With Rudy Gamble’s April fools joke of Razzball being bought out by Bleacher Report, I actually took the time to give you guys an excellent slide show of the top quarterback prospects for this year. Unfortunately that wasn’t true so you are just going to have to make due with my normal write up, sorry. Why couldn’t this year’s quarterback class be as easy as last year? We had Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin and then basically everyone else. This year seems to be a bit more difficult as there is no standout prospect and each player has their unique skills and deficiencies. It’s hard to imagine that we won’t see at least two quarterbacks go in the first round as history has proven that the over would be most likely, but with teams needy at the position scooping up free agent quarterbacks such as Carson Palmer to Arizona, Matt Flynn to Oakland and Dennis Dixon to Philadelphia we could see the standard quarterback heavy first round philosophy change in this year’s draft. Before you dismiss this list as “future talent” and not immediate Fantasy Football contributors keep in mind that of the twelve playoff teams in 2012 six of those teams had either first or second year quarterbacks and almost all of which were an asset to many fantasy teams in most formats. With all that said, lets take a look at some of this years talent and their possible landing spots for as their 2013 Fantasy Football dream team and where they might go in the 2013 NFL Draft…
1. Geno Smith West Virginia: Geno has been the most talked about prospect and is clearly ahead of the rest of the pack in terms of his draft stock. There are questions surrounding his light build and ability to read defenses and run an effective offense at the professional level but with his athletic ability and amazing accuracy he truly has tremendous upside. He may have skipped the Pro Bowl but did post great numbers at the combine and had an incredibly successful Pro Day. My dream team for Geno would be the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars are still in shock from the implosion that was Blaine Gabbert. If they can move past this disappointment and draft a QB high again, they could be getting a player to step in with some really amazing playmakers on offense. Between Shorts, Blackmon, Marcedes Lewis and Maurice Jones Drew they could finally start competing in the AFC South.
2. EJ Manuel Florida State: I know, I know this looks crazy and although I agree Manuel has a lot of things to work on in terms of fundamentals I think he has tremendous upside and if thrown into the right offense could have immediate Fantasy Football potential. He lacks the development of a quality pocket passer but with his athletic ability he is perfectly capable of running a modified read option which is becoming the popular offensive scheme for NFL teams. Please take the next sentence with caution and this is by no means a player comparison but at 6’ 5” 237 and a 4.65 forty he has the physical presence of Cam Newton and durability should not be a factor like it will be with many other quarterbacks in this class. Does EJ have a low floor? He sure does but he also has a very high ceiling. My dream team for EJ would be the Philadelphia Eagles. Chip Kelly’s offense may look complicated but it would actually work to Manuel’s strengths with quick short throws that don’t require a lot of scrambling or going through multiple reads. No doubt he would be a successful asset to a very dangerous offense that is the Eagles.
3. Ryan Nassib Syracuse: Nassib’s value also relies on his experience in a read option type offense and with this becoming the new fad of the NFL, no doubt he could be an effective Fantasy Football asset on the right team. He performed well at the Senior Bowl showing his sound fundamentals and incredible velocity and accuracy with his intermediate throws in practice but then in live play had a terrible showing with a fumble and interception showing that he has consistency problems. The weakness in Nassib’s game is clearly when he needs to stretch the field and make long throws. He also had a decent Pro Day completing 69 of 75 passes missing mostly the longer throws. My dream team for Nassib would be the Buffalo Bills. The Bills will need to add a wide receiver in the draft to allow Steve Johnson to move into the slot but if Spiller is let loose as many think he will, any quarterback in this offense could end up with a very successful season.
4. Matt Barkley USC: Amazing how drastically things can change in a year. After passing on the 2012 NFL Draft, Barkley was regarded as the clear number one quarterback prospect in college football. This quickly took a turn for the worse during his quest for a National Championship. Matt Barkley and the USC Trojans finished 7-6 including a 21-7 Sun Bowl loss to Georgia Tech. Luckily for Barkley he still had a respectable season and due to the lack of depth in this year’s draft he still remains one of the top overall prospects at quarterback. The major concerns that surround Barkley is his size at 6’ 2” and lack of arm strength. There are also many questioning that his success was a direct result of the talent he has had around him during his time at USC. What Barkley lacks in physical ability he has in fundamentals and football smarts. He is truly a student of the game and will need to be in an effective, complex system to stand out in the NFL. My dream team for Barkley would be the Denver Broncos. Peyton Manning - although extremely impressive last year - doesn’t have many seasons left and with a questionable depth chart, Barkley could be a great addition into an explosive offense that rarely requires the quarterback to make long throws, not to mention learning the game from one of the best.
5. Zac Dysert Miami Ohio: At 6’3 235, Dysert looks like an NFL quarterback with great arm strength to go with it. He can easily execute all the throws that are required of an NFL starter. His overall throwing mechanics as seen in the Senior Bowl and his Pro Day are relatively sound and he rarely slips into poor form as to what would be considered “rookie mistakes”. His physical talent really lies mostly in his arm as he is far from a scrambling Quarterback and is a terrific pocket passer. He is regarded as one of the only pocket passers that deals well with pressure and is rarely flustered making the same throws he would even without pressure. He still progressed through his reads, and doesn’t make a ton of mistakes by forcing the football. With all that said, he is far from the perfect prospect. He still needs a lot of work with his footwork and he has physical limitations that could hold him back. My dream team for Dysert would be the Pittsburgh Steelers. Former Ohio of Miami Quarterback Ben Rothlisberger has taken quite a beating as a Steeler and unfortunately they will need to start looking to the future. Dysert could be a great value pick and could be the next franchise quarterback the Steelers need. As long as they work on adding some offensive weapons, no doubt he could have value within a few years in Pittsburgh.
6. Tyler Wilson Arkansas: Wilson might be the safest pick in the draft but has limited upside. He is well balanced, confident and has excellent fundamentals. He has been somewhat forgotten as of late with a mediocre Senior Bowl and average Pro Day where he completed 77 of 84 throws to receivers without any defense on the field. He has the talent to be a starting NFL Quarterback but is going to need a great supporting cast to be successful. Wilson would most likely end up on a team that needs a quarterback to just do enough not to lose the game or could serve as a very good back up. My dream team for Wilson would be the New Orleans Saints. With Chase Daniels departing the Saints are in need of a reliable back up and Wilson would be more than capable to fill this role.
7. Mike Glennon North Carolina State: At 6’ 7” 225, he towers over all other quarterbacks. He has a huge arm and is surprisingly athletic for his build. Of all the prospects in this quarterback class, Glennon probably has the most intangibles physically as a passer but with that said he is a very raw talent. His weight is probably the most concerning, even though he is over 4 inches taller than most of the other prospects almost all of them outweigh him. The other thing that is concerning is that when he gets pressured, his throws become erratic almost as if he goes into panic mode. I like Glennon as a long-term prospect but he has a lot of work to do before he can be declared an NFL starter. My dream team for Mike Glennon would be the San Diego Chargers where he could learn under a similar player also from NC State, Phillip Rivers.