Last year’s draft class at quarterback didn’t have much depth, but the three who were selected in the first round all showed promise. Matthew Stafford like any first overall pick had a rookie year filled with up’s and downs and ended the year on injured reserve. He should only get better from here with a year under his belt. Mark Sanchez reached the playoffs in his first year as a starter and should start putting up big numbers with an improved supporting cast. Josh Freeman also showed glimpses of his potential for the Buccaneers but doesn’t have many weapons to throw to.
This year’s class doesn’t have much depth but it is filled with highly acclaimed college players coming from big colleges. It should be interesting to see their progression from big man on campus to life in the NFL.
1. Sam Bradford Oklahoma: Bradford is a very accurate passer who also has a quick release. Even though he has bulked up in the months leading up to the draft, durability is a major question mark along with the fact that he played in a spread offense. Bradford has the intangibles that teams look for in a quarterback and could turn into a very good pro if his body can absorb the pounding he will take the first few years of his career.
2. Jimmy Clausen Notre Dame: Playing in a pro- style offense under Charlie Weis, Clausen is the most “pro ready” quarterback in this draft class. Many question his leadership and maturity but he showed a willingness to play through injury this past year and led Notre Dame to many last minute wins. Like any other prospect, Clausen has his negatives. He has a Byron Leftwich-esque windup on his deep ball and his receiving corps will most likely be a downgrade to what he had at his disposal in college. There is a chance Clausen could free fall in the draft where he could be an absolute steal for a team that isn’t settled at the quarterback position.
3. Tim Tebow Florida: Tebow has gone from arguably the best player in college football history to the most controversial draft prospect ever. While his mechanics and eventual position were heavily debated early on in the process, it seems a consensus has finally been reached. Tebow is a developmental project for the next two to the three years that will do anything to get better. While this doesn’t sound like the makings of a first round pick, everyone who has met with him comes away very impressed and all it takes is one coach who loves his makeup to give him a chance.
4. Colt McCoy Texas: McCoy is a four year starter with good accuracy and solid intangibles. He is also a proven winner leaving Texas as the winningest quarterback in NCAA history. McCoy also has the ability to escape the rush when the pocket collapses on him. He doesn’t have great size and there are questions about his arm strength. While he may never be a star in the league, McCoy could have a solid career similar to Jeff Garcia.
5. Tony Pike Cincinnati: There is a lot to like about Pike as a quarterback. He makes good decisions, has adequate arm strength and can read the field well. However, durability will be a major concern as he is very skinny. Pike has some of the tools team’s look for in a quarterback so he could be a very good developmental project with the ability to be a starter after two or three years in an NFL training program.
6. John Skelton Fordham: With great size, arm strength and a small school background it isn’t surprising that many view Skelton as the next Joe Flacco. He could be a very good pick in the later rounds as he adjusts to the speed of the game from the Patriot League and fine tunes his footwork and mechanics.
7. Daryll Clark Penn State: Clark has a strong arm to go with mobility and a muscular build. He can throw the ball on the run but needs to work on finding his second and third reads. Clark could use these traits to develop into a quarterback who goes on to have a career such as David Garrard and as somebody who has watched all of his starts the past three years the similarities are scary.
8. Jevan Snead Mississippi: Snead follows Curtis Painter as the second ever winner of the annual “Brian Brohm Award” given to the quarterback who goes from top ten pick to late round pick. Snead has size and arm strength but his mechanics are very sloppy and made many poor decisions with the ball. He has all the talent teams look for so he could develop into a solid player if he works under the right quarterbacks coach
9. Jarrett Brown West Virginia: Sitting behind Pat White at West Virginia, Brown only started one year and is very raw as a prospect. He looks the part and is mobile but he will need to work on his mechanics and wasn’t asked to make many NFL like reads at West Virginia. Brown could turn into a solid starter down the road but would most likely used right away in a “wildcat” formation for a team.
10. Dan LeFevour Central Michigan: At Central Michigan, LeFevour was “Tim Tebow light” as he put up huge college numbers both running and throwing the football. He has lots of experience as a four year starter but doesn’t have great arm strength and will need to work on his mechanics.
2010 class grade: C-