By Jeric Griffin @JericGriffin on April 18, 2014
The 2014 NFL Draft is now less than a month away, which means the speculation about which quarterback will be taken where is about to boil over. However, where each signal-caller WILL land is likely going to be different than where each of them SHOULD land. Seeing as how the latter is very unlikely, let’s look at the best-case scenario for each of the top 10 passers in this year’s class.
A very raw prospect with a cannon for a right arm, Stephen Morris likely won’t be drafted. He should be about a sixth-round pick for a team that can develop him for roughly three years in the right system. Considering that probably won’t happen, his best-case scenario is to be a seventh-round pick by a team with an elite, aging quarterback under which he can learn the ropes.
This waterbug quarterback is going to be a first-round pick and could go as high as first overall. If that happens, his pro career is doomed. Johnny Manziel will bust like a pinata if he's asked to carry a losing team from day one. His best-case scenario is to be drafted late so that fame and fortune won’t be a distraction and he can learn how to read a defense and be a “real quarterback” while spending his first few years on the bench.
Arguably the most underrated quarterback in this draft is Jimmy Garoppolo out of Eastern Illinois. He broke all of Tony Romo's college records and impressed the few scouts at his Pro Day. In a quarterback-friendly system like the Patriots' he would be an ideal fit, and obviously being able to learn from a passer like Tom Brady would be an added bonus. For a chance to play right away, the Buccaneers would be a solid fit near the fifth round.
Everyone has their own opinion about Pro Days, but I would be scared to death of a quarterback from a school like Louisville who can't throw passes accurately in a scripted workout while wearing shorts and a t-shirt. If he was looked at correctly as a fourth-round prospect instead of a top-10 pick, he might be a draft steal, but he needs to sit for at least two years in a system that challenges him to improve against better competition.
Another signal-caller who would benefit from being a late-round draft pick by a winning team is Derek Carr, who has the arm and pocket presence to succeed in the NFL, but needs a ton of improvement on his footwork. With a healthy competition at quarterback and at least one year on the sidelines learning, he could be a star down the road, but not if he's forced into a bad situation with a losing team like the Raiders in the third round.
This guy is a winner who is extremely underrated as a passer; AJ McCarron needs the right opportunity to prove he's not just a game manager. In comparison, he would be the perfect sequel to Andy Dalton, who was drafted in the second round by a Bengals team that already had a solid defense and a decent running game in place. Teams like the Titans and Rams would be perfect fits for McCarron in the middle rounds.
Had it not been for his ACL tear, Aaron Murry would be a borderline first-round pick. He's ready to take over an NFL offense right now and would be a great choice for a team like the Texans in the second round if Houston is wise enough to pass on a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick. Now, as an under-the-radar prospect, Murray could come out of nowhere as a rookie like Russell Wilson did in 2012 if drafted by the right organization.
Of all the quarterbacks in this year's draft, David Fales has the most pro potential. He has an arm made of pure gold and his accuracy already rivals all of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. He played in a wide open offense at San Jose State and definitely needs his game tailored by a solid pro coach. With one year on the bench and/or splitting time with an aging veteran as a middle-to-late-round pick, Fales could be an absolute star.
There will be at least one quarterback drafted in the top 10 this year, and probably more, but Blake Bortles is the best fit for the Vikings at No. 8 overall. Like any quarterback, he would benefit from sitting, but he's ready to take over a team like Minnesota that has a stellar running back on which he can lean early on. Bortles is the complete package and would be the consensus No. 1 overall pick had he not played at Central Florida.
Had it not been for his ACL tear, Zach Mettenberger would be the No. 1 passer in this year's class, and if he ends up with the right team, he will be looked at as such three years from now. He can make every throw at the NFL level, knows how to thread the needle and doesn't abuse that ability. He would be a perfect first-round pick for a team like the Titans, Buccaneers or Vikings that would instantly be playoff contenders with a solid passer.
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