On Monday the Senior Bowl finalized it's cadre of quarterbacks for this year's all-star game and it doesn't include Southern California's Matt Barkley or West Virginia's Geno Smith.
Barkley is sitting out the game while he continues to rehab an AC sprain in his right shoulder. Smith announced on Twitter he's not participating. Smith is off training at the famed IMG Academy, presumably with Chris Weinke.
There is a level of risk for Smith to skip out on the Senior Bowl. While he's often placed in mock draft as such, Smith's not a runaway choice as the best quarterback in the class. Nor is he an elite prospect. Smith is now relying on his game tape (which he's justly confident in) as well as private workouts and interviews.
Without Barkley and Smith, the quarterbacks participating in the Senior Bowl will have their best chance at improving their draft standing. In the game this year is Zac Dysert of Miami (OH), Mike Glennon of North Carolina State, Landry Jones of Oklahoma, EJ Manual of Florida State, Ryan Nassib of Syracuse and Tyler Wilson of Arkansas.
Of the group, Wilson is rated as our best quarterback (and third overall at the position). But his hold near the top of the ratings isn't set. Nassib goes into the Senior Bowl on a wave of hype. Some are even wondering if Nassib could be the choice of the Buffalo Bills with the eighth overall pick and reunite with college coach Doug Marrone. The current hype behind Nassib was the same hype behind Glennon in December. Glennon has plenty of coachable flaws, but has as much natural talent as any Senior Bowl quarterback. Dysert, the final quarterback invited, is the wild card. Behind a shoddy offensive line, Miami switched its offense this season to one that relied on quick swing and slant throws with Dysert in the shotgun. Dysert has the size and talent to get consideration as a late first-round pick.
For those quarterbacks in this year's game, it's only going to take one team to fall in love. That happened at the 2011 Senior Bowl with Christian Ponder. The game's MVP caught the eye of the Minnesota Vikings during the week of practices and ended up being the 12th overall pick.
"The thing that we went back and forth on was this: 'When are you going to get another chance to swing?' If we didn't get a quarterback this year that we liked, then maybe we're looking at a quarterback next year," Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman said after taking Ponder. "Who knows what the quarterback class is next year?"
In the win now nature of the NFL, there is a high commodity on certainty in the draft. NFL personnel members can at least get a sense of these quarterbacks up close in the Senior Bowl while Smith's decision to not participate may leave some uncertain.