Matt Elder of BuffaloBillsDraft.com is back today, this time breaking down his top small-school quarterback prospects for the 2012 NFL Draft. Obviously my question is bold, his answers are italic.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tony Romo and Tarvaris Jackson are the three former lower level players who now start at quarterback in the NFL. Are there any small-school QBs who could develop into starting QBs at the next level? If so, what about their game translates to the next level and where in the draft would you slot them?
Great question and if you asked me before the season my answer would be totally different then it is now. Prior to the season you would have heard me talk about guys like B.J. Coleman, Mike Paulus, and Aaron Corp. Now I don’t have the same top three QB’s. B.J. Coleman (Tennessee-Chattanooga) still sits on top and I like what I see out of the big QB. He’s been playing hurt this season and is currently not playing due a shoulder injury suffered v. Georgia Southern two weeks ago. He’s got a nice arm, solid accuracy, and really scans the field well. He needs to work on his down the field vision and accuracy though.
Next I really like what I’ve seen from Division III’s Alex Tanney since coming back from an injury last year. Tanney runs a sped up version of the spread at Monmouth and averages over 30 attempts a game. Right now has a 69% completion percentage to go with 1,924 yards, 18 TD’s and 3 INT’s. He is probably one of the rawest prospects coming out but in terms of potential he’s got some of the highest.
Finally another QB I’ve been impressed with is from my own backyard and that’s Patrick Witt up at Yale. He played part of his HS ball down here at Parkview who signed with Nebraska coming out of HS. His growth this year from his Junior season has been quite fun to watch. He’s got great size, a nice strong arm, and he’s not afraid to take chances with the football. He needs to be taught how to read defenses and must at times make better decisions but the ability is all there. Since you mentioned Ryan Fitzpatrick I think he’s a more athletically gifted Ivy League QB prospect.
As far as slotting these guys, I’d say Coleman right now is a 4th-5th Rounder who needs to bounce back strong in the second half of the season, Witt is a 6th to 7th Round pick, while I think Tanney is a 7th Round to Free Agent type.
Thanks again to Matt for jumping on MtD to break down some small-school players. Make sure to check out more of his draft analysis at BuffaloBillsDraft.com and follow him on Twitter, @Matthewcelder. He's currently offering thoughts on FIU/Arkansas State.