Which quarterback in this NFL draft has the best chance of success?
By Jane McManus
There aren't a lot of things that are guaranteed in the NFL, but being the top quarterback in the NFL draft is traditionally a one-way ticket to a first-round payday.
This year, there is some speculation that no quarterback goes in the first round, much less the back-to-back, 1-2 picks we saw last year with Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. The top quarterback in the draft is Geno Smith out of West Virginia, but with cheaper options in the second round and few teams on the lookout for a first-round quarterback who seems a step below the stars in last year's crop, the question remains: Who will take him?
Either way, it should be great drama, since Smith is one of the draft prospects expected to be in New York on Thursday night and in attendance at Radio City Music Hall. Do we watch him sweat on live television? Does he return Friday? Did he bring two suits?
But truthfully, the drama of draft night will be put aside when Smith learns who he will be playing for, and his potential in the league is high regardless. Smith -- despite a widely circulated negative scouting report -- is in the mold of the new style of quarterback, who can throw and move, which makes him one to watch well beyond draft night.
By Mechelle Voepel
If this draft class of quarterbacks were being ranked on the equivalent of the Rotten Tomatoes movie-review site, we'd be seeing "splats" all over the place.
Not many analysts have much positive to say about the signal-callers available. To the contrary, a lot of the "compliments" given are of the back-handed variety. Along the lines of, "Well, his arm isn't great, but he's not super-terrible, either."
Should any of these quarterbacks available turn into a major NFL star, it will be one of the more pleasant surprises of recent drafts.
So who might be the best bet of this class for lasting pro success at that position? EJ Manuel of Florida State would be my pick. His size and strength are big assets, but he'll have to try to improve his throwing accuracy, his blitz reads and his propensity for turnovers.
By Graham Hays
I'll take Matt Barkley and ignore the lesson offered by Mark Sanchez. And Matt Leinart. And Matt Cassel. And, to some degree, Carson Palmer. And Todd Marinovich. Hey, Rodney Peete had a couple of decent games, right? But the often woeful history of USC quarterbacks in the NFL is part of the basis for making a case for Barkley.
Without knowing a thing about how much muscle Barkley can put behind the deep ball or how he reads coverage, he seems like a victim of the narrative. He's the guy who was around long enough and had a high enough profile for us to get tired of him. He's the guy who played at that school that gave us all those busts before, even if a lot of them played for different coaches in different systems. Barkley also played a lot of games and completed a lot of passes in college. So did Ty Detmer and Colt Brennan, I guess, but there's something to be said for a track record of touchdowns and a solid completion percentage.
If this year's quarterback class is as devoid of sure things as all the experts suggest, then give me the guy whose greatest flaw may be only that we're sure he isn't the greatest of all time.
By Kate Fagan
Geno Smith! He also happens to be the No. 1 QB on the draft board. And for good reason. He has a strong arm, can sling the ball all over the field and is a threat to run (he clocked a 4.59 in the 40-yard dash at the combine). Compared to Matt Barkley, who is solid but not spectacular, Smith has the potential to turn into a big-time signal-caller at the next level.
It's no secret this draft is weak at the QB position -- there just isn't a can't-miss prospect like Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III in the field. But of all of the ones on the board, Smith is the most promising. And he also has the added benefit of coming after guys like Cam Newton and RGIII, who succeeded in the NFL after having played a spread system in college. This means that pro scouts are less wary of how Smith might do transitioning to the NFL, where he will surely have to take more snaps under center.
I vote Smith.
By Michelle Smith
It can be difficult to predict success out of the draft for a quarterback because so much depends on the situation a player is drafted into.
USC product Matt Barkley is as ready for the rigors of the pro ranks as any of the top quarterbacks in the field. Barkley has the physical tools, strong arm, ability to move well and accuracy, but he also has experience dealing with the ups and downs of being a big-time quarterback. His experience at USC, particularly last season, when the Trojans spiraled from a 6-1 start to a 7-6 finish, provided lessons in adversity that no quarterback camp, pro day or combine can provide. It should help Barkley as he moves to the next level.
By Sarah Spain
The 2013 draft is considered to be one of the weakest in years at quarterback, but there are a couple of guys who could make a difference at the pro level.
The top three signal-callers: Syracuse's Ryan Nassib, West Virginia's Geno Smith and USC's Matt Barkley, have been trading places on mock draft boards since the moment the college football season ended. Projecting how a player's style and skill set will translate to the pros is always tough, so I'll let the expert make my decision for me: QB whisperer Jon Gruden says Nassib would be his pick for the top passer in the draft, raving about his skills, his smarts and his scrambling. If the Orange alum gets Gruden's vote, well then, this guy Nassib? He's the one I'm putting my (metaphorical) money on.