2013 NFL Draft: Not the Year of the Quarterback

By Curt Popejoy
Geno Smith
Rob Christy-US Presswire

It doesn’t seem like the college football season is wrapping up. But that is exactly where we are. Most teams have 2 or 3 regular season games to go, and then the bowl season before we put a bow on the 2012 college football campaign. And for NFL Draft pundits like myself the college football season is the greatest time of the year.

This is the time of year when I get to tell fans of the various NFL teams how great all these players are going to be for their squads and when they want to know about who their team should draft, I get to share my experience and opinion with them, and hopefully encourage them about their team for the next season.

But for many teams, this year isn’t going to go like that. The reason being, the quarterback position in this 2013 NFL draft class has fizzled after a big start. I started going back through my notes and going back to the off-season or college football preseason I had 6 draft eligible quarterbacks with a first round grade. Those quarterbacks were:

Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
Geno Smith, West Virginia
Matt Barkley, USC
Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech
Aaron Murray, Georgia
Tyler Bray, Tennessee

Additionally, I had 4 more with a 2nd round grade. They were:

Landry Jones, Oklahoma
EJ Manuel, Florida State
Tajh Boyd, Clemson
Casey Pachall, TCU

More than that, I looked at all of those first 6 as high first round picks whether they were talented enough or simply based on team need. It was going to be a great year to be a bad NFL team. But instead all these seemingly elite quarterbacks have had some real struggles that have pushed them down. As I work on my Top 50 prospects, I am 15 players in and still have not included a quarterback.

The problems have been varied. Wilson has been beaten up on an awful team, Smith has been inconsistent, Thomas has had a forgettable season all around, and the rest have just been average. If a team is hoping for an Andrew Luck in this draft, they will be disappointed.

In doing team needs, I can realistically see 5 teams who would love to upgrade their quarterback position in the first round if the opportunity presented itself. The Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets. Just outside of those teams the Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, and Tennessee Titans would also be on the market at some point. The problem is, even if you consider these quarterbacks good prospects, could a team like the Chiefs really use the No. 1 overall pick on a quarterback from this group?

Ideally if you are picking in the top 5, and need a quarterback, in this draft you find a team that wants to go up and get a defensive player or offensive lineman and work a deal, move back and then draft your quarterback with a few extra picks in your pocket. But what I think we are going to see are teams sticking with their present quarterback, drafting a different position of need in the first, and in the 2nd and 3rd round there will be a gullet of quarterbacks drafted as teams scramble to snatch up their project guy.

Sorry to break it to you fans of teams with bad quarterback situations, but this is definitely not the draft to fix you problem.

Come follow me on Twitter @nfldraftboard for all things Steelers and NFL Draft related.

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