Saturday, February 23, 2013
Jets evaluate suspect QB class
By Rich Cimini
INDIANAPOLIS -- Most draft experts believe it's a weak quarterback class. Maybe it's just weak in comparison to last year's crop, which produced stars Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson.
"You're coming off a phenomenal years for quarterbacks, one that doesn't come around very often, but I will tell you there are good players (this year)," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said at the scouting combine.
The Jets, very public in their desire to create competition for incumbent Mark Sanchez, will strongly consider drafting a quarterback, according to sources. It probably won't be in the first round (No. 9 overall), but it could be in the second round (No. 39) or later.
Sunday will be a key day in the evaluation process, as the quarterbacks will throw for scouts at the combine. Here's an update on the top prospects based on what I've heard at the combine:
Geno Smith, West Virginia -- He's generally regarded as the top quarterback in the class, but I can't see the Jets taking him at No. 9 unless they're absolutely blown away by his workouts. He has first-round talent, but he's inconsistent. One coach told me he's concerned about Smith's ability to handle big-game pressure.
Matt Barkley, USC -- He's not planning to throw because he's still recovering from a shoulder injury. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said, "I don't think there's anything to stop him from being a starter right away." But he coached Barkley in college, so what do you expect him to say? Barkley would fit in the Jets' West Coast system, but he doesn't have to arm to handle Northeast weather. Plus, do you really think the Jets will draft another USC quarterback?
Ryan Nassib, Syracuse -- I see him as a possibility in the second round. His best football is ahead of him, and he's familiar with the West Coast system. He's being trained by former Jets offensive coordinator Paul Hacket, a Bill Walsh disciple and the father of former Syracuse OC Nate Hackett. Nassib already has met with Jets quarterbacks coach David Lee.
Mike Glennon, North Carolina -- Dude is big; he was measured at 6-foot-7. He also has a big arm, so, naturally, he's drawing comparisons to Joe Flacco. Whoa, let's not get ahead of ourselves. The Jets interviewed Glennon at the Senior Bowl, so we know there's some level of interest. He was wildly inconsistent last season, so the Jets -- and other teams -- will continue to do their homework to get a better read on him.
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas -- He, too, struggled at times last season, but he may have been hurt by the upheaval in the program and a suspect supporting cast. Scouts like Wilson's intangibles and they say he throws a nice ball. Some people think he has some Brett Favre-like qualities. He might be an intriguing option in the third round.
E.J. Manuel, Florida State -- Manuel is a bit of a wild card, but he really helped himself at the Senior Bowl. He played in a pro-style offense, has good size (6-foot-4) and has all the physical traits that scouts covet. He's a poor man's Cam Newton, but he has to convince scouts he has the ability to handle the mental aspect of the game. Manuel doesn't lack confidence, claiming, "I definitely feel I'm the best quarterback in this class. I'm very confidence in my abilities."