The group of quarterback prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft is one of the most polarizing in recent history. If you talk to five people, you could likely get five different answers on which the top quarterback in this NFL Draft is.
I decided to ask five individuals whose job is to know the quarterback position inside and out. A few of them also worked closely with some of the prospects in this Draft. Quarterback trainers Donovan Dooley, Todd Krueger, Ken Mastrole, Steve Calhoun, and Steve Clarkson all took time out of their schedule to discuss the quarterbacks in this NFL Draft class.
Here are the quarterbacks ranked from 10-6 according to the professionals:
10(T). – Washington: One Point
The record-setting Huskies signal-caller received one fifth-place vote from Steve Calhoun. Price had 83 total touchdowns the last three years after sitting behind Jake Locker as a freshman in 2010.
“Been working with him since he was a freshman in high school. Chip on his shoulder got a lot bigger when he didn’t get invited to the Combine. Answered questions at the Pro Day. Good friends with Russell Wilson and shares that bond of being overlooked.” – Steve Calhoun
“Interesting pick for somebody like Chip Kelly. Probably not going to be somebody’s starter anytime soon. In the right system he is a kid that could be groomed along. Lightning quick release and great athlete behind center. Plays in a system that is a little misunderstood. Ran a lot of pro concepts at Washington. The things they did with the running game are similar to what a pro-style quarterback would have just in a shotgun position. Taught extremely well by Steve Sarkisian.” – Steve Clarkson
10(T). Tom Savage – Pittsburgh: One Point
The late riser in the draft process that ultimately fell out of the top 100 despite recent reports he was going in the second round. Received one fifth-place vote from Steve Clarkson.
“Very strong arm, quick release. Very good footwork. A victim of circumstances. I thought his career would flourish at Rutgers. Somebody else took the job and he goes to Arizona and then Rich Rodriguez comes in and he is not a good fit. Then he ends up at Pittsburgh and it’s a great fit. Made the best of some bad situations.” – Steve Clarkson
“Tough kid. When you see his ability to make plays before they happen and see things before they develop, that was key. Pittsburgh won some games this year they probably wouldn’t have won because of his play. I look at him as an intriguing prospect, maybe as the most intriguing prospect.” – Steve Clarkson
“One of the strongest arms this year coming out. Not enough experience there to draft him as a high guy.” – Ken Mastrole
“Throwing motion is a little long. A little bit of a windup. Big arm but my concern is his throwing motion is elongated and slow and (he is) not very mobile. The two games I saw Pittsburgh play I saw teams blitzed and had success getting sacks.” – Todd Krueger
“The times I did see him, he is a decent quarterback but has a ways to go.” – Donovan Dooley
9. Tajh Boyd – Clemson: Two Points
Received one fourth place vote from Ken Mastrole. The ACC record-holder for passing touchdowns (107) and total touchdowns (133) but also threw 36 interceptions the last three seasons (most among this group).
“If you get to know him on a personal level, he is a very grounded person. Not a party lifestyle type of guy. Embraces pressure very well. Comes across very laidback but that is a benefit to him. You look back at the LSU game where he is taking hits and completing passes on fourth down. I think he has the capability to play in the league 10-12 years.” – Ken Mastrole
“Off the chart arm talent. Can throw it any release, launch point, any angle.” – Ken Mastrole
“I got to sit in with two private workouts with (NFL) teams (and Boyd). He been very impressive with blocking schemes, routes, reads and concepts.” – Ken Mastrole
“Clean throwing motion. Accurate with the football. I’m not worried about his height. Has escapability and is a winner.” – Steve Calhoun
“He got away from himself. Tried to make too many big plays. Didn’t let the game come to him. Forced to put himself in a situation where he put a stamp on himself as a question mark or project. I think in terms of arm talent, he can throw the football. Inconsistent as far as accuracy. Strong arm doesn’t always win you games.” – Donovan Dooley
8. Aaron Murray – Georgia: Two Points
Four-year starter for the Georgia Bulldogs that had his senior season cut short by a torn ACL. Garnered a fourth-place vote from Steve Calhoun.
“Those knee injuries late in the season is a question. If healthy, Aaron can flat-out throw the ball. Really strong arm, not the tallest guy. Fiery leader. Have to lead grown men in the NFL. You need to convince them you’re the guy. I think Murray has the capability in his character.” – Steve Calhoun
“Aaron definitely had all the intangibles you want. If you look at the film, I think he is a horse. Only thing that worries me is his injury.” – Donovan Dooley
“Play at Georgia, out of all the games, he probably got too much blame for the things that didn’t happen (wins). Great moxie in playing with injury. Can make all the throws. Mark Richt does a heck of job. Well-
schooled. I think he will be just fine.” – Steve Clarkson
“I thought he did a good job overall. I watched that Auburn game and he had that Auburn game. I respect his game. One of the nicest releases, motion, and ball placement around. You just wonder if his physical tools are going to go to the next level.” – Ken Mastrole
“Reminds me of Colt McCoy. Doesn’t have a strong arm, undersized. Great talent around him. I see him as a nice back-up quarterback.” – Todd Krueger
7. Zach Mettenberger – LSU: Two Points
Donovan Dooley’s number four quarterback, the Georgia to JUCO to LSU quarterback is still on the board entering day three despite a big arm. Character concerns are arguably pushing him down the board.
“A fan of his skillset. Thought he was very polished. Unfortunately had that injury but thought his draft stock would have been high. Loved his game. Can’t dispute the competition.” – Donovan Dooley
“Biggest thing he has going for him is he played at LSU and had an NFL offensive coordinator in Cam Cameron. NFL arm. Interviewed extremely well. Played big games in the SEC. Seems to have a certain flair for the game. Seems comfortable watching him on tape. Almost Marino like with his footwork. Can slide in the pocket.” – Steve Clarkson
“You fall in love with the height and arm strength, but just a question of where he is going to go. I just don’t get the upside at the next level. If you’re not productive at the college level it is not like you are going to be productive at the highest level. People are judged in the SEC as if you’re winning SEC Championships or National Championships.” – Ken Mastrole
“Has a huge arm. Really big, thick guy. Plying under Cam Cameron really helped his draft stock playing under a pro-style offense. Not sure if he has the escapability. Solid back-up, not a 1st rounder. Not real mobile. Struggled when teams got in his face and pressured him. Struggles with accuracy when he can’t sit back.” – Todd Krueger
“Got a chance to see him down at the Manning Camp. Very impressive arm. My only question is his mobility. The defensive line’s in the NFL now everybody gets out there. You have to extend plays at some point in time at the NFL. Definitely has the arm and size, footwork is not as clean as I would like it to be, and has been slowed a bit due to injury.” – Steve Calhoun
“College is a very complicated life. A lot of things happen at a college scenario that are overblown. Everything worked out where he transferred out and went to LSU and everything worked out.” – Steve Clarkson speaking on the off-field concerns with Mettenberger
6. AJ McCarron – Alabama: Four Points
The two-time national champion earned a second-place vote from Donovan Dooley but did not appear on anybody else’s board.
“He is going to shock some people. Not in that mold of other Alabama quarterbacks. Impressive at Manning Camp. Stronger arm than people give him credit for.” – Steve Calhoun
“He played for one of the most demanding coaches in all of football. For a kid that is able to lead Alabama to two maybe three national championship games. His championship game against Notre Dame he threw a couple passes that reminded me of Joe Montana hit John Taylor. The Texas A&M game is his calling card. Down 14-0 early but his leadership skills and execution. He was outstanding. If I’m a scout that’s the game I’m pulling up first.” – Steve Clarkson
“Proven winner. Physically, doesn’t strike me as elite arm status. I don’t think you have to have an elite arm but need to deliver it on time and accurately.” – Ken Mastrole
“I think he is going to be successful in the league. Don’t know if he is a day one starter. Makes the smart play. Some people say he is a game manager because he plays in a pro-style offense with great players around him, but he could potentially be a crapshoot. Fits the mold of traditional types of passer.” – Ken Mastrole
“Good solid back-up. Really smart. Three to four years from now if a guy gets hurt, it wouldn’t be surprising to me if he went on to be a solid NFL starter.” – Todd Krueger
“Wasn’t asked to throw a lot which is a question mark I would have.” – Donovan Dooley
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