NFL Draft 2013 positional rankings: Quarterbacks

Robert Laberge

Editor's note: Here are Derek's QB rankings as they were published last week on April 18th. I will make a note of it if any of them change prior to Thursday's start to the NFL Draft.

1 Matt Barkley QB Southern California Sr 6'3 227

Barkley may lack the big arm, but throughout his career at USC, he has displayed solid fundamentals, good feet, more than adequate accuracy, and an intangible leadership quality that should translate well to the next level. He's an underrated athlete, and he has shown that he's capable of performing at a high level in critical moments. Would be ideal in a timing-based, rhythm offense that relies on short, quick passes and play action. My top-rated QB in the class.

2 Ryan Nassib QB Syracuse rSr 6'2 227

Nassib possesses good arm strength, accuracy, above-average athleticism and big-time toughness in the pocket. His biggest weakness is his inability to process information quickly when he's under pressure in the pocket, and often times will make a poor throw when the heat is on. He does a good job of buying time with his feet, and displays solid accuracy on the run. Many scouts have Nassib as the top QB on the board, but his struggles under pressure have kept him out of that spot for me. If he can become more decisive and poised in the pocket, he could very well end up being the top performer in the class.

3 Geno Smith QB West Virginia Sr 6'3 218

Smith may be the best athlete of the bunch, but his mechanics as a thrower concern me. Inconsistent arm angles and footwork have impacted his ability to be routinely accurate, and as a result, we saw massive volatility in his '12 performance. He'll need significant technical work if he's ever going to be a top-echelon starting QB in the NFL.

4 EJ Manuel QB Florida State rSr 6'5 237

Manuel is one of the more intriguing prospects at any position, in the entire draft. His combination of massive size and "plus" athleticism to go with a big-time arm, have some using the word "prototypical" to describe him. He clearly has big-time potential, but he has his fair share of weaknesses too. He doesn't set his feet consistenly in the pocket and his accuracy struggles because of it. He'll lock onto his target far too often and leaves the pocket before he needs to. Seems to be more comfortable throwing on the run at times, than in the pocket. Doesn't always seem to process information quickly enough, and won't finish through progressions before tucking and running. Manuel has All-Pro talent, but has a ways to go before he puts it all together.

5 Matt Scott QB Arizona rSr 6'2 213

Scott's combination of athleticism and arm strength are intriguing and have drawn comparisons to Russell Wilson. Scott doesn't have the starting experience that Wilson did coming out of school, and his mechanics aren't nearly as consistent, but there are flashes that do remind me of the Wisconsin alum. I have Scott as one of my biggest sleepers in the crop, as he routinely made good decisions, displayed nice accuracy and a clear ability to make all the throws both from the pocket and on the run. Probably a 3rd or 4th round pick, but with late-1st round ability.

6 Landry Jones QB Oklahoma rSr 6'4 225

Jones is still one of my favorite QBs in the class. Strong arm, better athlete than given credit for, scans the field and checks down effectively, and exhibits pre-snap intelligence to make adjustments and direct his receivers. The offense he was in featured a lot of shotgun/pistol and asked him to throw laterally pretty frequently, so we didn't see a lot of "traditional" QB play out of Jones. His footwork lacks consistency, and a varying release point leads to intermittent strings of inaccuracy, but when mindful of his mechanics, Jones can make all the throws with ease. He has big-game experience, and exhibits good poise under pressure. Probably a 4th or 5th round pick, but might have been taken in the 1st round had he come out last year. He does have 1st round potential.

7 Tyler Wilson QB Arkansas rSr 6'2

215 Wilson is a guy who has "flashed" a ton of impressive traits, but struggled mightily to be consistent with any of them. He has a big arm, impressive toughness and a strong leadership quality about him on the field. He has far too much confidence in his arm though, often trying to force balls into impossibly tight spaces, and abandons his footwork altogther at times. Reminds me of a sloppier Brandon Weeden. Draw your own conclusion from there.

8 *Tyler Bray QB Tennessee Jr 6'6 232

Bray possesses perhaps the best arm in the class. He's accurate too, particularly on timing routes when asked to lead his target. He displays nice touch on the deep ball, and can really thread the needle through some tight spaces. Where he lacks is in his footwork. He'll throw off his back foot frequently, and allows his feet to become too narrow when he does set to throw. He also drops his arm angle at times making him susceptible to being batted down. Bray is a classic case of a guy who could boom or bust. Probably a 3rd or 4th round selection, but has Top-15 arm talent.

9 Mike Glennon QB North Carolina State rSr 6'7 225

Glennon is another gunslinger type who can make all the throws and does so at times with remarkable precision. Like Tyler Bray though, Glennon's footwork is inconsistent, and he simply doesn't possess light enough feet to escape or buy time consistently at the next level. One comparison may be Ryan Mallett who displayed similar advantages and limitations coming out of Arkansas. If Glennon can be brought up through a system that features a traditional, drop-back pocket passer, and become more consistent with his feet in the pocket, he could have starter upside.

10 Zac Dysert QB Miami (Ohio) rSr 6'3 231

Dysert has impressive arm strength and toughness, surprising mobility for his build, and is decisive in the pocket. He's highly inconsistent though, and wasn't in an offense at Miami (OH) that forced him to run through progressions. He took most of his snaps from the shotgun, and went lateral with a lot of his passes, so we haven't seen a lot of scanning the field, or driving the ball vertically from Dysert. There's clearly something to work with here, but to become anything more than a No. 2 or No. 3 QB at the next level, he'll need to improve footwork and learn to read defenses.

11 Jeff Tuel QB Washington State Sr 6'3 218

Tuel's injuries have been his biggest enemy. He just couldn't stay consistently healthy while at WSU. On the field, Tuel displays good route anticipation and timing to lead his receiver on out routes and slants, and drops the ball in nicely on vertical routes. He's mobile and agile in the pocket and throws with good accuracy on the run. His arm strength is average at best, and he'll occasionally lock on and force the ball. Had Tuel not been injured so frequently in school, he'd probably be a 3rd-5th round selection based on his on-field ability.

12 Jordan Rodgers QB Vanderbilt rSr 6'2 202

Rodgers is an athletic, tough signal-caller who consistently displays an ability to locate the ball with good velocity, on short-to-intermediate routes. He exhibits good use of his mobility to buy time and make accurate throws while on the run, and although he doesn't have a cannon for an arm, utilizes touch and good anticipation to lead his receiver vertically. I'm not sure if he can make the deeper sideline throws consistently at the next level, and does float the ball a bit too much when asked to put it on a stick, past 15 yards or so. Probably a depth grab in a West-Coast or hybrid/Read-Option type offense, with upside to be a spot starter down the road.

Here's a glance at the QBs who would be ideal depth for Seattle's current offensive system:

1 EJ Manuel Florida State rSr 6'5 237
2 Matt Scott Arizona rSr 6'2 213
3 Jordan Rodgers Vanderbilt rSr 6'2 202
4 Zac Dysert Miami (Ohio) rSr 6'3 231
5 Jeff Tuel Washington State Sr 6'3 218

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