After 2012’s one-two NFL draft selection of two quarterbacks, this year’s draft class was very pale in comparison. Some could say it was so weak, that only one player was worthy to go in the first round with the greatest amount of action coming in the fourth round.
Based on skills, personality and team needs, some of these rookie quarterbacks will see playing time sooner than later. And some, may never really see their NFL career take off.
Let’s took a look at this year’s top of the class.
E.J. Manuel (First Round) – Buffalo Bills
Shocking almost everyone, Florida State’s Manuel was the first quarterback picked in this year’s draft by the Buffalo Bills. The team dumped last season’s starter, Ryan Fitzpatrick and picked up the Arizona Cardinals’ former quarterback Kevin Kolb in the offseason.
Upon hearing Manuel’s name called, Kolb may have seen his future changing shape quickly.
As the first pick, Manuel will come to the team with expectations that he can play this season. He’ll have plenty of time to prove himself over the next few months with OTAs, minicamp, and working with the staff and his offense.
Earlier this week, Bills coach Doug Marrone had said he was impressed by Manuel early on after he performed well in a private workout under poor weather conditions (thunderstorms). If he could perform well then, Marrone believed he should be o.k. in Buffalo’s less than desirable winter conditions.
Manuel currently sits as the top rookie quarterback.
Geno Smith (Second Round) – New York Jets
After expecting to go in the first round and ahead of Manuel, Smith fell to the top of the second round before the dysfunctional, quarterback-heavy Jets selected him as the 39th overall pick.
There is an open competition for the team’s quarterback role but it’s a crowded stable with Mark Sanchez (last year’s starter), veteran David Garrard, Greg McElroy, Matt Simms (yes, that Simms) and now Smith.
Sanchez is on the decline and many thought the team would release him after they picked up Smith. The competition for starter will likely take place between Sanchez and Smith. The players’ accuracy, arm strength, leadership and mobility will likely be scrutinized.
If Smith could play well over the next few months and show down the negative rumors, the starting job could be his. But is he mature enough to succeed?
Mike Glennon (Third Round) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Glennon was selected by Tampa in the third round and he will give quarterback Josh Freeman some competition. The team has reservations about Freeman as they wouldn’t give him an extension thanks to last season’s struggles (inconsistency, interceptions).
Now he’ll have to prove himself and if improvement doesn’t come, look for Glennon to take over. He’s not ready for prime time yet but the 6’7″ player has great arm strength, accuracy (more than 60 percent pass completion in college) and a drive to succeed.
Glennon recently contacted his former NC State teammate quarterback Russell Wilson for NFL advice. He’s not a bad source given his successful rookie season that began with low expectations.
The Fourth Rounders
It’s a crowded field in this round and most of these rookies are unlikely to see playing time in 2013 except for maybe one.
USC’s Matt Barkley kicked things off when he was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles. He joins a crowded quarterback field with veteran Michael Vick, sophomore Nick Foles, Dennis Dixon and G.J. Kinne.
As to how Barkley will fit into new coach Chip Kelly’s up tempo, spread offense remains to be seen. Barkley could fit in with either a pro-style or west coast offense but let’s be honest, there’s a lot of competition in front of him.
Then again, maybe Kelly knows something we don’t after watching for four years in the Pac-12.
Arkansas Tyler Wilson was selected by the Oakland Raiders and sits with another team that offers some competition for the starting spot. It seems logical that Matt Flynn would be the top contender but Wilson blew him out of the water with the Seahawks and the same could happen with Wilson.
With all the change at Arkansas last season, Wilson still passed for 3,000 yards and more than 20 touchdowns.
Backup quarterback Terrelle Pryor is the only “experienced” Raider but Wilson and Flynn should prove to be solid competition.
Of all the fourth rounders, Wilson has the best chance to see playing time this season.
Landry Jones was the last quarterback selected in the fourth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’ll likely backup Big Ben in Pittsburgh, but this is a crowded stable with veteran Charlie Batch, Bruce Gradkowski and John Parker Wilson. Of course we all know Roethlisberger is injury prone and maybe this will provide a nice opportunity for Landry if not this year, then next.
And the lowest expectations for this group comes Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib with the New York Giants. With Eli Manning as the team’s starter, Nassib likely won’t see much playing time over the next few years. Manning is currently the active league leader for consecutive quarterback starts (135). Nassib will carry a clipboard and hopefully learn some good stuff from Manning.
Is he the next Flynn?