It’s the new year, and has been for a while, which means college football is done until next August. That also means a look ahead to this April’s NFL Draft is necessary.
There’s no better way to start breaking down the draft and predicting which players will or won’t fall through the cracks, than breaking down the players themselves.
Read on for our first rankings of the draft season, as we cover the top ten quarterbacks:
1. Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame)
Clausen had some rough patches on a mediocre Notre Dame team, but he was coached by one of the best offensive minds in football, and he put up nice numbers.
Clausen has had trouble with his decision-making in the past, but we saw this area of his game improve a bit in the past year, despite his 17 picks suggesting otherwise.
He possesses the elite arm strength and intangibles to start right away at the next level. Needless to say, he won’t be the next Brady Quinn.
Bradford’s only true knock is his inability to stay healthy in the past year, which really is a result of bad luck, and less to do with him. Still, his injuries were to his shoulder, so there is definitely cause for concern.
Regardless, Bradford is easily in the argument for the top quarterback in the draft, and St. Louis (owner of the top pick) should still at least think about selecting him.
His arm strength is still a bit of a question, but the numbers in elite competition bring a great defense. Bradford has proven he can play at a high level, and has the size and accuracy to continue doing so in the NFL. His ability to transition to a pro-style offense will also be in question, however.
3. Colt McCoy (Texas)
McCoy is the same type of player that Vince Young was coming out of college, yet he doesn’t get anywhere near the respect Young did as an NFL prospect. McCoy has seen his numbers aided by an offense that specializes in quick passes, but he still has a good arm and is one of the more accurate quarterbacks in this draft.
He’s not as big as you’d like, but what he doesn’t have in size, he makes up for with excellent mobility and pocket awareness. His arm injury that knocked him out of the National Title game will raise concerns, but McCoy is still a first day talent.
Pike finished the season with 29 touchdowns and six interceptions, showing his ability to be productive, while also limit mistakes.
He’s a very smart passer with excellent accuracy and decision-making, although he has less-than-desired arm strength for the next level.
Fundamentally, he’s probably a top five quarterback, and if it weren’t for the questions surrounding his arm strength, he’d be much higher. We’ve seen many quarterbacks in the NFL carve out solid careers without elite arm strength, and Pike certainly could become one of them.
5. Dan LeFeavor (Central Michigan)
LeFeavor is getting a lot of recognition for being a big name in a small school and conference, and could be benefiting from the type of scouting that Ben Roethlisberger saw when he was drafted.
What LeFeavor lacks in arm strength, he makes up for poise in the pocket, and sound decision-making. He’s an extremely productive passer with great instincts and the ability to move around and throw on the run.
He could be a true sleeper in this draft if he falls past the middle rounds, but should be a first day pick.
6. Tim Tebow (Florida)
Tebow may be ranked low by many experts’ standards, but this is due to the fact that he hasn’t been able to show us what he’d be capable of in an NFL-style offense, really, at all.
Tebow can make things happen with his feet, is very poised in the pocket, throws a nice deep ball, and is highly accurate. However, his offense at Florida gave him quick, easy options to get the ball to, and may have inflated his production.
He went out on a high note in his final game, but it’s unlikely to be his final game in the state of Florida. Despite having raw mechanics, Tebow still has a lot to offer to the right team, as he’s a proven winner, has tremendous size and a big frame, and could provide an instant impact out of the Wildcat formation.
Jacksonville is strongly connected to Tebow, while the Wildcat-friendly Miami Dolphins, who don’t appear quite sold on Chad Henne, could show interest.
7. Sean Canfield (Oregon State)
Canfield has decent size and arm strength, but is a bit injury-prone.
He’s a highly accurate passer (over 67% completion rate), and finished the 2009 season with 21 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.
Canfield isn’t necessarily a bad prospect, but he simply doesn’t measure up to the other quarterbacks ranked ahead of him.
8. Jonathan Crompton (Tennessee)
Crompton looked miserable to start the season, but went on to finish the year with impressive numbers, throwing for 27 touchdowns and only 13 interceptions.
He could stand to be more accurate, and his decision-making is very inconsistent, as well as his overall play.
However, his most recent play should boost his value, as he easily rounds out in the top ten quarterbacks of his class. Inexperience and the memory of two horrible games to start the season may haunt Crompton’s draft value.
9. Bill Stull (Pittsburgh)
Stull put up good numbers (21 TD, 8 INT, 65% completion rate) in a pro-style offense, which shows he’s probably NFL-ready, despite a lack of truly elite production.
He has decent (but not great) size, but has just one year of good football under his belt, and just two full years of experience at the college level. Still, his quick progress from an average 2008 season (and horrible Bowl performance), show his ability to overcome mistakes, and show his short memory regarding negative plays and performances.
10. Zac Robinson (Oklahoma State)
Robinson had to do without star receiver Dez Bryant for half of the season, and still finished with respectable numbers (3,064 yards, 25 TD, 10 INT).
He’s a tough quarterback that still was able to make things happen without a ton of star power, although it’d be interesting to see the type of season he might have had, had Bryant been around.
He’s an accurate passer that is vastly under-rated, and while he’s more than likely to be a career back-up, the right team could find him to be a gem at the position.