The Island of Misfit QBs
With most of the press on the upcoming QB draft class surrounding Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston, what are teams to do if they miss our on the two blue chip QB talents? There is a definite dropoff after those two with Michigan State underclassman Connor Cook likely going back to school and a weak senior class as a whole. The following 6 QBs are the next up but all have serious flaws that will stop them from immediately stepping in and contributing.
Brett Hundley, UCLA
Hundley was a first round name coming into the year with expectations of development in his presnap ability and reading defenses. Unfortunately, Hundley had another inconsistent year and really didn’t blossom until he used his running and athletic ability more than his passing ability. That lack of comfort could doom his draft stock, but his size at 6’3 226 pounds with physical tools will endear him as a top 50 player in the draft. With the weak QB class, Hundley could get pushed into the first round, but there is still a ton of development needed until he is ready to become a franchise QB. Is that worth the risk of a first round pick? Probably not (a la the Bills mistake with EJ Manuel,) but it only takes one team to pull that trigger.
Garrett Grayson, Colorado State
Grayson is a dark horse riser in the QB ranks, especially when looking at the seniors. He will need to measure in over the elusive 6’2 mark but has a solid build and an extremely productive season. He has some mobility, but is a pass first player. He is accurate with solid ball placement and decent instincts. There are limitations physically with his arm and zip, but many of his games flashed NFL talent and throws consistently through the season. As bigger names from bigger schools get publicity, Grayson’s command of Jim McElwain’s pro style offense showcases what he can be in the NFL. If Grayson performs well at the Senior Bowl, expect him to be a Top 100 pick and might be the best bet outside of Mariota/Winston to be a future starter.
Shane Carden, ECU
Carden is a QB you want on your team but not necessarily as your starter. He goes through his progressions well but is limited in both his accuracy and arm strength ultimately. Carden isn’t afraid to try and make hard throws, where he has inconsistent success, but has examples of every different type of throw in his repertoire. Ultimately, Carden is the ideal back-up QB. He plays well within the system and would give a team with a good supporting cast a chance to win if he has to step in for a starter.
Sean Mannion, Oregon State
Mannion compares favorably to another former beaver in Derek Anderson (who was a 6th round pick in 2005). Mannion has great size at 6’5 220 pounds and a rocket arm, but there isn’t a ton more to fall in love with. After losing stud WRs like Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks, Mannion’s numbers dipped heavily this season with only 15 TDs to 8 INTs and 1,500 less yards than he had in 2013. With below average pocket presence and ball placement, Mannion has a lot to work on at the NFL level. But for those unteachable attributes, Mannion is built like an NFL QB and should endear a team to take a chance and develop him.
Bryce Petty, Baylor
Petty came into the year with plenty of accolades and some first round chatter, but Art Briles system had made him look better than he actually was. This came to fruition this season as Petty, who dealt with a concussion and cracked bones in his spine this year, did not look nearly as polished. Despite Baylor’s team success, the system is built to take advantage of short routes in open space, and even then Petty was no master of placing the ball in the right place to maximize his WRs YAC. A lot of the mid to deep range sideline throws haven’t been a part of Petty’s repertoire and it is rare to see him successfully challenge tight coverages. Ultimately, he isn’t the NFL starter he was deemed to be and might be better as a back-up QB/spot starter.
Blake Sims, Alabama
Sims had a phenomenal year for Alabama breaking their single season passing record. He has a ton of athletic ability and has shown that he can throw a very good jump ball, especially in the red zone. The major issue with Sims is size as he is expected to come in under 6’0 tall, and that he simply doesn’t have the physical tools to be successful in the NFL. More playing time and experience could have seen some development and improvement, but it will simply be a projection to see if he can overcome those and be a successful starter. Late round pick at best.