Cream of the Crop
Andrew Luck, Stanford
Luck is a classic drop-back passer with above average accuracy and a very strong arm. He possesses surprising athleticism and speed that allows him to move the pocket with the best of them. However, the thing that separates Luck from the rest of the pack is his ability to read the defense. The Cardinal passer displays field vision and decision making well beyond his years. The coaches praise him for his ability to quickly process information and digest a large playbook, and he’s often drawn comparisons to Peyton Manning for the cerebral nature with which he plays the game.
Compares to: Matt Ryan, Atlanta — Before we canonize the kid as the next Elway, let’s see if he can excite like Ryan has. Both have the same mindset – win at all costs. To put him in the Elway class at this stage is foolish, just let him be Andrew Luck. He has enough pressure with a twitter-happy potential future owner waiting to tell the world “I told you so.” No Jim, everyone else told you so-take Luck with the first pick for your only chance for luck in the future.
Best of the Rest
Robert Griffin III, Baylor
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Griffin is the only player in school history to complete over 600 passes (800), attempt over 1,000 throws (1,192), compile a pass completion percentage over .650 (.6711), throw for over 6,000 yards (10,366), amass more than 40 touchdown passes (78), compete in more than 1,100 total plays (1,720) and gain over 8,000 yards in total offense (12,620). He has the lowest percentage of passes intercepted in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision annals (1.43%) and his pass efficiency rating of 189.48 in 2011 set an NCAA season mark.
Compares to: Steve McNair, ex-Tennessee — Griffin is much faster, but the QB has no fear on the field, can really air it out with the best of them and he might be the one to make the Shanahans continue picking up paychecks from the Redskins into the foreseeable future.
Nick Foles, Arizona
As a Wildcat, Foles connected on 933-of-1,396 passes for a pass completion percentage of .6683 and 10,011 aerial yards, all school career-records. His 67 touchdown tosses tied the Wildcats mark first set by Willie Tuitama (2005-08). His yards passing total rank tenth in Pac-12 Conference annals, while his 4,334 yards passing in 2011 established a new Arizona season-record and rank second in league annals. His school season-record 4,231 yards in total offense in 2011 also placed second on the Pac-12 season-record list. “In football your quarterback has to be a great leader, a great distributor of the football, have great understand of what you want to accomplish during a particularly game, and certainly Nick has developed in all of those areas,” said former Arizona head coach Mike Stoops.
Compares to: Joe Flacco, Baltimore — The Wildcat QB has flown under the radar for too long. Put him in a pro-style attack and give him some big receivers to play the jump-ball game. He has good passing mechanics and will square his shoulder and step into his throws. He is equally effective with his underneath game as he is when operating through progressions and has more than enough arm strength to air it out down field.
Brock Osweiler, Arizona State
Quick, doctor, hand me the paddles, I can’t get a pulse. That’s what teams should be saying about this guy. I know some “expert” recently called him a first rounder, leaving everyone else scratching their heads like we all needed to buy “Head & Shoulders” in bulk, but you need fire in the belly, a desire to win and a take-charge attitude in the huddle. Yes, he has the athletic skills, but that only gets you so far in this game.
Compares to: Tony Banks, ex-St. Louis — Like Banks, the kid has you look for in a QB, except a visit to the Wizard of Oz (if he only had a heart).
B.J Coleman, Tennessee-Chattanooga
To me, he’s a poor man’s Philip Rivers, in that he has that moxie to compensate for a few mechanical flaws. Baltimore Ravens’ Joe Flacco went the same route early in his college career, stepping down from the University of Pittsburgh to turn a stellar career at Delaware into a 2008 first round draft selection. Despite being slowed by a shoulder injury that limited him to just seven games as a senior, Coleman is still projected by many draft analysts as an “under-the-radar” prospect who is an outstanding field general with a great work ethic. Coleman has the athleticism and size that teams covet in a pocket passer. He has the functional mobility to consistently escape pressure. With his raw power, he has done an excellent job of standing tall in the pocket, along the leg drive to carry defenders when he runs between tackles, evident by his seven short area scoring runs for the Mocs.
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Compares to: Matt Flynn, Seahawks — Coleman is not going to hear his name heard until the draft’s third day, but there is first-day material in this kid waiting for a patient coach to develop. With the Packers history for turning around low draft picks into NFL starters, could this be a match made in heaven?
Dave-Te Thomas has more than 40 years of experience scouting for the NFL. With the NFL Draft Report, Thomas handles a staff that evaluates and tests college players before the draft and prepares the NFL's official Draft Packet, which is distributed to all 32 teams prior to the draft.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.