2013 NFL Draft: QB Athletic Report Cards

April 17th, 2013

Matt Scott is a dual threat quarterback who could run the read option offense which seems to be catching on (Photo: US Presswire)

By Marc Sluis, Staff Writer

A plethora of factors are considered when a quarterback prospect is being evaluated. You love the guy to be a natural leader who can command not only a huddle, but a meeting room and even press conference. In that sense Peyton Manning might be the gold standard and Joe Flacco is just an anomaly.

Still, as important as it is to be sound above the shoulders, the rest of the body plays a major part as well. Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III’s pure physical tools made scouts drool and the is nobody in this class at that level. With that said who grades out the best athletically. Take a look:

1. EJ Manuel FSU
6’4 (5/8)
237

40 Time: 4.65
Hands: 10 (3/8)

Athletic Grade: A

Manuel was a pure potential guy to start the year, but from the Senior Bowl (earned MVP honors) on he has been on the move up draft boards. He peaked at #2 on Mike Mayock’s list and might challenge Matt Barkley for the second QB off the board. Despite a college career full of ups and downs he did show some actualization of that talent. His motion is a little too stiff for me, but it does fly off his hand with ease. He is certainly not a Can Newton level talent, but a poor man’s version isn’t a bad comparison. Both have a big arm, good height, excellent bulk and the athleticism to get that frame going quickly and make people miss. If he reaches his full potential (which is almost never the case for any player) he would the best QB in this class, and that alone might push him into the early round 2 range. He seems to be a great fit in Chip Kelly’s system so don’t count out Manuel going in the Top 40 overall if the Eagles pass on Geno Smith with their first round and are still looking for a future signal caller with #35 overall.

 

2. Geno Smith WEST VIRGINIA
6’2 (3/8)
218

40 Time: 4.59
Hands: 9 (1/4)

Athletic Grade: A-

It seems ages ago that Smith was on his way to the Heisman and a lock to go #1 overall. Geno still has the tools to go that high and very well could land in the top four players selected. He ran a QB best 4.59 and is athletic enough to be a consideration at #4 to run Chip Kelly’s up tempo system. At the very least he can use that escapability and speed to make plays when the pocket collapses. He has a great arm and throws a beautiful (and 2013 draft class best) deep ball making him the total package physically. Throw in widely respected intangibles and it looks like consistency is the only thing holding him back.

 

3. Nathan Stanley SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA
6’5
215

(Not invited to Combine)

Athletic Grade: A-

An Ole Miss transfer who completed 53% of his throws for 8 TD and 9 INT is #3 on this list! Yes, based solely on athletic talent applicable to the quarterback position. Stanley is 6’5 tall with a rocket arm. Not only can he push the ball with pace to opposite sideline for the typical 20 maybe 25 yard throw, he made similar throws in the 30 to 35 yard range with ease. This ranking is based on nothing but natural talent and excludes the vital intangible traits every player, but especially a quarterback needs to succeed. However, a solid athlete who stands tall in the pocket and has arguably the livest arm in this class is worthy of #3 on this list. He could easily flame out after going undrafted. But I wouldn’t be surprised if three to four years down the road everyone is asking how nobody knew of this guy either.

 

4. Matt Scott ARIZONA
6’2 (1/8)
213

40 Time: 4.69
Hands: 9

Athletic Grade: B+

If teams are looking for someone to run the read-option made popular by RGIII, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson, Scott could be their guy. Nobody in this class (spare maybe Manuel) is even on close to the level of athlete we’ve seen come into the league recently but the 6’2 Wildcat (both by virtue of college nickname and skill set) is an underrated athlete and has shown the arm strength to make every NFL throw. A developmental project who turned out to be a great fit for Rich Rod’s offense could intrigue teams trying to implement a dual-threat quarterback.

 

5. Mike Glennon NC STATE
6’7 (1/8)
225

40 Time: 4.94
Hands: 9 (5/8)

Athletic Grade: B+

There is a reason scouts and draftniks had started to mock Glennon in the first round as recently as a month ago. A weak quarterback class is of course the main reason but it’s not like Glennon doesn’t have ability and massive upside. I’ll admit I’m not a huge fan and I think he would need to improve on several different fronts but you can’t teach height (6’7), hands (9 (5/8)) or arm strength. The NC State coaching staff thought enough of him to feel comfortable letting Russell Wilson leave for Wisconsin, and in terms of natural ability Glennon might be the head of the class as a pure pocket passer.

 

6. Tyler Bray TENNESSEE
6’6 (1/8)
232

40 Time: 5.05
Hands: 9 (1/4)

Athletic Grade: B+

Bray might have the strongest arm in this year’s class and looks much stouter after putting on some weight for the combine. The main concerns are lack of mobility, a side armed delivery and some minor maturity questions. His arm strength, however, is a major plus and could help work him into the discussion for the third QB taken after Geno and Barkley. For a pocket passer you can’t ask for much more than height to see over the line and scan the defense and the arm to make plays down-field and stretch defenses vertically. The reason he’s not higher is lack of mobility and relatively stiff athleticism.

 

Tags: Matt Scott, nathan stanley

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