2014 NFL Draft: Best Quarterbacks Outside the First Round
Believe it or not, there are quarterbacks available in the 2014 NFL Draft not named Bridgewater, Manziel, or Bortles. There have been enough busts recently taken in the 1st round (Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder come to mind) and successes found in the 2nd and 3rd rounds (Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson) to have many teams leaning towards looking for starting quarterbacks in the mid rounds.
Here the three quarterbacks projected to be selected in Rounds 2 – 4 who have the best chance of being quality starters in the next couple years:
1. Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois)
Garoppolo doesn’t have Bortles’ prototypical size, but he is bigger than Bridgewater and Manziel. He plays a lot like Bridgewater, with a firm understanding of how to adjust the play before the snap to take advantage of matchups, and after the snap he is accurate and decisive.
2. Zach Mettenberger (LSU)
If it weren’t for an ACL tear late in the 2013 season, Mettenberger may have been a 1st round selection this year. He is the classic gunslinger. His mobility in the pocket could use some work, but his size (6’ 5”, 225 lbs.) and the cannon he has for an arm will entice GMs looking for a traditional quarterback.
3. David Fales (San Jose State)
There are a few prospects with higher stock than Fales, such as Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, Georgia’s Aaron Murray, and Pittsburgh’s Tom Savage, but I see Fales as having a better chance at being a successful NFL quarterback. He doesn’t have the biggest arm, but his accuracy is excellent.
In 2013’s matchup between San Jose State and Fresno State, all eyes were on Derek Carr as he was already projected as one of the top quarterbacks of the 2014 class. But it was Fales who earned the attention of scouts by the end of the game, leading San Jose State to a victory with a school-record statline of 547 yards and 6 touchdowns to 0 interceptions. Fales proved he can play effectively under the national spotlight, a trait that should serve him well in the NFL.
Dishonorable Mention: Derek Carr (Fresno State)
Most analysts have Carr being selected in the late 1st round or early 2nd round. I just don’t see it, and not just because his brother was one of the worst draft busts in recent memory. Carr, like Bridgewater and Manziel, is undersized, but unlike those two top quarterback prospects, Carr has terrible pocket presence.
If he can’t handle the pass rush at the college level, how is he going to perform well when facing the faster, stronger, and more technically skilled defenders in the NFL?
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