This year’s quarterback group is almost the perfect opposite of last year’s. Last year’s was extremely strong at the top, weak in the middle, and very strong at the end (Wilson was a projected 4th or 5th rounder going into the draft). One of my favorite quarterbacks that year, Chandler Harnish, ended up Mr. Irrelevant. This year’s is (falsely considered) weak at the top, extremely strong in the middle, and very weak at the end- though there are many interesting UDFA-type options this year.
We don’t have to worry about Geno Smith and Matt Barkley, both will be gone in the first round.
The second tier is crowded. EJ Manuel could sneak into round one but for now I have him as a 2nd rounder. Ryan Nassib, Mike Glennon, Tyler Wilson, and most recently Matt Scott have all entered the discussion as quarterbacks that might be drafted somewhere in the 2nd round. Keep in mind too that this is in a draft with as many as 60 players with second round grades. It’s going to be a historically crowded 2nd round this year. The bulk of this mid-round class could push some of those names into rounds 3 and 4, just as Brock Osweiler, Russell Wilson, and Nick Foles helped Kirk Cousins last until the 4th last year.
I think the 4th round is probably the earliest that Seattle would target a quarterback. You might remember that Seattle wanted to target a quarterback in the round 4-6 range last year even after signing Matt Flynn. Ultimately they ended up taking Russell Wilson in the 3rd thanks to a colossal man-crush from John Schneider, but they had originally hoped to take Wilson later- it was only until they began hearing that other teams wanted Wilson in the 3rd that priorities shifted.
All five of the second tier quarterbacks are unlikely to reach the late 4th. However, there is a decent chance that at least one of them might, so it’s worth doing a bit of legwork to figure out which one we should hope for.
EJ Manuel is the most physically gifted quarterback in the 2013 draft, but he’s also a mechanical quarterback. Ask him to make a play on the fly, and he will make mistakes. Put him in a controlled environment that taxes his mind lightly, and he could put up great numbers even if the eyeball test tells you something different. He’s a very similar kind of player to Colin Kaepernick, Alex Smith, Jake Locker, Vince Young, Charlie Whitehurst or Tarvaris Jackson. While Colin Kaepernick is all the rage, credit for his success is misplaced. Kaepernick is truly a talent, but were he not playing for a simplified offense created by a brilliant coach, I think he’d be a lot more like Tim Tebow with a prettier pass than what he’s become today.
Seattle’s interest in Kaepernick during the 2011 draft, as well as their acquisitions of Whitehurst and T-jack all point to the Seahawks being okay with the mechanical quarterback approach.
That said, I’d be pretty surprised if Manuel reached our pick, and there is a snowball’s chance in hell that he slips to the 4th round. I think he’s very likely to be the third quarterback off the board- he might even be the second.
As Matt Waldman put it so wonderfully, Ryan Nassib is the “color inside the lines favorite.” He meets the minimum conventional criteria in every category, and on tape he looks like a traditional NFL style quarterback. Nassib’s USC compilation shows a quarterback that struggles under pressure, though on the whole there is much to like about him. He makes quick decisions, can check through reads (quickly too), has a quick release and even has some rushing ability. He seems like a great fit for Seattle’s point guard at quarterback philosophy.
That said, Ryan Nassib is expected to last no later than Buffalo’s 2nd round pick. Buffalo hired Nassib’s college coach this offseason, and it’s possible that Buffalo might move into the late 1st to secure him.
Mike Glennon was one of the main driving forces behind Russell Wilson’s early departure from NC State, so it would be ironic to say the least if he became Russell Wilson’s long term backup in Seattle.
It’s tempting to compare his game to Brock Osweiler. Both are 6’7″ and throw the ball with velocity, yet both are prone to bouts of inaccuracy and terrible decision making. Watching Glennon, he just seems like the kind of quarterback the Arizona Cardinals would go for: he’s tall, stiff, lacking intangibles, and overvalued. He’s very nearly the perfect opposite of his NC State predecessor.
I was a fan of Glennon’s for a time because he reminded me of Joe Flacco, but the more I watch the more problems I find. I don’t expect him to be high on Seattle’s shopping list, as Seattle is looking for “tilt the field” guys and Glennon sorely lacks for intangibles.
Once upon a time, Matt Barkley and Tyler Wilson were widely expected to be the first two quarterbacks off the board in the 2013 draft. That was during an olden time when NFL teams weren’t obsessing over the read option or the “new breed” of quarterback.
Wilson did not clock a blistering 40 time, but he’s still very much a point guard at quarterback. He checks through reads with ease, spreads the football around, and when it’s given to him, he’ll run for ten easy yards.
I’m curious to see how the Seahawks will react to Tyler Wilson’s hand measurement. John Schneider likes his quarterbacks to have big hands, and Wilson’s hands measured in at just 8¾”, which will remove him from many draft boards as several teams consider 9″ to be a cutoff point. I personally don’t take issue, as Wilson didn’t show problems associated with small hands on tape (he wasn’t fumble prone and typically threw tight spirals, though I did notice he rarely attempted pump fakes).
If Wilson reaches Seattle’s late 4th rounder, I would be mildly surprised if they passed. It’s not very often you get a quarterback of Wilson’s caliber in the late 4th round. Wilson is a “big name” too; his path towards building future trade value is a paved one.
Matt Scott is probably my favorite quarterback this year. Not because he’s the best- far from it. No, what I love about Matt Scott is what he wasn’t allowed to be and what he could become.
If I really wanted to sell you on him, I could have chosen a better video than the one above. His compilation against Stanford is probably his best. Against Nevada, he must have made close to a dozen poor throws, and he was featured less as a runner than he had been earlier in the season. He also threw a couple ugly picks.
Yet this flawed bowl game compilation also proves that even a struggling Matt Scott can still lead his team to 49 total points, including two incredibly heroic drives at the end of the game. Even when he’s off his game he can be dangerous.
Matt Scott is easily the most agile quarterback in this draft. His times in the 3-cone and short shuttle blew the competition away at the combine. There were times earlier in the season where that quickness was on full display as he evaded pass rushers and extended plays while keeping his eyes downfield, using his mobility in a Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers sense.
Unfortunately, Rich-rod’s offense at Arizona highly emphasized getting the ball out in under two seconds which doesn’t really jive with Matt Scott’s play extending ability. I think in an offense like ours he could thrive since Seattle uses developing routes instead of quick passes. No NFL quarterback held the ball longer on average than Russell Wilson last season.
While Matt Scott needs to work on the mental part of his game (my big worry is that he might have an improvisational ceiling along the lines of Seneca Wallace or Tarvaris Jackson), it would be hasty to judge at this point. Scott’s elite quickness and rifle arm will allow him to succeed perhaps more than he should based on his mental makeup, similar to Colin Kaepernick. And unlike Kaepernick, Matt Scott doesn’t stare at his first read for four seconds before moving to his second. He’s actually quite developed at making reads despite having just one year of starting experience.
The obvious appeal of Matt Scott to Seattle is his potential for future trade value. If he thrives in Seattle’s offense, potential buyers are going to see a quarterback that is highly productive, highly mobile, and can sling the football. If he pans out, you won’t be looking at two future fifth round picks when he’s dealt.
Scott needs to go to a place that can take the time to tune up his game, away from the pure read-option and more towards a point guard at quarterback skillset. Seattle is the perfect landing spot for him, though if the Seahawks really do want Matt Scott, the odds of landing him at the end of round 4 are slim.
I’ll cover the late round options in a separate post tomorrow. Many of the names mentioned in the comments the last few weeks will get some love. Look forward to it!