The Future NFL Franchise Quarterbacks
Oregon State QB Sean Mannion
Oregon State QB Sean Mannion
Posted Aug 19, 2014

Preview 2014 - The Franchise Quarterbacks. The NFL keeps wanting them, and there are plenty to watch.

Preview 2014

NFL QBs of the Future - 2015

By Richard Cirminiello   

Future Franchise NFL Quarterbacks
- Class of 2015 | Class of 2016 | Class of 2017 | Class of 2018

The franchise quarterback. The face of an organization. Every team in the NFL craves him, but only a handful are fortunate enough to stake claim to an Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees or one of Archie Manning’s boys.

This past May, 14 quarterbacks were selected by NFL teams, including three in the opening round, Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater. The trio, and even second-rounders Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo, will all be expected to lead their teams into the playoffs at some point in their careers. It’s a part of the unspoken contract that comes with being a high drafted quarterback.

Bortles, Manziel and Bridgewater followed Buffalo’s EJ Manuel as recent quarterbacks selected in Round 1, but who’ll be those future gems that can lift up the hopes of an NFL city? Who’ll be the savior under center in 2015? 2016? How about 2018? It’s clearly early for such an exercise, but no less fun to speculate and debate over the would-be first-round hurlers currently populating college campuses, some of whom recently completed their high school careers.

Making no assumptions about which players will redshirt or leave school with eligibility on the table, here’s a look at future franchise quarterback contenders for the next four NFL Draft cycles:

5. Chuckie Keeton, Utah State
First-Round Timber Because … size matters at the position, but not as much as it did just a couple of years ago. Thank you, Seattle Seahawks. Keeton is a playmaker, and a winner, blending physical tools with the intangibles an organization can build around. While he missed half of last year to an ACL injury, he’s got the upcoming season to impress scouts with his ability to lead and move an offense.
Poised to Tumble Because … concerns about his size, around 6-2 and 200 pounds, will inevitably scare off a handful of teams. So, too, will the facts that Keeton played his career in smaller leagues, and lived off screen passes and short tosses. Rising up the charts will require No. 16 to prove, in-season or during pre-draft, that he can consistently fit the ball in tight windows.
Shades of … Russell Wilson

4. Braxton Miller, Ohio State
First-Round Timber Because … when healthy, he’s one of the most exciting dual-threats currently playing at the college level. Miller is an exceptional all-around athlete, with the arm strength and the straight-line speed to exploit defenses with explosive plays. Miller is still developing as a complete player, but he’s surrounded by talented coaches, and he’s played a ton of football in Columbus.
Poised to Tumble Because … he gets beaten up, and he’s not the prototype in an NFL passer. Not only is Miller just 6-2, a generous estimate, but he continues to lack accuracy through the air, especially on the deep and intermediate routes. Unless he can make considerable strides in 2014, Miller won’t make GMs swoon over his arm or his mechanics, which will severely dampen his draft grade.
Shades of … Johnny Manziel

3. Jeff Driskel, Florida
First-Round Timber Because … you can’t coach Driskel’s size, athleticism or arm strength – even if he doesn’t unleash it. All of the other question marks regarding the senior’s game can be coached up by an NFL staff. The 6-4, 237-pound Driskel has way too much natural ability to not enjoy a salary run finale this season, particularly since new offseason coordinator Kurt Roper is now overseeing his development.
Poised to Tumble Because … he’s yet to show sustained excellence as a passer. And it’s getting late in the evaluation process. Driskel is now in his fourth year in Gainesville, yet no one knows for certain if he’s capable of being a consistent and accurate downfield passer. His reads and accuracy have been spotty, and he’s had a penchant for sailing far too many throws.
Shades of … Jake Locker

2. Bryce Petty, Baylor
First-Round Timber Because … he was brilliant as RGIII’s heir, and it was just his first season as a starter. Petty accounted for 46 touchdowns and more than 4,400 yards, while throwing only three picks in his debut as Art Briles’ conductor. And he was dinged up late in the season. Big-armed 6-3, 230-pounders, with his athleticism don’t last past the first round.
Poised to Tumble Because … he still has plenty to learn. Even as a senior, Petty is raw due to a late-blooming career. His mechanics are erratic, and his footwork in the pocket needs to become more consistent. Even more important, the somewhat simplistic system in Waco doesn’t always prepare a young quarterback for the complexities of running an NFL offense.
Shades of … Teddy Bridgewater

1. Sean Mannion, Oregon State
First-Round Timber Because … there might not be a more pro-ready quarterback in college than the Beaver senior. The 6-5 Mannion not only possesses the arm talent and nice touch to make all the throws, but he’s also entering his fourth season as a starter. In other words, he’s been tested frequently against top competition, and he’s learned how to master the crucial cerebral side of the position.
Poised to Tumble Because … he’ll have to prove he can bring it from wire-to-wire this season. When Mannion was on in 2013, he was unstoppable over the top. But down the stretch, he raised serious doubts by throwing seven touchdowns and 12 picks over the final five games. Mannion can’t lapse this fall if he plans to be a first-round pick.
Shades of … Matt Ryan

Future Franchise NFL Quarterbacks
- Class of 2015 | Class of 2016 | Class of 2017 | Class of 2018