It is that time of year again where the dreams and aspirations of many young, talented men are put to the test in a one-week competition in which they are poked, prodded, tested, analyzed, interviewed and assessed in a way that most people will never have to experience, outside of the military. In a matter of a week the player’s stocks can rise and fall dramatically, sometimes making or costing them several hundreds of thousands of dollars or more in contract money. The pressure is on, but that is why we are NFL fans, right?
[intlink id="7442" type="post"]FFLockerRoom[/intlink] will be covering the action coming out of the NFL Combine, as we follow the progression or regression of the players involved leading up to May’s 2014 NFL Draft and beyond. Agree or disagree with what we have to say? Let us know by commenting down below.
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2014 NFL Combine Quarterback Prospects
College: Central Florida Bortles finds himself in a unique position. Despite being ranked behind both Bridgewater and Manziel heading into the combine, it is Bortles who shined the most. Sitting with the most upside in a draft that holds no true #1 quarterback prospect, the young Central Florida quarterback could find himself climbing the charts and ultimately grabbing the position of being the first gunslinger drafted in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Pros: Strong arm, good size, ability to scramble, intelligent. Cons: Throwing mechanics.
College: Clemson Boyd is viewed anywhere from a third-round possibility all the way to Day-3 pick. His sporadic inconsistencies as well his average combine showing makes him a true wildcard and something more of a project that could excel in the right system if given a chance. Having performed very well in many key games this season, the potential is there. But he must improve on his overall game at the premier level of football, something of which isn’t easily done.
Pros: Accurate passer, good arm, pocket presence, tough. Cons: Undersized, inaccurate at times.
College: Louisville The former Louisville quarterback has been very vocal during the combine week exuding how he is the best quarterback in the 2014 NFL draft. With no one standing out as a true #1, it is very possible that he is right. The problem is with all of the hype that comes with Bridgewater, his overall game doesn’t even come close to comparing to other top quarterback draft picks in recent years. Despite his college statistics, the lack of size and speed will most likely hole him into a pocket passer rather than a dual-threat as once projected. Should be one of the top couple of quarterbacks to go on Day-1.
Pros: Good skill set, strong arm. Cons: Undersized, lack of true speed.
College: Fresno State Carr scored well in many of the skill tests held at the combine, and with his excellent Senior season performance, the former Fresno State quarterback has grabbed the attention of many NFL franchises. Projected as a second round talent, there are enough teams that are desperate for a good, young quarterback that it has been rumored that he could even land somewhere in the first round. Statistically, he just dominated in 2013, passing for over 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns, but it was against lesser competition than many of the other top-rated 2014 NFL draft prospects faced. The mystique could hurt his draft status some.
Pros: Decision-making, strong arm, good vision. Cons: Unproven against top-level competition.
College: San Jose State After a lackluster start to the 2013 season, Fales picked up his statistics, but still left plenty of questions on the table. Dominating against lesser teams and failing against the larger schools, he has a large ladder to climb to prove himself. Expected to get drafted in the middle of the 2014 NFL draft before the combine, Fales numbers across the board were sub-par. Depending on how teams aim to fill the quarterback position through the draft, Fales could slip some.
Pros: Solid arm strength, some mobility. Cons: Inconsistent accuracy, fails against top competition.
College: Eastern Illinois Garoppolo failed to impress during the combine, coming in with lacluster numbers, but it is his intangibles that will speak volumes on what NFL scouts and franchises really think of him. Capable of placing points up in bunches in college, he threw for over 5,000 yards with 53 touchdowns in 2013. Better yet, Garoppolo also showed well in his Senior Bowl, practicing well while playing along much better competition than he normally would play with and against. He is pretty strong across the board as far as quarterback skills are concerned, with minor issues that he will have to continuously develop to become a true-blue, NFL quarterback. But he has the potential. Expect Garoppolo to be taken somewhere in the early-middle rounds.
Pros: Strong arm, great delivery, quick release, nice field vision. Cons: Must improve feet and drop back passing.
College: Northern Illinois Lynch is very wet behind the ears and is more suited for college football rather than at the professional level when it comes to slinging the rock. While he does have wheels, rushing for 1,920 yards and 23 touchdowns, his lack of production through the air against the level of competition that he was facing is very concerning. If he is to stick in the NFL, look for him to move to another position. Think of him as a quicker Tim Tebow, with not as many quarterback skills.
Pros: Quick on his feet. Cons: Not enough skills to be a NFL-caliber quarterback. Very raw.
College: Alabama The Alabama product has had question marks across the board as far as whether or not they are NFL-caliber, but with him passing on an invitation to the Senior Bowl, some people are now questioning whether or not McCarron just passed on it, or if he is actually trying to hide the fact that what had been whispered for a while now, that his skill-set isn’t anything special is actually true. He had been projected to go somewhere in the early-middle rounds, but with a poor performance at the combine, you have to believe that his stock is going to slide. He is a project as it stands right now and could be further hurt by the fact that he had one of the better surrounding casts in college last season.
Pros: Intelligent, good on-the-field management. Cons: Weaker passing arm, skipped Senior Bowl.
College: Texas A&M Manziel is touted as one of the best quarterback prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft, having completed over 70 percent of his passes during his 2013 collegiate season. The Texas A&M product combined for over 5,000 total yards, 4,114 through the air and 923 on the ground, while combining for 46 touchdowns. A sure runner with quickness, Manziel has also improved upon his passing game. His numbers were pretty stellar at the combine, chalking up a 4.68 40. Considered one of the top-2 most NFL-ready quarterbacks of the draft, Bridewater being the other, expect Manziel to be drafted in the top-3 come May, barring anything crazy happening off-the-field.
Pros: Great instincts, quick, improved across the board in 2013 with footwork, accuracy, ball placement and field vision. Cons: Stands at only 6’0, off-the-field behavior.
College: Cornell Possessing great size for an NFL quarterback, Mathews who stands at 6’4/220 runs as if he has cement connected to his feet. Both, being slow with bad footwork, Mathews will have a touch time excelling at the next level if he doesn’t improve on that aspect of his game. He does have a big-time arm so he will be given every opportunity to succeed, but looks like he is more of a project at this point rather than someone that will be drafted to take over the quarterback position in a year or two. Look for Mathews to get drafted somewhere in the middle-late rounds with a shot to make a NFL team, and at the very least latch on as a practice squad quarterback.
Pros: Great size, great arm. Cons: Very slow, horrible footwork.
College: LSU Some players just excel under the right supervision and Mettenberger seems to have found that during his senior season for LSU. Under offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, Mettenberger excelled across the board, especially with his decision-making, fundamentals, accuracy and field vision. Unfortunately he suffered a torn ACL late in the year and had to miss the combine and Senior Bowl. While his stock could slide some on draft day, early projections were that he would be drafted early, within the first few rounds. As long as he stays healthy, he should blossom into a NFL-caliber quarterback in time.
Pros: Has all the tools to be a NFL starter, huge arm, pocket presence. Cons: Torn ACL.
College: Miami Morris, who entered the 2013 collegiate season with a lot to prove simply didn’t. Completing just 58 percent of his passes, he barely topped 3,000 passing yards and threw for only 21 touchdowns to go along with 12 interception. Very inaccurate at times, he does have a solid arm and decent feet. There seems to be a large learning curve for him as well as far as the mental aspect of the game on-the-field. It will be tough to develop that at the next level, making Morris more of a project that should go somewhere from the middle-late rounds of the NFL Draft.
Pros: Solid arm, mobility. Cons: Accuracy, mental grasp.
College: Georgia Much like Mettenberger of LSU, Murray suffered a late-season ACL tear which forced him to miss both, the Senior Bowl as well as the Combine. In fact, his injury could factor into the beginning of training camp. While considered undersized at 6’1/203, the Georgia product plays with a lot of heart and seems to make the most out of his opportunities. Projected to be a middle-late round pick in this year’s draft, Murray has a huge hill to climb if he is ever to earn a NFL starting gig down the road, which at this point doesn’t seem very likely.
Pros: Gamer, makes most of his opportunity. Cons: Undersized, athletic ability.
College: North Carolina Projected as a late-round selection this year’s draft, Renner struggled this season with productivity, gaining just 1,765 yards and 10 touchdowns through the air, coupled with 5 interceptions. With his season ending with a shoulder injury, Renner has plenty to prove if he is to latch onto an NFL team to begin the season. A lot of his struggles could be pointed to a ton of talent having left after the 2012 season. When he is on, he looks very capable of succeeding in the NFL. But when he isn’t, he doesn’t. But with capable talent surrounding him in training camp, Renner could prove to be a true bargain. Only time will tell.
Pros: Smart, Good game manager. Cons: Shoulder injury, poor mobility.
College: Pittsburgh One of the lesser known NFL bound talents in the collegiate ranks last season was Savage who played for the University of Pittsburgh. Built with enormous size, 6’5/230, along with a gunslingers arm, he has the NFL build and skill-set that most teams would clamor for, except for one thing. He bounced around so much during his collegiate career due to an injury that cost him his starting job during his sophomore year that he never did settle into one offensive scheme and never developed as he should have. While he isn’t very mobile and will never be confused as a dual-threat quarterback, he has drawn raves and praise from many NFL scouts and is someone that could turn out to be one of the bigger steals of the draft. Expect him to get drafted late or sign as an undrafted free agent.
Pros: Strong arm, Great size. Cons: Slow, needs to improve footwork, lack of development.
College: South Carolina Despite the lack of size with Shaw who stands at 6’0 and 207 pounds on a good day, his NFL Draft day value seems to be on the rise. Placing in the top-5 in many tests including the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump, Shaw also showed zip on his confidently completed tosses during the combine. Compared to the NFL’s Russell Wilson who just won the Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks despite his lack-of-size, this is an example of what a player who comes prepared to do well at the Combine can achieve. Originally thought of as a late round pick with a possibility at being an undrafted free agent, you could see his stock climb some come May.
Pros: Quick, athletic, compared to Russell Wilson. Cons: Undersized.
College: Virginia Tech Projected to be an early-middle round draft pick, Thomas of Virginia Tech impressed many with his Senior Bowl performance, showcasing a skill set that not many have. Unfortunately for Thomas, he also displayed the mistakes and mental lapses that have also followed him throughout his collegiate career. He is very raw, possessing a very strong arm and has great size, 6’6/254, but his decision making skills and pocket presence must improve to be successful at the next level. He developed the tendencies to show that he was transforming into a run-first quarterback which isn’t good considering that the defenses in the NFL will be much more prolific.
Pros: Very athletic, great size, very good arm strength, mobile for his size. Cons: Poor mental presence on-the-field.
College: West Texas A&M In 2013 Vaughan showed the world that he was serious about making the next jump to the NFL as he set single-season school records of tossing 5,401 yards and 53 touchdowns. He is blessed with superior size, weighing in at 6’5/220 and is pretty good with his accuracy. So-so with his feet, he is also considered very intelligent with outstanding leadership skills. He will be a tad out of his element in the NFL and will need time to develop, but has an outside shot at making a team as a third-stringer and could blossom into more later on in his career.
Pros: Very intelligent, great leader and command, accurate arm and enormous size. Cons: Footwork, small hands, decision-making.
College: Ball State The little-known Wenning is opening eyes with his above average arm and accuracy. Despite the lack of mobility and solid footwork the Ball State product has surprised and is showing that he possesses a NFL-caliber skill-set. What works against him is the lack of superior competition in his collegiate career. But with his showing at the East-West shrine in which he out performed many of his more well known competition, he should find a place in some NFL team’s organization as a developmental quarterback. Look for him to get drafted somewhere from the middle-late rounds to even be a priority free agent signing. One thing is for certain, his arm and determination are things that you can’t look past.
Pros: Very strong arm, accuracy. Cons: Mobility, footwork, lack of experience against top-talent.