2013 NFL Draft: Dissecting the Draft's Top Quarterbacks

This year's quarterback class has been widely disparaged, and somewhat rightfully so. In light of many recent first-year starters' immediate success, especially last year, this quarterback class looks extremely barren in terms of pro-ready players who can start in Week One this fall. When it comes to talent, though, this class is extremely deep.

As a result, the draft is rich for teams with established quarterbacks looking for a young gun to develop as an heir from the bench. Teams looking for an instant fix at the position will be in trouble, though. Presented in order of most pro-ready to least, I've presented my notes on the top quarterbacks of this year's draft.

If you have any questions about someone I didn't post about in this article, feel free to ask me in the comments or on Twitter.

E.J. Manuel
College: Florida State

Height: 6'5"

Weight: 237 lbs.

Arm Length: 35"

Hand Size: 10.375

Notes: Goes through progressions very quickly. Releases the ball with average speed. Fairly low release point. Good spin on the ball. Spreads his feet a little wide when planting to throw the ball. Drops the ball too low to his side and doesn't protect it when running out of the pocket. Keeps his center of gravity underneath him when throwing on the run. Doesn't transfer enough weight from his back foot onto his front foot when throwing, but it doesn't hurt the velocity of his passes because he has such a powerful arm and good throwing technique. Can set the ball sailing with a light flick of his wrist. Displays an excellent intuition where his receivers are and who is open. Great ability to keep his eyes upfield and extend a play. Excellent thrower on the run.

Tyler Wilson

College: Arkansas

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 215 lbs.

Arm Length: 33.375"

Hand Size: 8.75"

Notes: Stares down his primary option too long, but quickly gets to the next open receiver once he takes his eyes off his first option. Keeps his eyes upfield when rolling out of the pocket. Keeps his shoulders squared and feet underneath him when throwing on the run, even when running to the left. Biggest weakness when throwing on the run is sometimes under-throwing off his back foot while his front foot is still in the air. Excellent velocity on his passes. Usually points his feet right toward his target, but sometimes doesn't put enough weight on his front foot when stepping into his throw. Holds the ball lower against his chest than he should. Has a small windup-like hitch in his delivery that makes his release less efficient. Good sense of when to leave the pocket and run. Has enough speed to pick up a couple yards on the ground when nobody's open.

Matt Barkley
College: USC

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 227 lbs.

Arm Length: 30.625"

Hand Size: 10.125"

Notes: Drops his eyes to the rusher when he's being pressured. Quickly and accurately gets the ball to his receiver on throws into the flats. Fast, compact release. Great technique and touch on his passes. Starts with a low release and lets the ball arc high, so even though the ball quickly gets to the right height and ends up with good placement, there's still an increased risk of his passes being batted down at the line of scrimmage. Throws good, quick strikes over the middle of the field, but some of his mid-range passes to the outside of the field sail a bit too much. Good technique on his passes helps put spin on the ball and somewhat compensate for his lack of arm strength, but when he's playing against faster defensive backs in the NFL, it will be harder for him to rifle the ball into tight windows deep downfield. Doesn't move around much in the pocket or seem to sense when rushers are coming, but doesn't bail on a collapsing pocket either. Doesn't go through reads quickly, or even at all on some plays, staring down his intended target. The combination of staring down receivers and lack of arm strength could end up giving defenders a ton of time to get in position to make plays on his passes.

Ryan Nassib
College: Syracuse

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 227 lbs.

Arm Length: 32"

Hand Size: 10.125"

Notes: Shows good timing for hitting receivers in stride when they're heading straight up the field. Sometimes doesn't control his center of gravity on his follow-through. Displays good field vision for finding a running lane to pick up a few yards when his receiving options are covered. Sloppy footwork - when forced to set his feet quickly, often fails to plant all his weight onto his feet or doesn't point his feet in the proper directions. Keeps his eyes upfield when chased out of the pocket. Doesn't really step up in the pocket - either stands in place or leaves the pocket. Scans through multiple progressions fairly quickly most of the time. Lofts the ball too high with a slow spin on deeper passes, giving defensive backs more time to make a play on the ball. Displays a strong arm at times, especially on short passes to the outside of the field, but when he doesn't put enough weight on his feet while throwing, his passes sail softer than they should. Would perform best in a system that utilizes zone reads with the quarterback not as much a threat to run, but as a threat to either hand the ball off or to roll out on play-action.

Geno Smith
College: West Virginia:

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 218 lbs.

Arm length: 32.5"

Hand size: 9.25"

Notes: Locks in on his primary receiver. Steps back in the pocket when pressured, leading to early abandonment of some plays before receivers have time to get open. Often leaves his feet when throwing outside of the pocket. His passes don't travel very quickly. Doesn't have top-gear speed to constantly escape a collapsing pocket and hurt defenses with his legs against NFL defenders. Doesn't put enough weight on his front foot or point it straight toward his target. Executes play-fakes very well. Has average but not impressive arm strength; benefited from throwing into wide-open windows because of the multiple play fakes in his offense.

Matt Scott
College: Arizona

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 213 lbs.

Arm Length: 30.25"

Hand Size: 9"

Notes: Powerful arm and great spin on his passes. Doesn't consistently point his feet at the target of his passes, especially when planting quickly. Excellent composure under pressure, keeps eyes upfield when escaping the rush. When his offensive line holds up, lets the play develop and goes through multiple reads fairly quickly. Frequently locks in on a checkdown too quickly under pressure instead of extending the play with movement in the pocket. Doesn't hesitate to fire the ball into tight windows, which sometimes leads to incompletions because his receivers get hit by defenders before getting a chance to secure the ball. Has the vision and speed to run the occasional zone-read, though not enough speed to get to the outside for option pitches. Reads defenses better on the run than in the pocket.

Tyler Bray
College: Tennessee


Weight: 232 lbs.

Arm Length:33"

Hand Size: 9.25"

Notes: Incredibly powerful arm. Windup delivery causes a slow release. Puts excellent zip on the ball and can throw the ball all the way down the field with no trouble. Steps into his throws nicely when his pocket is clean, but when pressured tends to continue dropping back farther out of the pocket and throwing off his back foot. Makes a lot of very risky throws into tight coverage. With a clean pocket he reads defenses well and can make cleaner, crisper, more accurate throws than any quarterback in this draft. When pressured, his footwork, accuracy and decision-making become erratic at best.