Happy Thursday, friends. Over the next couple weeks, I’m going to be sharing some quick thoughts on position groups in the upcoming NFL draft. Isn't it hard to believe the first round is only five weeks from tonight?
The other Broncos-centric sites aren’t running 75-part mock drafts anymore, as far as I know, so maybe our readers haven’t been as focused on stumping for this guy or that other one yet.
Today, I'm going to begin with QBs, and will employ what I hope is an easily digestable format, and use it for every group as I go. While the Broncos aren't likely to be drafting QBs, we want to keep you knowledgeable of the whole draft class. Also, I can see them being a team who could sell off the 28th pick to a team looking to get back into the first round for one of these guys. Check it out, on the other side of the jump.
Tyler Bray, Tennesee - And it’s not particularly close, either. The knock on Bray is that he’s not a great decision-maker, and that his overall mental makeup is questionable. If I were a team like Buffalo or Arizona, I’d strongly consider taking Bray early in the second round. You can’t teach somebody how to have his ability to spin the football, and I thought he showed some humility to serve as a throwing QB at the combine, even as somebody who was invited to participate in all QB drills.
Matt Scott, Arizona - Geno Smith and E.J. Manuel both ran slightly better 40 times in Indianapolis, but Scott is a better natural mover in the pocket, and runner with the ball. He kind of came out of nowhere, and only really played one year in a spread offense, or he’d be getting more buzz. There's some raw talent with Scott that could help him challenge to be a starter in the NFL.
Ryan Nassib, Syracuse - Nassib reminds me of Andy Dalton, and I think that despite his lack of elite physical skills, he’s the second-most likely QB in this draft class to be a starter early in his career. He’s a strong decision-maker, and he’s been coached by NFL coaches throughout his college career.
Geno Smith, West Virginia - Smith wasn’t as good in the second half of his senior year as he was in the first half, but he wasn’t as bad as people think. I think a lot of stink got on him that was attributable to WVU’s defense, and that isn’t fair. Smith isn’t the same caliber of prospect as Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin, but I think he’s comparable to Ryan Tannehill, who was more NFL ready than most thought. He legitimately should be a top-ten pick.
E.J. Manuel, Florida State - Manuel has all kinds of talent, from good feet, to good size, to a strong arm. Living in Talahassee, I saw him in person twice this season, and he can really look good sometimes. When the protection is there, and his receiver gets a step, he can lay a nice throw on the guy. There are other times, though, where he’s not that good of a player, and he costs his team. He just doesn’t get it done for some reason, and it seems like he’s just not a guy who makes the right plays in key moments. I think Manuel will be a top-40 pick, and that he has a high potential to disappoint the team that drafts him.
Most Barkley-est Barkley
Matt Barkley, USC - I think that Barkley has a chance of being reasonably successful in the NFL, but only if he goes to the right situation. He needs a scheme that doesn’t ask him to drive the ball down the field very much, and that will afford him adequate protection. I saw Barkley in person when he was a freshman, and the Trojans played at Notre Dame. That day, he and Jimmy Clausen had an excellent QB duel. I don’t feel like Barkley got much better than he was late in his freshman season, over the rest of his USC career, and I tend to view him as a typical SoCal QB. By that, I mean he’s been coached so well as a teenager that he may already be at his peak before he gets to the NFL. You know, like Jimmy Clausen.
The Good QB with No Superlatives
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas - I think that Wilson is one of the three most likely competent starting QBs from this class, along with Smith and Nassib. He has an excellent feel for the pro-style passing game, and I’m sure a lot of that is attributable to playing under Bobby Petrino. Wilson is like a rich man’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, to me, and there’s some value in a guy like that.
Some Other Man’s Treasure
Mike Glennon, North Carolina State - I always want to like guys with big arms, but when I watch Glennon’s tape, I just see an inaccurate guy who makes bad cdecisions. If he were a good QB, NC State would have done much better in the weak ACC, and Tom O’Brien wouldn’t have gotten fired as the head coach.
If Only He Could Play Under Pressure...
Landry Jones, Oklahoma - Jones is really a prototypical NFL QB, from his size, to the way he throws the ball. When everything is working, and the Oklahoma talent is better than the opponent's, he can really shred a defense. He struggles against pressure to the point that I view him as nothing more than an NFL backup, though. I just don’t think it’s easy to fix this problem, as I was just telling my good friend Blaine Gabbert (who was much better against pressure in college than Jones was).
Draft Him to be a Solid Career Backup
Sean Renfree, Duke - Renfree is a little light on physical talent to be an NFL starter, but he’s the kind of guy that you want in your program as a primary backup. I think he’s a little bit reminiscent of Kirk Cousins in that way. (Notice that nobody is trying very hard to acquire Cousins from Washington this offseason –that’s because the dude is a backup.) Renfree comes from good coaching, in David Cutcliffe, and he looked like a good QB, despite being frequently overmatched by better teams, like the day I saw him play at Florida State.
My QB Rankings
- Geno Smith
- Ryan Nassib
- Tyler Wilson
- Tyler Bray
- Matt Scott
- Matt Barkley
- E.J. Manuel
- Landry Jones
- Mike Glennon
- Sean Renfree