2013 Preseason Player Rankings - Quarterbacks
Oregon QB Marcus Mariota
CFN's Top 30 Players of 2013 By Position - The Quarterbacks
Player Rankings - QBs
Note: This isn't a ranking of the top pro prospects.
2013 CFN Preseason Player Rankings
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1. Marcus Mariota, Soph. Oregon
Mariota won the heated quarterback battle with Bryan Bennett last summer before setting off to prove he was a perfect fit for the Oregon offensive system. Oh, did he ever prove it. In a downright auspicious debut, the second-coming of Colin Kaepernick was not only named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, but was also the league’s first-team quarterback. The long and lean 6-4, 211-pounder from Hawaii went 230-of-336 for 2,677 yards, 32 touchdowns and six interceptions, wowing with his progression as a passer. And in true dual-threat fashion, Mariota also sprinted for 752 yards and five more scores. Much more than just a terrific all-around athlete, he’s smart, poised under duress and willing to put in the time to get better. The frightening thought for Pac-12 defenses is that he is going to get better, even without Chip Kelly around to guide his development.
2. Braxton Miller, Jr. Ohio State
Miller at the very least deserved more consideration in the Heisman chase as he carried the Buckeyes at times completing 58% of his throws for 2,039 yards and 15 touchdowns with six picks, while leading the team with 1,271 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns averaging 5.6 yards per carry. In the biggest of big games, he hit 14-of-18 passes against Michigan, ran for 186 yards and a score against Nebraska, and did the job against the best defense in the Big Ten, Michigan State, with 136 rushing yards and completing 16-of-23 passes.
Now the goal is to make him an even more accurate passer while cutting down a bit on the carries. While he’s a perfect fit for the Urban Meyer offense, and he’s the team’s most dangerous rushing option, he’s not built like Tim Tebow and can’t take that many big shots. At 6-2 and 215 pounds he’s strong and isn’t exactly a wisp, but defenses like to tee off on him when they get the chance. This offseason he spent his time improving his accuracy and tightened up his throwing motion, but he’s still going to be at his best using his speed and quickness on the move.
3. Johnny Manziel, Soph. Texas A&M*
Of course, all of this depends on his eligibility. A surprise and an unknown going into last season, what followed was the greatest statistical season by any quarterback in SEC history as Johnny Football completed 68% of his passes for 3,706 yards and 26 touchdowns with nine picks, while ripping through supposedly impenetrable SEC run defenses – and an Oklahoma D with more than a month to prepare to stop him – for 1,410 yards and 21 scores on the way to the Heisman. He struggled in the opener against Florida and had problems running against LSU, and it’s no coincidence that his two lowest-rushing outputs of the season – 60 yards against the Gators and 27 against LSU, with three picks – also came in the team’s two losses. However, the goal now will be to run less and pass more.
While he’s devastating on the move and showed both the ability to tear off the home run and the quickness in the pocket to keep the passing plays alive, but now he has a loaded stable of running backs to hand off to. If he carries the ball 150 times instead of 201 and ramps up his downfield passing game, he’ll save on the wear-and-tear on his body. Even though he held up well and didn’t take many huge shots, but he’s only 6-1 and 200 pounds and not built to take a beating. But more than anything else, he has to handle being Johnny Manziel, Heisman winner. He’s in the fishbowl and he’s seems to be struggling a wee bit dealing with everything that goes along with it, but one the days he’s on the field, all should be right with the world.
4. Tajh Boyd, Sr. Clemson
On Jan. 8, Boyd announced he’d be returning for his fifth and final season. Death Valley has been thankful ever since. One more season with No. 10 means that Clemson will boast the ACC’s best quarterback and a bona fide Heisman contender. Boyd flourished in his second season in Chad Morris’ up-tempo, no-huddle attack, completing 287-of-487 passes for 3,896 yards, 36 touchdowns and 13 picks. The 6-1, 225-pound reigning ACC Player of the Year also finished second on the team with 514 rushing yards and 10 scores on the ground. Boyd has a perfect grasp of the offense, throws darts in all directions and is fearless outside the pocket. How well he’ll translate to the next level will be up to NFL scouts. For now, however, he’s easily one of the most dangerous weapons from behind center in the game.
5. Teddy Bridgewater, Jr. Louisville
Bridgewater is well on his way toward surpassing all of his predecessors and becoming the best Louisville quarterback of all-time. There’s something so special about No. 5 that transcends the simplicity of numbers. Oh, last year’s stats were plenty good for the Big East Offensive Player of the Year, who went 287-of-419 for 3,718 yards, 27 touchdowns and only eight picks. However, Bridgewater’s intangibles are as important as his accurate throws and ability to prolong plays with his feet. He’s poised well beyond his years, oozes toughness in the pocket and sees patterns develop about as well as any FBS peer. Substantially thicker than when he first arrived, the 6-3, 220-pounder is gearing up for a serious Heisman run, as he helps guide Louisville to even higher levels of national relevance.
6. Aaron Murray, Sr. Georgia
7. Derek Carr, Sr. Fresno State
8. Taylor Martinez, Sr. Nebraska
9. Casey Pachall, Sr. TCU
10. David Fales, Sr. San Jose State
11. Devin Gardner, Jr. Michigan
12. Bryn Renner, Sr. North Carolina
13. Jordan Lynch, Sr. NIU
14. AJ McCarron, Sr. Alabama
15. Brett Hundley, Soph. UCLA
16. Rakeem Cato, Jr. Marshall
17. Cody Fajardo, Jr. Nevada
18. Keith Price, Sr. Washington
19. Taylor Kelly, Jr. Arizona State
20. James Franklin, Sr. Missouri
21. Brett Smith, Jr. Wyoming
22. Zach Mettenberger, Sr. LSU
23. Chuckie Keeton, Jr. Utah State
24. Stephen Morris, Sr. Miami
25. Logan Thomas, Sr. Virginia Tech
26. David Ash, Jr. Texas
27. Kolton Browning, Sr. ULM
28. Jameis Winston, RFr. Florida State
29. Shane Carden, Jr. East Carolina
30. Blake Bortles, Jr. UCF