Because there is a plethora of talented QB’s eligible to throw their names into the 2013 NFL draft, I thought I’d break this segment down into two parts and list the top 5 pro-style QB prospects, and the top 5 Dual-threat prospects. If you are like me and don’t like reading, feel free to scroll down to the bottom and watch the highlight video I made of the top 5 pro-style QB’s, displaying some of what each one brings to the table.
By the time the NFL draft rolls around next year, it is possible that 1 of 3 guys could usurp Barkley as the #1 QB taken, but for now, Barkley remains the number one guy. Barkley is entering his 4th season as a starter for the Trojans, and has gotten consistently better with each season.
- Accuracy- Barkley posses elite accuracy for the collegiate level, and excels at the short/intermediate pass game. Barkley is not afraid to put the ball into a tight window because he trusts his accuracy, as he should; he threw 39td’s and only 7 int’s in 2011
- Footwork- Barkley has exceptional footwork both in the pocket and on the run. He set’s his feet quick in the pocket, allowing him to make consistent and accurate throws on plays where he gets the ball out of his hands quickly. Barkley is also above average in his footwork on the run. Although he will never be mistaken for Michael Vick, Barkley has the Drew Bress type ability to side step the blitz, re-set his feet, and make an accurate throw.
- Mechanics- Barkley has NFL type mechanics, and most likely will not require any tweaking on his release. He holds the ball high, and has the lightning fast release that NFL teams, especially west coast offenses, love to see.
- Intangibles- Matt Barkley is a leader, and he never gives up on a game. He has a good nose for staying out of trouble and is the type of guy a franchise will want to be their new face.
- Decision Making- Barkely, like many star players, has moments where he trusts himself too much. He will throw into coverage if he believes he can make the throw, and that will cause some INT’s, especially at the next level.
- Arm Strength- Barkley needs to show more consistency on the deep ball; too many times, the ball hangs on Barkley and his receivers have to bail him out by making big catches. He also needs to improve his zip on some of his intermediate throws, I remember one throw last year, it was a 10 and out against Arizona State, and Barkley put the ball in the perfect spot, he just didn’t throw it hard enough, and as a result, ASU ended up picking it off.
- Height- I always hate when something like height becomes a factor, as an athlete has absolutely no control over it, but the fact is, Barkley is not the ideal type, and some think he may be even shorter than his listed 6’2. As a result, Barkley will get some passes batted down at the next level, and that will scare some GM’s
Overall, Barkley is a top notch process and would have been picked in the top 10 had he chosen to enter the 2012 NFL draft. Still, I see him helping himself even more this season as he looks to add to his impressive stats with the help of a star studded WR corps in, Robert Woods, Marqise Lee, George Farmer, and newcomer 5 star recruit Nelson Agholor
NFL Comparison: Drew Brees
As more time passes, the #2 spot is becoming more and more of a toss up, Jones, Bray, Manuel, or Thomas could rise up to this spot, but for now, I see Wilson holding it off. Wilson burst onto the scene in 2010 in a game against Auburn when Ryan Mallet went down with an injury. During that game, Wilson took his first snap and just started throwing darts all over the field. From that point on, scouts started anxiously waiting for Wilson’s starting debut in 2011. Wilson did not disappoint, as he had a solid Junior campaign, albeit somewhat hurt by the loss of Knile Davis, and showed that he could compete in the SEC. Wilson is a more physically impressive specimen at the QB spot than Barkley.
- Arm Strength- When I said that Wilson started throwing “darts” against Auburn, I probably misspoke, they were more like missiles. Wilson has NFL arm strength and can put the Velocity on the ball needed to make every throw. There may not be a better QB in the NCAA right now when it comes to throwing the deep out.
- Accuracy- Wilson displays great tough and accuracy on his throws; he combines accuracy and arm strength to place the ball in tight windows, and he can show touch and drop the ball over the defenders head into the waiting arms of his wide receiver. Wilson is very accurate on short/intermediate routes but may be even more impressive when it comes to throwing the deep ball. Wilson almost always places the ball on the right shoulder, and drops the ball in prime position for the receiver to make a play.
- Size- Although the number say that Wilson is only 1 inch taller than Matt Barkley, where Barkley looks to be on the shorter end of the 6’2 mark, Wilson looks to be on the taller end of the 6’3 mark. Wilson possesses good size for an NFL QB and releases the ball high, making it easy for him to get the ball over oncoming defenders
- Intangibles- Wilson is a leader and displays exceptional toughness. He gets banged around a lot but keeps going, and he leads his team by example.
- Mechanics- Talking mechanics is sometimes frustrating with Wilson. On some throws, he shows perfect mechanics, holding the ball high, and release the ball as soon as his back foot punches into the ground. But his mechanics have been inconsistent, especially on the move. On some throws, Wilson drops his arm, holding the ball low, and dipping it before throwing the ball. If there is one thing we have learned from Byron Leftwich, it’s that a wind up release does not cut it in the NFL. Wilson’s mechanics also break down on the move, and he doesn’t always re-set his feet before making throws, a trait which leads to aired throws and sometimes interceptions.
- Decision Making- Wilson still needs to learn not to throw into double coverage and when to throw the ball away instead of taking a big sack. From time to time, Wilson underestimated the reach of defenders and will place a ball too low when he needs to put it up for his receiver to make a play
- Consistency- It’s not necessarily that Wilson is inconsistent against all teams, he often puts together strings of great games, but he needs to improve against top competition. Wilson had 3 receivers on his roster that made it to the NFL, and although his stats don’t completely reflect it, if you watch the games, it is evident that he still struggled against the big name teams like Alabama and LSU. Although in all fairness, most players struggled against those two teams. Still, one thing NFL GM’s want to see is consistency at the highest level of competition.
Wilson has made it clear he intends on being the #1 overall pick of the 2013 NFL draft. With a developing Cobi Hamilton, and a returning Knile Davis, I see Arkansas stud QB making a legitimate claim for the #1 Spot
NFL Comparison- Matthew Stafford
Bray has quickly gone from best kept secret to being mentioned as one of the best NFL prospects in all of college football. This can be greatly attributed to the red hot start Bray started on last season, throwing for 14 TD’s and only 2 INT’s in his first 4 games of the Vols 2011 season. Unfortunately for Bray, he was injured in game 5 against Georgia and missed most 5 straight games against big name teams like Alabama, LSU, SC, and Arkansas. Even with his limited playing time over 2 seasons, Bray has NFL scouts waiting in anticipation for his 2012 campaign, and from a measurables and pure potential standpoint, Bray may be the best NFL QB prospect in this draft. Let’s break down his game a little and see why.
- Prototypical Size- Bray is everything an NFL GM could ask for in terms of size. He stands at 6’6 and weighs in at 210lbs, but Bray has the frame to add another 5-10 lbs which will inevitably help him stay healthy and become more resilient against big hits. Bray has above average sized hands, and will not lose a lot of fumbles
- Arm Strength- My favorite way to describe arm strength here was actually said by NFL analyst Charley Casserly, he said basically that there is deep ball arm strength, I.E. throwing the ball 70 yards, and there is velocity arm strength, I.E. firing the ball in a tight window. Bray posses great deep ball arm strength, and can really lay the ball out there for his receivers. He does not have the absolute cannon that Tyler Wilson has, but he has adequate velocity to fit the ball in tight windows, and that is helped greatly by his quick release. When he sees the window open, Bray can get the ball out of his hand fast. His velocity will only increase with better footwork, but more on that later.
- Accuracy- Bray shows great accuracy in almost all aspects of his game. He can make all the throws, and places the ball where only his receiver can get it. If he’s throwing the ball down the sideline, he’ll put it high and outside where it will be out of reach for the defender. Bray also shows extreme touch on the deep ball, often hitting the receiver in stride and dropping it right into his bread basket
- Anticipation- This is what I feel separates Bray from some of the other QB’s in this class, and I felt it needed it’s own category because part of what makes Bray so accurate is his anticipation. Bray does an exceptional job throwing his receivers open, releasing the ball before the wide receiver breaks so that even if there is tight coverage, the ball arrives exactly when it is supposed to, leaving the corner or safety helpless. Bray throws possibly the best post route in this draft, putting the ball on a rope before the receiver makes the cut to the inside, and hitting him right between both safeties.
- Progressions- Bray needs to do a better job of going through his progressions. There are times where you can see him scan the field and check down when nothing is open, but Bray still has a habit of locking on to 1 guy. When he locks on to one guy, he predetermines where he is going to throw the ball, and will make a throw into coverage, or take a sack because his guy isn’t open.
- Footwork- Bray’s footwork is a little sloppy, and he has gotten away with it for now, but at the NFL level, it will drastically affect his game. On a standard drop back, Bray is mechanically sound and his footwork is excellent. The problem comes when any pressure is applied, as soon as Bray gets moving, his feet get sloppy and he rarely resets his feet to throw. Bray often makes throws off one foot or on the move when he has time to re-set, plant, and deliver a strike. This lack of foot control leads to a lack of velocity on many throws and also affects his accuracy. This is the area that sets Barkley above Bray. Don’t look for Bray to change any games with his scrambles either.
- Decision making- Bray needs to make better decisions with the ball, and a lot of that will come with more experience. Still, he throws into coverage to much, especially on the deep ball, and that will lead to more INT’s at the next level. I respect Bray’s trust in his big play receivers Rodgers and Hunter, that they will go get the ball and make a play, but Bray needs to tone it down just a little and be smarter with his deep throws.
- Durability- Bray has some durability concerns that could hold him back. He missed huge games for his team in 2011 and will need to stay healthy for his 2012 campaign to shake off the label of Injury prone.
Bray still has some work to do to usurp the likes of Barkley, Wilson, and even Jones for that matter, but with a healthy 2012 and the weapons he has around him, don’t be surprised to see Bray’s name in contention for a top 10 draft pick next season.
NFL Comparison- Philip Rivers- Sans the awkward delivery
Landry Jones’s future is completely up to him. The only reason I have him at 4 right now is some of the holes I saw in his game in 2011 that made him take a step back from his 2010 season. As I said before, there is so much talent at the QB position in this draft, and based on how 2012 goes, Jones can realistically go anywhere from the #1 QB taken, to the 4th or 5th QB taken.
- Arm Strength- Landry Jones has silly arm strength. He can make all of the throws, and he can make them hard. Jones has elite velocity on his throws and can throw the deep ball as well as anyone. His arm strength helps him make up for the occasional slow read, and Jones can fit the ball into windows that a guy like Barkley may not be able to.
- Placement/Touch- this is part of accuracy, but I don’t want to say straight accuracy because Jones is inconsistent with his accuracy. Still, Jones throws the best fade in this draft. Go back and watch some of his games and you’ll see that one thing that stands unanimous is that Jones’s throws on a fade are absolutely beautifully placed almost every time. I also love how Jones likes to put the ball high for his receivers, especially in the red zone. He puts the ball high and fast on a lot of endzone throws so that either his guy catches it, or it’s going out of the back of the endzone.
- Intangibles- Jones is a leader on the field. He will be entering his 4th year starting (Came in for Sam Bradford in 2009 during BYU when Bradford injured his shoulder) and he is Oklahoma’s career leader in passing yards. Jones is durable, and he knows what it takes to win. HE does not get flustered often, and is a good guy to look to if you need to bring your team back into a game.
- Inconsistency- Although Jones 2011 campaign was not awful, it can be summed up by using 1 word. Inconsistent. Thus, the cause for his potential to slide in the 2013 draft. Jones has showed inconsistency in both his accuracy, and his decision making, both of which are reflected in his 29 TD to 15INT ratio last season.
- Mechanics- Like Wilson, Jones tends to drop his elbow before releasing the ball. He still manages to get rid of the ball relatively quick, but the hitch in his mechanics will slow his release causing more sacks and missed opportunities on small windows. Luckily for Jones, his cannon arm has helped compensate for his wind up release, but will that work at the next level?
- Foot Work- Jones needs significant coaching on his footwork. He tends to stand flat footed, and sometimes does not set before releasing the ball. This leads to aired throws and further accentuates his already inconsistent accuracy.
Not to get repetitive, but Jones future is in his hands. Reports coming out of Oklahoma is that Jones lost 10 pounds, and has entered this off season leaner and more athletic than ever. The increased athleticism will work wonders for Jones’s footwork, so if he can pull it all together, than the sky is the limit for Jones. But he needs to cut back on those INTs
NFL Comparison- Matt “MattyIce” Ryan
I am excited about Sean Renfree. This is a guy I love coming out of Duke, and with the right coaching, I can see him having a lot of success at the next level. Let’s jump right into what makes Renfree exciting and what he needs to work on.
- Measurables- Renfree is 6’5, 225lbs, and deceptively athletic. Duke has him listed as running a 4.50 in the 40, but I’d say he’s probably more of a high 4.6/low 4.7 guy. Which even still, given his size is quite impressive. Renfree has not really showed a whole lot of his athleticism while at Duke, but it is there, and he has the capability to take off for a first down if he needs to. The bottom line is, the guy has prototypical size, with sneaky athleticism, and if he times well, that combination will be alluring to NFL scouts. He may be the most impressive of the Pro-Style QB’s from a physical standpoint
- Arm Strength- Renfree, like Jones, was blessed with a cannon of an arm. Renfree can fit the ball into just about any window, and can launch the ball down field to make the big play. Renfree can make every throw in the game, and displays good velocity on deep routes.
- Mechanics- Renfree has an NFL release, and solid footwork. He holds the ball high, and snaps quickly to get the ball out of his hands fast. His feet accentuate his release in the way that he plants and sets for most throws, allowing him a cleaner release with more accuracy and velocity.
- Intelligence/Accuracy- These two get grouped together for Renfree because his intelligence plays on his accuracy. Renfree is very smart, similar to an Alex Smith type, and uses that intelligence when seeing the field. He sees the open man, and understands the angles required to lead his receiver and throw him open if necessarily.
- Progressions- Even with his high intellect, Renfree tends to lock on to a wide receiver, and he has a problem with broadcasting his throws. He needs to get better in looking off DB’s and safeties and learning to check down to a RB in the flats if nothing is open.
- Decision making- With all his talent, Renfree still throws way to many INTs; his career TD/INT ratio is 31/30 and that number is just way to high. He needs to show more maturity in the passing game and understand what the defense is trying to do. It is one of the frustrating things about Renfree, some plays he looks like the smartes guy on the field, understanding where defenders are and where to go with the ball, and on other plays he throws it straight into coverage.
- Durability- A few years back, Renfree suffered a season ending knee injury, it is his only injury of note, but still, knee injuries are something scouts take very seriously.
- Level of Competition- Renfree plays at Duke, which is an ACC school, so he does face a few good teams throughout the season, but his numbers against those teams are less than impressive. Against Va-Tech, Renfree was 17-35 for 204 yards, 0 tds, and 3 ints. If he wants to be taken under serious consideration as a legitimate NFL prospect, he needs to perform better against top competition.
Overall, Renfree is very intriguing. He possesses the qualities to be an NFL starter, but can he put the pieces together in 2012? only time will tell, but keep an eye out for this budding talent.
NFL Comparison- Joe Flacco
Highlights- I made this highlight specifically for this article, it’s not overly long, and it doesn’t show the QB’s weaknesses, but check it out and get a little feel for what each QB is bringing to the table this season.