Senior Bowl Quarterbacks

Without Geno and Barkley, this game really takes a hit.  In the long run, only two or three quarterbacks per draft class end up panning out and I think Geno and Barkley are the 2013 class’ best chances.  Let’s see if any of the six Senior Bowl quarterbacks will make a splash in the NFL.  Here’s how I rank them heading into this week.

#1 Landry Jones, Oklahoma  (SOUTH)

Remember in 2010 when everyone was sky high on Landry Jones and thought he was a sure fire RD 1 pick?  Well, there’s good news and bad news to this statement.  The bad news is that Landry has not progressed as a player since 2010.  His growth has plateaued and he likely ‘is what he is,’ leaving little room for growth in the NFL.  On the other hand, the good news is that Landy Jones in 2012 performed almost identically to Landry Jones in 2010, meaning that he’s still a high performing quarterback, relatively speaking.  Away from his comfy Oklahoma environment, it  will be interesting to see how Landry performs this week.

#2 EJ Manuel  (SOUTH)

The good news about EJ Manuel is that he still appears to be growing as a quarterback.  In virtually every metric his numbers improved from 2011 to 2012, indicating that there’s still upside.  Perhaps with superior NFL coaching, the raw talent that everyone has loved will blossom into a star caliber player.  The frustrating part about EJ is that the production, in the form of high TD passing game performances, isn’t there.  Consider that in 2011 AND 2012 combined, he only had SIX meaningful games with 2+ TD passes.  Compare this with single season performances from guys like Drew Brees (8 in 2000), Tom Brady (7 in 1999), and Andrew Luck (7 in 2011) and it’s clear to see that something is awry.  Manuel is an interesting player, but I’d like to see more.

#3 Ryan Nassib  (NORTH)

In the same way that Landry Jones ‘plateaued’ between 2010 and 2012, the same could be said for Nassib.  He threw touchdowns at a lower rate, interceptions at a higher rate, and overall graded out as a low-ceiling prospect.  He strikes me as a serviceable backup, game-manager type, but others seem to think he’s top 50 material.  Like Ryan Tannehill, he seems to be a hot candidate for 3rd best QB contention, which could send him shooting up draft boards.  I’ll be watching him close this week to see if he ‘flashes’.

#4 Tyler Wilson  (SOUTH)

Wilson is REALLY hard to get a read on.  His performance–and the team– went from outstanding with Bobby Petrino in 2011 to an utter debacle in 2012 under John L Smith.  While his attempts/gm and completion percentage held relatively steady, he threw touchdowns 20% less often and interceptions 300% more often.  Unlike Nassib, Manuel, Jones, and Glennon, Tyler Wilson didn’t play in a bowl game.  With 7 weeks to prep for this game, he needs to impress or risk getting lost in the fray.

#5 Mike Glennon  (NORTH)

Glennon is a curious case.  He threw the ball 18 more times per game in 2012 than in 2011, completing fewer passes but completing them further down field.  This would indicate to me that he was playing catch-up a lot.  To further this theory, his interception rate was the highest of any Senior Bowl quarterback.  As an overall product, he seems to have slightly regressed from his 2011 form; not the direction you want to be heading in when the competition is only going to get tougher.

#6 Zac Dysert  (NORTH)

Dysert is my lowest graded QB in this game.  Despite entering 2012 as a buzzy mid-major prospect, Dysert failed to back up his 2011 performance.  Despite his pass attempts and pass-distance remaining steady, he completed 7 percent fewer passes.  His TD% held steady but his interception% spiked.  Given the disastrous state of the Miami University football program, it will be interesting to see how he fairs in this game.  With an improved supporting cast, will his talent shine through?  Or will the increased level of competition, compared to the MAC, cause him to struggle?

Advertisements

Who to watch: West Virginia v. Syracuse (Pinstripe Bowl)

Stay tuned for must-see prospects from every game of the bowl season.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Saturday, December 29, 3:15pm EST

ESPN

Yankee Stadium is famous for the long ball.  This game will be no exception, with passing game talent galore!

West Virginia

Geno Smith, #12, Senior, QB

Many people think that Geno Smith will be the #1 overall pick in the 2013 draft.  I said back in August that Geno Smith would become the signature player of the 2012 season.  While that didn’t quite materialize (thanks, WVU defense) I still think he belongs in the conversation for the best QB in the draft.

Coming into the season I had Geno ranked #1 among my quarterback prospects, so it was his job to lose.  Let’s see how he did when comparing 2011 to 2012:

Relevant games with 2+ TD passes

  • 2012-  6
  • 2011-  5

Relevant games with 3+ TD passes

  • 2012-  4
  • 2011-  2

Pass/Game

  • 2012-  43.5
  • 2011-  41.7

Completion %

  • 2012-  66.3
  • 2011-  67.8

Yards per completion

  • 2012-  10.9
  • 2011-  11.9

TD rate increased by 23%

Grade in my system (anything above 95 is a potentially elite prospect)

  • 2012-  105.5
  • 2011- 108.9

Across the board, he has held steady at a very high level or improved.  The one ‘pink flag’ I have is that his interception rate increased by 111%.  I say pink flag–not red– because we need to keep things in perspective.  His 2011 interception rate of .68% led the nation by a long shot.  His 2012 interception rate of 1.44% is still fourth best of the season.

On second thought, maybe becoming the #1 pick in the draft DOES make you the signature player of the season.

Keep an eye out for Smith, Stedman Bailey, and Tavon Austin (see below) in the video.

Stedman Bailey, #3, Junior, WR

Tavon Austin, #1, Senior, WR

In my November WR rankings, I had both WVU stars in my top 10 and nothing has changed since then.  Well, one thing has changed… Bailey has moved ahead of Austin.

Bailey went berserk over the Mountaineers’ final four games, posting 45 receptions, 671 yards, and 8 TDs.  To understand how outrageous that is, consider that Louisville’s stud WR DeVante Parker posted 38–712–9 for the ENTIRE SEASON!

For the year, Stedman Bailey’s average stat line reads:  8.8 receptions,  125 yards,  1.9 touchdowns.  Those 1.9 touchdowns per game is 2nd ALL TIME in my database behind some guy named Randy Moss.  Whatever happened to him?

Bailey has already declared for the NFL draft and recently posted on Twitter  “In my opinion, I think I’m pretty similar to Kendall Wright… That’s just my opinion tho…”  In fact, I think he’s better than Wright (20th overall pick in 2012 draft).  Stedman Bailey is EASILY one of the top five wide receiver prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft and might the best.  Check back in March when my official draft grades are released.

Tavon Austin has been a highly touted since day 1 of the 2012 season.  And while I believe he is a top 10 wide receiver prospect, I like Bailey better.  Austin has operated as an underneath guy for the past two season while holding a yards/reception under 12 yards.  Additionally, his smaller frame (5′  8”  172lbs) raises some doubts about his ability to hold up.  The last small WR I graded (almost) as high as Austin was Desean Jackson, who has turned out alright to say the least.

Enjoy your last chance to watch the dynamic trio of Smith-Bailey-Austin before they head off to the NFL.

Syracuse

Alec Lemon, #15, Senior, WR

As of now I have Lemon ranked at (coincidentally) about the #15 receiving prospect in the country.  This places him squarely in the beginning of round 4.  To further this thought, the last notable Syracuse WR was the Bucs’ Mike Williams:

Williams 2010– 7 receptions, 106 yards,  .8 TD  (per game)

Lemon 2012– 6.4 receptions,  96 yards,  .6 TD  (per game)

The two wide receivers have similar builds, and (coincidentally) Williams was selected in the beginning of round 4 in the 2011 draft.  Lemon has improved in ALL 9 of my metrics during the 2012 season and appears poised to make a name for himself on Sundays.  In the mean time, he’ll have to settle for making a name for himself on a Saturday afternoon in Yankee Stadium.

Jump to the 40 second mark to see Lemon do his dirt.

In case you’re wondering “where is Ryan Nassib?”  he doesn’t do anything for me.  How excited were you about Matt Flynn or Mike Kafka coming out of college?  I’d just assume have Ryan Radcliff over Ryan Nassib.  And, no, I’m not joking.  (Now go look up who Ryan Radcliff is)