Thursday, May 1, 2014
Beyond the first round: Quarterbacks
By Todd Archer
Over the last nine days, we have focused on one position in the NFL draft by highlighting a prospect in Rounds 2-7 who might fit for the Dallas Cowboys. With so much attention placed on the first round in mock drafts, "Beyond the first round" focuses on lesser-publicized options beyond the first 32 picks. Today we look at quarterbacks.
Second round – Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois): Why not go after another Eastern Illinois QB after the success the Cowboys had with Tony Romo? Garoppolo completed 66 percent of his passes and threw for 5,050 yards with 53 touchdowns and nine picks as a senior. He performed well at the Senior Bowl against better competition with a quick release and feel for his throws. He can move defenders with his eyes.
Third round – Zach Mettenberger (LSU): He will need some time coming off a torn ACL, but he improved greatly with one year of work with former LSU coach Cam Cameron. He is the prototype (6-foot-4, 227 pounds) but he does not move very well. He can make all of the throws. His decision making was much better in 2013 with just eight picks and 64.9% percent completion rate. He’s tough, will take a hit to make a play.
Fourth round – Aaron Murray (Georgia): Like Mettenberger he will need some time coming off a torn ACL. He is not the biggest (barely 6 feet) but no quarterback in SEC history has more touchdown passes (121). He completed 64.8 percent of his throws and improved his decision making. He has moxie and seems to play his best when the pressure is greatest.
Fifth round – Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech): His best season was his sophomore year when he threw 19 touchdowns and 10 picks but he never progressed the way some had hoped, which might have been due to coordinator changes. He can spin it like no other QB in the draft. He is big (6-6, 248) and moves well enough but pocket presence needs work. He completed only 56.5 percent of his passes last season.
Sixth round – David Fales (San Jose State): His senior season was not as good as his junior year when he played for former Cowboys assistant Mike McIntyre but he still threw for 4,189 yards with 33 TDs and just 13 picks. He has great accuracy and anticipation that can make up for an arm that is not the strongest.
Seventh round – Jeff Matthews (Cornell): A Princeton coach going after a Cornell QB? Keep it in the Ivy League. He looks the part but has some awareness issues in the pocket. He can make all of the throws but doesn’t have the strongest arm. He threw for 2,953 yards with 22 TDs and 13 picks in 2013. He won just 12 of 37 career starts.