Heading into his Senior season Peyton Manning was the unquestioned top NFL prospect. He showed great ability and an unmatched football IQ. Many felt that Manning was destined to be a great NFL quarterback and obviously they were correct. However, as the 1998 draft approached another young strong armed quarterback was pushing Manning for the top spot. Ryan Leaf had a exceptional Senior season at Washington State compiling 3,968 yards, 34 touchdowns, and only 11 interceptions. Leaf's physical abilities drew a lot of praise and had NFL GM's seeing stars. However, we all know how that story ended.
This year is similar to the 1998 season because we have Andrew Luck the unquestioned next NFL star and a bunch of other quarterback prospects. I feel we could see one of the other quarterbacks make a similar push on Luck like Leaf had on Manning. The quarterbacks that could challenge Luck are Landry Jones, Matt Barkley, and Nick Foles. However, it will be tough for anyone to unseat Luck.
After the Jump check out my thoughts on who could push for the No. 1 quarterback ranking.
Landry Jones- Jones has all the physically tools NFL teams look for in a quarterback. He has a strong arm and has show the ability to deliver an accurate football. Jones will no doubt benefit from Sam Bradford's success as it shows someone from Oklahoma's system could be successful in the NFL. The offense at Oklahoma will also help Jones in that it will pad his stats giving him the numbers some covet.
Matt Barkley- Barkley has been USC's starting quarterback since his true freshman season and has improved every season. His experience on the field and in USC's pro style offense will make him attractive to NFL teams. Barkley doesn't possesses the elite measurables and arm strength. However, some value experience, leadership, and production more than elite physical skills.
Nick Foles- Foles has more than a few things in common with Ryan Leaf. He has good size, a powerful arm, and is a bit of an unknown. As more become aware of Foles, he could easily see his stock skyrocket because he has all the physical skills needed to be a standout NFL quarterback.