The quarterback big board continues to take some massive shifts with the 2014 NFL draft drawing closer every week. How does the latest list of top ten shake up after week nine of the college season?
1. Teddy Bridgewater – Louisville
A lot of people are falling in love with Mariota and Oregon but the draft isn’t about the most successful program. It’s about the best players. From a top to bottom standpoint when it comes to playing the position of quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater is still the best on the board. He’s big, athletic, poised, accurate and smart. Franchise players are like that.
2. Marcus Mariota – Oregon
That being said, there is no question the upside is somewhat higher for Marcus Mariota. What Oregon has accomplished is a testament to the team, but their sheer dominance of every opponent is because of what Mariota can do. There isn’t a throw he can’t make on the field. Toss in his top notch mobility and advanced understanding of pocket passing and it’s little wonder he’s rising so fast.
3. Johnny Manziel – Texas A&M
Another week and nothing has changed. No matter how much the experts want to resist, the fact is that Johnny Manziel hasn’t been stopped by any defense so far in 2013. That includes mighty Alabama. He’s a threat in the passing game, a threat in the running game, he’s tough and makes big plays when they’re needed. Talk about his arm strength and height all you want. The kid simply doesn’t care.
4. A.J. McCarron – Alabama
Quite frankly, until somebody else actually beats A.J. McCarron he will start getting more respect from this writer. Since their humbling at Texas A&M last year, the Crimson Tide hasn’t lost a game and as pedestrian as his numbers might look, McCarron is a big reason why. Every time his team needs him to win throwing the football. He’s answered with big games. There’s enough talent there. The leadership, competitiveness and intelligence are already at elite levels for him otherwise.
5. Brett Hundley – UCLA
His ugly game against Oregon hinted that his inexperience might force Brett Hundley to hang back for another year in college. Still there is no question he’s good enough to go in the first round. Like Mariota he is tall, athletic with a good arm and efficient with the ball. He also runs very well. More seasoning and coaching is needed but in the right hands there is nothing he can’t do on a field.
6. Zach Mettenberger – LSU
A big body with a huge arm. That is basically what Zach Mettenberger is. Honestly, that might be all he needs if he can get his accuracy and decision-making under control. The LSU quarterback continues to put up good numbers in a traditionally run-oriented offense but has struggled of late by tossing costly interceptions. That must change as the season winds down if he wants to remain considered for the first round.
7. Bryce Petty – Baylor
Is he just a system guy or something more? That is the question scouts are trying to figure out with Bryce Petty. One thing they know for sure is under his leadership the Baylor offense has been close to unstoppable. The trouble is they aren’t sure how much of it is the offensive firepower or Petty’s ability. He does have good mobility, a strong arm, and excellent timing and accuracy. Outside of that is a mystery.
8. Derek Carr – Fresno State
Another huge game has put Derek Carr on the map for first round consideration. Fresno State remains undefeated thanks to their quarterback, who continues to follow in the footsteps of his older brother. He’s calm, decision and distributes the ball well, often under pressure. Arm strength is still in question as is his viability in a pro style offense but his work ethic and intelligence should help maximize his solid talent.
9. Jimmy Garoppolo – Eastern Illinois
The only reason he’s not higher on the list is the simple fact he’s faced a lot of lesser tier teams at Eastern Illinois. Still, Jimmy Garoppolo has broken most of the passing records set by Tony Romo, and it’s not by accident. He has the body type, arm and mental makeup of a starter in pros. His quick release and accuracy are very impressive. The outline is there. All that is needed is for him to land in the right hands in the 2014 NFL draft.
10. Tajh Boyd – Clemson
The hype has cooled considerably since the start of the season. Tajh Boyd was exposed as a human against FloridaState and continues to have consistency issues. Regardless he is still a talented individual. His passing ability has improved across the board and he remains a dangerous threat to run every time he touches the ball.