NFL Draft 2013: Matt Barkley and the 10 Best Quarterbacks in This Class
While the anxiety for the upcoming season builds, it’s never too soon to start talking about next offseason. While Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III dominated this year’s draft coverage, many fans want to know which quarterbacks will garner the most attention in the months leading up to next year’s draft.
For some, the adding, dropping and shuffling of players via trades, free agency and the draft make the offseason more exciting than the actual season. If you’re that type of fan, then this article ranking the top ten quarterbacks in the 2013 NFL Draft class is for you.
No. 10: Geno Smith, West Virginia
West Virginia’s Geno Smith is an athletic quarterback who threw for 4,385 yards in his junior season to go along with 31 touchdowns and seven interceptions (via ESPN.com).
His athleticism could help him shoot up the draft board given the recent interest in athletic quarterbacks (Cam Newton in 2011, Robert Griffin III in 2012). However, he needs to develop his pocket-passing skills if he wants to succeed at the next level.
No. 9: Mike Glennon, North Carolina State
Mike Glennon had an up-and-down year quarterbacking for North Carolina State in 2011. He ended the year with 3,054 passing yards, 31 touchdowns and 12 interceptions (via ESPN.com).
Glennon tossed four touchdowns in meaningless wins over South Alabama and Central Michigan but failed to throw any in some of the biggest games of the year. Both Florida State and Boston College were able to shut out Glennon. He needs to be more consistent in 2012 if he wants to be regarded as an NFL-caliber starting quarterback.
No. 8: E.J. Manuel, Florida State
E.J. Manuel was a consistent quarterback for the Seminoles in 2011, completing over 65 percent of his passes for 2,666 yards. While his play never really cost Florida State any games last year, Manuel certainly never put the team on his back to win any games either.
Many expected a bigger performance out of Manuel in his junior season, when he had only 18 touchdowns. Perhaps Manuel will have a breakout season in 2012 and leap-frog the other QBs on this list. But for now, Manuel remains outside the top five, looking in.
No. 7: Aaron Murray, Georgia
With 3,149 yards, 35 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray should be one of the top quarterback prospects in next year’s draft. According to Walterfootball.com, Murray has good arm strength.
The problem many NFL scouts will see in Murray is his height. Unless you’re Drew Brees, 6’1” usually does not cut it in the NFL. If Murray does not receive the protection he benefited from at Georgia, his skills may not translate into the pros very well.
No. 6: Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech
Like many other Virginia Tech quarterbacks, Logan Thomas was a multi-threat QB for the Hokies in 2011. In addition to his 19 passing touchdowns last year, Thomas also scored 11 rushing touchdowns. According to his scouting report on Walterfootball.com, Thomas’ ability as a passer needs further development if he wants to succeed in the NFL.
With his incredible size (6’6”, 262 lbs), Thomas will surely draw plenty of Cam Newton comparisons next spring. If Newton is as unstoppable in 2012 as he was in his rookie season, NFL coaches may be scrambling to acquire the next best thing.
No. 5: Tajh Boyd, Clemson
Tajh Boyd is a talented quarterback out of Clemson. He broke onto the scene last season, throwing for 3,828 yards, 33 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Although he is not known as a running quarterback, Boyd also added five touchdowns on the ground in 2011.
Boyd led the Tigers to an 8-0 start before dropping three of their final five games of the regular season.
It will be difficult for Boyd to match his early season success without tight end Dwayne Allen to throw to. Allen was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the second round of the 2012 draft.
However, Boyd still has wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who became the third true freshman ever to be honored as an All-American by the Associated Press, at his disposal.
No. 4: Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
Quarterback Tyler Wilson led Arkansas to a 10-2 regular season record and a 29-16 win over Kansas State in the AT&T Cotton Bowl. Wilson was an efficient passer with 3,638 yards and a 63.2-percent completion percentage. The Razorback rarely turned the ball over, surrendering only six interceptions while adding 24 touchdowns.
With head coach Bobby Petrino ousted after a scandal involving a young intern and a motorcycle accident, the Arkansas offense may take a hit in 2012. If Wilson is less productive in his senior season, his value may plummet.
No. 3: Landry Jones, Oklahoma
Landry Jones has had some of the most impressive statistics among Division I quarterbacks the past two seasons. In 2010, the Oklahoma sophomore threw for 4,718 yards and a 65.6-percent completion percentage. Last year, as a junior, Jones threw for 4,463 yards and a 63.2-percent completion percentage.
While Jones has thrown the ball efficiently in the last two seasons, his touchdown to interception ratio slipped in the wrong direction in 2011. As a sophomore, Jones threw for 38 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions. In his junior year, those numbers slipped to 29 and 15. If those numbers slip any further, so will Jones’ draft stock.
No. 2: Tyler Bray, Tennessee
Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray’s 2011 production was limited by a hand injury that caused him to miss five games. The Volunteers won four of the seven games that Bray played in, totaling 1,983 yards, 17 touchdowns and six interceptions. In Bray’s absence, Tennessee managed to win only one game.
Bray certainly has the size to excel as an NFL quarterback. At 6’6” and 210 lbs., the Tennessee quarterback will be able to hold his own, physically. If Bray, who is only a junior in 2012, can stay healthy for all of next season, he will easily be a top-20 draft choice.
No. 1: Matt Barkley, USC
USC quarterback Matt Barkley is widely regarded as the most NFL-ready quarterback in college football. Barkley compiled 3,528 yards in addition to 39 touchdowns and only seven interceptions in his junior season (via ESPN.com). He could have entered the 2012 draft, but Barkley decided instead to play out his final year of eligibility at USC.
While USC may not be the powerhouse they were in the early 2000s, they have not stopped churning out highly touted quarterback prospects.
For Barkley’s sake, hopefully the 2013 prospect’s NFL career will pan out better than the past two quarterbacks to come out of USC. Matt Leinart assumed a backup role with the Texans in 2010 after failing in Arizona, and Mark Sanchez is in danger of losing his starting job to Tim Tebow in 2012.