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NFL Combine: Scouting the Quarterbacks
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Ricky Henne’s Take:Perhaps I’m spoiled getting to watch Philip Rivers each day at practice, but I was underwhelmed by the overall talent on display today by the quarterbacks. It’s not considered a particularly strong class and I can certainly see why. Many throws were off target, either behind or too far in front of the intended target, and the deep balls were loopy and didn’t have great zip to them. Still, as always, there were some players who impressed. Chief amongst them was West Virginia’s Geno Smith, who is regarded as the best QB this year with a legit shot to go number one overall. He’s been plagued with inconsistency, but on this day at least, he managed to make all the throws and had great touch on his passes. While this crop of quarterbacks isn’t known for its’ speed, nobody expected Smith to post the best 40-yard dash time, which he did with a 4.59. Another QB that caught my eye was Oklahoma’s Landry Jones. I felt he threw the best deep ball besides Smith. In terms of power, I was impressed by Tennessee’s Tyler Bray. The kid has an absolute cannon for an arm, but needs to improve his overall accuracy
Ryan Schuler’s Take: Is University of West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith worthy of the No. 1 overall pick in April’s NFL Draft? That was the question going into Sunday’s quarterback workout at the NFL Scouting Combine. Smith certainly didn’t do anything to hurt his chances of being taken No. 1 overall. His 4.59 40-yard dash ranked first among quarterbacks, while his 33.5-inch vertical leap was second only behind Florida State’s EJ Manuel. It’s obvious Smith has the physical tools to perform on the field. The questions are: Can he be the face of a franchise? Can he command the attention of veterans early on in his career? Will he be able to comprehend a sophisticated NFL offense? Smith excelled in the passing drills, consistently placing the ball where it needed to be in medium and longer routes. He had the smoothest release from what I saw. Smith is currently the No. 1 quarterback in NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock’s rankings. Someone who stuck out to me was North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon. He seems to be Philip Rivers 2.0. They both are tall QBs who hail from the same university. Mayock has Glennon as the third-ranked quarterback in this year’s class and could be taken in the middle rounds. Tennessee’s Tyler Bray, Oklahoma’s Landry Jones and Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib all had solid days, but did not do anything to stand out to me. Bray may be the most physically gifted of the group with a cannon of an arm. Jones, questioned for his ability to perform in pressure situations, could be a steal in the middle rounds. The biggest mystery of the Combine was University of Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley. He is still recovering from a shoulder injury sustained against UCLA on Dec. 17 and chose not to compete in any drills. Barkley is expected to throw at USC’s March 27 Pro Day. His performance that day will be the first time he will throw since the injury and determine if he is a top 10 pick like some analysts predict.
TOP FIVE PERFORMANCES
1. Geno Smith, West Virginia – 4.59
2. EJ Manuel, Florida St. – 4.65
3. Matt Scott, Arizona – 4.69
4. MarQueis Gray, Minnesota – 4.73
T-5. Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech – 4.78
T-5. Collin Klein, Kansas St. – 4.78
1. EJ Manuel, Florida St. – 34.0
2. Geno Smith, West Virginia – 33.5
3. James Vandenberg, Iowa – 32.0
T-4. Landry Jones, Oklahoma – 31.0
T-4. Matt Scott, Arizona- 31.0