Here are each of my top ten QB's for the 2013 NFL Draft with in-depth scouting reports. There are a few surprises below, and I am sure more than one of you will jump down my throat when you get to my readjusted QB list. Please enjoy the work and get excited for a new year of scouting!
(*denotes an underclassman)
Tyler Wilson Arkansas
Strengths: Good arm strength with accuracy down the field. Hits every open receiver where they can catch and run with it. Uses his TE like a typical starting NFL QB would. Leads his speedy receivers well when running deep down the field. Throws the ball away effectively in the pocket. Slides feet first when running up the field. Accuracy improves typically as the yards increase. Has good velocity on the ball. Plays well down the stretch. Extremely confident in his arm.
Weaknesses: Footwork in the pocket and on-the-run is clunky and slow leading to bad ball placement. Side-arms the football which will lead to batted down balls at the Pro level. Sometimes he waits too long for the play to develop rather than improvising. Oblivious to pass rushers both in the pocket and on-the-run leading to fumbles and interceptions. Forces passes to covered receivers because of his confidence in his arm and abilities.
Potential: Because most of his weaknesses are mechanical and not instinctive, they can be fixed in a few seasons. Can become a superstar and perennial All-Star in the NFL. Has 1st round potential and 1st round talent, should end up being a top five pick in 2013 IF he leads the Razorbacks to a BCS Bowl.
Matt Barkley USC
Strengths: Accurate on short and (some) intermediate passes. Excellent pocket awareness. Very good mobility in the pocket and on the run, could become a running threat in the NFL (not like Vick but more like Romo). Has great touch on medium passes to his receivers. Lets his receivers make plays rather than just going for the deep ball.
Weaknesses: Does not show a willingness to accept a sack or failed play causing many turnovers or scary instances. Rarely throws the ball away. His intermediate and deep passes lack consistent accuracy, especially the deep ball. Makes poor throws to receivers who are well covered (overconfident in his receivers' abilities). Slow movement on play action, does not trick defenders like old USC QB's used to. Falls in love with short passes like most USC QB prospects, checks down too often. Teammates and other players bail him in crucial situations, does not show that special desire or fire to win. He is also a little undersized for an NFL QB.
Potential: Could end up being a solid starting QB, does not show superstar qualities. Would prefer him as a back-up or game-manager in the NFL. Has 2nd-3rd round talent but only shows 3rd-4th round potential.
Geno Smith West Virginia
Strengths: Good arm strength with solid accuracy. Hits his receivers well when breaking towards the sidelines. Does not throw interceptions at the rate of normal NCAA QB's. Quick hands (highlighted by WVU's "touch passes" to Tavon Austin). Solid footwork that helps drive the ball with velocity. Good vision to draw defenders. Makes NFL-ready passes. Fantastic pump fake that halts and disorients defenders. Great high release that gets above defensive linemen easily. Stands up in the pocket with presence and rolls-out when needed. Throws the ball away like an NFL QB.
Weaknesses: Does not run with the ball, is no threat when past the line of scrimmage. Needs to become more mobile with the ball. When throwing, he brings his arm too far back behind his body which could lead to fumbles in the NFL. Definitely not the most accurate QB, will need to work on being more consistent across the field. Does not "wow" you with his throws or game like other players in college or the NFL. Runs a spread type offense causing number inflations which can affect the Pro transition.
Potential: Looks to be the most NFL-ready QB in next year's draft which means he could be an immediate starter. Could end up being a solid starting QB and potential All-Star. Has mid-1st-2nd round talent with 1st round potential.
Landry Jones Oklahoma
Strengths: Very good accuracy on intermediate passes. Shows great touch on passes in the redzone and to the corner of the endzones. Has decent arm strength on long passes. Throws well off of his back foot when pressured or on-the-run. Decent footwork in the passing game but will need some work. Sets up the pass in the pocket and makes quick decisive decisions when throwing.
Weaknesses: Has a problem with staring down receivers. Does not make reads before throwing the ball and looks uncomfortable in his progressions. Holds the ball near his stomach before the throw, he will need to hold the ball near his chin or right shoulder in the NFL. His wind-up is too long and does not create the zip that other Pro QB's have. On deep passes his throw is not consistent and often misses the mark by several yards. Gets flustered easily in the pocket when defenders get in his face. His game is not refined at all despite being a starter for the last three seasons.
Potential: Since become a starter three years ago when Sam Bradford went down with injury, Jones hasn't fully refined his game. That causes some serious concerns and puts red flags on his potential. He most likely will end up as a quality back-up in the NFL who could come in and manage games. He has 3rd round talent and 3rd-4th round potential.
Strengths: Not afraid to get hit. Has great footwork and fantastic release, the ball is always held high and comes out quickly. He knows how to use his feet and can evade pressure with the best of them. He has real zip to the ball and some nice touch to compliment that as well. Makes great reads and moves through his progressions with ease and confidence.
Weaknesses: Not afraid to get hit, thus could inflict injury upon himself. Relies on his running ability too often and too quickly. Very inaccurate and inconsistent week-to-week. Does not utilize his checkdown enough in game. Sometimes forces the ball to covered receivers. Severely undersized for an NFL QB, listed as six-foot-one but is more like a five-foot-ten or eleven. Uses his bullet and lob passes in the wrong situations. Turns the ball over frequently on fumbles and interceptions.
Potential: Murray is a good QB and could develop into a quality starter but he seems more suitable for the clip-board role and to be a game manager. Murray has 3rd round talent and 2nd round potential which bods well for him.
*Tyler Bray Tennessee
Strengths: Makes quick decisions in the passing game. Delivers the ball with accuracy across the entire field; short, medium, and deep. Good at leading his receivers to places that will allow them to be open and make a play. Sets his feet properly before he throws and drives the ball off his back foot. Doesn't hesitate with throws, very confidant with his arm.
Weaknesses: Doesn't improvise in the passing game. Has an awkward throwing motion. His wind-up and delivery are slow for an NFL level QB. Leaves the ball down low instead of near his shoulder or chin. Not comfortable on-the-run when throwing. Sophomore season was cut short due to injury, will have to prove he can keep up his level of play in a full season. Needs one more year to develop fully, may need to stay for his Senior year (might not be necessary if his Junior season is great).
Potential: Bray could very well end up being the top pick in 2013. With a full stand-out season under his belt he will be turning heads. Depending on his development this season, he could come in and be an immediate starter, impact player, and even All-Star. He has 1st round talent and 1st round potential.
*A.J. McCarron Alabama
Strengths: Can thread the needle. Makes great throws to the sidelines of the field. Uses his backs effectively. Makes the right throws at the right time, doesn't throw all that often but it usually results in keeping a drive alive or making a big play. Holds the ball where it should be, under his chin. When in the pocket he keeps his head up and doesn't normally force passes to covered receivers.
Weaknesses: Long, or slow, release that will allow NFL defenders enough time to create a fumble or poor throw. Throwing motion in general is inconsistent and constantly changes. Footwork isn't all that great. Looks awkward when on-the-run, often becomes unbalanced. Will need to put up more numbers this season, the running game in Alabama is hurting his game on paper. A lot of his success is thanks to Alabama's defense and run game, will need to prove he is a key cog for ‘Bama (same problem that Greg McElroy had).
Potential: McCarron should provide intrigue. He has lead a very capable Alabama team to another BCS National Championship, he is a very good leader something a QB needs. He should end up being a clip-board in the NFL and come in to manage a few games. McCarron though only shows 4th-5th round talent and 4th-5th round potential.
*Logan Thomas Virginia Tech
Strengths: Has an absolute cannon for an arm. Makes very good NFL type passes. Good touch on intermediate routes. Puts the ball in places that defenders can't get their hands on. Has a smooth and unbelievable release, will get a lot of attention from NFL teams because of it. Very good at avoiding pass rushers when in the pocket or on a bootleg. Good at throwing on the run, especially when moving to the right side of the field. His athleticism keeps some defenders on their heels.
Weaknesses: His footwork needs a lot of development, sometimes they are placed correctly and other times his feet aren't even shoulder-width apart. Holds the ball too low on his chest, will need to move it up near his chin or shoulder. He isn't as athletic as people lead on, he will have to realize he won't be a running threat in the NFL. When running downfield he has a problem with meeting tacklers head-on instead of avoiding them or sliding/getting out of bounds. A little difficulty with accuracy on routine type plays.
Potential: He isn't a Cam Newton clone, and people need to understand that. He is more of a pure passer than Newton and not as athletic. Can step in and be a starter on most teams, shouldn't need too many years, or even weeks, on the bench. He has 1st round talent and 2nd round potential (may need one more year of college ball).
*Keith Price Washington
Strengths: Makes fantastic reads and goes through his progressions. Extremely intelligent passer and generally makes good decisions. Keeps the ball high and has solid footwork. Good accuracy on short and intermediate passes. Moves excellently in the pocket and understands his limits when on the move, doesn't normally put himself in a position to get his "bell rung." Throws the ball away when needed and recognizes when to use his checkdown.
Weaknesses: Not accurate on deep passes, the big detriment to his game. Sometimes the passes he puts up aren't the greatest, meaning he throws the occasional "duck." Needs to show that he wants to win games, he needs to show some fire towards the end of the regular season. Relatively undersized for an NFL Quarterback. Doesn't have a lot of hype or interest from experts, could be an indirect setback for his draft position. Needs to have stronger games against tougher competition in the Pac-12, Oregon and USC really kept Price in check.
Potential: The fact that he isn't getting much attention could end up hurting his draft stock, he is the most underrated passer in this upcoming draft. His passing intelligence indicates that he can become a good starter for a team. Will most likely start off in the NFL as a clip-board holder for several seasons though. He has 3rd-4th round talent and 1st-2nd round potential.
*Bryn Renner North Carolina
Strengths: On short to intermediate routes, he hits his man in the hands consistently. Considered one of the most accurate passers in the ACC, could end up being one of the most accurate in the NCAA. Has great placement with this throws, DB's have problems locating the ball. Holds the ball appropriately high, under his chin. Doesn't lose composure when getting rushed by the opposing defense.
Weaknesses: Long release despite holding the ball high, needs to shorten it up. When dropping back his movements are too quick and forceful, plants his feet too hard at the end of the drop back which causes him to end up taking a step or two further into the pocket. Accuracy on deep balls needs improvement. Appeared to be staring down WR's occasionally, progression will need work. Offense will be changed this year, can he adjust in time, will his numbers become inflated as they are supposed to be or will they resemble Blaine Gabbert's numbers in Missouri's Spread Offense.
Potential: It is Renner's accuracy that will land him a job in the NFL. He has some serious potential to be a quality QB in the NFL, with a few things touched up he should move up draft boards. He has 3rd-4th round talent and 2nd-3rd round potential.
After further review of my top ten (five Seniors and five Juniors) QB prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft, it has become apparent moves need to be made already. For example, both Logan Thomas and Keith Price wowed me on their game tapes and will end up receiving a slight bump now.
New Top Ten Rankings:
1. *Tyler Bray Tennessee
2. Tyler Wilson Arkansas
3. Geno Smith West Virginia
4. *Logan Thomas Virginia Tech
5. Matt Barkley USC
6. *Keith Price Washington
7. *Bryn Renner North Carolina
8. Aaron Murray Georgia
9. Landry Jones Oklahoma
10. *A.J. McCarron Alabama
Bray is still my favorite for the top QB for the 2013 NFL Draft, Wilson is a close two and Smith is a distant three. Barkley drops here because I don't think he is all that good, his game needs work and he is currently just another USC QB getting way too much hype (Marinovich, Palmer, Leinart, Cassell, Booty, and Sanchez).
Landry Jones falls back pretty far too because his game isn't that great at all either, both Price and Renner have better overall games and throw better passes.
Price could end up passing Barkley too on this list but I don't see it mattering because he appears to be a guy that would stay for a Senior year.