Rookie Prediction for Every Drafted Quarterback Heading into the 2013 NFL Season

Ryan Riddle@@Ryan_RiddleCorrespondent IJune 21, 2013

ORCHARD PARK, NY - MAY 10:  EJ Manuel #3 of the Buffalo Bills readies to pass   during the Buffalo Bills rookie camp on May 10, 2013 in Orchard Park, New York. Manuel was Buffalo's first round draft pick in 2013.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

In this article, I dust off my crystal ball to offer a glimpse into the 2013 NFL season.

With the unparalleled success of last year’s rookie crop of signal callers, it certainly begs the question of what this year’s group has in store for us. Although the success of guys like Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck and the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III came as little surprise to most people, few could have predicted the season Russell Wilson and his Seahawks ended up having.

Below is a brief introduction of every drafted NFL QB, as well as what to expect during each of their rookie seasons.


1. EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills

Florida State 

6’5” 237 pounds.

Drafted: Round 1 (16)

Who he is:

EJ is an intelligent, high-character leader with prototypical size, mobility and intermediate accuracy. Of all the quarterbacks drafted, Manuel’s upside is the most promising.

What he’s up against:

With the release of Tarvaris Jackson it now comes down to either Kevin Kolb or EJ Manuel for Buffalo’s coveted starting QB position.


Considering Kevin Kolb has never played a 16-game season in any of six years as a pro, it’s feasible to have concerns about his durability. Should Kolb win the starting job this August, it may just be a cameo appearance.

This preseason will tell us a lot about how NFL-ready EJ Manuel really is. Though he has tremendous upside and a promising career ahead of him, he does appear to be raw in his mechanics and progressions.

This suggests he would likely benefit from being slowly integrated into the starting role, but that may be a luxury that new head coach Doug Marrone and the Bills can’t afford.

The odds are that the more experienced Kolb will outshine Manuel in the preseason when it comes to being a pure pocket passer (though not by much), which should pressure coach Marrone to hold off on his visions of a dual-threat QB leading the offense downfield.

Kolb will likely start early in the season while Manuel watches and sees time in special packages specifically designed to take advantage of his unique strengths.

Either through injury, struggles, or impatience, Kolb will not be starting in Buffalo for long.

By mid-season Manuel will be leading the way for the Bills.

Once Manuel assumes the reins of the offense, expect his athleticism and physical tools to provide a spark to the organization. His rookie year won’t break any records, but he should be able to show the promise that Bills fans have been waiting for:

Impressive highlights, big plays, turnovers, excitement and ultimately, providing the Bills with the best chance to win games.

2. Geno Smith, New York Jets

West Virginia 

6’2” 218 pounds.

Drafted: Round 2 (39)

Who he is:

A quietly confident guy with a quick delivery and excellent velocity on his throws.

Geno also has a nice touch on the deep ball and knows how to lead open receivers. He may be a great athlete, but he rarely elects to run the ball, favoring to keep his eyes downfield. When he needs to escape a compromised pocket he does a good job displaying his quickness.

What he’s up against:

Geno is battling for the starting QB position primarily with fifth-year pro Mark Sanchez. As of right now the job is Mark Sanchez’s to lose.


It’s difficult to imagine Mark Sanchez winning the starting position by the end of preseason play. Throughout his entire career, Sanchez has never finished a season with a passer-rating above 80.

Starting No. 6 for a sixth year in New York would ultimately be Rex Ryan signing his own death warrant.

I think he enjoys being a head coach and would like to retain his position as long as possible. The best way for Rex to be the Jets’ coach after this season is to start Geno Smith.

Rex knows it, the players know it and the fans know it.

Assuming Geno is named the starting QB, there will likely be some significant growing pains and struggles for Mr. Smith. Especially considering the Jets are not a very talented team when it comes to their offensive skill-positions.

For this reason, both Smith and Sanchez will see action throughout the season in a rotation to find which of the two QBs can save Rex’s job before it’s too late.

Having limited weapons to move the ball downfield will stress these QBs out all season long.

A good sign of Geno’s ability as a rookie will be if he can sustain a positive TD/INT ratio with this offense.

3. Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NC State

6’7” 225 pounds

Drafted: Round 3 (73)

Who he is:

Glennon is the tallest of all drafted QBs in this draft, but his abilities generally fail to live up to his physical stature.

Though underwhelming at times, especially relative to how high he was drafted, Glennon does have a rifle for an arm—few QB’s can launch it like Glennon can. If only he’d improve his accuracy and poise in the pocket to go with his elite arm and intriguing height.

What he is up against:

Incumbent starting QB Josh Freeman is pretty much in the driver’s seat when it comes to controlling his own destiny in Tampa Bay. Glennon was the third QB drafted in 2013, and was brought in to provide both depth and healthy competition at the position.


It would take either an injury or some seriously poor play by Freeman in order for him to lose his starting job—at least for this season.

As it stands, there’s very little competition to serve as Freeman’s immediate understudy. Glennon will play out his rookie season from the sidelines with a clipboard in hand while he learns what it means to be an NFL QB.

Don’t expect to see much action from Glennon after August, unless, of course, Freeman suffers an unfortunate injury. Josh Freeman will not play poorly enough in 2013 to be replaced by Mike Glennon.

4. Matt Barkley, Philadelphia Eagles


6’2” 227 pounds

Drafted: Round 4 (98)

Who he is:

Matt is a natural leader who has started 36 games over three seasons at USC while running a pro-style system. He has experience, accuracy and the ability to make the throws needed to be successful at the next level.

At the start of Barkley’s senior year in 2012, he was considered the consensus No.1 QB prospect in the draft and a potential first overall draft pick. A disappointing season filled with upset loses and capped off with a shoulder injury ultimately dropped his stock significantly.

What he is up against:

The Philadelphia Eagles are a bit crowded at the QB position with Michael Vick, Nick Foles and Dennis Dixon all battling for the starting spot and perhaps even just a spot on the roster.

Barkley has recently been thrown into the mix as a product of an opportunistic draft strategy: to take a chance on a QB who fell into their laps unexpectedly.


This is a difficult competition to predict and should last well into the preseason. The smart money would be on Mike Vick assuming the role of starter in Philly for at least one more year. Nick Foles could feasibly win the backup spot and Barkley shouldn’t fall lower than third on the depth chart.

There’s even a chance Barkley could steal the starting job, but that doesn’t seem likely at this point. There is really no need to force him into action considering who they have on the roster, and it would take a near flawless preseason for him to convince head coach Chip Kelly otherwise.

A more feasible scenario here would be for Barkley to beat out Nick Foles for the backup spot. If this happens, Barkley then becomes just one Mike Vick run away from leading the Eagles in his rookie season.

But considering the endless variables that would have to fall into place for Barkley to see action this season, the scenario with the most probability is that Barkley will flash some potential in the preseason, but not enough to justify playing time in 2013.

For those who are wondering what Barkley can do in the NFL, I guess we’ll just have to wait until his second year in the league.

5. Ryan Nassib, New York Giants


6’2” 227 pounds.

Drafted: Round 4 (110)

Who he is:

Ryan is a strong-armed, competitive passer with decent mobility, though he won’t run away from NFL defenders very often. He sells play-action fakes and screens well, and does play much faster than his 40 time.

Nassib has a nice release and doesn’t force the ball downfield very often, opting instead to hit his check-downs and live to fight another down. However, he does tend to force the ball into coverage with his mid-range throws more than he should.

His effort, competitiveness and desire show up on tape often, which makes up for his physical limitations as an athlete.

What he is up against:

Everyone knows Eli Manning is the unquestioned starter in New York. The real battle Nassib will be facing his rookie year is for the backup position.

His competition will be former No. 1 overall selection David Carr. Carr has become very familiar with the way they do things in New York, as he has been the backup for the Giants four-of-the-last five years.


This looks to be the beginning of the end for David Carr as Manning’s immediate backup, considering Nassib should have little trouble unseating him based on his age, salary and potential alone.

With that said Manning is one of the toughest QBs in the sport and simply does not miss games. Nassib will have the benefits of watching and learning from one of the best in the business. It would be a shock if Ryan happened to be called into action this year.

6. Tyler Wilson, Oakland Raiders


6’2” 215 pounds

Drafted: Round 4 (112)

Who he is:

Tyler Wilson is undoubtedly as tough as they come. He was the unquestioned leader for Arkansas after proving his reliability to his teammates time and time again.

Wilson was the sixth QB drafted this year, primarily due to some concerns about his hand size, consistency and accuracy. One thing that no team is worried about, however, is his ability to take a hit and keep getting up.

Anyone who values leadership and toughness will certainly come to love Wilson.

What he is up against:

The Oakland Raiders can’t seem to find “Mr. Right,” so at the very least they hope they can find “Mr. Right Now” with the addition of Matt Flynn this offseason. Flynn looks to be the frontrunner for the starting job as Terrelle Pryor seems to be falling behind based on some offseason progress reports.


Once these QBs are thrown into the fires of competitive football, Tyler Wilson’s moxie is sure to impress. He has even been outplaying Matt Flynn at times this offseason.

Wilson could very well be the future of the franchise. His intangibles are promising, and they are partly why he will show up big this preseason and win the starting spot for the Raiders.

With that said, don’t expect his season statistics to be overly impressive considering the lack of reliable targets on the roster.

By season’s end, Wilson will have won over his teammates and coaches alike as he proves he has enough potential for the Raiders to avoid drafting a QB in 2014—which would be a huge endorsement for their faith in his abilities.

This prediction does not suggest Oakland will win seven games this year. Raider-nation will likely suffer another lackluster season at the basement of the division.

But Wilson will offer a beacon of hope for a brighter future.

7. Landry Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers


6’4” 225 pounds

Round 4 (115)

Who he is:

Landry Jones had a productive college career with an impressive touchdown-to-interception ratio of 71. He is a proven winner and possesses ideal size for the next level. Jones may not be known for his mobility, but when given a clean pocket and time to throw, he can definitely read a defense and pick it apart. This trait, more so than any other, may be his key to professional success.

What he is up against:

With Ben Roethlisberger cemented in as the starter, Jones would be competing against Bruce Gradkowski for the backup quarterback position. Gradkowski has proven to be a serviceable backup in the NFL and provides experience at a position that the Steelers value greatly.


Landry Jones has shown his character to be more of the type that needs to warm up to a situation rather than flourish out of the gate. He also has a history of struggling with pressure in his face. Jones is viewed as a project-player who will not see action in the regular season.

Gradkowski is going to be the backup to Big Ben while Jones will be asked to redshirt his rookie year so he can learn as much as possible in the quickest amount of time. Year two for Landry will determine whether or not he has a future in this league.

8. Brad Sorensen, San Diego Chargers

Southern Utah

6’4” 229 pounds

Drafted: Round 7 (221)

Who he is:

Brad Sorensen is a pure pocket passer with fantastic zip on his throws. He is able to hit targets on a frozen rope using sound technique and footwork. Yet he struggles with consistency in his accuracy, and needs to improve his touch on the ball when dropping lobs in the laps of his receivers.  

What he is up against:

Despite having the status of a throw-away seventh-round draft pick to overcome, Sorensen is facing two established quarterbacks with a wealth of experience in the NFL. Long-term starter and face of the franchise Philip Rivers is the unquestioned starter for 2013, while Charlie Whitehurst knows his way around San Diego after being the backup QB for the Chargers in five of his seven NFL seasons.


Brad Sorensen is not expected to do much beyond solidify the third QB spot on the roster—anything beyond that would be extremely surprising. Sorensen is not a very accurate passer and needs to develop his reads and decision-making.

If Brad’s future does not involve the third spot on the depth chart, the next most likely scenario would be the practice squad for him. That way, he can take his time honing in on his craft.

After all, Sorensen was drafted primarily because of his ability to make every throw required of an NFL player. He is a work in progress, and is nowhere near ready to be rolled out for public scrutiny.

9. Zac Dysert, Denver Broncos

Miami (OH)

6’3” 231 pounds

Drafted: Round 7 (234)

Who he is:

Dysert embodies the typical middle-of-the-road prospect. He isn’t elite at many traits, nor is scrapping the bottom of the barrel either.

This combination should make him a safe bet at least for a semi-productive career as a backup in the NFL for several years. He’s one of the tougher guys you can find, and has incredible touch on his deep balls.

What he is up against:

With Peyton Manning clearly not going anywhere for at least the next year and Brock Osweiler pretty set as the backup for the time being, Zac Dysert will essentially be battling against undrafted free agent Ryan Katz for the third and final QB slot.


I was really impressed with Zac Dysert’s ability to battle and compete against much more talented teams which showed how tough he is in the face of adversity. Dysert also throws a great deep ball.

This year Dysert will take a back seat to the QB drafted just a year earlier in Brock Osweiler. Brock was not a happy camper.

One prediction I will make, given his limited opportunities, is that Dysert will look very impressive and will even outshine Osweiler in the preseason. But the backup role will remain in the hands of Brock nonetheless.

10. B.J. Daniels, San Francisco 49ers

South Florida

6’0” 217 pounds

Drafted: Round 7 (237)

Who he is:

Daniels is a very athletic QB who displays great awareness of the players around him. This helps him to avoid defenders and use his athleticism to extend plays.

One major concern with Daniels is his size.

What he is up against:

B.J. Daniels is hard-pressed to make the active roster listed as a QB considering he will be battling against the likes of Colin Kaepernick, Colt McCoy and Scott Tolzien. These three have more or less established themselves as the QBs.


With Daniels’ impressive athleticism and skill with the ball in his hands, the 49ers will try to see what he can do at other positions like running back, wide receiver and return man. This is where he has his best shot at making a roster, but in all likelihood there is just no room for Daniels on the 53-man roster.

Obviously the more things you can do the more value you have for the organization, thus making it difficult to be released. Daniels is destined to spend his first year on the practice squad learning how to be a Swiss army knife.    

11. Sean Renfree, Atlanta Falcons


6’3” 219 pounds

Drafted: Round 7 (249)

Who he is:

Renfree is a pro-style QB lacking mobility and top-tier arm strength, but he does throw a decent deep ball. He has slow feet and should not be expected to make plays with his legs.

What he is up against:

With Matt Ryan and Dominique Davis looking as though they have the one and two spots locked up, it really just leaves Renfree with one possible spot to fight for.


It would be a shock if Renfree wasn’t the third-string QB for Week 1. If he should find himself in another role beyond third-string, it will likely be on the practice squad. There is little to no hope in seeing this guy take the field in a regular-season game. 


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