We’re almost two weeks into the NFL postseason and the fan’s natural step of the 24 teams that won’t be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy is to look four months down the road at the NFL Draft. While the location may be changing in 2015, the format won’t. Seven rounds, 256 picks, but this time it’ll take place in the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago instead of inside Radio City Music Hall.
What we’re going to do over the next few months is roll out a weekly column dedicated to the NFL draft, mostly in a Top Five format. Some will be dedicated to the Falcons, some to discuss a specific position and maybe a mock draft or two thrown in.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Update: When Might Your $1,400 Economic Relief Payment Arrive?
For this week’s inaugural column, we take a look at the top five quarterbacks that will be drafted this spring.
Next week, we’ll preview Senior Bowl week which kicks off January 19th with a look at some players looking to soar up draft boards with strong performances in Mobile.
1. Marcus Mariota, Oregon
Anonymous scouts have said he’s too nice. If Mr. Rogers could throw a football and run like he does, I’d like to be in his neighborhood too. Mariota has the whole package – he’s athletic, accurate, a good decision maker and has his Ducks in the National Championship game after shredding the defending champion Seminoles and torching Arizona in the Pac-12 championship. Lot of questions about him being a “system quarterback,” but the proof will be in the pudding in the NFL. I expect him to be a top five pick and the odds-on favorite to go #1 overall to Tampa.
2. Brett Hundley, UCLA
Many expect Winston to be next on this list, but I have Hundley second for a myriad of reasons. People forget as a redshirt freshman two years ago, he led his Bruins to the Pac 12 championship game. Fast forward to an up and down 2014 full of injuries and inconsistent play and you’ll see a talented player with all the tools to be an above average starting quarterback in this league. Remember, Hundley has played under former Falcons HC Jim Mora, so he has been groomed the past three seasons for this very moment. Yes, he has his flaws, but his upside I believe is greater than anyone not named Mariota. I think his offseason workouts and his combine vault him into the first round conversation.READ MORE: Wanted For Homicide, Florida Man Leads Deputies On Chase, Breaks Into Home Before Placed Under Arrest
3. Jameis Winston, Florida State
Ah yes, the mercurial Jameis, who has more to worry about off the field than on it. Putting aside the total team collapse in the national semifinal against Oregon, he has been a one man show the past two seasons not losing one game up until last week. His interceptions went up this season, but he still found a way to win every single close game. I understand there are people out there touting him as the #1 overall pick, but can you trust him? I wouldn’t make him the face of my franchise, but he’ll probably be a top 10 pick based on talent alone.
4. Sean Mannion, Oregon State
After a great 2013 for the strong armed pocket passer, he regressed a bit in 2014 but that can mostly be attributed to his shaky offensive line and dearth of playmakers. Remember, each of the past two years he has lost his #1 wideout in Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks. A 37-15 ration of TD’s to interceptions in 2013 was followed by a 15TD and eight INT year in 2014. If he gets to work on his accuracy, the sky is the limit and he can absolutely be a starting QB in this league. He can make all the throws. I think he vaults into the second day conversation, maybe as high as a second round pick. If Zach Mettenberger can go that high, Mannion surely can as well.
5. Garrett Grayson, Colorado StateMORE NEWS: Florida Man, Family Torches His Impounded Vehicle To Destroy Evidence
One of the first signal callers to commit to the Senior Bowl in Mobile, the strong armed pocket passer from Colorado State has potential to be drafted on day two, but more likely will be selected early on day three of the draft. In 2014, he threw 32 touchdowns to only five picks for a team that was ranked in the top 25 for a large portion of the season. Scouts I’ve spoken to see his ceiling as a high end backup, but he’ll last a long time in the league. Expect the former Ram to go early on day three and maybe sneak into round three with a strong performance in Mobile.