2012 NFL Draft - The Quarterbacks
Baylor QB Robert Griffin
From a college football perspective, the analysis of the top quarterback prospects.
2012 NFL Draft Position
Quarterbacks - Top 5
- 2012 NFL Quarterback Rankings - No.
This Class Is … not as good as it'll get credit for. There might be stars at the top, but there aren't any sure things after Washington takes Robert Griffin at the two. Ryan Tannehill is a reach of a prospect in the top ten, and there will be plenty of guesswork after that. There are plenty of smart, heady career backups who'll make a roster, but when all is said and done, the draft will focus totally and completely on the stars at the top.
But will Andrew Luck and RGIII be worth it? Luck might be the prototype, but for Griffin to be worth the move by Washington to get up to the No. 2 he'll have to buck a slew of trends. Washington is giving away future special prospects for the shot at getting a franchise maker. It's a statement by the Redskins, but for it to work RGIII will have to defy history.
So how much does Griffin's 4.4 speed and running ability matter? When it comes to winning a Super Bowl, not much. To be fair to RGIII, he's more of a throwing quarterback than a runner, but if you're going by history, at 6-2 he'll have to be an all-timer of a passer to win a Super Bowl.
Aaron Rodgers ran for 356 yards in 2010. Roger Staubach ran for 343 yards in 1971. Those are the only two quarterbacks to run for more than 300 yards and win a Super Bowl in the same season, and only six quarterbacks have rushed for more than 200 yards and won a Super Bowl in the same season.
And then there's the height factor. Since Jim McMahon was doing his thing for the 1985 Bears, only five quarterbacks shorter than 6-3 have won Super Bowls. Joe Montana and Steve Young are in the Hall of Fame. Drew Brees and Kurt Warner are going to be in the Hall, and Aaron Rodgers is probably the best quarterback on the planet right now. All five of those quarterbacks were among the most accurate ever, and while Griffin is efficient, he's not necessarily considered accurate on short-to-midrange passes to covered receivers. Yes, there's a difference between efficiency and accuracy, so unless RGIII is a Canton talent, he'll have to break the trend to bring Washington a Super Bowl.
Yeah, he might be that good, but it won't matter if he doesn't have talent around him. He'll be asked to be the star right away, but for what Washington gave away, Griffin needs to be judged by what happens five years from now. By then, maybe his lack of height won't matter and his running ability will.
The Best Value Pick Will Be … Brock Osweiler, Arizona State
Most Underrated … Nick Foles, Arizona
Most Overrated … Robert Griffin III, Baylor
The Deep, Deep Sleeper Is … Mike Brown, Liberty
1. Andrew Luck, Stanford (Jr.) 6-4, 234
Anyone looking for a negative or a problem is nitpicking. No, he's not the pro prospect that John Elway was coming out of Stanford, but he might be No. 2 on the list of all-time top sure-thing quarterbacks with just about every aspect of his game right out of central casting.
Everyone likes to hype up Robert Griffin's tools, but at 234 pounds Luck proved to be every bit the athlete with a 36" vertical at the Combine, a solid 4.64 in the 40, and a quarterback-best 10-4 broad jump. However, it was his Pro Day that sealed the deal as the sure-thing, no-brainer No. 1 overall pick showing every throw in the book and answering any all mild concerns about his arm.
No, he doesn't have a Brett Favre-like gun, but he can unleash it deep when needed and his arm is more than fine. However, he's not really a power pitcher and he won't be able to get away with the throws a quarterback with a true howitzer can make. Considering interceptions were a bit of a problem, he might struggle early on if he's not precise and if his decision making isn't crystal clear. The only other slightly negative aspect to note was his offensive line; he got ten days to work behind a front five with two first round talents in David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin. The offense was more geared toward the ground game than is might have seemed, but Luck had a lot to do with that thanks to a license to audible into any play he wanted. Again, the downsides are minor.
He's a true once—in-a-decade quarterback to build an entire franchise around with the humility to not need the spotlight to himself – almost to the point of it being too modest - and the leadership to make everyone around him better. A let's-go-to-work type of quarterback, he's great at blowing off all the outside distractions with a Peyton Manning-like focus on the job at hand. The arm is more than fine, and it's made better by a mind that sees the play two steps before it happens. Possibly the most ready-made pro quarterback ever – or at least since the last quarterback Indianapolis took with the No. 1 overall pick - there's absolutely no bust potential and no downside whatsoever.
CFN Projection: No. 1 overall
2. Robert Griffin III, Baylor (Jr.) 6-2, 223
Possibly the most athletic quarterback prospect in NFL history, he's a world-class hurdler who started out his career as a dynamite playmaker who took off to make things happen. Over time he turned into a passer who just so happened to occasionally run, and the results were magical. While he doesn't have a cannon, he has an excellent deep arm with nearly perfect touch, uncanny accuracy, and the fearless stones to confidently push the ball down the field no matter what the situation. While he was one of the most efficient passers in college football history, he has to work on his short-to-midrange consistency and he has to be able to fit the ball through the eye of a needle. He spent his career connecting with the open man, and while his mobility will buy him time, he has to prove he can go from being a spread quarterback to a pro-style passer.
The basic tools are all there and he's an interesting and unique physical prospect, but RGIII's biggest asset is RGIII. An unquestioned leader, he has the type of magnetic personality and character that will make a team follow him blindly into the toughest battles. Smart, he doesn't make mistakes and always seems to come up with the right read. Fiery, he has a passion for the game and the right attitude with no prima donna traits whatsoever.
For all his great abilities and with all his upside, he's not the prospect that Andrew Luck is. He has to prove he can fit in a normal NFL offense and he might have a short shelf life if he plans on using his legs on a regular basis – he's not built to take a beating like Cam Newton is. But he's the type of quarterback a team will love to have as the franchise-maker, even if it takes him a little while to fit the mold.
CFN Projection: No. 2 overall
3. Brock Osweiler, Arizona State (Jr.) 6-7, 242
The NFL has a bias against too-tall quarterbacks, so it's being played up that he measured in 1/8th of an inch shorter than 6-7. Even though he's huge and lanky, he's not a stick in the mud with good enough feet to get by. No, he doesn't have the best release and he could make himself even bigger by going over the top with his delivery, but he'll never get any passes batted down and he can sling the ball all over the field. A good guy, he's likeable and won't have any problems commanding respect in the locker room once he has a little bit of success. It's going to take a little while to be ready to shine, and he's going to need to live with a quarterback coach to tighten up his mechanics, but there's undeniable upside to be a steal for someone with a little bit of patience.
CFN Projection: Second Round
4. Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M 6-4, 221
Easily the biggest X factor in the draft, outside of way-too-small 9" hands he has all the tools and all the abilities of a prototype NFL starter. The arm is good enough to put the ball all over the field; there's a nice touch on his deep passes; and he's a great leader who had the respect of his teammates and coaches. Throw in the wide receiver athleticism – he started out his career as one of the team's top targets while waiting his turn – and he has it all. However, his draft status is almost all built around projection. He can't be the starter from Day One if someone wants to win right away, and he's going to need at least two years of lump taking before there's a payoff, if there's a payoff.
Every year there's a player who gets moved up the draft boards because he should be good, but it's almost as if scouts are trying to make him a better prospect than he really is. Yes, he provided a spark in 2010 and saved the season, but he threw way too many interceptions last year and wasn't ever accurate enough or consistent enough. The stats were great, but he was almost never clutch for a team that collapsed in fourth quarter after fourth quarter. He's a huge risk who'll set a franchise back years if he doesn't pan out, but quarterbacks with his upside are hard to find.
CFN Projection: Top Ten Overall
5. Kirk Cousins, Michigan State 6-3, 214
A rock-solid prospect with a low ceiling but no bust potential, he has the right height, a great head, and all the intangibles to be a leader of an offense for a long, long time. A good conductor who knows what everyone is supposed to do, and good at making the right read, he'll be ready right out of the box with a solid throwing motion that won't need much tweaking. Vocal, he's comfortable at being the spokesman for the team with the right blend of attaboy and vinegar to motivate the troops. The problem is that he might be Chad Pennington – great in the locker room and limited on the field. Not a power pitcher, he's more of a finesse thrower and doesn't throw the best of balls. Ultra-accurate in drills, he can play and he has starting ability, but there's a limited upside. He'll be a piece of the puzzle rather than the reason a team succeeds.
CFN Projection: Second Round
- 2012 NFL
Quarterback Rankings - No. 6-25
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