This year's crop of QBs has NFL scouts less than impressed
There hadn't been a year for quarterbacks like this since the Elway-Marino draft of 1983 — Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill, all of them stars or near-stars in 2012.
There's never been a year for quarterbacks quite like 2013, either, but for all the opposite reasons.
Only one, Geno Smith of West Virginia, is seen as a certain first-round NFL Draft pick, unless Matt Barkley — the Southern Cal QB who once was the top-rated prospect — somehow sneaks in.
“There's a whole lot of holes in the quarterbacking class,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said.
Perhaps never before has the NFL house been so divided about a single player as it is with Smith.
Some scouts call him a top-5 talent with tremendous upside; others point to glaring flaws such as a perceived inability to rapidly go through his receiver progression. They question whether he's a first-rounder at all.
Smith has the look of an NFL quarterback physically, but it seems unlikely he will start as a rookie — not exactly a ringing endorsement for the top quarterback in the draft.
“I see flashes of everything you want to see in a top-10 quarterback,” Mayock said. “I see a lot more inconsistency, though, than I see those flashes. There is a real risk-reward scenario there.”
The rest of the class? Just as unpredictable, just as unsettled. There might be gems in the bunch, and a few diamonds in the rough, but there could be cubic zirconium, too.
For every superlative, each quarterback in this class seems to have a glaring negative. E.J. Manuel of Florida State? Makes some curious decisions. Mike Glennon of North Carolina State? Too thin. Barkley? Struggles when pressured. Smith? Ran a gimmick offense.
“This year's quarterbacks, there is no consistency,” Mayock said. “There is a lack of consistency where you want to bang the table and say, ‘I love this kid.' ”
Barkley, hindered a bit last season by some conservative play-calling, has heard all that talk about this year's class being a decidedly mediocre group.
“There's been a lot of comparisons recently to last year's rookie class. Those guys came right away and played and made their marks, won playoff games,” Barkley said. “There's always going to be that comparison, whether it's just or unjust.”
Some of the criticism of Smith is that he's not a good film-room student, and he plays with a nonchalance that can't possibly carry over into the NFL. That he isn't committed to the sport and fumbles too much.
“I can't expect to prove any of these people wrong without even playing a down in the NFL,” Smith said. “My only expectation is to become as polished as I possibly can when I enter the NFL and compete and be a competitor. That's all I know how to do.”
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Value of nickel rising in NFL
- Starkey: Can Steelers’ Mitchell find Carolina cure?
- Play to watch: Inside zone read slant/bubble
- Steelers notebook: Panthers LB Kuechly making an impression
- Robinson: Study shows NFL troublemakers don’t get hurt in wallet
- Steelers notebook: Big Ben sees increase in throwing out of shotgun
- Steelers’ Timmons looks to reverse defense’s struggles
- Mistakes multiply for Steelers in rout by Ravens
- Steelers defense a long way from ‘greatest of all time’
- Moore hopes to see red (zone) in Steelers debut
- Steelers notebook: Ravens DL fined for hit on Roethlisberger