2012 NFL Draft: 2nd-Tier Quarterbacks

February 23rd, 2012

NYJD Staff Writer: Matt Deem

There are a lot of teams who have question marks surrounding the QB position entering this offseason, and looking beyond Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III there are a few nice young studs coming out of college who have a lot of potential and have the opportunity to go in the first 3 rounds of the draft.

Below, I break down four of those young guns who going into the combine and pro days have a lot to prove but can gain a lot as well over the next few months.

Ryan Tannehill QB Texas A&M

Tannehill is the kind of draft pick that can make or break a coach and GM’s career. He has shown flashes of brilliance at A&M but has only 20 career starts at QB, he was a starting WR before being handed the reins in 2010. He is very athletic and has surprisingly good footwork for a QB with his experience, throws good on the run. He is also very tough, routinely steps up in the pocket and takes big hits in order to have an extra half second to get the ball off. He is the classic case of sky high potential that many scouts and GM’s just can’t pass up.

At 6’3 215lbs he has good speed, nothing like RGIII, but reminds me of Aaron Rogers in the fact he can roll out when things break down and pick up 20 yards before anyone notices. He had some big games last year, most notably against Baylor where he threw for 400 yards and 6 TD’s (But who didn’t against Baylor’s D last year). Accuracy comes and goes with Ryan, especially on the deep ball where he looks like he throws it up for grabs more than he places it on the back shoulder. He hasn’t had any chances of late to lighten up the pile of criticism many scouts have thrown out lately since he broke a bone in his foot a few months ago, causing him to miss the Senior Bowl, as well as the upcoming combine and A&M’s pro day, but he has scheduled March 29th as the date where he will be ready to throw for interested teams.

As of now I see Ryan as the 3rd QB taken in this year’s draft possibly as high as 12-15. I like the potential he shows and has the ability to make nearly every throw on the field as long as he becomes more consistent I see him becoming a solid starter in the NFL.

Brandon Weeden QB Oklahoma State

Weeden is a fascinating prospect in a lot of different ways; he has garnered a lot of attention in the past few weeks after many have broken down his tape and realized he can make every throw and does so with confidence. He has a good arm, which was evident in his years as a pitcher in the Yankees minor league system. Weeden has caught a few breaks in his career, the first being he was in a high flying spread offense at OSU that loved to throw the ball over 40+ times a game. Weeden also was blessed with what many believed to be the best WR in the country the past two seasons in Justin Blackmon.

So the question is did Blackmon make Weeden look better than what he really is or did they complement each other equally? That is a question scouts and GM’s will need to address in the coming weeks, helped out by the combine and his pro day. He did look pretty good at the Senior Bowl in Mobile a few weeks ago, but did struggle taking snaps under center, like many QB’s from the spread in recent years. Another aspect of Weeden that many have concern about is his age, he will be 28 when the NFL season begins and that has scared some scouts, but I feel he has enough experience and skills that he can walk in day 1 and be a starter and that would give him 6-7 prime years left in his career.

As of late, some draft prognosticators have him sneaking into the 1st round while others see him as a for sure 2nd round pick. The jury is still out on him but hopefully those questions will be answered over the next few weeks.

Nick Foles QB Arizona

Foles is a long, lanky QB at 6’5 235lbs who really shines at times on film and other times is invisible. He is extremely accurate, especially with the deep ball. Foles knows the game well and is smart enough to take what the defense will give him. He has an above average arm and is able to make any throw on the field, but doesn’t come off as a game changer at the next level when I watch him play.

He was part of a perennial losing program at Arizona and went 15-19 as a starter, I don’t see the will to win in him like I do in Andrew Luck who will put a team on his back and carry them.  He reminds me of Kyle Orton, a serviceable starter who puts up good stats but not wins in the NFL. The overall feel is Foles will be drafted somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd round, which could place him as a backup to begin his career, which could be very helpful. If he is thrown into the fire like Gabbert was last year it could really hurt him mentally and set him back.

Brock Osweiler QB Arizona State

Brock has only 1 year experience as a starting QB under his belt, so understandably there are a lot of questions still unanswered about him. What does stand out is his size, the tallest QB of this draft class at 6’8. NFL scouts love tall QB’s, especially tall QB’s with superior arm strength, which Brock has as well. He is also really athletic, originally was committed to Gonzaga for a basketball scholarship.

Although he won’t outrun defenders in the 40, he can elude and sidestep them very well in the pocket. Many compare him to Ryan Mallet, but I see Brock as more NFL ready. I see him being selected in the early second round with 1st round potential if he shines in the combine and pro day. One team I can see him going to is the Denver Broncos; to give Elway his prototypical QB he has been looking for to challenge Tebow.

Tags: 2012 NFL Draft, Brandon Weeden, Ryan Tannehill

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