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Top 5 Big 10 Prospects In 2014 NFL Draft: Quarterbacks

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Top 5 Big 10 Prospects For 2014 NFL Draft: Quarterbacks

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Every spring, fans of NFL teams with quarterback issues look to the draft as possible way to cure what ails them at that position. This year, count the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears (if Jay Cutler leaves), Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders all as teams that might be quarterback shopping this offseason.

The quarterbacks projected to be available in this year’s draft don’t come in with the hype that previous groups of signal-callers have. There is no Cam Newton, Matt Ryan or Andrew Luck in 2014. After the name of Johnny Manziel is exhausted, the conversation about rookie quarterbacks for 2014 becomes a wide open discussion where there isn’t much separation between prospects.

There are benefits to that situation for both the NFL teams and the quarterbacks looking to be selected this May. Teams that are in need of a quarterback and decide to go the draft route may not act as desperately, knowing that the players who are still available have similar skills and talent to those already taken. Also with the rookie wage scale, the later these quarterbacks are drafted, the less money teams are required to wrap up in unproven rookies.

For the players, it simply means that the chance of being drafted is higher even if Manziel isn’t written across the back of their jerseys. 2014 could see several E.J. Manuels -- quarterbacks taken in the first round who would be still on the board much later in many other draft years.

The quarterbacks featured in this slideshow are the five best that the Big 10 has to offer NFL teams for the 2014 draft. With the lack of separation between prospects, they have just as good of a chance at getting selected as anyone else.

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5. Kenny Guiton

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The Ohio State Buckeyes senior filled in admirably for Braxton Miller this season. His passing efficiency rating of 165.2 and 68.8 completion percentage both led the Big 10 this season. The knock against him will be his relative lack of playing time in comparison to other prospects, but Guiton has all the necessary physical tools and mental abilities.

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4. Kain Colter

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NFL teams will surely grade Colter negatively for his lack of ability to avoid injuries, and might also knock him because of his being used as half of Northwestern’s two-quarterback system. However, it’s hard to argue with Colter’s athleticism or playmaking ability

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3. Nathan Scheelhaase

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Scheelhaase was the Big 10’s only 3,000-yard passer this year and did so without having any one receiver go over a thousand yards, showing his ability to spread the ball around. Scheelhaase also led the Big 10 in total offense, showcasing his ability as a double threat. The big knock against him is turnovers. His 13 interceptions could scare off some NFL teams.

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2. Devin Gardner

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Gardner came in right behind Scheelhaase in both passing yards and total offense, but did it with fewer turnovers and more efficiently with a quarterback rating of 146.1. If Gardner can play well for the Wolverines in the postseason and have good showings at workout days, he may be getting a phone call come draft weekend.

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1. Braxton Miller

Brian Spurlock

Miller’s numbers speak for themselves: ninth in the conference in passing yards, seventh in rushing yards, and third in total offense despite missing two of the Buckeyes’ games. He will have a chance on a national stage to display his abilities next month in the Orange Bowl, and it’s hard to argue with his record as the Buckeyes have lost one game in two seasons with him as the starter.