 by the Cleveland Browns.

Not ideal for "Johnny Football," but first-round money is still first-round money.

For other former star quarterbacks in the SEC, the draft was more of a test of patience than the world's most famous job fair.

Former Georgia QB Aaron Murray
Former Georgia QB Aaron Murrayjohn bazemore/Associated Press

Former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron and former LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger each had to wait until Day 3 to hear their names called, despite having resumes loaded with wins and video game statistics in college football's toughest conference.

McCarron, who was selected in the fifth round (pick No. 164) by the Cincinnati Bengals, attempted to justify his fall on SiriusXM's NFL Radio by saying he wasn't healthy, according to

"A lot of people don't realize I wasn't healthy at Alabama," he said. "I sacrificed a lot to play for coach Saban and that university; I played through a lot of injuries and we never leaked it because that's just the way it is."

Career Statistics
PlayerSchoolComp. %YardsTDsINTs
Aaron MurrayGeorgia62.313,16612141
AJ McCarronAlabama66.99,0197715
Zach MettenbergerLSU61.85,7833515

Both Mettenberger (Round 6, pick No. 168 to the Tennessee Titans) and Murray (Round 5, pick No. 163 to the Kansas City Chiefs) are coming off of ACL injuries suffered late during their senior seasons, and Mettenberger had his NFL combine drug test flagged due to a diluted sample, according to

Do any of those reasons justify the Arizona Cardinals taking Logan Thomas (Round 4, pick No. 120) and the Houston Texans taking Tom Savage (Round 4, pick No. 135) ahead of the three former SEC stars?

Former LSU QB Zach Mettenberger
Former LSU QB Zach MettenbergerJonathan Bachman/Associated Press


NFL scouts routinely outthink the room and put an inordinate amount of stock in potential and measurables over game tape, for some inexplicable reason.

Apparently the game tape for Thomas was somehow absent from the film rooms of NFL scouts during the predraft process, because that's inexcusable. There's no way on this planet—or any planet—Thomas is a better quarterback than any of those three former SEC stars, even with the perception of upside that was also prevalent throughout his Virginia Tech career.

Because NFL scouts try to outthink the room and value upside over results, the fall of Murray, McCarron and Mettenberger shouldn't reflect negatively on the SEC or their respective college programs.

Besides, it's not like being selected in the later rounds of the NFL draft is a big problem. Everybody knows about Tom Brady's story, going from the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL draft by the New England Patriots to a surefire NFL Hall of Famer. 

That, of course, is the exception not the rule.

But the three former pro-style SEC quarterbacks have the chance. Every college football player signs on the dotted line out of high school with NFL superstardom in mind, but what they want more than anything else is a chance.

Murray, McCarron and Mettenberger now have that chance.

Don't blame the SEC or their schools for the fall of these three quarterbacks. Their goals are still very much intact, just with a slightly different path than they initially envisioned.

Blame the process. 


* Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All statistics are courtesy of and all recruiting information is courtesy of unless otherwise noted