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2013 DRAFT PREVIEW: QBs

Overview:  While it does not appear as if any passer is going to be rated as highly as Andrew Luck, the first player selected at the 2012 draft, its possible that the QB class for the upcoming draft could be as deep as any in recent years. Certainly, there is a better than even chance that a QB will be taken first overall for the 5th straight year - and for the 11th time in the past 13 drafts - in 2013 as Matt Barkley of Southern California is currently considered to be the best overall prospect for the upcomng draft. However, Barkley, who likely would have been the second player picked this past April had he not opted to return to school and a shot at a national championship now that USC is off probation and eligible for the post-season, isn't the lock that Luck was this past year. Barkley isn't as tall as NFL teams usually like in a pocket passer and doesn't have the rocket arm strength that have characterized most of the elite QB prospects in recent years. Indeed, Barkley could get a serious challenge to be the top-rated passer this year from Arkansas' Tyler Wilson, while fellow seniors Landry Jones of Oklahoma and Florida State's E.J. Manuel should get later first-round consideration. Meanwhile, athletic Geno Smith of West Virginia and strong-armed Mike Glennon of North Carolina State head a solid group of second-day QB prospects for the upcoming draft that also includes Brad Sorenson of Southern Utah, a one-time BYU recruit who won't get any face time on national TV anytime soon, but who some scouts feel has the strongest arm of anyone in this year's draft class

What could make the 2013 draft really interesting at the QB position, though, is the fact that there are a number of juniors with the potential to shake up the top of the draft board. Logan Thomas of Virginia Tech, for example, has started to draw comparisons to Carolina's Cam Newton, the top pick at the 2011 draft who went on to become the first rookie to ever pass for over 4,000 yards in their rookie season last fall. Certainly, the 6-5, 255-pound Thomas has the physical tools to become part of the #1 pick debate if he opts to enter next year's draft, while strong-armed Tyler Bray of Tennessee has top 10 type upside. Then there's Zach Mettenberger who takes over the reins of the LSU offense this fall. Mettenberger has thrown only 11 career passes in D1A football to date, but like Thomas has uncommon size and arm strength and could be a real wild card at the top of the 2013 draft board if he can take advantage of those skills this fall. On the other hand, Georgia's Aaron Murray isn't all that tall and lacks prototype arm strength, but like star NFL QB Drew Brees of New Orleans just makes plays.

Top 20 QB Prospects
#
Player
H/W
School
CL
#
Player
H/W
School
CL
1
Matt Barkley 6-1, 220
Southern California SR
11
Brad Sorenson 6-4, 235 Southern Utah SR
2
Tyler Wilson 6-3, 220 Arkansas  SR
12
Zac Dysert 6-3, 215 Miami (Ohio) SR
3
Logan Thomas 6-5, 255 Virginia Tech JR
13
Matt Scott 6-2, 200 Arizona SR
4
Tyler Bray 6-5, 215 Tennessee JR
14
Sean Renfree 6-4, 230 Duke SR
5
Landry Jones 6-4, 230 Oklahoma SR
15
James Vandenberg 6-3, 215 Iowa SR
6
E.J. Manuel 6-4, 240 Florida State SR
16
Dayne Crist 6-4, 235 Kansas SR
7
Zach Mettenberger 6-5, 225
LSU JR
17
Alex Carder 6-2 225 Western Michigan SR
8
Aaron Murray 6-1, 215 Georgia JR
18
Ryan Nassib 6-2, 230 Syracuse SR
9
Geno Smith 6-3, 215 West Virginia SR
19
Collin Klein 6-4, 235 Kansas State SR
10
Mike Glennon 6-6, 235 North Carolina State SR
20
Zack Maynard 6-2, 190 California SR

Sleeper file:
Matt Scott of Arizona has bided his time backing up former star Wildcats' QB Nick Foles, a 3rd round pick by Philadelphia at the 2012 draft, but finally gets the job full-time this fall. Scott isn't all that big, but is an accuarate passer who completed over 70% of his pass attempts in 2010 when filling in for an injured Foles. Meanwhile, the Mid-American conference always seems to produce a couple of solid second-tier QB prospects and this year is no difference as Zac Dysert of Miami (Ohio) and Western Michigan's Alex Carder both fit that bill. Southern Utah's Sorenson is the only small-school QB likely to be selected at the 2013 draft, however, several others could get some free-agent looks including Braden Hanson of North Dakota, Murray State's Casey Brockman, Mike Herman of RPI, Ryan Osieki of Kutztown, Mitch Gale of Abilene Christian and Pete Lalich of California (PA).

Future file: It wasn't all that long ago that only a small handful of college QBs had much in the way of pro potential, however, that was then as the game has changed radically with the explosion of wide-open passing offenses around the country. This year, for example, in addition to the junior QBs with legitimate first-round potential mentioned above, Casey Pachall of Texas Christian and North Carolina's Bryn Renner would likely be solid second-day prospects for the upcoming draft if they were to opt to leave school this winter, although Pachall will have to explain a failed drug test. At the same time, fellow juniors Jeff Tuel of Washington State, Alabama's A.J. McCarron, Tajh Boyd of Clemson, Washington's Keith Price, Derek Carr of Fresno State, Illinois' Nathan Scheehaase and Kyle Padron, who transferred to Eastern Washington after three years at SMU, each has at least some pro potential. Meanwhile, the top sophomore QBs include Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville, 6-6 Blake Bell of Oklahoma, Jeff Driskel of Florida and Stanford's Brent Nottingham, while redshirt freshman QBs to watch include Brett Hundley of UCLA, Everett Golson of Notre Dame, Ohio State's Braxton Miller and Arizona State's Michael Eubank. Meanwhile, Gunner Kiel, who ultimately ended up at Notre Dame after decommitting from first Indiana and then LSU, along with Florida State's Jameis Winston are the top-rated incoming freshman QBs, while 6-5 Southern Cal commit Max Browne, who hails from Washington, is considered to be the top high school passer in the country.

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