With the completion of my top-100 board Wednesday, I typically like to take another week or two to get a feel for the top seniors at each position.
Throughout the next two weeks, I’ll be following up my top 100 with a breakdown of the top players at each position to give readers – and myself -- a good starting point when I begin watching junior tape in June.
To get things started, let’s look at the 2010 senior quarterback class, which is not very impressive at first glance. With junior QBs Mark Sanchez, Matthew Stafford and Josh Freeman all going in the 2009 draft, the talent toward the top end of the position is a bit weak.
Also, with the continued growth of the spread offense in college football, it’s now becoming tougher to find quarterbacks who can fit in NFL-type offenses.
This year, for example, about six to eight of the top senior quarterbacks (depending on whom you’re talking to) come from spread offenses, making the evaluation process that much more difficult.
Here’s a look at some of the more intriguing senior QB prospects for 2010.
The Top Three
Colt McCoy, Texas (6-3, 216)
McCoy leads the 2010 quarterback class and is likely to have another stellar season at Texas, along with possibly winning the Heisman Trophy and a National Championship. He’s a confident, poised quarterback who does a nice job in the pocket buying time and keeping his rhythm in the passing game.
He displays a nice touch in all areas of the field, although he lacks the arm strength to consistently fit the ball into tight spots...and his passes have a tendency to sail on him when he tries to overthrow.
Nevertheless, he possesses an intriguing combination of accuracy, anticipation and athleticism for the position. Like most quarterbacks in next year’s draft, however, he will need to make a transition from the spread offense.
Tim Tebow, Florida (6-3, 245)
Tebow might go down as the most scrutinized prospect to ever enter the NFL draft. There aren’t two NFL executives, scouts or fans you can talk who have the same feelings about him as a prospect.
My take on him is this: You can’t knock the kid’s production, as we are possibly witnessing the most dominant college football player to come along in the past 10 years. You also can’t knock his attitude, work rate, leadership or moxie as he has all the intangibles needed to become a pro quarterback.
There are rumors out of Florida that Tebow is taking snaps from under center and working on shortening his elongated release to make him more NFL-ready.
If true, those are encouraging signs, but we’ll see how committed Florida is to putting Tebow under center in the heart of the SEC schedule.
For now, I still think he can become a productive starting NFL quarterback. He will need time to develop, but he brings too much to the table to not get on the field.
Tim Hiller, Western Michigan (6-5, 228)
Hiller might be the surprise of the top three, but this king-sized pocket passer possesses all the physical tools and the production to back it up.
He’s a good-looking quarterback who displays the zip and arm strength to make all the throws at the next level. He exhibits a quick, compact release and gets the ball out in a hurry.
He threw 36 touchdown passes last season with just 10 interceptions and completed 65 percent of his passes for 3,725 yards.
Like most quarterbacks in this group, Hiller has a steep learning curve, coming from a smaller school and playing in a spread offense.
However, he possesses all the tools of an NFL pocket passer and does a nice job anticipating throws and throwing receivers open on all levels.
Just a Notch Below
Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan (6-3, 228)
LeFevour is another spread-offense quarterback who has done nothing but light up opposing MAC defenses with both his arm and legs.
He’s a dual run/pass threat who finished the 2007 season with 1,122 yards rushing and 3,652 yards passing. Mid-season injury troubles kept him from duplicating those numbers last year, but he has a chance to be even better in 2009.
He’s a confident passer with a high, quick release point and is very accurate on all levels of the field. He does a great job manipulating coverages and looking off safeties in the secondary.
Even though he lacks great arm strength, LeFevour is ideally suited for a West Coast offense, where he can display his impressive accuracy, timing and athleticism in the pass game.
Tony Pike, Cincinnati (6-6, 215)
Pike is a big, mature pocket passer with deceptive athleticism for his size. He’s one of the few guys in the 2010 quarterback class you can consistently see on tape make NFL type throws, as he possesses the arm strength and footwork to set his feet in the pocket and zip the ball outside the numbers.
He has also been asked to battle adversity at Cincinnati in the form of a QB competition last season. I think Pike could really surprise some people in next year’s draft with a full season at the controls.
At times, his accuracy and timing in the pass game were off a bit last season, but with a year to mature and get comfortable in the offense, there’s a lot of NFL potential in his game.
Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State (6-3, 212)
A tough, natural leader who can hurt you with his arm or legs. He displays good timing and accuracy in the pass game and is a natural thrower, but he needs to learn to limit his costly errors.
Max Hall, BYU (6-1, 200)
An undersized quarterback who has been very productive throughout his college career. He lacks the arm strength needed to make all the throws at the next level but relies on his accuracy and decision-making in the pass game.
Isiah “Juice” Williams, Illinois (6-2, 235)
A strong, well-built quarterback with impressive quickness once he gets outside the pocket. He has all the tools but is a raw passer who struggles with his accuracy and decision-making.
Jarrett Brown, West Virginia (6-4, 220)
A big, physically imposing quarterback with impressive athleticism who can line up all over the offense. He possesses a big arm but could end up making a position change at the next level.
Ryan Perrilloux, Jacksonville State (6-3, 222)
Talk about a guy with all the tools. The only thing holding Perrilloux back is his long list of character concerns.
Daryll Clark, Penn State (6-2, 232)
A dual run/pass quarterback who can hurt you through the air or on the ground...but an NFL career similar to former PSU QB Michael Robinson is likely in the cards for Clark.
Rusty Smith, Florida Atlantic (6-5, 230)
He possesses a big frame and good accuracy from the pocket, but his play fell off a bit as a junior.
Chris Turner, Maryland (6-4, 220)
Turner is my quarterback sleeper in the 2010 draft. He possesses all the tools and at times looks like a potential first-day prospect, but the key for him is becoming more consistent.
Be sure to check the rest of my breakdowns out at Nationalfootballpost.com.