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2008 NFL Draft - Ranking The Quarterbacks
Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 8, 2008


The 2008 NFL Draft is almost here. From a college football perspective, here's the CFN ranking of the top 25 quarterback prospects, led by Boston College's Matt Ryan, along with the most overrated and underrated prospects and the deepest sleeper.

2008 NFL Draft Position Rankings
The Quarterbacks

Rankings & Breakdowns
Top 50 Players - 1 to 25 |
Top 50 Players - 26 to 50 | Quarterbacks
Running Backs |
Wide Receivers | Tight Ends | Offensive Tackles  
Offensive Guards |
Centers | Defensive Ends | Defensive Tackles    
Linebackers |
Safeties | Cornerbacks | Punters & Kickers  

By Pete Fiutak

The Class Is ... Decent, but not phenomenal. However, teams will overpay and overdraft for a quarterback with 2009 and 2010 looking bare for top passers. There are plenty of career backups here but only a few who'll make any noise as a starter. To put the class into perspective, Brady Quinn, who went 22nd to Cleveland last year, would've been the top prospect out of this crop by far.

The Best Value Pick Will Be ... Chad Henne, Michigan

Most Underrated ... Kevin O'Connell, San Diego State

Most Overrated ... Joe Flacco, Delaware

The Deep, Deep Sleeper Is .. Paul Smith, Tulsa

THE FRANCHISE

1. Matt Ryan, QB Boston College
Ryan is tough as nails, a great leader, and a winner who'll make a Pro Bowl or three, but he's not a once-in-a-generation type. While he's considered head-and-shoulders ahead of everyone else in the race to be the top NFL quarterback prospect in this year's draft, he's not a supreme talent like a Peyton Manning or Troy Aikman, and he doesn't do anything special like a JaMarcus Russell or Michael Vick. However, he's not David Carr or Alex Smith. Tall, mobile, smart, and with the poise and the skills to be a productive pro for the next ten years, there's no real downside; he looks the part. However, he's not the type of quarterback who'll carry an NFL team to greatness on his own, but he could eventually take a very good team over the top. Interceptions were a problem when he tried to do too much on his own, and he didn't handle the pressure well when defenses were able to hit him on a regular basis. Then again, neither did Tom Brady in the Super Bowl.
CFN Projection: First Round

2. Brian Brohm, QB Louisville
The brother of former New York Jet Jeff Brohm was groomed to be a pro passer. He's as NFL ready as any quarterback prospect having been a star for his entire career. The pressure was on from day one to produce, and he did. He's not the greatest athlete and his arm is just average, but he can make the throws needed. The big issue will be his durability. While he's an abnormally quick healer, he suffered a few major injuries throughout his career and can't be counted on for a full 16-game NFL slate. He took his lumps in a disappointing senior season, at least for Louisville, and that could be a good thing; he never quit on his team during a dud year.
CFN Projection: Late First Round


3. Chad Henne, QB Michigan
With the right coaching and a little bit of time to fine-tune his arm and his mechanics, he could turn out to be a steal. Strong with a gun of an arm, he can make any throw and can drive the ball to any spot needed at a high NFL level, but he needs time to throw and he needs a good line to work behind. He's not going to move too much and he needs to step up and fire or else his accuracy wavers; he's not going to make anything happen on his own. He could become another Matt Schaub who sits behind someone for a little while and builds a big buzz before getting a big payday in the free agency market.
CFN Projection: Late Second Round

POTENTIAL NFL STARTERS

4. Andre Woodson, QB Kentucky
Deadly accurate for long stretches, he proved he could be a precision passer, but he also has the arm to power the ball when he has to. he has the size at 6-5 and 235 pounds to be a presence in the pocket and be able to shake off tacklers, but he tends to get hit way too often and he doesn't have the mobility to make things happen on his own. He'll need some serious coaching to correct a fundamental flaw in his delivery; he hitches it a bit and doesn't have a compact motion. He's not going to be the answer for anyone right away, but if someone can be patient and give him about two years he could be the type of quarterback to build around. There's not the ceiling on his potential like many scouts seem to believe there is.
CFN Projection: Late Second Round

5. Colt Brennan, QB Hawaii
He's not big and he's not thick at a very skinny 6-3 and 185 pounds, and there are a bazillion other red flags considering the competition he faced and the performance against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. However, he has one of the most accurate arms of any of the top prospects, is far more of a gamer than he ever got credit for, and is fantastic at throwing on the move. You can't judge him by the Georgia game; he never, ever had room to breathe. The offensive line never gave him a chance. Instead, focus on the fire he had two years ago when he bounce passed a fourth down throw in the end zone to blow a chance at beating Oregon State. He might have the laid-back Hawaii tag, but he's a football player, period. Yeah, he had problems with the speed of the Bulldogs, but he also went ballistic against teams like Alabama, Purdue, Arizona State, Oregon State and Washington. In the right offense he could be a deadly accurate dink and dunk passer who keeps an offense moving.
CFN Projection: Third to Fourth Round

6. Joe Flacco, QB Delaware
The hot prospect coming out of the off-season workouts, the 6-6, 232-pound bomber has the best arm of anyone in the draft and it's not even a debate. While he might not have JaMarcus Russell's cannon, he can fit the ball into any space, anywhere on the field. The biggest question will be his consistency which was a big problem in his workouts and will be an even bigger issue under pressure. He can't move, doesn't have a quick release, and will be a sitting duck at times unless he can make quicker reads and can get the ball out of his hands. If he has the tools around him, especially a killer pair of tackles to provide protection, he could be a superstar. If he has make everyone around him better, it's not going to happen.
CFN Projection: Second Round

7. Kevin O'Connell, QB San Diego State
Here's your deep sleeper with serious upside. Certain to be there for the taking on the second day he could be the best bargain in the draft. He has the best combination of size, mobility and skills of all the prospects and if he's allowed a little time to develop, and he's allowed to work through his mistakes, and if he gets a good coach who can shorten up his delivery to create a tight throwing motion he has the pieces to be a starter. The problem will be patience. If he's thrown to the wolves right away, forget about it. It might be a stretch, but with the right situation he could be a bigger, more mobile Tony Romo.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

8. Erik Ainge, QB Tennessee
Think a less awkward Bernie Kosar. While he doesn't have the rocket arm the NFL types would like and he's not mechanically sound enough to be a star, he could be the type of backup quarterback who sits on a bench for two years, comes in and has a huge four game stretch, and then cashes in on the free agent market. No, he's not going to throw a pea through a cement wall like a Joe Flacco, but he proved at Tennessee under offensive coordinator David Cutliffe that he could get the ball in a position for his receivers to do big things. He had a great receiving corps as a junior and was fantastic. He had a developing, young receiving corps as a senior and he was even better. He makes his receivers look better than they actually are.
CFN Projection: Fourth to Fifth Round

9. Josh Johnson, QB San Diego
The underground buzz was deafening after throwing 43 touchdown passes and one interception last year, and 113 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions over the last three years. He dominated the D-IAA (sorry, FCS) level and is among the most creative quarterbacks in the draft. Quick, mobile, and very smart, he'll work to make himself better, but will rely on his athleticism to get by early on. Size is an issue at around 6-2 and 200 pounds, but the biggest problem is overcoming a few horrendous off-season workouts when his passes were all over the place. He has to get better at driving his throws to the outside and he'll need a lot of coaching. However, there is a payoff coming.
CFN Projection: Fourth to Fifth Round

10. John David Booty, QB USC
When he first came to USC as a 17-year-old he was expected to be the next big thing following in the footsteps of Carson Palmer. He got hurt and was never able to overtake some guy named Leinart, who went on to become one of the greatest college quarterbacks of all-time. He turned into a nice passer, but not a special one, and he struggled way too much when the line wasn't giving him 12 days to throw. He's not mobile, doesn't have the most accurate deep arm, and has a rock-hard ceiling on his talent level. Even so, he'll be a 12-year pro as a solid No. 2 quarterback who can come in from time to time and keep the ship from sinking.
CFN Projection: Late Third Round


11. Dennis Dixon, QB Oregon
Had it not been for a torn ACL late last year he'd have won the Heisman. With tremendous athleticism, good smarts and excellent toughness, Dixon become a tremendous leader who took his game to another level with a jaw-dropping senior season. While he's not going to bomb away, he has a good short-range arm and makes plays on the move everywhere on the field. Of course, the knee injury will be a major problem considering his game is all about quickness, and if he's not moving around he can't play in the NFL; he's not a pro pocket passer. Everyone tried to compare him to Vince Young as last year went on, but he's not as big, doesn't have nearly the same arm, and doesn't have close to the same upside. He'll be in the league for a long time, but he won't start for anyone any time soon.
CFN Projection:
Fifth Round

BEST OF THE REST


12. Matt Flynn, QB LSU
A total gamer who has a great arm and good running skills. He's a fantastic leader and a winner who'll do whatever it takes to get a team moving. However, he needs work and he isn't a consistent NFL-caliber passer. Smart enough to be a career backup, he'll make a lot of money bouncing around the league for ten years.
CFN Projection:
Sixth Round

13. Anthony Morelli, QB Penn State
Extremely limited, he doesn't throw the ball consistently or well and he never made it happen in Happy Valley despite having a great running game, a phenomenal line, and a loaded receiving corps to work with. He has the tools with good size, a live arm and solid strength, but he's not an NFL starter.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

14. Nick Hill, QB Southern Illinois
An intriguing prospect, he had a big senior season showing a live arm and good passing skills on the run. His competition wasn't all that great and he got flustered under pressure. He didn't do all that well against the top teams he faced and will need years of practice time to get used to the speed of the NFL, but he'll work his butt off.
CFN Projection:
Seventh Round

15. Alex Brink, QB Washington State
Smart, tough, and experienced, he'll be a great practice player and a fine No. 3 quarterback who'll generate buzz in the preseason every year he sticks around. He's not huge and he doesn't have the most efficient delivery, but he can bomb away and put up good numbers at a high level.
CFN Projection: Seventh Round or Free Agent

16. Kyle Wright, QB Miami
Considered the next big thing when he came to Miami, he struggled to make anything happen as the program descended into the ranks of the mediocre. He has the size, the arm, the mobility and the look of an NFL quarterback, but he can't play. He couldn't handle any pass rush, never made his team better, and he couldn't make the most of the several opportunities he was given. However, with his tools, he could be an interesting prospect if he's in the right system with the right coaching. He also needs some good luck; he didn't have any in Coral Gables.
CFN Projection:
Fifth Round

17. Paul Smith, QB Tulsa
If the right coach on the right team sees something in Smith, this could be the sleeper pick of the draft. Smith led the nation's No. 1 offense last season and has the athleticism, smarts, and the moxie to be the type of player no one can cut. A high character guy who teams will want to have around, he could grow into a good West Coast passer if he finds the right fit. However, he's not big, can't take too many shots, and he doesn't have a live arm.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

18. Xavier Lee, QB Florida State
Yet another waste of talent in a growing line of disappointing Florida State quarterbacks, Lee has all the skills with great size, a big arm, and tremendous athleticism. He looks like the perfect prospect, but he's eons away from ever getting a sniff of the field as an NFL quarterback. If he loses his knucklehead streak, he could flourish if he becomes someone's pet project and accepts the right coaching. He could also have a future at tight end if he wants to get paid.
CFN Projection:
Free Agent

19. T.C. Ostrander, QB Stanford
While he's not Trent Edwards, he has good size, produced at times in an awful situation, and has the smarts to stick somewhere as a backup. Durability is the major concern, but as long as he's healthy, he can be a great scout teamer who could eventually become someone's No. 2.
CFN Projection:
Free Agent

20. Bernard Morris, QB Marshall
Because he has great size, fantastic athleticism and a decent arm, he'll get plenty of looks from a variety of teams looking for a good scout team quarterback. He can fit almost any role to prepare a defense, but as far as ever being an NFL starter, that all depends on how quickly he can become a consistent, accurate passer.
CFN Projection:
Free Agent

ON THE RADAR

21. Adam Tafralis, San Jose State
22. Ricky Santos, New Hampshire
23. Sam Keller, Nebraska
24. Tyler Donovan, Wisconsin
25. Blake Mitchell, South Carolina