2014 NFL Draft: Late-Round QB Options For Minnesota Vikings
2014 NFL Draft: 5 Late-Round Quarterback Options For Minnesota Vikings
The upcoming 2014 quarterback class is thought to be one of the deepest in recent memory, which is why it is important to point out some of the possible late-round talents the Minnesota Vikings could target. Of course it would be smart of the Vikings to take one of the elite quarterbacks in this class early in the first-round, but it is impossible to get into management's head, so knowing the second-tier of quarterback talent is important.
Vikings management brought in Josh Freeman in hopes he could recapture the promise he showed early in his career, which is why it is conceivable the Vikings would try and stick with him for one more season even if he makes small improvements throughout the year. If the Vikings decide to go that route and give Freeman another year to prove himself when he knows the offense, the Vikings could very well be drafting a quarterback in a later round to not only contend with Freeman for the starting spot but be the back-up plan if he fails.
Because this is a ranking of the late round quarterback talent, I will point out that Brett Hundley, Marcus Mariota, Teddy Bridgewater, Tajh Boyd, and Johnny Manziel will be excluded from this list. Those five quarterbacks are considered by many to be the top talent in the coming draft and will most likely be selected in the first or early second-round of next year’s draft. This is of course assuming they all enter the upcoming draft. Hundley, Mariota, and Manziel have the option to return to school next year, but the only one likely to do so is Hundley as his draft stock has recently started dropping.
The Vikings will be drafting a quarterback next year no matter what, so the following is a ranking of the top five quarterbacks the team should target if they decide to pass on a quarterback early in the draft.
5. Aaron Murray
Aaron Murray is a four-year starter at Georgia and is one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the upcoming draft. Murray doesn’t do anything spectacular, hence his availability in the later rounds, but he is a solid quarterback who is ready for the NFL lifestyle. Murray is also a quarterback who has performed well in big games, most notably last season’s bowl victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers in which Murray threw for 427 yards and five touchdowns. Although he doesn’t posses the upside of other quarterbacks, Murray conceivably could get the job done in Minnesota with Adrian Peterson behind him.
4. Braxton Miller
Although there is no indication Braxton Miller will enter the upcoming draft, given he is a junior, the way Kenny Guiton performed in his absence indicates this may be the last season Miller is the sole starting quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Miller would be a project upon entering the NFL, but that is what makes him a perfect fit for a late-round selection if the Vikings decide to give Freeman another chance. Miller is one of the biggest bodied dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation standing at 6-foot-2 215 pounds, and given he puts on some muscle he should be able to stand up to the physicality of the NFL. Miller has improved his passing accuracy greatly from last season, however, so there is a definite possibility he becomes a pass-first quarterback who uses his legs as a secondary weapon.
3. David Fales
David Fales is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the upcoming draft class, and the sole reason is because of where he plays his college football. Fales is a senior and second-year starter for the San Jose State Spartans, and he has been their main source of offense for a year and a half now. Fales is another quarterback with NFL size, standing at 6-foot-3 220 pounds, yet he continues to get devalued because of his competition. Although his completion percentage dropped from 72 percent last season to 61 percent this year, it is largely due to opposing teams focusing in on him. Despite that he has still gained 2,425 passing yards through seven games. Fales threw the ball an astonishing 451 times last season and is on pace to end his career near 900 pass attempts, meaning he would be able to step in mid-season for the Vikings if need be as he has gained valuable experience being the centerpiece of an offense.
2. Zach Mettenberger
Zach Mettenberger would likely to be a third-round pick if the draft were today, but the way he has been playing for the LSU Tigers this season he could very well be mentioned along with the five quarterbacks on the opening slide. Mettenberger is completing 65 percent of his passes this season, but the more impressive number is the 2,492 passing yards and 19 touchdowns. Mettenberger has been asked to throw the ball a lot this season, which is likely part of the reason he has seven interceptions though nine games. Although Vikings fans don’t want another quarterback with bad decision-making skills, Mettenberger has the upside to be better than Christian Ponder and would be a steal if he were to fall to the fourth-round.
1. AJ McCarron
AJ McCarron has been called a game manager his entire career at Alabama, but the reality of it is he is an NFL-ready quarterback who rarely makes mistakes. What else could a Vikings fan want from a quarterback after the Ponder era? McCarron has 11 interceptions in his career at Alabama. That means he has thrown just 11 interceptions despite throwing the ball a total of 899 times during his three and a half years on campus. McCarron has the build of an NFL quarterback and has been one of the most consistent players in all of college football during his time as a starter, making him a perfect late-round selection for the Vikings. McCarron, like Fales, would be able to start from day one, which is exactly what every fan wants to hear after the way the quarterback situation in Minnesota has been handled this year.