Tag Archive: Colin Kaepernick


NFL Quick Hits

This is a feature I’m going to try every week where I post some hopefully brief thoughts on the past weekend of NFL games. I don’t know if I’ll have time to do the same with College Football games, but I will post them if I have time to write them all up. Hopefully you guys enjoy this segment.

1- The Falcons Are Who We Thought They Were- I’m sure most of you guys know I’m a Falcons fan by now, and that loss to the Saints was tough. The Falcons scored on their opening drives in both halves, but otherwise were very inconsistent on offense. I’m wondering why they ran the ball so infrequently despite Steven Jackson having solid success on the ground, and I’m also wondering how they managed to hold Drew Brees and the Saints to 23 points despite a lackluster pass rush. I’m not too worried about the offensive line yet, I think they will gel and become a stronger unit, but the amount of pressure in Matt Ryan’s face and the inexplicable avoidance of the run game and quick-hitting pass game to try to counter the pressure was frustrating. Brees was on point as always and I was impressed with the Saints dramatic improvement on defense. Rob Ryan has done a great job with them up to this point, and the pressure they got on Ryan and the looks they were showing him pre-snap stuck out to me. The Falcons will be fine, but I don’t think they are a 13-3 team like they were a year ago. Maybe I’m overreacting, but I think they are in the 10-6/11-5 area. We shall see.

2- Peyton Manning Needs To Stop Playing On Rookie- The way Manning was playing on Thursday night it is evident to me he was just playing Madden on a rookie setting, and a veteran with his resume should be playing on All-Madden at least, and preferably with a number of the sliders raised manually beyond that. Manning was obviously masterful, and that was despite having no running backs with a yard per carry average over 3.8 and only gaining 65 total yards on the ground. Joe Flacco came down to Earth after his fantastic playoff performances and it’s clear to me that he is missing Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta right now. Torrey Smith is a stud, but he can only do so much without a significant threat to take some pressure off of him. Dallas Clark surprised me with 7 catches for 87 yards, and if he can keep that up the loss of Pitta shouldn’t be quite as significant. I am a huge Demaryius Thomas fan and had a top 20 grade on him out of Georgia Tech and he has completely lived up to my expectations for him. I definitely expected Decker to be the #2 guy and Welker to be the 3rd option, but if the first week is any indication then Welker is going to get a lot of love from Manning this year. I don’t think 2 catches for 32 yards will be a typical week for Decker by any means, but I think I definitely underrated Welker’s potential impact coming into the year. I was also blown away by how well Duke Ihenacho and Shaun Phillips played. I liked Ihenacho out of San Jose State but realized some of his athletic limitations, however he had 12 tackles (including ELEVEN solo stops), 1 tackle for loss and 3 pass deflections as well as some pretty nice hits in this game. Phillips had 2.5 sacks and 3 QB hits on the night and definitely helped make up for the absence of Von Miller for at least one night. The Broncos looked like they were in mid-season form, but I don’t think the Ravens are going to have that much trouble on offense or defense for the entire season. They have lots of new faces on their roster and they need time to gel, and Manning took full advantage. Don’t hit the panic button yet Ravens fans.

3- EJ Manuel Is Making Me Look Stupid- I was pretty clear that I was not a fan of EJ Manuel at FSU and while it is still very early in his career my analysis of him is looking quite foolish right now. I have been very impressed with how Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett have managed Manuel starting from his first pre-season snaps. They haven’t asked him to go out there and be Tom Brady, but much like Cam Newton his rookie season they will likely open up the playbook and let him attack more as he becomes more comfortable. I was happy to see Robert Woods get his first NFL catch and his first NFL touchdown, but Manuel got to see first hand that there’s almost nobody better than Tom Brady when the game is on the line. He may not have had a great day statistically, but when it counted he took the Pats down the field and got them in position to win the game. Danny Amendola predictably had a good game, I loved what Shane Vereen did and I was very sad to see that he is going to miss significant time due to a broken wrist (which he apparently suffered on the first play of the game!). I am hoping that Spiller was given limited touches because of his lost fumble, and not because he is inexplicably being mismanaged again in 2013. Regardless, Bills fans should be very encouraged by the early returns on EJ Manuel.

4- “Same Old Bungles”- That is for my good friend Ryan Koons who is now an active duty marine. He is a die hard Bengals fan and whenever they manage to lose a game like this that is what he would always say. I have to say I really thought those days were behind Cincinnati because on paper I thought they were ready to win the AFC North. However, Andy Dalton continues to make me wonder about just how far the Bengals can go with him as a quarterback even in spite of the absolutely fantastic play of AJ Green. The Bengals have tons of talent on defense, they’ve got weapons on offense, but if they are going to win close games and go deep in the playoffs they need Dalton to play better and limit his turnovers. The run game deserves some ire as well as the Bengals only averaged 3 yards per touch and totaled 63 yards on the ground. On the other side I thought Jay Cutler, overall, had a good game and Brandon Marshall was fantastic. The Bears running game was sluggish as well, and hopefully that offensive line will slowly gel and improve over the course of the season. I know that probably makes Bears fans nervous because they’ve been waiting for that offensive front to improve for years, but I’m hoping this is the year for their sake.

5- Reggie Bush Is Dangerous, Christian Ponder Is Not- The Lions put up 38 points on the Vikings defense and a lot of that is due to Reggie Bush totaling 90 yards on the ground (4.3 ypc) and 101 yards and one touchdown as a receiver (with a long of 77). That’s very impressive production, and it comes despite only hauling in four of his eight targets on the day. Matt Stafford had another high attempt, high yardage day and while it wasn’t the most efficient performance it certainly got the job done. I wouldn’t expect too many four catch, 37 yard days for Calvin Johnson, but Bush, Nate Burleson and Joique Bell took the pressure off of him this week. On the other side Christian Ponder continues to prove his doubters right as he threw 3 interceptions, got sacked three times and lost a fumble on the day. He also spoiled a fantastic game for Jerome Simpson who had 7 catches and 140 yards which I certainly didn’t expect from him. Adrian Peterson had a 78 yard touchdown run on his first carry but gained only 15 additional yards on his next 17 carries, but still managed 93 yards and two touchdowns rushing as well as 18 yards and another touchdown receiving. I will be the first to admit that I liked Ponder out of FSU (clearly I’m 0/2 on scouting Florida State quarterbacks right now) but he doesn’t have the same velocity he had prior to the injuries he sustained his senior year, he isn’t making good decisions and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised to see Matt Cassel start at some point this season for the Vikings. That’s not a good sign, and it likely means the Vikings will be looking to draft a quarterback early in the 2014 NFL Draft. I have been patient with Ponder and he occasionally shows signs of life, but unfortunately now that he’s in his 3rd year these kinds of struggles won’t be tolerated anymore. He’s got to step up his game and quick.

6- Pryor Makes Oakland Offense Almost Competent- I really feel like I am ruining any credibility I have as a quarterback scout but I liked Tyler Wilson a lot out of Arkansas and I didn’t like Terrelle Pryor out of Ohio State, but I am glad the Raiders elected to start Pryor over Matt Flynn. Pryor’s legs gave the Raiders life in this game and while I don’t think it will get them to the playoffs it should make them more competitive than they would have been with Flynn at the helm. I didn’t get to see as much of this game as I wanted to because the feed went out for it multiple times at the bar I was watching the games at (for some reason it was streaming online, not sure why), so outside of Pryor impressing me as a runner and Andrew Luck being a stud I don’t have too many thoughts on this game. Sorry guys.

7- Nolan Nawrocki Your Crow Is Ready- I know it’s early, and I know it’s only his first start, but it was fun to see Geno Smith rally the Jets to an unlikely win against Tampa Bay week one. I’m not going to say he made some unbelievable plays on that final drive to steal victory from the jaws of defeat, but if Sanchez was the QB on that final drive I don’t think the Jets would have won that game. Smith isn’t known for his scrambling, but his athleticism was obvious at the NFL combine and he gave the Jets a chance to get lucky thanks to his skill set. He wasn’t mind-blowingly efficient by any means, but it was definitely a solid first start based on what I was able to see. Unfortunately for Bucs fans Josh Freeman struggled (though the Jets do still have a good, well-coached defense) and despite 154 yards from Vincent Jackson he only managed 210 yards on 31 attempts, was sacked three times and threw one touchdown and one interception. I wasn’t a Freeman fan coming out and his first season it really looked like he might make me eat my words, but he seemed to plateau after that rookie season and hasn’t quite been the same since.

8- Kaepernick Is The Truth- I wasn’t wild about Kaepernick’s throwing motion or accuracy coming out of Nevada, but Jim Harbaugh has done a fantastic job with him and that offense is now tailor made for him. It certainly helps having weapons like Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis (even though Davis had a drop or two that he shouldn’t have) while Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham are injured, but his athleticism, pure arm strength and seemingly improving accuracy really stood out to me against the Packers. Green Bay had absolutely no answer for the Kaepernick-Boldin connection and while they managed to keep him bottled up as a runner he shredded them for 412 yards and three touchdowns as a passer. The Packers will have to go back to the drawing board now to try to figure out how to slow Kaepernick down if they meet again in the playoffs. I thought Aaron Rodgers was great as usual even if he did come up just short, I still love Randall Cobb, and I was happy Jermichael Finley bounced back from that drop that led to Rodgers only interception with some solid catches, good yards after the catch and that impressive touchdown. The Packers should be fine and I think they will be a playoff team, but I’m sure they and their fans are annoyed that another referee controversy led to a do-over for the 49ers that led to an Anquan Boldin touchdown. Maybe I’m alone here, but I think the NFL downgrading Bill Leavy for that mistake is ridiculous. Leavy is a veteran official and while he made a mistake this just reeks of an overreaction to me.

9- RGIII Was Rusty, The Eagles Offense Wasn’t- The Eagles defense made this interesting in the second half as RGIII and the Redskins started to knock some of the rust off, but in the first half RGIII had a lot of issues fading away from throws and not stepping into his passes. He still did some of that in the 2nd half, but he was definitely much more crisp and effective once his receivers stopped dropping passes and Kyle Shanahan adjusted to get him into a rhythm with quicker, easier throws. Michael Vick was impressive, though he’s still the same Michael Vick that will hold onto the ball too long and take unnecessary risks with his body at times. LeSean McCoy looks like an ideal fit for Chip Kelly’s offensive scheme and he should have a huge year. I was also happy to see that one of my favorites from a couple years ago Mychal Kendricks looked much better (based on what I saw live) and was pressuring RGIII pretty consistently. I’m not sure he’s great in coverage, but it was fun to see him rushing some of Griffin’s throws. Additionally, that interception Cary Williams made on that out route that Griffin threw was nothing short of fantastic. What a terrific play.

10- Oh Philip Rivers, You Poor Bastard- Rivers was absolutely fantastic in the 1st half and he started off the 2nd half in the same fashion. He had the Chargers up 28-7 and seemed poised for a statement victory in week one of the 2013 season. Unfortunately, much like he and the Bolts have in the past, they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Rivers and the offense began to sputter, the Texans woke up on offense, and the rally was complete once Brian Cushing read Rivers’ eyes beautifully and made a diving interception that he then returned for a game-tying touchdown. The Texans would go on to move the ball down the field and position Randy Bullock for a game winning 41 yard field goal. Andre Johnson continued to show why he is one of the best in the game with a 12 reception, 146 yard performance, Owen Daniels chipped in 67 yards and two touchdowns, and Deandre Hopkins added five receptions and 66 yards. I thought Arian Foster seemed determined to make a big play all game and didn’t seem focused on doing the little things. He was palming the ball and holding it away from his body, he dropped multiple catchable balls, and almost seemed to be showing off and looking to make someone look foolish. Maybe that’s just me over-extrapolating, but he seemed off tonight. I’d be surprised if Gary Kubiak doesn’t talk to him about how he’s holding the ball after he and the other coaches watch film.

Alright, so that was a LOT less brief than I expected it to be. I guess I had more to say than I anticipated, though I shouldn’t really be surprised since I am so long winded anyway. Sorry that was such a long post, hopefully you enjoyed it anyway!

Thanks for reading,

–Tom

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Divisional Playoff Picks:

I’m going to be traveling on Sunday morning en route to the East-West Shrine Game so I am going to make all of my picks today. We’ve got four intriguing match-ups going on this weekend, so it will be interesting to see how they shake out.

Denver-Baltimore:

As much as I want to see Ray Lewis and Baltimore continue on this season I’m not convinced they are going to. It’s hard to bet against Peyton Manning and this Broncos team, especially since this Denver defense is much more complete than any defense Manning ever had in Indianapolis. They can really get after the passer but I think they’ll be able to slow down Ray Rice as well, and that’s what I’d be worried about most if I was a Ravens fan. The Broncos can match up with the Ravens on both sides of the ball, and I’m not sure they have the fire-power on offense or the talent on defense to take away Manning’s passing options. On top of that, I’m not a big Flacco fan and I’m not sure he’s going to be able to make the big throws the Ravens need to win this game. He made some last week, but this defense is a different animal. I’m hoping for a good game, but I think Denver is going to win by more than one score: 31-20.

Green Bay-San Francisco:

This is a tough match-up to pick, but I’m going to go with San Francisco. I think they match up ok with Green Bay’s bevy of weapons on offense and they should be able to get after Rodgers without blitzing which is a big no-no against him. If you can generate pressure with four or five rushers (like the Vikings did in Week 17) then you can knock him around a bit and not give him a lot of options and force him to make unbelievable throws. The 49ers should be able to do that, and I think they’ll be able to take away the semblance of a running game that Green Bay has. On the other side of the ball I think the 49ers will be able to run the ball how they want against the Packers, and Kaepernick’s mobility outside of the pocket should extend a couple drives for the 49ers that could prove to be critical. It’s risky to pick a young QB like Kaepernick against a seasoned veteran like Rodgers, but Kaepernick isn’t one to wilt under pressure. I’m going with the 49ers but I think it’s going to be close: 27-21

Houston-New England:

I have to pick the Patriots here. I just don’t think the Texans defense will be able to match up with the weapons that the Patriots have on offense, and if the Pats can get the run game going I think the Texans will struggle to slow Brady and the Pats offense down. The Pats aren’t a great team on defense, but I think they’ll be able to do enough to slow down the Texans offense. If they can bottle Foster up and not allow Schaub to suck their linebackers in with play action fakes I think the Pats will be able to win this game. I think it’s going to be a close game, but I’m not going to be able to bet against Tom Brady in a playoff game at home: 31-24

Atlanta-Seattle:

This is a hard game for me to pick. I mentioned last week that I think the Seahawks match up very well with the Falcons on defense and I still believe that. This game is going to come down to who wins the match-ups between the Falcons WR’s and the Seahawks corners and whether or not the Falcons can find a way to get Tony Gonzalez involved without forcing him the ball. And if Michael Turner finds a way to have a productive game the Falcons can definitely win. But if the Seahawks make the Falcons one dimensional I will be very nervous with Ryan trying to carry the Falcons to victory against a very talented Seahawks secondary. They are missing their top pass rusher, but their secondary is good enough that I’d still be concerned. The Seahawks will look to run the ball early and often and I think the Falcons have the advantage on this side of the ball. Their defense has been very good at coming up with clutch turnovers this year and even if they let Wilson and Lynch move the ball I have a feeling Wilson is going to end up with an interception in this game and Lynch needs to make sure he covers up the ball because the Falcons will be looking to strip it. It’s never a good idea to bet against Russell Wilson (I did it last week and we all know how that worked out) but I think the Falcons have the defense to match up with him and even though I’m very nervous for this game I’m picking the Falcons to win a close one: 27-20

Those are my picks, hopefully I can improve over my 2-2 record last week. Enjoy all the football guys and look out for my coverage of the East-West Shrine game this next week. I’ll be posting notes here and on The Football Standard.

–Tom

Scouting Report:

Kaepernick has a lot of potential because of his size, arm strength and athletic ability but I don't think he will ever live up to it.

Positives: Has impressive size and arm strength. He really does have great zip on his throws and he can make absolutely every throw thanks to his arm strength. He is very mobile and is a very good athlete for the QB position and can buy more time with his feet and is a dangerous runner when everything else breaks down. Shows pretty good ability to throw on the run and has enough maturity to check down at times to make sure his team gets some yardage. Shows the ability to go to his second read at times. Flashes nice touch on his throws to complement his impressive arm strength. I was always impressed with how well he played on critical downs for his team. He will regularly make plays on 3rd down or late in games to help his team win which speaks to his intangibles.

Negatives: He ran the pistol which means he almost never had to take snaps from under center, which means he will need to learn how to take snaps from under center and make reads from under center as well. His offense was very much geared to his skill-set because of his ability to run which really helped him rack up incredible numbers, but it doesn’t project well to the NFL. He never showed me any kind of anticipation where he could throw his receiver open when I saw him play which is concerning, and he will trust his arm too much at times and force a throw into coverage that he shouldn’t. He doesn’t have much pocket poise which is something a lot of scrambling QB’s struggle with, and he leaves the pocket prematurely regularly. He needs to protect the ball better when running with it because if not he will have fumble issues in the NFL. His mechanics need work, especially his throwing motion. It needs to be worked on a lot because he has a bit of a wind-up, so that needs to be tweaked to speed up his release.

Overall: Kaepernick has a very intriguing skill set because of his size, arm strength and athleticism but his accuracy is inconsistent, his mechanics are not very sound and while I like his intangibles I don’t know if they are enough to overcome the transition to the NFL from the Pistol offense in addition to his mechanical issues and his inconsistent accuracy. He actually reminds me a lot of Vince Young because of his build and his athletic ability and I think they might have similar careers. Kaepernick might be able to be a solid starter who extends drives with his legs and shows some ability as a passer but I don’t think he will ever be a good passer who throws accurately consistently which limits his potential as a NFL starter.

Projection: 2nd round. There have been rumors that he may even get into the 1st round which I think would be a monumental mistake, but he definitely has a great shot to go in the early 2nd round. I would pick him in the 4th round range because he does have intriguing tools but I don’t think I could pick him any earlier.

SKILLS
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

Arm Strength: 4.0
Accuracy: 2.5
Mobility: 4.0
Decision Making: 2.5
Mechanics: 2.0
Pocket Awareness: 2.0
Intangibles: 3.5

Thanks for reading!

–Tom

Here are some positional rankings that I started working on yesterday. I have 10 players for most positions excluding fullback, kicker and punter. Now that I have these rankings churned out I am going to work hard to watch all of the guys I have on this list and churn out scouting reports on them over my upcoming winter break. But until then, enjoy my rankings! Let me know what you think!

* Indicates Junior

**  Indicates Redshirt-Sophomore

Offensive Rankings:

QB Rankings:

1-      Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford**

2-      Jake Locker, QB, Washington

3-      Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas*

4-      Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State

5-      Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama

6-      Ricky Stanzi, QB, Iowa

7-      Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho

8-      Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware

9-      Cam Newton, QB, Auburn*

10-   Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada

RB Rankings:

1-      Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama*

2-      Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech**

3-      DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma

4-      Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State

5-      LaMichael James, RB, Oregon**

6-      Mikel LeShoure, RB, Illinois*

7-      Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia

8-      Shane Vereen, RB, California*

9-      Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State*

10-   Jordan Toddman, RB, Connecticut*

FB Rankings:

1-      Stanley Havili, FB, Southern Cal

2-      Owen Marecic, FB, Stanford

3-      Charles Clay, FB, Tulsa

4-      Ryan Taylor, FB, North Carolina

5-      Anthony Sherman, FB, Connecticut

WR Rankings:

1-      A.J. Green, WR, Georgia*

2-      Julio Jones, WR, Alabama*

3-      Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State**

4-      Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame*

5-      Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma*

6-      Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

7-      Ronald Johnson, WR, Southern Cal

8-      Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh*

9-      Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy

10-   Terrence Toliver, WR, LSU

TE Rankings:

1-      Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin

2-      D.J. Williams, TE, Arkansas

3-      Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame*

4-      Luke Stocker, TE, Tennessee

5-      Charlie Gantt, TE, Michigan State

6-      Mike McNeill, TE, Nebraska

7-      George Bryan, TE, North Carolina State*

8-      Rob Housler, TE, Florida Atlantic

9-      Lee Smith, TE, Marshall

10-   Virgil Green, TE, Nevada

OT Rankings:

1-      Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State

2-      Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

3-      Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

4-      Nate Solder, OT, Colorado

5-      Tyron Smith, OT, Southern Cal*

6-      DeMarcus Love, OT, Arkansas

7-      Marcus Cannon, OT, TCU

8-      Danny Watkins, OT, Baylor

9-      Jason Pinkston, OT, Pittsburgh

10-   James Brewer, OT, Indiana

OG Rankings:

1-      Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida

2-      Rodney Hudson, OG, Florida State

3-      Stephen Good, OG, Oklahoma*

4-      Benjamin Ijalana, OG, Villanova

5-      John Moffitt, OG, Wisconsin

6-      Stephen Schilling, OG, Michigan

7-      Clint Boling, OG, Georgia

8-      Justin Boren, OG, Ohio State

9-      Zach Hurd, OG, Connecticut

10-   Carl Johnson, OG, Florida

C Rankings:

1-      Stefen Wisniewski, C, Penn State

2-      Kristofer O’Dowd, C, Southern Cal

3-      Tim Barnes, C, Missouri

4-      Jake Kirkpatrick, C, TCU

5-      Kevin Kowalski, C, Toledo

6-      Zane Taylor, C, Utah

7-      Colin Baxter, C, Arizona

8-      Ryan Bartholomew, C, Syracuse

9-      Alex Linnenkohl, C, Oregon State

10-   Chase Beeler, C, Stanford

Defensive Rankings:

DE Rankings:

1-      Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson*

2-      Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina*

3-      Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue

4-      Cameron Jordan, DE, California

5-      Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State

6-      Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa

7-      Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh

8-      Sam Acho, DE, Texas

9-      Christian Ballard, DE, Iowa

10-   Cliff Matthews, DE, South Carolina

DT Rankings:

1-      Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama*

2-      Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn*

3-      Drake Nevis, DT, LSU

4-      Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State

5-      Jurell Casey, DT, Southern Cal*

6-      Jerell Powe, DT, Mississippi

7-      Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

8-      Sione Fua, DT, Stanford

9-      Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina

10-   Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor

OLB Rankings:

1-      Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA*

2-      Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia*

3-      Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M

4-      Travis Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma*

5-      Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina

6-      Dontay Moch, OLB, Nevada

7-      Jeremy Beal, OLB, Oklahoma

8-      Mark Herzlich, OLB, Boston College

9-      Mason Foster, OLB, Washington

10-   Lawrence Wilson, OLB, Connecticut

ILB Rankings:

1-      Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois*

2-      Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama**

3-      Greg Jones, ILB, Michigan State

4-      Quan Sturdivant, ILB, North Carolina

5-      Colin McCarthy, ILB, Miami

6-      Kelvin Sheppard, ILB, LSU

7-      Nate Irving, ILB, North Carolina State

8-      Josh Bynes, ILB, Auburn

9-      Mario Harvey, ILB, Marshall

10-   Casey Matthews, ILB, Oregon

CB Rankings:

1-      Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

2-      Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida*

3-      Brandon Harris, CB, Miami*

4-      Aaron Williams, CB, Texas*

5-      Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

6-      Davon House, CB, New Mexico State

7-      Brandon Burton, CB, Utah*

8-      Curtis Brown, CB, Texas

9-      Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville

10-   Shareece Wright, CB, Southern Cal

Safety Rankings:

1-      Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU*

2-      Rahim Moore, FS, UCLA*

3-      DeAndre McDaniel, SS, Clemson

4-      Quinton Carter, FS, Oklahoma

5-      Deunta Williams, FS, North Carolina

6-      Jaiquawn Jarrett, FS, Temple

7-      Marcus Gilchrist, FS, Clemson

8-      Ahmad Black, SS, Florida

9-      Jermale Hines, FS, Ohio State

10-   Jeron Johnson, SS, Boise State

Kicker Rankings:

1-      Alex Henery, K, Nebraska

2-      Kai Forbath, K, UCLA

3-      Josh Jasper, K, LSU

4-      Jake Rogers, K, Cincinnati

5-      Wes Byrum, K, Auburn

Punter Rankings:

1-      Chas Henry, P, Florida

2-      Alex Henery, K, Nebraska

3-      Ryan Donahue, P, Iowa

4-      Derek Epperson, P, Baylor

5-      Dan Hutchins, P, Pittsburgh

Here are my notes that I took when I was watching this game live. It was a fantastic game and I didn’t take as many notes as I would have liked, but I will definitely be re-watching it soon and I will get more play-by-play notes as well as player specific stuff then. Here are some more general notes that I have from the game though. Enjoy!

Boise State-Nevada:

Colin Kaepernick has not been incredibly impressive to me as a passer in this game. He is a playmaker and he has his team in the game down 10 with some momentum heading into the 4th quarter, but despite his arm strength I’m not that impressed with him as a passer. He can definitely make whatever throws he wants, but when he has to make more than one or two reads he usually tries to scramble to extend the play and improvise on a broken play. That’s fine, but he was struggling early largely because Boise State was bottling him up and forcing him to throw from the pocket. He has definitely made some NFL throws, such as medium/deep outs, curls and he delivers the ball on time when his first read comes open. If they don’t he usually holds onto the ball too long as he tries to scramble to extend the play outside of the pocket. I am not a big fan of his pocket poise, and I have some doubts about how much he will improve in that regard even with NFL coaching. He definitely has a pretty high ceiling because of his size, athletic ability and arm strength, but his pocket poise and mechanics could use some work. His throwing motion isn’t the cleanest, but it can probably be tweaked a bit. He definitely has some tools worth developing, which probably means he will get picked in the 3rd-4th round range this year, but he has some things to work on without a doubt. I am really looking forward to see how he performs down 10 in the 4th quarter with a chance to come back.

Well, that game was absolutely insane. Kaepernick helped lead a huge comeback but the majority of the comeback came from the running game. However, Kaepernick made some very clutch throws as the game went on. Obviously the most critical one was the one he delivered on a rollout to his left to Rishard Matthews for the game tying touchdown. I had no personal stake in this game, but I found myself rooting for Nevada to make a game out of it and I found myself exclaiming in excitement when they tied the game to potentially and ultimately force the game to overtime. This was bar none one of the most exciting and dramatic games I have ever seen, and Kaepernick had a lot to do with that. He made some NFL throws in this game to be sure, and while he doesn’t have to make a lot of them every game, he showed he was definitely capable of doing so in this game. But more than that, he proved that he makes his teammates better for being on the field and came up with some clutch plays as the game went on. He may not have made every play to keep them in the game obviously, but without him they obviously could not have pulled this upset off and that became more and more evident as he continued to throw and help them convert first downs. Obviously the running game is the key to their offense, but without Kaepernick throwing the ball Boise State would have walked away a winner here. Kaepernick really made me a believer tonight from a passing standpoint (though he needs some work, but he is better than I gave him credit for to be sure) and from an intangibles standpoint. He’s the leader of that unit and probably that team and he proved it tonight. What a great win for that program.

Kellen Moore, on the other hand, still played very well (as he usually does) but he came up short in one of the two games that really mattered this year to be perfectly honest. At the beginning of the season everyone looked at Boise State’s schedule and said: “Well, the two potentially tough games for them are Virginia Tech in week one and Nevada at the end of the year.” I know this is another can of worms entirely, but this just proves to me that Boise State didn’t deserve to be in the National Title conversation. Even if they won this game, which they definitely could have, why should a team that plays two legitimate teams that they don’t blow out a year be in the same conversation as a team in the Pac-10, Big-12 or SEC that doesn’t lose or loses once? I have believed for quite some time that if Boise State was in the Pac-10 they would not go undefeated in the regular season like they have been in the WAC, and my opinion has not changed obviously. Not to take any credit away from Nevada, because they played great, but Boise State was overrated in my opinion, as is TCU. I don’t think they should move up by default because they play bad teams and avoid losing while other teams play tougher games week in and week out. It reinforces teams in tough conferences like the SEC to schedule pathetic out of conference schedules to make sure they don’t give themselves more than the necessary chances to trip themselves up, and that is bad for college football in general. I wish Boise State would have moved into the Pac-10 and TCU into the Big-12, because I think it would be an eye opener for everyone who thinks they belong in the National Title game. I’m absolutely not saying they both aren’t good teams, because they are, but just because you are a good team and you can beat two or three quality teams in a season does not mean you belong in the National Title game. I have said before and I’ll say it again, if Boise State had been in the Pac-10 for the past two years they would not have been on a 24 game winning streak before tonight and TCU would not be on an 12 game winning streak right now if they were in the Big-12. The competition is just much tougher week in and week out, and the announcers pointed it out over and over that Boise State just isn’t used to having to play a full 60 minutes of football because most of their games are over by the 4th quarter.

Now that I have gotten that rant out of the way I can talk about how Kellen Moore played today. Obviously he had a good statistical game as he always does, and he showcased his very impressive accuracy and he showed a better arm than I thought he had on that hail mary pass to Titus Young, but despite having pretty good pocket poise he looked rattled by the pressure and his accuracy and footwork deteriorated a bit while Nevada was making their comeback. In the first half, or perhaps the first 35+ minutes, every time Boise State got into a 2nd or 3rd and long I just sat back and waited for Moore to deliver a strike for a first down, and he did. But as the game progressed he struggled to do that more and more, and passes that he was completing with ease earlier were not being placed as well or they had less zip on them, etc. He didn’t react to the pressure well, and that was disappointing from a scouting perspective. A QB’s play is most critical in pressure packed situations and when the blitz is coming, and Moore’s play underwhelmed me in those situations as the game got closer and closer to the end. That’s not to say he was a scrambled mess under pressure, but you could tell that he wasn’t used to having people in his face nor was he used to getting hit, and it showed. He still played better than I may have expected him to, and I believe that he has a good enough combination of accuracy, above average arm strength and overall intelligence to eventually adjust to the NFL. I don’t know that he will ever be a starter, especially considering some of his potential issues with pressure and his lack of ideal size and arm strength, but he definitely strikes me as a smart enough guy to pick up a pro-style offense if he is drafted in the 4th-5th round and developed as a #3 and eventually into a back-up. Perhaps in the next couple games and during his senior season he will show improved pocket poise, but as of now I wouldn’t project him as anything more than a stop-gap/fill-in starter in the NFL, but he could be a nice back-up.

Rishard Matthews was obviously very impressive for Nevada. He’s a junior WR (#15) and he had over 200 yards of total OFFENSE by himself between his 150+ yards receiving and his electrifying 44 yard touchdown run where it looked like he was going to get tackled for a two or three yard loss but he cut back when he recognized the overpursuit by the Boise State defenders, broke a tackle, stayed on his feet and was off to the races. I could not believe he made that play, and it was one of the best plays in a game full of amazing moments. He also had the game tying touchdown reception for Nevada that eventually set up overtime. I like players who show up in critical situations and especially late in games when his team needs him to perform, which is one reason why I think so much more of Colin Kaepernick after this game than I did before, and Matthews certainly came up big when his team needed him to in this game. Not just once or twice either, but regularly. He seems to have reliable hands and he really exploded onto the scene in this game as he only had about 600 yards receiving with three touchdowns prior to this big game. I look forward to seeing him play two more games this year, and hopefully he progresses as a player even without Kaepernick next year. He’s not the biggest receiver, and I didn’t pay close enough attention to see what his tendencies were as a receiver, but when I re-watch the game I will make an effort to figure him out.

Dontay Moch was a guy who really surprised me. I had seen his stat-line before, but I had never watched him play. He and Ryan Coulson were very active for Nevada all game long. Moch had 19.5 TFL’s and eight sacks heading into the game against Boise State and in the second half he was coming off either edge with a purpose and he really helped make Kellen Moore uncomfortable and keep him from getting back into his first half rhythm. He’s a smaller guy at about 6’1”, 245-250 pounds (and that is listed) but he looks like he has a good motor and he has some edge speed, so even if he isn’t a starting defensive lineman or outside linebacker (depending on the scheme) he could definitely contribute on special teams and be a rotational guy in the NFL from what I saw of him last night. I will definitely pay closer attention to him when I re-watch this game and watch him in other contests though.

Coulson seemed to be more involved in the run game to me, and he was regularly making good tackles at or near the line of scrimmage in this game. He does not seem to be the impact pass rusher that Moch is, but he definitely strikes me as a guy with a NFL future on special teams and in a back-up role based off of his tackling in this game. I didn’t pay attention to him and scout him specifically, but I kept hearing his name and I kept seeing him make plays, so I need to go back and watch him.

That’s about all I have for Boise State-Nevada. I will probably have more in-depth notes when I re-watch the game, but these were my impressions from seeing everything happen live. Hopefully you enjoyed the read. Thanks again!

–Tom

Here are my current QB rankings as of early November. This list does not indicate the order that I think they will come off the board in April, but rather which I like the most at this juncture. Enjoy!

1-      Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford- Luck has a great combination of size, good arm strength, accuracy and he is a very intelligent QB. I don’t think he will come out this year but if he did I think he has the football IQ to transition effectively to the NFL, much like Mark Sanchez.

2-      Jake Locker, QB, Washington- Yes, I have Jake Locker #2 even though I have Mallett going #1 overall in my mock draft. I personally think Locker will be the better NFL player, though he will need more coaching than most probably thought after his incredible progression from his sophomore to junior year. His intangibles are just so special that a good QB coach could really make him a quality NFL starter.

3-      Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas- Mallett has as much potential as any QB I have ever scouted because of his amazing arm strength and great size, but how good of a leader is he? How dependable is he late in games to make the right decisions and not turn the ball over? I don’t like his intangibles and his leadership ability and that combined with the offense he plays in, which is not preparing him for the NFL, make me doubt him as a prospect. However, that is just my opinion, and I still believe he is the odds on favorite to go #1 if Luck stays in school.

4-      Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State- I really like Cousins’ game so he stays high on my rankings. He has been effective this year, but I am a little concerned about how he played against Iowa. That was a huge game for Michigan State and he made some mistakes that led to three interceptions. However, I think he has the tools to be a good starting QB in the NFL.

5-      Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State- Ponder has disappointed me in the little that I have seen him this year, but it’s not enough to drop him out of the top 5 of my rankings. I still think he will be a solid starter in the NFL, but he doesn’t look like a franchise QB to me. He is a fringe first rounder in my opinion at this point, so we will see how he does the rest of the year.

6-      Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama- McElroy has been very efficient this year but I am not sure he is much more than a solid NFL starter. I think he will be a solid mid-round pick and he seems to be very intelligent and if he had a good running game and some quality targets to throw to I think he could be an effective QB. Like Ponder I think he may be a product of the players around him rather than a Franchise QB/leader that makes the rest of his teammates better.

7-      Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho- Enderle was one of my favorite QB’s coming into the season but he has had a very down year so far involving a lot of turnovers. I’m not willing to drop him down in my rankings yet since I haven’t scouted him in any of them specifically yet. However, I have definitely been disappointed with how he has played statistically thus far this year.

8-      Cam Newton, QB, Auburn- It is hard not to rank Newton in the top 10 even though he hasn’t shown me as much as I would like to see as a passer. In my opinion Newton is performing at a level that everyone expected Terrelle Pryor to perform at. He has shown the ability to throw the ball well, but his athletic ability and smoothness as a runner is what sets him apart from other QB’s. He has a lot of improvement to make as a passer, but to produce like he has as a first year starter in the SEC is absolutely amazing to me. I really hope there isn’t anything to these allegations of taking money for signing a LOI (Letter of Intent) because he is a fun player to watch.

9-      Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware- I haven’t ever seen much of Devlin, but from what I have seen he doesn’t seem to have a very strong arm but he does have pretty good accuracy. I don’t think he would be getting the same attention he has gotten from draftniks if it wasn’t for Flacco’s early success in the NFL out of Delaware, but he looks like a solid draft prospect to me.

10-   Ricky Stanzi, QB, Iowa- Stanzi has been statistically impressive this year and currently has the second best QB rating in the entire nation. I have not scouted him much this year, but he has had a strong statistical showing this year to be sure. In his last three important conference games against Michigan, Wisconsin and Michigan State he has thrown a combined nine touchdowns with no interceptions which is incredibly impressive.

11-   Stephen Garcia, QB, South Carolina- Garcia has shown some really incredible flashes, such as his 17/20 performance when the Gamecocks upset Alabama, but he has not been as consistent as I would like. In his three games since the Alabama upset he has thrown a combined five touchdowns with four interceptions and for the first time all season he completed less than 65% of his passes in a game in two of those contests. It will be interesting to see if he bounces back to finish the season strong, because right now he is a mid-round pick in my opinion.

12-   Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri- Gabbert is definitely on my radar but I would be surprised if he declared this year. He has impressive arm strength and accuracy along with good size, but he doesn’t have much in the way of mobility and I don’t like how often he is in shotgun and how much Missouri runs sets with four or five wide receivers. He definitely has NFL potential, but I think he needs to stay for his senior year to have a shot at the first round.

13-   Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma- Jones has had an incredibly productive season in his first full season as a starter and he is only a sophomore. He is playing much more efficiently, but he hasn’t been tested by many great defenses. I really wish I could see him play against Nebraska’s defense this year because they have made some really good QB prospects look like mid-round draft picks this season. He definitely has a lot of potential, but I have the same concerns about the offense he is playing in that I had with Sam Bradford.

14-   Andy Dalton, QB, TCU- Dalton has had a good statistical season but he really hasn’t played anyone outside of Oregon State in the first week, and he struggled in that game statistically. I was not impressed with Dalton at all after seeing him play against Boise State last year, so in my opinion he is a mid-late round pick in the NFL Draft. He has some redeemable talent and ability, but his ceiling is an average NFL starter. I think he may be better suited for a back-up role in the NFL, but I still need to scout him based off of his senior year tape.

15-   Jerrod Johnson, QB, Texas A&M- I have a really good feel for Johnson’s game and I think he is a 4th round pick at this point, perhaps a 5th rounder, but he has good size, athletic ability and a strong enough arm to warrant development. He just puts too much touch and air under his passes, he has a hitch in his throwing motion where he dips the ball below his chest near his hip, and he has poor footwork and pocket poise. With a couple or three years of development he could potentially be a solid starter, but I think he will have a longer road to starting in the NFL than a number of QB’s that I have ranked ahead of him.

16-   Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech- Taylor has had an impressive statistical season but he has not been tested much other than the first week against Boise State and potentially against NC State. It will be interesting to see how he performs against potentially tougher ACC teams like Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Miami, but if he continues to play well he will have a chance at the middle rounds, especially if he demonstrates some patience and pocket poise.

17-   Mike Hartline, QB, Kentucky- Hartline has been making me regret not naming him my pre-season sleeper at QB for the majority of the season. He played very well against Auburn, South Carolina and Georgia combining for over 900 passing yards and nine touchdowns with only one interception. He is having an impressive season overall, and I look forward to watching tape of him to see if he has improved on some of the things I saw him struggle with when I watched him against Alabama last year. Hopefully he keeps this up.

18-   Ben Chappell, QB, Indiana- Chappell has had a pretty solid statistical season, however those numbers are padded by games against teams like Arkansas State, Towson, Western Kentucky and Akron. He produced about 1,250 passing yards, a completion percentage of around 68% and 13 touchdowns with no interceptions in those four games. He torched Michigan for an astounding 480 yards passing with three touchdowns and one interception, but he had disappointing games against Ohio State, Illinois and Northwestern where he threw only two touchdowns with a combined six interceptions. He is a late round pick right now, and from what I noticed in the little I have seen him he seems to have a bit of a hitch in his throwing motion.

19-   Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada- Kaepernick is a true dual-threat QB. He is just as likely to beat you with his legs as he is with his arm. He has a strong arm, but I have never been very impressed with him as a passer. I haven’t scouted him yet this year, but I imagine his athletic ability and arm strength will warrant at least late round consideration when the Draft finally rolls around. However, I am not sold on him ever amounting into a solid starter in the NFL, therefore he will be down towards the bottom of all of my rankings.

20-   Nick Foles, QB, Arizona- Foles should be back from his injury this weekend, so it will be interesting to see how he finishes his junior season out. When I have seen him play I have noticed him staring down his receivers quite frequently which worries me as far as his transition to the NFL is concerned. He has good size and a nice arm, but I worry about the offense he plays in and how often he stares down his primary receiver.

21-   Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State- Pryor is an incredibly gifted player, but he still seems like an athlete playing quarterback to me. He has definitely shown signs of improvement this year, but at the end of the day they are just signs. I think if he comes out after his junior season he will get drafted higher than he deserves, but that doesn’t mean he will pan out obviously. He might have a higher ceiling at wide receiver in the NFL than he does at QB, but that is an entirely different can of worms.

22-   Mitch Mustain, QB, Southern Cal- Mustain has been residing low on my rankings all year, and it’s hard to say that he should be much higher considering how limited his playing time has been at Southern Cal, but I think he has the tools to be a successful back-up QB and if he is developed for three or four years I think he would have a shot at being a solid starter in the NFL. He has a lot of experience in a pro-style offense and that will help his transition to the next level.

23-   Scott Tolzien, QB, Wisconsin- Tolzien is nothing more than a game manager at Wisconsin, but he does a good job of avoiding mistakes and he has shown some added ability to make throws on 3rd down this year when they need a conversion. He isn’t going to be much more than a back-up on the next level in my opinion, but I think he could be a solid back-up who could step in and manage the game should the starter go down.

24-   T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina- Yates is barely on this list and it is only because he has shown flashes of ability this year. I don’t think he deserves to be drafted at this point, and his ceiling is probably a #3 or at best a #2 in the NFL.

25-   Justin Roper, QB, Montana- Roper is a guy who has impressive size but I have not been able to see him play. He has pretty impressive stats even though he is playing at the Division II level, but I look forward to being able to see his arm strength, throwing motion and overall mechanics if Montana is ever televised nationally. A guy with his size and production warrants some consideration.

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!

–Tom