The 2012 quarterback class may not provide the answer to Seattle's biggest question

A lot of people want to tell you that the 2012 quarterback class is going to be one for the ages. Don't believe the hype.

Sure, Andrew Luck is a fine quarterback prospect. There are very few negatives to his overall game and he deserves a lot of the attention he receives. I've spent considerable time judging the rest of the group and to be brutally honest, it's mostly underwhelming.

What does it all mean for the Seahawks?

If you presume the team will show some interest in drafting a quarterback in round one next year, there aren't a laundry list of options.

The following article is my take on the 2012 quarterback class. Admittedly this is only my opinion. However, during my time writing Seahawks Draft Blog I've tried to think outside of the box and base judgements purely on significant tape study rather than impression.

THE BIG TWO 

For me there are twotop-end quarterback prospects who deserve high first round grades - Andrew Luck (QB, Stanford) and Matt Barkley (QB, USC). At this stage I can't offer anyone else even a general first round mark.

Barkley has more critics than he deserves - he really is a quality prospect of the highest order and if he declares will almost certainly be the second quarterback taken in April.

1) Andrew Luck (QB, Stanford)

Luck will be the #1 overall choice next year whoever owns the pick. Decorated quarterback with the potential to rejuvenate a franchise.

2) Matt Barkley (QB, USC)

Started as a true-freshman at USC and still has room to develop despite a high level of performance in three years with the Trojans. Technically excellent and already flashes pro-level ability to go through progressions.

SECOND TIER

The next group are a collection of quarterbacks I believe deserve grades after the first round. That doesn't mean one or more of these players won't be drafted in the top-32, it's merely my own personal grades.

A lot of people are high on Landry Jones (QB, Oklahoma). I think he's extremely over rated if you believe Jones is a high first round pick. This is not a player I personally would want to be handcuffed to if I was running a NFL front office.

3) Austin Davis (QB, Southern Miss)

Under rated senior quarterback with a lot of potential. Technically sound with surprising athleticism. Take a look at this guy if you get a chance, he's a sleeper. The Seahawks sent a scout to watch Southern Miss beat Virginia last week.

4) Ryan Tannehill (QB, Texas A&M)

The hype machine has gone into overdrive for Tannehill and he remains something of a project. Too often he stares down receivers and will force things, but he's also made several impressive pro-level throws this season. He needs time, but there's something there.

5) Landry Jones (QB, Oklahoma)

He'll get found out at the next level. Struggles to extend plays, throws blind too often and panics under pressure. The big numbers are a product of the Sooners offense, not any great accuracy or poise.

THIRD TIER

This group are either too inconsistent or too much of a project to warrant consideration earlier, but you'll think about a flier later on.

There are only 32 starting quarterbacks and most of them are round one picks. I don't expect one of these quarterbacks to become part of that select group, but they are the players to watch in the mid/late rounds.

6) Ryan Lindley (QB, San Diego State)

Has the strong arm and throws a pretty ball, but he's far too erratic. From a physical stand point teams will show interest, but he's not consistent enough to challenge the top prospects.

7) Robert Griffin III (QB, Baylor)

Major project because his footwork is a mess, he's not a technical thrower and he works within a one-read-and-run offense. Still, he's an incredible worker with a perfect character which is appealing. He could tempt a team to make a badly judged reach.

8) Geno Smith (QB, West Virginia)

At his best plays with incredible precision and looks every bit a top prospect. The problem is, he's too hot or cold. Will likely stay for another year in Dana Holgorsen's productive offense.

9) Kirk Cousins (QB, Michigan State)

Needed to add upper body strength during the off-season, but didn't. Reminds me of an even more limited version of Kevin Kolb. Not a strong enough overall skill set to really wow, but play-action is a major positive.

FOURTH TIER

Want to spend a late round flier on a prospect to take into camp? These players will challenge for a #3 role but may be better suited to the scout team or the CFL.

10) Brandon Weeden (QB, Oklahoma State)

He's causing a stir on a good team, but Weeden will be 29 years old during his rookie season. He's developed a lot since turning to football after a failed baseball career, but with so much work still needed he just doesn't have the time on his side.

11) Nick Foles (QB, Arizona)

Given his size and physical potential, he should be so much better than he is. Deep ball is poor for a guy with his frame and across the board he grades poorly.

Notes

There's every chance other quarterbacks will come forward as we progress through the college football calendar. Cam Newton was a late riser last year, but it's important to stress that both he and Blaine Gabbert were always on the radar.

I can't offer draft grades to players like Kellen Moore (QB, Boise State), Russell Wilson (QB, Wisconsin) and Case Keenum (QB, Houston).

Find a way to get one of the top two and there's a chance you'll be very happy for a long time. As for the rest? I wouldn't pin too much hope on finding an answer to Seattle's biggest question.

There's not a great deal of difference to previous years. Traditionally there aren't more than 1-2 players with high end potential. It's not a poor class, far from it. It's just not a rare class for depth beyond the big two.

It may not be a popular opinion, but I would consider drafting Austin Davis ahead of Landry Jones and Ryan Tannehill. I wouldn't take any of that trio in round one.

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