Surprisingly, a high NFL Draft pick has little correlation with success in college. And as Troy Smith and others have learned the hard way, a Heisman Trophy has little to do with success in the NFL.
NFL teams aren't concerned with collegiate accolades, but instead with 40-yard dash times, size, and strength.
Because teams are so focused on selecting players who fit their physical guidelines, they routinely pass up solid players who excelled in college. And many players who were top performers for their respective teams are passed up just because they are "small."
Quarterbacks are overlooked more than any other position, and many of this year's top players could go undrafted. Let's take a look at five quarterbacks who have excelled in college, but may not be playing on Sundays.
Despite his unbelievable stats, unheard of record, and leadership on a top ten team, Kellen Moore has a couple factors working against his draft stock.
First, he's small. 6'0", 187 lbs isn't that small, but it's below average for quarterbacks who make the jump to the next level. Most quarterbacks that size are rushers or wildcat quarterbacks, but Moore is a pure passer. And while he has proven he can be a lethal passer (No. 1 in the nation in passer rating), he faces an uphill battle come draft day.
The second factor working against Moore is his team's schedule. Just as playing in the WAC hurts Boise State's national championship chances, it also hurts Moore's draft stock. Critics will argue that many other quarterbacks could put up sky-high numbers as well if they played the likes of San Jose State and Utah State every year. They're probably right, but that doesn't mean that Moore couldn't compete for a traditional power.
Whether he deserves it or not, Moore likely will be denied a chance to play in the NFL. And no matter how good his numbers, his size and schedule will be working against him throughout his career.
Football isn't exactly a tradition at Northwestern, and the school has more of a reputation in the classroom than on the gridiron. But coach Pat Fitzgerald has built a solid program in Evanston, thanks in part to two solid quarterbacks.
Mike Kafka gained recognition last year, especially after his performance in the Outback Bowl, where he almost led Northwestern to a comeback win against Auburn.
But Dan Persa's rise has been much more quiet. Persa started a few games last year when Mike Kafka was injured and played a majority of the Wildcats' upset win over No. 4 Iowa in 2009.
This year, he has quietly had an impressive season, despite being overshadowed by the Big Ten's big-name quarterbacks. He ranks ninth in the country in passer rating and has completed an astounding 75.7-percent of his passes.
But, like Moore, Persa likely won't be drafted into the NFL. He is a good rusher and solid passer, but doesn't have the type of build that NFL teams want. And, fair or not, playing at Northwestern won't help his chances.
Okay, hear me out.
Yes, Denard Robinson is one of the best running quarterbacks in the country and yes he has tremendous talent. He has improved his passing skills tremendously from last season, and he is a force to be reckoned with for any college football team.
But as we've learned before, all of those skills don't guarantee a spot in the NFL, and Robinson doesn't seem like an NFL quarterback.
If he wants to play at the next level, Robinson's best bet is to play wide receiver--as fellow Big Ten quarterback Antwaan Randle El did when he left Indiana--or defensive back.
Robinson will continue to be a productive quarterback in college and should break even more records than he already has, but his future in football will depend on his ability to adapt to other positions.
The "other" Michigan quarterback makes this list as well, which can be seen as either an insult or a compliment. Sure, he probably won't get drafted, but at least he's good enough to make this list.
Forcier was the star of the first half of Michigan's 2009 season until he let his fame get to his head. After being sent back down to Earth in a loss to Iowa, Forcier fell apart. He couldn't handle the scrutiny of the media and lost his starting job to Robinson.
While Forcier hasn't won his starting job back yet, he has been impressive as the oft-injured Robinson's backup. He almost led a dramatic comeback against Iowa and was a perfect 13-13 in passes before that game.
But, as with our other quarterbacks, Forcier is too small to play in the NFL. And unfortunately, unlike Robinson, he may not be able to play another position. Yet he should continue to be an important contributor to the Michigan Wolverines.
Robert Griffin has almost single-handedly led Baylor to prominence. The Bears are in the top 25 for the first time since 1993, thanks to Griffin's stellar quarterback play.
In a league that has been dominated by quarterbacks from big-name schools, Griffin stands out from the crowd. Unlike Sam Bradford or Colt McCoy, he has had the challenge of taking a small school to the top.
This weekend, Griffin has the chance to knock off Texas and improve his resume even further.
However, that resume wont help his draft stock.
Like Kellen Moore, Griffin will be hurt by his team. Unlike Moore, though, Griffin plays in a power conference. But because he isn't always on the national stage, he may not have a shot at the NFL.