The List for NFL "Suitability" and then Analysis...
5. Tim Tebow
4. Colt McCoy
3. Mark Sanchez
2. Sam Bradford
1. Matt Stafford
First off, no seniors. Secondly, no Ball St. QB will be on my list as he plays no one. Third, no Texas Tech QBs as they run a system that makes anyone look good. Fourth, the NFL now wants pocket passers with great pass rush awareness and QBs who are mobile. Fifth, I don't go beyond 5 QBs because in reality there are never 5 QBs that are good fits for the pros in one draft class (not even 83).
This year's senior class is very very weak. Feels like that 1990 or 91 draft. Tim Tebow at no. 5 for a variety of reasons. He has a solid frame and open field speed uncommon in QBs. Sadly, he has low skills in reading defenses, throwing an crisp short pass, mechanics look weird, and he's taken a beating at Florida. How many games can he get hit 30 times between carries and dropbacks at age 18-22 and survive intact for 12 years in the NFL? Tebow runs the option spread, and I think comparisons to Tebow are Tommie Frazier and Eric Crouch more than Michael Vick. He will be a giant project that has boom and bust written all over it. Watch when he drops back to pass. He locks in on a receiver and then has this slow delivery that is awkward. I also do not like that he sometimes leaps when he throws. This means he is throwing all arm, and I have no clue why a person would leap when they released a ball. I did it once at age 5. I see him staying for his Senior year to polish his passing skills and to go on more missionary work since he is super Christian.
Colt McCoy is someone I have soured on as the season has progressed. Yes, his numbers are sick. Yes his accuracy is great from a pure numbers standpoint. Yes he has wheels. He doesn't get pressured much. He reads defenses well, and has lots of time to do so. One thing I noticed in UT games I watched this season was how McCoy would leave balls high. His receivers are tall, so maybe that is why, but he left them out to dry over the middle, and some of the throws look like they sailed rather than had deliberate high placement. He is a tad smaller than the other QBs listed, and I love how his height changes on different websites. I like him for the pros more than Tebow because his accuracy. I do not like him more than the next 3 guys for the size, arm strength and not from the cozy confines of Austin bad vibes I get from all UT guys.
Mark Sanchez, which I might be biased on, has the playing style and feel of an NFL starter. He is agile in the pocket, has great arm strength for those slants and 15 yard outs, has nice touch on sideline throws, and is a gym rat and preparation freak. His downsides are that nagging knee injury and his inability to know when a play is dead and he should just throw it away. Sanchez takes some sacks he should not and throws some balls he should not because he gives his guys time. part of this is because of USC's line and part is his inability to shrug off and elude defensive linemen (a la Big Ben). He has great touch at age 21. Watch when he throws a wheel route to a RB. He leads his receiver and understands the window of time he has and his receivers "hands". His wideouts get bullets on slants and outs, and his RBs get softer throws on wheels and screens. McNabb, you douche, take note. He has the problem of letting his guard down versus bad defenses. He has had a couple of games where after some quick strikes and a lead has been built, he forgets about the crappy safety because they failed to stop USC the last 3 drives. Besides his physical tools, the best thing about him is his preparation and work in the gym. This is what you want to hear from a QB's coaches. This is more than what USC said about Matt Leinart.
Sam Bradford has the strong arm, the release, the size, the ability to find the 3rd or 4th option, defensive reading skills that Tebow and McCoy would kill for, and to top it all off, he has a frame that could add 25 lbs on it in an NFL conditioning system. I loved how in the Oklahoma St game he kept finding his third option for a backbreaking conversion or deep crossing route completion. My one knock on him is that Bradford has not faced tough defenses, giving him plenty of time to make his great decisions. That's it. I kind of view him as an unknown vs. real competition. I know he played against all of those wonderful Big 12 teams that are somehow all ranked in the top 12 week after week, but do any of those teams stop each other????? If Bradford leaves after this year, we will not know how he faced against good defenses, but I still think he is worth the risk of a top 5 pick.
Well between Bradford and Stafford, you're splitting hairs in my opinion. He has all of the physical tools like Bradford, but he has not played behind a great offensive line. Each year, his YPA and completion percentage have gone up. This is impressive in the SEC. Look at Stafford's stats versus the tough SEC defenses. His blemish is that Florida game, which was gawd awful. He made some poor decisions, and started to gamble with his throws to try to jumpstart a comeback. Georgia runs more of a pro style offense than those Big 12 teams (or Florida). I can't add anything about Stafford that others have not already said better.
What happens in January when the bowls are done and final stats compiled? From the looks of the current crop of senior QBs, which has the media talking up a QB from Ball St., Stafford and Bradford would be crazy to stay in the NFL. Even though he is a 3rd year Sophomore, I think Bradford will jet for the NFL with the Heisman under his arm. After reading an ESPN article on how UT players love Austin and adjust to the pros weird, I think McCoy stays another year, and Sanchez and Tebow follow suit. This would place them at the top of the 2010 QB class, but they better watch out because if Jimmy Claussen makes strides, he can creep up on them.
Where will Stafford and Bradford land? I see both as top 10 picks. As of right now, KC, Detroit, Seattle, St. Louis, and San Fran are in position and could use new faces at QB. I think Detroit will go after whomever is rated highest just to please their fans, who will give the new GM the benefit of the doubt after the Matt Millen fiasco. KC's draft decisions rely on whomever is the new GM, if they do get rid of the GM, which is a rumor I have read. KC has a shit buffet of QBs right now. Seattle could go in a new QB direction since Hasslebeck is just wrapping up year 4 of a 6 year deal with some minor brain damage. Keep in mind that cap number in 2009, which is 4 mil more than his base salary, which would show the savings they would receive by cutting him (5.25 mil). St Louis is earlier in the contract extension for Bulger, but could bring in a new guy to sit for 1/2 or 1 year and cut Bulger after 2009. There are a limited number of possibilities because the idea of needs vs. best player available, but I do not see either guy lasting beyond pick 10.