At least quarterback-hungry Kansas City recognized the weak class and traded with San Francisco to acquire Alex Smith. West Virginia’s Geno Smith seems to be the consensus No. 1 prospect this year, but he is nowhere close to the NFL-ready prospect like Cam Newton, Sam Bradford, Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III were. Smith, who had a wonderful pro day in a workout engineered to highlight the things he does well, will probably be the first quarterback taken. He’ll probably go in the first round, but that doesn’t mean he’s a first-round talent. He’s ranked 37th on the CFU Big Board, and could move up before the draft, but he’ll be nowhere near a top-10 talent – even though that’s where he may get selected.
Can Kansas State’s Collin Klein follow in the footsteps of his K-State predecessor, Josh Freeman, and find some NFL success? Or Klein could just end up as the next Colt McCoy or Blaine Gabbert, who could have benefited from another year at Missouri. Gabbert, a St. Louis native, has been a bust so far in the NFL as the Jaguars, like the Vikings and Titans in 2011, desperately grabbed a quarterback who was not first-round material.
Then again, you can’t blame Gabbert for cashing in when he did. Look at USC’s Matt Barkley, a consensus top-10 pick as a junior who decided to come back his senior year and probably fell out of the first round this year. Or did he? Teams not scared that Barkley is the next Matt Leinart might reach for him earlier than he should be selected. NFL teams can ill-afford to make a mistake at quarterback – see the Oakland Raiders and JaMarcus Russell. Speaking of the Raiders, they could be another team that reaches for a QB. Their current options are aging veteran Carson Palmer and inexperienced, and inconsistent, Terrelle Pryor. It’s doubtful either of them will go to any future Pro Bowls or start a playoff game.
Unfortunately for NFL teams in 2013, the Heisman-winning quarterback is a freshman. There is no slam-dunk No. 1 signal-caller in this draft like Bradford in 2010 or Luck and Griffin last year. Nope, instead it’s a crap shoot and some team will pray that Smith is the next RGIII and not the next Pat White.
The group of quarterbacks behind Smith consists of Nick Florence, who succeeded Griffin at Baylor and started one season; Bradford’s successor at Oklahoma, Landry Jones; Texas Tech’s Seth Doege, who is probably the second coming of Graham Harrell; Louisiana Tech’s Colby Cameron, who is not the second coming of Terry Bradshaw and proved it
with a rocky showing at the NFL Combine; North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon, who has a strong arm, but is nowhere near the athlete or leader that Russell Wilson was for the Wolfpack; Tennessee’s Tyler Bray, who will never be confused with Peyton Manning; and Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib, who doesn’t exactly conjure up images of Donovan McNabb. One quarterback who isn’t on many radars, but could end up being the best signal caller of the 2013 class is Tulane’s Ryan Griffin. He was not invited to the Combine, but was the most impressive of all the quarterbacks playing in all-star games.
With so many questions at quarterback and without that blue-chip, slam-dunk guy, NFL teams would be advised to upgrade their offenses in other areas where the draft is deep with talent like wide receiver or offensive line.