NFL draft preview: Quarterbacks

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 18, 2013 - 6:40 AM

One hot topic: Just how good is Geno Smith?

The hot topic: Just how good is Geno Smith?

Let’s face it. This was going to be a tough year for quarterbacks regardless. After the 2012 draft provided the 1-2 combo of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III plus third-round gem Russell Wilson, the bar was raised significantly for what rookie quarterbacks should be capable of achieving.

Luck, RG3 and Wilson all reached the playoffs in 2012, providing a lot to live up to. But now there’s endless debate on whether any of the quarterbacks available this year can be long-term answers in the NFL.

Enter Smith, the 22-year-old out of West Virginia, who has become the most coveted of this bunch. Early last season, he emerged as a Heisman Trophy front-runner with a video-game statistical blitz that was highlighted by his 656-yard, eight-touchdown effort in a 70-point explosion against Baylor. But a five-game West Virginia losing streak soon after quelled the buzz.

Now as pre-draft analysis has circulated, the Smith discussion heated up last month when Pro Football Weekly skewered his lack of work ethic and leadership, asserting those deficiencies would kill Smith’s chances of ever excelling in the NFL.

Those concerns do not seem to be widespread. But they became debate-worthy.

In a league where elite quarterback play is a prerequisite for high-level success, some organization will make a play to nab Smith early, possibly even in the top five. But will that investment be worth it?

THE FRONT-RUNNER

Geno Smith, West Virginia

There’s a lot to love, namely Smith’s prototypical size, quick delivery, strong arm and ability to make plays with his feet. But then comes the obvious worry about whether his production in the Mountaineers’ spread offense was a mirage. How’s this for risk-reward? Best-case scenario: Smith showcases all the eye-catching skills of Sam Bradford. Fear: He’s Jason Campbell 2.0.

THE CONTENDERS

Matt Barkley, Southern California

Did Matt Kalil’s presence at left tackle make that much difference? In 2011 with Kalil, Barkley had a .691 completion percentage while passing for 3,528 yards and 39 TDs with seven interceptions. Following that surge, he was touted as a top-10 pick. In 2012, his numbers dipped (.636 completion percentage, 3,273 yards, 36 TDs, 15 picks) and so did his draft stock. With the right system, his promise should return.

Ryan Nassib, Syracuse

He is polished fundamentally and can be highly efficient when dialed in. His rocket arm has enabled him to rise up draft boards. Nassib doesn’t seem to have a glaring weakness, though he can be erratic with his accuracy at times.

E.J. Manuel, Florida State

His combination of size (6-5, 237 pounds) and mobility is a major plus. Manuel tested very well at the combine. He can throw deep or into tight windows and has the skills to dabble in the read-option fad if asked to do so. His intelligence and charisma also are positives.

THE SLEEPER

Sean Renfree, Duke

Don’t think Renfree’s four years with Duke coach David Cutcliffe didn’t heighten his football intellect. Cutcliffe’s wisdom is so magnetic he remains a confidant to Peyton and Eli Manning, both of whom he coached in college. Renfree might not have Manning-level upside. But he does possess similar passion and could develop into a reliable backup.





 

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Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 55 3rd Qtr
Philadelphia 49
Golden State 32 2nd Qtr 9:21
Brooklyn 38
Phoenix 24 1st Qtr 0:55
Miami 22
LA Clippers 7:00 PM
Minnesota
New Orleans 7:30 PM
Dallas
Nashville 0 2nd Prd 16:09
NY Rangers 1
Carolina 7:30 PM
Chicago
Montreal 9:00 PM
San Jose
Virginia 33 2nd Half 17:16
Syracuse 25
Baylor 34 2nd Half 16:12
Texas 29
SE Louisiana 27 1st Half 3:21
Northwestern St 41
Central Arkansas 16 1st Half 6:47
Sam Houston St 25
Norfolk State 6:55 PM
Howard
Bethune-Cookman 11 1st Half 10:52
NC A&T 21
Hampton 7:00 PM
Delaware State
Lamar 2 1st Half 18:43
McNeese State 2
Nicholls 5 1st Half 16:58
New Orleans 0
Incarnate Word 2 1st Half 15:57
Stephen F Austin 4
Texas Southern 7:30 PM
Alabama A&M
Prairie View 7:30 PM
Alabama State
NC Central 7:30 PM
Savannah State
Jackson State 8:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Oklahoma 8:00 PM
Iowa State
Grambling St 8:00 PM
Miss Valley St
Boston College 8:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 74 2nd Half 6:49
Alabama A&M 44
Prairie View 24 2nd Half 7:39
Alabama State 48
Jackson State 42 2nd Half 15:58
Ark-Pine Bluff 44
Grambling 46 2nd Half 4:30
Miss Valley St 59
Tulsa 41 2nd Half 15:34
Cincinnati 31
(1) Connecticut 66 2nd Half 16:45
South Florida 36
UCF 36 2nd Half 17:56
East Carolina 43
Central Conn St 23 2nd Half
Bryant 24
Wagner 24 2nd Half 19:04
Robert Morris 34
Sacred Heart 54 2nd Half 14:20
Fairleigh Dickinson 59
St Francis-NY 52 2nd Half 8:40
Long Island 36
Mount St Marys 47 2nd Half
St Francis-PA 46
Temple 7:00 PM
Houston
Texas Tech 0 1st Half 20:00
(6) Baylor 0
Iowa State 0 1st Half 20:00
Kansas 0
SMU 7 1st Half 17:45
Memphis 2
Oklahoma 0 1st Half 20:00
Oklahoma St 0
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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