First in a series exploring the April 26-28 NFL draft. Next: Running backs.
If Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III live up to their grades, the 2012 draft will be remembered as one of the best ever for quarterbacks. The last time two quarterbacks were rated so highly was in 1998, when Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf went first and second, respectively.
Andrew Luck, Stanford, 6-4, 234: Luck is a complete prospect with experience, a history of production, a feel for the game, size, athleticism, top intangibles and toughness. He doesn't have an arm like John Elway's, but it's good enough — similar to Manning's, and he throws as accurately. His movement skills are similar to Jay Cutler's and he can throw on the run. He can take a hit like Cutler. Luck has shown he can work through his progressions and find second and third options. He has produced for four years and is considered NFL-ready. There is very little chance Luck will be a bust, and an excellent chance he will be a Pro Bowl caliber player.
2. Robert Griffin III, Baylor, 6-2, 223: He's an outstanding athlete with excellent arm. Griffin can throw the deep ball really well. He can be a streaky passer. He is a little like Michael Vick or Steve Young. Some scouts believe Griffin has more potential than Luck, but he probably is not as safe a pick. Griffin does not have ideal height, but he is tall enough. Griffin has excellent leadership skills. He will have to transition to a pro-style offense and learn to go through progressions.
3. Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M, 6-4, 221: His package of size, arm strength and athleticism gives Tannehill as much upside as any quarterback in the draft. Tannehill has had streaks of brilliance but needs more consistency. He played wide receiver until midway through 2010 and is somewhat green. He appears to have an excellent brain for the position, and he has played in a pro-style offense. Tannehill has not been a big winner and has not proven he can make good decisions and lead comebacks consistently. Physically, he is the equal of Luck but he does not appear to have his feel for the game. He is a similar prospect to Colin Kaepernick, who the 49ers chose in the second round last year.
4. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State, 6-4, 218: This former minor league pitcher in for the Yankees, Royals and Dodgers is 28. If he had played football from the start and came to the NFL at 22, he probably would have been in the first round discussion. Weeden has a good feel for the game, is smart and shows poise in the pocket. He makes good decisions and has been a winner. He has a fine arm and good athleticism. Weeden played in a spread system in college, but he looked good under center in the Senior Bowl.
5. Kirk Cousins, Michigan State, 6-2, 214: This is a tough quarterback who stepped up in big games. He is smart and competitive. Cousins' arm strength is solid. He can move in the pocket and extend the play. He is a little inconsistent with his accuracy. Cousins eventually could develop into an NFL starter if he's in the right system with the right coach.
6. Brock Osweiler, Arizona State, 6-7, 242: This underclassman can make some amazing throws, and he is pretty athletic for his size. However, he may be too tall for quarterback and is relatively inexperienced. His delivery does not take advantage of his height. He was a starter for only one year and played in a simple offense. He has not exhibited a great feel for the game. His accuracy is inconsistent.
7. Ryan Lindley, San Diego State, 6-4, 229: He is a streaky passer with enough size and arm strength to develop. Lindley did not have a great year. He is unafraid to take chances and throws some bad interceptions. An average athlete, he is at his best in the pocket. He played in a pro-style offense.
8. Kellen Moore, Boise State, 6-0, 197: If he were four inches taller and 25 pounds heavier, he would be a first-round pick. He is perfectly wired to play quarterback though not particularly athletic. He understands the game and makes smart decisions. His arm strength is tolerable. His accuracy is outstanding.
9. Nick Foles, Arizona, 6-5, 243: His size and arm strength get him noticed. Foles did not produce under pressure all the time, however. A transfer from Michigan State, Foles gets rid of the ball quickly. A former basketball player, he moves around pretty well.
10. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin, 5-10, 204: His height is a problem, but Wilson could be a package QB because of his speed and elusiveness. He is not a dropback quarterback and his decision-making has been inconsistent. He is a gamer and a playmaker who intrigues coaches. As a former minor league infielder for the Rockies, he has excellent intangibles.
11. B.J. Coleman, Tennessee-Chattanooga, 6-3, 232: A transfer from Tennessee, Coleman has a strong arm and is pretty accurate. There is some impressive tape of him. He is a little raw and has not played much against top competition. He must be viewed as a project.
12. Aaron Corp, Richmond, 6-3, 215: This late-round candidate could develop over time. A transfer from Southern Cal, Corp has a good command of the game and sees the field well. His throws are on target for the most part. A hard worker, he has had some durability issues and never has been dominant.
13. Darron Thomas, Oregon, 6-2, 220: This underclassman was a productive college quarterback and has potential. Thomas is described as a "system" quarterback who won't fit in every offense. He was a streaky, sometimes inaccurate, thrower. He has decent athleticism and can run to escape pressure.
14. Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois, 6-1, 219: He may be a better athlete than quarterback, but Harnish has enough arm strength to make the throws outside the numbers. His movement skills are very good. He lacks ideal size, but he is bright and a leader. His accuracy and fundamentals need to improve.
15. Patrick Witt, Yale
16. Austin Davis, Southern Mississippi
17. G.J. Kinne, Tulsa
18. Case Keenum, Houston
19. Dan Persa, Northwestern
20. Alex Tanney, Monmouth
The Bears already have four quarterbacks on their roster after they added free agent Jason Campbell and re-signed Josh McCown. They also have a developmental quarterback in Nathan Enderle. They are unlikely to draft another passer unless they can't resist a late-round value pick.
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