Hey everybody, sorry I haven’t put up a new post in so long. I have been busy at my internship lately and I haven’t had time to break down any new games or do much work on my watch list. I am very nearly done with the offense though, so more rankings are sure to come.
Today though, I decided to break down the Senior class of QB’s. I got a number of comments about my QB rankings, and I decided that I may have involved too many underclassmen in my rankings. I only did so because I think that those QB’s will very likely be better than most of the QB’s that are currently Seniors, but since a number of those QB’s won’t be in this draft class I thought I would start out with a more basic ranking system- Just Seniors. So here it is!
QB Senior Class Rankings:
1- Jake Locker, QB, Washington- This is closer than you might think, but I think that if Locker can take more significant strides forward this year, similar to what he did last year, then he will end up being a very high first round pick. He probably has the best odds, at least right now, of going #1 overall. He has an extremely high ceiling and I have no reason to think he won’t continue to improve, so he gets the nod over Ponder here.
2- Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State- There isn’t much doubt in my mind about this one. I was very impressed by what I saw from Ponder last year, and I think he will continue to improve this season as well. I personally think FSU’s offense could be extremely explosive, and that certainly has a lot to do with Ponder’s development. If he continues to play very well and very efficiently at QB then I think his stock will shoot up, and he could very well be a top 15 or maybe even top 10 pick.
3-Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware- I have only seen some clips of Devlin on youtube, but they are pretty impressive. From what I have seen, he seems to have very impressive touch on his passes, he does a good job of moving in the pocket to find throwing lanes and does a good job of checking down and not forcing passes downfield. What he needs to show me is how well he can go through his progressions (because he was mostly going to his first read or checking down to his back) and how much zip he can put on more difficult, NFL throws. He shows impressive accuracy and touch, but you can’t get by on that alone in the NFL. He threw a couple passes that were good, NFL throws, but it was a little hard to tell how much zip he had on each pass. If he can show me that good, NFL zip on his throws then he could very well be an early 2nd round pick. Without it, he will probably be a 4th round selection.
4- Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho- I have yet to see him play for a full game, but I saw him play a bit when I was looking at Mike Iupati last year (Iupati played OG on Idaho). He has good size, seems to have good arm strength but I was most impressed with what I saw of him against Bowling Green, where he led a very late comeback and ultimately won the game 43-42 after Idaho converted a two point conversion with four seconds left. He threw the touchdown pass to set up the tie and showed good poise and patience in the pocket on the two point conversion as he found his WR in the back of the end zone for the win. I am excited to watch him play and take more copious notes, and I want to see what he does this year. But I really think he has NFL potential based off of the little I have seen.
5- Jerrod Johnson, QB, Texas A&M- I have seen Johnson at his best when he was going blow for blow with Texas and Colt McCoy in a 49-39 shootout. He went 26/33, had 342 yards passing, 97 yards rushing and threw four touchdowns on the day with one interception against a very good Texas defense and secondary. That was really impressive to me, but he still has some things he needs to improve on. Personally I think he is more of a mid-round selection, but he has good size, mobility and arm strength, so there is plenty of talent worth developing. He doesn’t go through progressions well and his footwork and mechanics are still a work in progress, but that can be coached up. As a mid-round selection he presents good value, but I would be a little surprised to see him creep into the 3rd round unless he shows significant progression in going through his reads and in his footwork as a senior.
6- Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama- I honestly didn’t anticipate McElroy being this high on my list, but I have seen more of him than I have of Dalton, Mustain or a couple other players, so I am rather comfortable with what he can do. He may not ever be a great NFL starter, but I do think he can start in the NFL and that makes him stick out among many of the remaining senior QB’s on this list. He has proved to be a competent game manager at Alabama, and even though he has it pretty easy on offense with Mark Ingram, a good offensive line and Julio Jones he has needed to step up at times too, and step up he has. If McElroy was as bad as some say he is Alabama wouldn’t have gone undefeated and won the National Championship last year. Yes, there are definitely better QB’s than McElroy, a number of them are on this list, but he has been effective enough at Alabama that he will get a chance to make a team as their #3 much like his predecessor John Parker Wilson did with the Atlanta Falcons. If he can grow into a more critical role this year it will only help his NFL prospects, but I’m not sure he will ever be more than a game manager and a late round pick.
7- Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech- Tyrod is a player I would not have placed this high on this list a few months ago, but he belongs this high now. I saw him take great strides as a junior, and that culminated in his impressive performance against Tennessee in Virginia Tech’s Chick-Fil-A Bowl win. You can see my analysis of that game below this post. In any event, Tyrod still needs development but he has come a long way in his time at Virginia Tech and at this point he definitely warrants a 6th-7th round pick, and I think a strong senior season could improve those prospects.
8- Andy Dalton, QB, TCU- Dalton is a relative unknown to me, but I do have a game of him to watch so I will make sure I take a look at that. I know he had a very ugly game against Boise State that involved three interceptions (that is the game I have to re-watch, so that probably won’t be pretty) but I need to see Dalton excel when he is tested with similar competition to his own TCU team. He was tested against Boise State and the results were not promising. I think he will have a good year as a senior, but until he proves he makes his team better and that he doesn’t wilt in the face of great opposition he will not be worth much more than a late round pick or a UDFA pick-up.
9- Mitch Mustain, QB, Southern Cal- Mustain is an interesting case because he looked like he was going to get off to a roaring start when he was a freshman at Arkansas but apparently there was some kind of a falling out between him and Coach Houston Nutt, and ultimately he transferred to USC. There he was unable to win the starting job when Barkley, Corp and he were competing for it, and now he is the primary back-up to Barkley. He clearly has ability as he was 8-0 as a freshman starter at Arkansas and he threw five touchdowns in the USC Spring game this year, so it will be interesting to see if he gets any snaps this year in garbage time or if he is forced to step in for Barkley because of injury, though hopefully Barkley stays healthy. In any event, Mustain clearly has the ability to play at this level, the only question is whether that ability projects to the NFL. It will be hard to say if we don’t see him play at all, but I think it’s safe to say that Mustain warrants a 7th round pick and if not that he should be a priority free agent signing, because I think he can make a NFL team as a #3 or as a practice squad player.
10- Ricky Stanzi, QB, Iowa- Stanzi is a guy that I am not a big fan of. He wins a lot and he was clutch last year, but I was never impressed with him when I watched him play. I saw him play live against Wisconsin and though they won that game I feel that it was more because of inept defense than because Stanzi played extremely well. All Iowa ran was quick slants and quick outs and the Badgers never got up on the line to press them and disrupt their routes, and seemed content to let Stanzi just pick them apart the whole way downfield before he would take a deep shot to keep the defense honest. It was very frustrating to watch since I was rooting for the Badgers, but it wasn’t particularly impressive on Stanzi’s behalf either. He will need to show me a lot as a senior to make me think he warrants a late draft selection at all.
11- Case Keenum, QB, Houston- Keenum is relatively well known because he puts up video-game like numbers at Houston, but the fact is he operates out of a spread offense and isn’t ready for the NFL at all at this point. Perhaps he will take some strides in this direction as a senior, but the offense he runs is not preparing him to make the jump to the NFL at all. So even if he is accurate and does have decent arm strength, it won’t matter. He will very likely fall out of the draft just like Graham Harrell did because he was a system QB and didn’t have the size or arm strength to make the transition out of the spread and into a pro-style NFL offense.
12- Mike Hartline, QB, Kentucky- I wanted to rate Hartline higher than this, but it was hard to do since he has been so inconsistent and he also has had some trouble with injuries. There is something about him that makes me think he could be a potential sleeper though, so I will say that I think Hartline could move up boards and end up getting drafted with a good performance as a senior. He has good size and the Kentucky passing offense just isn’t as effective without him. I will be looking to see how he does this year and will probably watch a couple of his games to see if his potential sleeper status is justified. At this point though, his best shot is being a UDFA. That could change, though.
13- Scott Tolzien, QB, Wisconsin- Tolzein looks like Peyton Manning compared to what Wisconsin dealt with in 2008 when Adam Evridge was playing QB, but he has still not proved enough to me as far as the NFL goes to warrant being drafted. I do think he would get signed as a UDFA at this point, but I need to see more progression as a senior if he is going to sneak into the later portion of the NFL Draft.
14- Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada- I will say outright that I am not a fan of Kaepernick at all. He and Nevada have a great rushing offense and that is all well and good, but I am not impressed with Kaepernick’s passing at all. He has good numbers, but I don’t think he projects to be a draftable QB in the NFL at all. If he shows me something as a senior that could change, but as of now he is just a great runner with great size who can throw too.
15- Kevin Riley, QB, California- Kevin Riley was a guy who I thought could be much higher on this list before I watched him play last season. However, he really disappointed me when I watched him play against USC. Even with Jahvid Best he didn’t play up to my expectations. It will be interesting to see how he does as a senior, but I can’t imagine he will play any better now that Best has gone on to the NFL. Riley was very disappointing to me, and if he has a year like last season he will likely only get UDFA offers.
Taylor Potts, the QB from Texas Tech, warrants an honorable mention here because I like his toughness, his intelligence and he played well as a first year starter the year after Graham Harrell graduated, but like Harrell he will likely be unable to shed the “system QB” tag and will go undrafted. Whether he sticks with a NFL team or moves on to the CFL or another league is up to him, though.
So there you are, my top 15 senior QB’s for 2010. Hopefully that was a good read, and again I am sorry that I have not been posting as regularly as I have been previously.
Thanks for reading!