Quarterbacks in the 2009 NFL Draft
by Robert Ferringo - 02/24/2009
Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco had as much of an impact on betting in the NFL as any two players in the league this year. This pair of first-year signal callers showed the importance of being able to properly assess quarterback prospects in the NFL Draft and proved once again that even bad teams are just one player away from making a move.
But if you're trying to find a quarterback or two among the 2009 NFL Draft quarterback prospects that could match what Ryan and Flacco achieved last year you might have better luck trying to find the Lost City of Atlantis with Google Maps. Oh, wait…
This year's NFL Draft quarterback prospects comprise the sorriest, shakiest, most questionable group of QBs that I can remember over the last 10 years. This group is full of projects, underachievers, over-hyped wannabes and big-time reaches. I mean, how excited can you really be from one year of watching Mark Sanchez? Am I really supposed to take Hunter Cantwell or Brian Hoyer serious as third- or fourth-round picks? Why are eight of the Top 20 quarterback prospects from schools about the size of a local community college?
All of these things have conspired to make this year's quarterback class even more of a crapshoot than it normally is. Besides Matt Stafford and, grudgingly, Mark Sanchez, there really isn't a blue chip prospect in the bunch. And if I'm forced to draft a fantasy football quarterback from this group in a few years I'm going to go ahead and take my kicker first and then come back to this position.
Here are my rankings of the quarterbacks in the NFL Draft for 2009:
Best of the Bunch:
1) Matthew Stafford (Georgia)
When it comes to NFL potential there is simply none better in this crop than Stafford. This kid throws lasers all over the field and has perhaps the strongest arm in the crop. He has seemingly been groomed for this moment since high school in Texas and this kid has the makeup and mindset to be a good one. This year he had some nice weapons to work with at UGA and took advantage (61.4 percent completions, 3,459 yards, 25 TDs). The question that can't be answered is how he'll respond to losing if he ends up in Detroit.
2) Mark Sanchez (USC)
I'm very wary of crowning Sanchez as a franchise quarterback and I really don't know if he is. I'm always a bit hesitant when it comes to one-year wonders. I don't care how they did in the bowl games - the Pac-10 was down this year. And this just happened to be the season that Sanchez had his "breakout" performance. He also has some off-field issues. He has had some injury problems in each of the past two seasons and in 2006 he was accused of sexual assault. USC is a football factory. And I think that I could throw for 15 TDs behind their offensive line and with their array of weapons. I just don't know enough about this kid to declare him a Top 10 pick when I don't think he deserves it.
3) Nate Davis (Ball State)
I know that this kid wasn't playing against the level of competition that either Stafford or Sanchez faced, but Nate Davis is legit. He has been tabbed as "small" - and I'm not saying he's Dan McGwire or anything - but Davis is only three-quarters of an inch smaller than Stafford or Sanchez. I mean, he's not Chase Daniels. I think he has great accuracy on the deep ball and has great zip on his intermediate stuff. He is kind of quirky - small hands, doesn't use the laces, winds up a bit but has quick release - but he just knows how to play.
Rolling The Dice:
4) Rudy Carpenter (Arizona State)
I know, I know - this is ludicrous. Carpenter doesn't have NFL size or an NFL arm. He's had some injury issues. But this kid is more athletic than he looks and he is just a bulldog. I loved that about him. Carpenter is a late-round quarterback and may be the last player of this entire list that gets taken. But I think in a weak class like this, with few prototype quarterbacks and a pathetic senior class, the moxie that this kid has is worth a dabble.
5) Graham Harrell (Texas Tech)
Harrell is a Jugs machine and can put the ball wherever he wants it. The problem for him is the same as the problem that all Texas Tech quarterbacks go through: can Harrell adjust to being under center in a pro-style offense? We've seen in the past that Tech quarterbacks don't fare well in the NFL. But, again, his numbers were out of control and the one thing you can say about him is that Harrell has probably thrown more passes than anyone on this group so there's no toss he can't make.
Not Terrible. But Not Good:
6) Rhett Bomar (Sam Houston State)
I'm not going to pretend I know much about this kid. He was a hell of a prospect at Oklahoma and had a decent year. And the fact of the matter is that the only thing that separates this kid from projected No. 1 pick (had he come out) Sam Bradford was a poor choice in a summer job.
7) Hunter Cantwell (Louisville)
Cantwell certainly looks the part. At 6-feet-4, 230 pounds he meets all of the required measureables. But he's another one-year-um, well; he wasn't exactly a "wonder" at Louisville last year, so I don't trust him at all. He was a walk-on as well. So I just think that there is clearly something missing with this kid and he's a huge gamble.
8) Drew Willy (Buffalo)
This is another kid that has moxie. He's 6-3 but only 217 pounds. However, he has a frame that can be built upon. Willy is a leader and he is very accurate within 15 yards. I saw quite a bit of him this year and he never disappointed. Over the past two seasons he threw 40 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions, so you can tell that he can think the position.
9) John Parker Wilson
In any other year Wilson might be prepping for his long, boring, Glory Days run as an insurance salesmen in SEC country. But this year he's a Top 10 QB prospect. Good stuff. Wilson has decent accuracy but is a questionable game manager. He also isn't overly athletic. But I guess if he can handle being a three-year starter at Alabama and playing under Nick Saban he could have an NFL future.
10) Curtis Painter (Purdue)
Painter is kind of the anti-Harrell in that I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because recently Purdue quarterbacks have performed well in the NFL. Drew Brees and Kyle Orton are both quality signal callers so I'm going to say that Joe Tiller knows what he's doing. He still needs to learn the game a bit more. But he has tools and is used to slinging it.
11) Josh Freeman (Kansas State)
I can't stress this enough: Josh Freeman is going to be an awful NFL quarterback. He is the definition of a bust pick and is the perfect example of people falling in love with how the guy looks in shorts or looks jumping over cones. He is a terrible, mistake-prone, aloof quarterback and will never win a single thing in the NFL. He's Matt Ryan, only the exact opposite. He never, ever showed up in big games, he is a turnover machine, and he played on some of the most disappointing teams in the country over the last few years. I'm telling you: you do not want your team to take this guy. Trust me.
12) Brian Hoyer (Michigan State)
Todd McShay has Hoyer rated as the No. 5 quarterback in this year's draft. He is a 51 percent passer from the Big Ten. But he's the fifth-best NFL prospect at the most demanding position in sports. Really? I mean, really?
13) Stephen McGee (Texas A&M)
This actually might be a little low for McGee, but I'm not a fan of run-first quarterbacks unless they are running in the 4.2s or 4.3s. And even then I don't like them. This kid has great intangibles and is probably the toughest quarterback in the class. But he is too much of a question mark.
14) Cullen Harper (Clemson)
The dud of a senior season that Harper threw out there this past season simply can't be ignored. By the end of the year he wasn't even the starter on one of the worst teams in the ACC. Now I'm supposed to buy him as an NFL talent? I don't think so.
15) Chase Holbrook (New Mexico State)
Holbrook played in a crappy conference with a legit NFL wideout (Mike Williams) and still never accomplished anything. All this kid did at NMSU was lose. So, actually, he will probably be a perfect fit as Buffalo's next wannabe QB.