Revisiting The NFL QB Draft Prospects

I haven’t had a chance to get all my draft position rankings up, or even put together my big board. Such is the business of running a Seahawks blog. This team keeps me busy, and getting my college scouting results up is lower on the priority list. Today, though, I’ve been lucky to see a couple of the top QB prospects, and really wanted to get my notes posted while my thoughts are sill fresh.

I understand that my views on quarterbacks aren’t what you’ll find on other sites and from national guys like Mel Kiper. That doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I don’t do a good job predicting “draft value” like Kiper does, but I do think I do a good job predicting pro success, which is more important in my mind.

For instance, people are quick to point out that I was “wrong” on Jake Locker, since he was taken 8th overall to the Titans. I said he is unlikely to be good pro, because he’s got accuracy issues and never got all that close to completing 60% of his passes. I gave him a middle round grade. While he has a high ceiling, he’s also got a low floor (meaning that while he might be very good, there’s also a chance he wont be more than Seneca Wallace).

Lets check back in 4 or 5 years and see what he’s become before you give me too grief. I don’t think draft position is accurate indication of someone’s pro potential. Alex Smith, Jamarcus Russel, Ryan Leaf, Rick Mirer, etc. Keep that in mind if I say I wouldn’t draft someone early and an NFL team drafts him early. Plus, I’m an amateur who watches games on TV, so don’t take my opinions as gospel.

I should point out that one of the things I look for is a QB that succeeds without a ton of talent around him, or against a team or against a defense with more talent than the rest of the offense. These QBs tend to avoid being busts more often than the QBs from the most talented teams.

Look around the league and you find very few starting QBs from the “high power” schools. Most come from places like Boston College, Deleware, and North Carolina State. Contrast that to the failures of guys from big name schools, such as Matt Leinart and Brady Quinn. This year, that means I’m skeptical of USC’s Matt Barkley. I’m sorry. I just am.

  • Andrew Luck is the real deal. Believe the hype. Seriously.
  • My earlier opinions of Texas A&M’s Tannehill were too critical. He is a high ceiling prospect. Good athlete, but not a run-first QB. Good football smarts; saw him audible out of a pass play into a draw that ended up gaining 20 yards. That’s rare. He reminds me of Matt Ryan. At this point he’s moving above Landry Jones. Top 5 grade. Has a lower floor than I’d like, at that point, but he’s just got so much upside.
  • I’m going to be more critical of Matt Barkley of USC than you see elsewhere. (see note above) He plays on a team with way more talent than most of their competition, and has a ton of talent at WR that makes him look better than he is. I saw him miss 2 wide open receivers in the first half today. He reminds me too much of Mark Sanchez, and that’s not a compliment. He’ll likely be the #2 QB drafted, but I think Tannehill will be a better pro at this point.
  • Landry Jones is sliding down my big board at this point. He doesn’t throw a good deep ball, and isn’t as accurate as I want in 1st round QB. Add in the spread offense he plays in, and thus the fact that he doesn’t really have to read a defense, and you get a guy with a much lower floor than I’d want to risk a 1st round pick on.
  • I’m still high on Kellen Moore. I love his accuracy and especially his ability to be accurate down the field. I get that he’s not as tall as you’d like, but he’s still as tall as Drew Brees and that isn’t going to change. He’ll be better at the next level than the pundits want you to believe.
  • I’m not a believer in Baylor’s Griffin at this point. He looks like he’s going to be a great CFL or Arena QB. I just don’t see an NFL pro when I watch him. I don’t like his footwork, and I hate his throwing motion (his is worse than Tim Tebow’s!) Other than that, I don’t have any great analysis to back that up at this point. I need to watch him play more. I just never feel like I’m watching a pro prospect when he’s on the field.
  • Cousins from Michigan State is still such a wild card in this group. He’s got good pocket mobility and football smarts. Goes through a progression as well as anyone in college football. Fairly average arm will scare away some teams, though he can still make all the throws. (*see note below) I still think he’s likely a 2nd round pick, both because of the arm and because there just aren’t that many teams looking for a QB this season. With 4-5 above him this year, and so many teams selecting a QB early last season, Cousins could really slide on draft day.
*One last thing I want to point out. Is there a less meaningful statement about a QB than “He can make all the throws?” Seriously, when someone says that all I hear is either 1) “His arm is really really bad?” (notice that doesn’t mean its good) or 2) “I really can’t think of someone else positive to say about the guy.”

Topics: Andrew Luck, Kellen Moore, Kirk Cousins, Landry Jones, Matt Barkley, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill

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