Quarterbacks don't exactly slip through the cracks these days. In these day and age, with quarterbacks at a premium and scouting as in depth as ever, it's tough for a signal caller to go unnoticed.
Of the quarterbacks in the top ten for passer rating this season, Drew Brees, Matt Schaub,Tony Romo and Tom Brady were not first round picks. Brees was a second round pick, Schaub was drafted in the third, while Romo went undrafted and Brady was picked in the sixth. So, talent can certainly be found later, though recently success has dwindled.
So, is there such a thing as a sleeper quarterback in the NFL draft? The chances of finding a franchise quarterback decrease dramatically after the first round. But that doesn't stop anyone from trying to find the diamond in the rough.
In the days leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft, I am going to put together my all underrated team, looking for sleepers at every position on the field. To make the list, a player cannot be considered a first rounder by the masses, though there may be some exceptions. Each of these playes jumped out at me when watching games this fall and cutups this offseason.
This is my second year doing this project, so I hope you enjoy it. For quarterbacks, I'll name the primary quarterback on the all underrated team, and then mention another sleeper I have my eye on. Let's get to it.
B.J. Coleman, University of Tennessee Chattanooga
Small school prospects can be tough to get a read on due to the level of competition they face. That's especially true when it comes to quarterbacks.
But University of Tennessee Chattanooga quarterback B.J. Coleman may have the rare ability to make the transition to the NFL from the FCS.
Coleman is a smart and dedicated player. He started his career off at Tennessee, where he studied Peyton Manning extensively, and he displays some of Manning's tendencies. Following his freshman season with the Volunteers, Coleman transferred to Chattanooga to take over as the starting quarterback.
His production was impressive, but given the level of competition, his physical abilities are far more important. At 6-feet-5-inches tall and 220 pounds, Coleman undoubtedly has the size to play quarterback in the NFL. In the games I saw, Coleman displayed a quick release and plenty of arm strength to translate to the next level. He also has very clean footwork, though he does tend to get a bit jumpy in the pocket, mostly when he took snaps from the shotgun.
Overall, Coleman is surprisingly polished at this point in his career. He shows great anticipation in his throws and goes through his reads naturally. He comes off as a smart, confident leader that teams will covet under center.
Coleman likely won't hear his name called until day three of the NFL Draft, but he has the potential to be a starter some day. He has all of the physical and mental tools to succeed. It's just a matter of him finding an offense that fits his abilities.
Nick Foles, Arizona
Nick Foles is a completely different prospect than B.J. Coleman. While Coleman is refined in his mechanics, Foles is a bit erratic and inconsistent. He has a rocket arm, but his footwork and throwing motion could use a bit of work. Foles also made a lot of careless throws this past season at Arizona.
So what makes him jump out at me? Well besides his huge arm, Foles is a confident and competitive player. He didn't have a stellar senior season or Senior Bowl, but as a late round developmental guy, very few players present as much upside as Foles does.
I probably wouldn't draft him until the fourth or fifth round, but Foles would be the ideal backup for a team with an established starter in place.
Poll Question for MtD readers: Who is your favorite sleeper quarterback in this year's draft and why? Answer in the comments.