Over the next week leading up to the 2013 college football all star games, we'll examine the 2013 NFL Draft's top prospects at each position. We'll try to point out potential draft candidates that can fill needs and provide depth for the Niners. The first position we'll examine is quarterback.
There isn't an Andrew Luck in this draft. There won't be any teams trading numerous first round draft picks to get an RGIII. Heck there isn't even a Russell Wilson. Needless to say this isn't the strongest of draft classes when it comes to quarterbacks. Good news is it's not a significant position of need. Still, there are several prospects that posses big arms and have lots of talent. There are gems to be had here and I think they can be found in the mid to late rounds.
2013 NFL Draft Quarterback Prospect Rankings:
1. Geno Smith 6-3 214lbs – West Virginia Stock: Steady Projection: Top 10
2. Tyler Wilson 6-3 220lbs – Arkansas Stock: Rising Projection: Top 15
3. Matt Barkley 6-2 230lbs - Southern California Stock: Falling Projection: Top 20
4. Ryan Nassib 6-2 228lbs – Syracuse Stock: Rising Projection: Mid-late 1st round
5. Mike Glennon 6-6 232lbs - North Carolina State Stock: Rising Projection: Late 1st/Early 2nd round
6. Zac Dysert 6-4 228lbs – Miami (Ohio) Stock: Rising Projection: Round 2-3
7. Tyler Bray 6-6 215lbs - Tennessee Stock: Steady Projection: Round 3-4
8. Landry Jones 6-4 218lbs – Oklahoma Stock: Falling Projection: Round 3-4
9. EJ Manuel 6-5 240lbs - Florida State Stock: Steady Projection: Round 4-5
10. Matt Scott 6-3 197lbs - Arizona Stock: Rising Projection: Round 4-5
Just Missing: Colby Cameron - La Tech; Brad Sorensen - South Utah; Collin Klein - Kansas State; Jordan Rogers - Vanderbilt
The importance of the quarterback position is at an all time high. With roughly 1/3 of the league looking to fill that position every off-season, it’s no surprise that quarterback is often the most ‘over-valued’ position in the draft every year. This year, I expect four to five quarterbacks to be taken in the first round and ten to be selected in the first five rounds.
Clearly quarterback is not an immediate need for the 49ers. Jim Harbaugh seems to think Scott Tolzien is good enough to stay on the roster and will be given a chance to earn the backup role this off season. The Niners could decide to bring in a veteran backup to compete with Tolzien. With 14 picks in April’s draft, including eight in the final three rounds, I wouldn't be shocked to see the 49ers do both with the drafted quarterback filling out a spot on the practice squad.
I wouldn’t bet on that selection coming with any of the team’s first five picks (one first rounder, one second rounder, and potentially three third rounders) which leaves rounds four through seven. This narrows the focus a bit to the quarterbacks ranked seventh to tenth above. Both Landry Jones and E.J. Manuel will play in the January 26 Senior Bowl (as will Tyler Wilson, Ryan Nassib, and Mike Glennon), and both could improve their draft stock tremendously. While both are mobile and able to elude the rush only Manuel possesses true dual threat capabilities.
Matt Scott from Arizona could be an intriguing mid to late round pick and may increase his stock even further with a good showing in the East-West Shrine Game on January 19. Scott is very athletic and has shown to be deadly accurate while throwing on the run.
Others to watch are Colby Cameron from Louisiana Tech and Jordan Rogers from Vanderbilt. Both figure to be very late round picks or undrafted free agents. I like Cameron as a potential late round sleeper. He’s a bit undersized but is incredibly accurate and smart with the football. He didn’t throw his first interception until 11 games into the season while amassing over 4,000 yards passing and 31 TDs.
If you're the GM, do you draft a rookie to compete for the backup job, sign a veteran, or both?