A Look At The Top 17 Quarterbacks

2014 Combine

2014 Combine

In our last post, we discussed the Lions need for a backup quarterback and why this year’s draft is the best time to find one.  In this post we are going to explore the top seventeen quarterbacks in this year’s draft.

1.)  Blake Bortles – UCF – Junior – 6’5″ 232lbs

Bortles is widely considered the top quarterback in this year’s draft  He has the most potential of all of the quarterbacks available, but he is not likely to be selected by the Lions.  Due to this, I will not get into the scouting report on him.

2.)  Johnny Manziel – Texas A&M – Sophomore – 6’0″ 207lbs

Manziel has just as many red flags as he does positives.  He is still considered one of the top quarterbacks in the draft, and he is expected to be a first round pick.  I will not get too deep into his scouting report as well.

3.)  Teddy Bridgewater – Louisville – Junior – 6’2″ 214lbs

Bridgewater is a strange case.  He has beem talked about since prior to the 2013 draft as a top quarterback prospect.  He has played well in college and he has the measurables.  The problem is that every workout he has had since the season ended has gone horribly wrong.  Either way, I do not see the Lions taking a quarterback higher than round four so I will not review Bridgewater either.  If he happens to fall to round four which seems almost impossible, I will do a draft profile on him during draft weekend.

4.)  Derek Carr – Fresno State – Senior – 6’2″ 214lbs

Carr, who is the brother of former first overall pick David Carr, is a borderline first round pick.  I expect he will be gone by the time the Lions pick in the second round so he will not be profiled either.

5.)  Tom Savage – Pittsburgh – Senior – 6’4″ 228lbs

Savage has both good NFL size and good NFL arm strength.  he has solid character and was a captain in college.  He is however slow both physically and mentally, and he has poor accuracy.  He struggled against top teams and could have mental toughness issues.

6.)  Jimmy Garoppolo – Eastern Illinois – Senior – 6’2″ 226lbs

Garoppolo is a very talented quarterback.  He has a quick release, smooth mechanics, and is very quick to make a decision.  He is agile in the pocket and not too proud to get rid of the ball as opposed to taking a sack.  His accuracy is held in high regard as well.  The down side is his height and his body of work.  He is a little on the shorter side and he predominately played in a spread and shotgun offense.  While the latter is a correctable issue, it leads to question about if he can translate to the pro game.

7.)  Zach Mettenberger – LSU – Senior – 6’5′ 224lbs

Mettenberger has great size and great arm strengh.  Perhaps his biggest asset is that while playing against top competition in the SEC, he learned to play the pro style offense from a former NFL offensive coordinator.  His transition to the NFL game should be seemless.  He has more red flags though than you would want in a quarterback.  He has character issues, weight issues as he once weighed two hundred and sixty pounds.  He is slow and tends to have poor vision.  Perhaps the worst of all is that he will be linked to failed LSU quarterbacks JaMarcus Russell and Rohan Davey.  Given his weight concerns and the fact that Russell also had weight concerns, he is one quarterback the Lions should avoid.

8.)  A.J. McCarron – Alabama – Senior – 6’3″ 220lbs

McCarron is one of the more intriguing prospects.  He won back to back national titles at Alabama running a pro-style offense.  He is NFL ready due to Nick Saban’s coaching style as shown by Peyton Manning visiting Saban for advice recently.  He has a decent arm, but not an elite arm for the vertical passing game, which the Lions run.  He is smart and competitive but not very athletic.  Since he projects as a possible starter at the NFL level, he would be perfect for the Lions if available in the fourth round andif the Lions want him in the fourth round.  He would be a quality backup, have the benefit of learning from Stafford, and in the event of an injury to Stafford, he would have the potential to start.

9.)  Aaron Murray – Georgia – Senior – 6’1″ 207lbs

Murray has a quick release and is good at moving around the pocket.  He was a four year starter in the tough SEC so he has played top competition.  He is short and thin though, with only average arm strength at best.  He has a poor record against top ten teams which seems to indicate he folds in pressure situations.  He is more of a game manager for the short passing game or a west coast offense style.  He will likely only be a backup or third string quarterback at best.

10.)  David Fales – San Jose State – Senior – 6’2″ 212lbs

Fales has good mechanics.  He has displayed a good work ethic, is heavily motivated and is a leader both on and off the field.  The knocks on him though are that his arm is just average, he is slow in the pocket making him a liability to the blitz, and his accuracy deteriorates as the distance he is required to throw increases.  His height is a little on the short side but, if he had a stronger arm he would be a lock for one of the top two rounds.

11.)  Logan Thomas – Virginia Tech – Senior – 6’6″ 248lbs

Thomas is perhaps the most intriguing talent in the draft.  At the combine, he measured in the top five at his position in every drill.  He ran a 4.61 forty.  He has great size and strength.  He has a great arm.  He is quick and athletic.  He is very difficult to take down.  Similar build to Dante Culpepper and Cam Newton.  He was a leader with no injury concerns and a quick release.  He has poor footwork and mechanics, poor accuracy, and struggles in big games.  His biggest issue, which Virginia Tech fans complained most about is his lack of ball protection.  I think the talent outweighs the negatives and if he is available in rounds six or seven he needs to be on the Lions’ radar.

12.)  Keith Wenning – Ball State – Senior – 6’3″ 218lbs

Wenning is very smart, competitive, and a good leader.  Unfortunately it takes more than that to be an NFL quarterback.  He has an average arm and only average mobility on top of playing in a conference with lower grade talent.  He projects as a number three quarterback which is not what Detroit needs.  They should pass on him.

13.)  Brett Smith – Wyoming – Junior – 6’2″ 206lbs

Smith has quick feet to avoid defenders, good vision and a great work ethic.  He is a little too trusting of his arm and forces passes.  His arm strength is above average but not strong enough for the zip desired on passes in the NFL.  He gets jumpy in the pocket but is very accurate.

14.)  Connor Shaw – South Carolina – Senior – 6’0″ 206lbs

Shaw has great accuracy, great mobility and reduced his mistakes to a minimal level as a senior.  Very good leadership abilities and very competitive.  Also very smart in the pocket.  He had a great record in a top conference with good competition.  He is very short though and has had injury issues in his career.  He did not play in a pro style offense so his game does not seamlessly translate to the NFL.  He only has average arm strength despite being a top five performer at his position in almost all of the drills at the combine.  The bottom line is that he has talent but will need to be in the right offense to succeed.

15.)  Garrett Gilbert – SMU – Senior – 6’3″ 223lbs

Gilbert, the former Texas Longhorn transfer, has good size, good arm strength, and good accuracy.  He comes from a good pedigree considering his father played in the NFL for eleven years.  He has average speed for a quarterback and played for a small school with weaker competition.  He was originally recruited to play for Texas, but he played miserably and transferred to SMU instead.  While he gets rave reviews from draft analysts, I feel like he is mostly hype and that showed with his performance for the Longhorns.

16.)  Tajh Boyd – Clemson – Senior – 6’1″ 222lbs

Boyd played well for Clemson, and played with two receivers expected to be drafted in Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant.  His statistics could be a product of having very talented receivers to throw to or it could be a sign that Boyd is an NFL caliber quarterback.  His red flags are his small stature (he is only 6’1″) and weight changes.  He possesses the coveted strong arm, which will be the reason he is drafted, but he also is best suited for the run option or wildcat offense.  Based on his showing at the combine, he does not have the speed necessary to be a successful wildcat quarterback in the NFL, and therefore projects as a backup at best.

17.)  Stephen Morris – Miami – Senior – 6’2″ 213lbs

Morris is one of the fastest quarterbacks in this years draft having ran a 4.63 forty at the combine.  He has a strong arm and is very athletic.  The knocks on him are his poor size being only 213lbs and being a touch short for a quarterback.  He also tends to have poor accuracy.  He appears to have starter caliber talent but he will need to spend time as a backup learning the position.  He could be a good pick for the Lions at the end of the draft, but given his athletic ability he does not really fit their scheme.

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