|Player, Pos, Team||Height||Weight||Draft Grade|
|01||Johnny Manziel QB, Texas A&M||6'1"||200||A||6.8||Full Scouting Report|
One of the most talked about college football players of the last decade has been Texas A&M star quarterback Johnny Manziel. During the 2012 season, Manziel won the Heisman Trophy after throwing for 3,706 yards and 26 touchdowns with a completion percentage of 68.0 percent. For an encore, Manziel improved in almost every statistical category in 2013, passing for 4,114 yards and 37 touchdowns with a completion percentage of 69.9 percent. Moving forward, the Manziel conversation will now border on whether or not the Texas A&M standout is worthy of a first round selection come May.
I have watched nine tapes of Manziel from the last two seasons, three from 2012 and six from 2013. My conclusion is that Johnny Football is one hell of a player. Manziel lacks ideal quarterback size to play in the NFL, as he is listed at 6’1 – 210, but I’m not sure that is accurate. If I had to estimate, I’d say Manziel will measure 6004 -205 at February’s Combine. On tape, the dual-threat signal-caller looks as if he added 10-15 pounds between the 2012 and 2013 seasons. But that added weight cost him a bit of play speed. On 2012 tape I thought Manziel’s play speed was at worst 4.50. But in 2013 he looked closer to 4.60.
But while Manziel may have lost a little speed, it’s worth noting that he is still extremely quick and may have the quickest feet I have ever seen on a quarterback.
Manziel almost always lines up in the spread formation. There were only a handful of plays that I saw where he took a snap from under center. Texas A&M runs a read option offense and Manziel is excellent at running that particular scheme. He has a running back’s mentality when it comes to carrying the football and he is very elusive in the open field. He uses that quickness and elusiveness to keep plays alive on passing downs and is excellent at finding an open receiver and throwing with accuracy on the run. When Manziel is able to stay in the pocket, he has an excellent feel for pass rushers and does a very good job stepping up before his throws. He has a very compact, quick release and when he makes a decision, the ball is out of his hand almost instantly.
While in the pocket, Manziel is calm and poised and shows he can go through a progression. He demonstrates the ability to look off a receiver and then come back to him and is also good at finding open secondary receivers. The one thing I really like about Manziel is his accuracy and ball placement. He has a number of completions where he threads the needle and can get the ball into a tight spot. For the most part, Manziel’s decision making is very good and he rarely forces a ball. On the Manziel tape I viewed from 2013, I only saw two interceptions that I would consider poor throws. On each of those plays, Manziel was throwing on the run and failed to read the backside safety coming over. He had some interceptions where his receiver dropped the pass and the defender notched the INT before the ball hit the ground.
I wouldn’t say that Manziel has a canon for an arm, but his arm strength is solid enough. He can throw a tight ball with zip and can easily complete passes 45 - 50 yards down field. What makes Manziel so dangerous and what defenses have to account for is his ability to run if the pass isn’t there. Time after time the Aggies signal-caller opted to run, scrambling for ten or more yards.
Overall, Manziel is unique. He is not for everyone. The team that drafts him has to have a plan and play to his strengths. He is not nor will he ever be a conventional pro style drop back passer. While Manziel lacks ideal NFL quarterback size, there are top quarterbacks in the league that also possess less than ideal size. Drew Brees is list as being 6’0, but he isn’t. Russell Wilson is under 5’11. If I had to compare Manziel to another NFL quarterback I would say he is part Wilson, part Brees and part Brett Favre. It obviously remains to be seen if he will have the success of those players.
Manziel’s immaturity off the field is well documented and the team that drafts him has to be sure that he will buy into their program. The one thing I do know is that on game day, Manziel is as competitive a player as you will ever see. Scouts have told me that he has matured in the last year and his game preparation and leadership were much better in 2013 than in 2012. I think there is a lot of “special” to Manziel and he will be a very good NFL player. It would not surprise me to see him drafted in the top-five. He could very well be the first quarterback selected.
|02||Derek Carr QB, Fresno State||6'3"||212||A||6.8||Full Scouting Report|
While Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, and Marcus Mariota are getting the bulk of the publicity, the guy slowly moving up the charts as the top quarterback in the draft is Fresno State’s Derek Carr. Carr is the younger brother of former first overall pick David Carr, who also went to Fresno State
I’ve heard some scouts bang Carr because his brother did not have great success in the NFL. That is ridiculous thinking. The only things they have in common are blood and the same school. They are two different players who played in different style offenses more than 10 years apart. Let’s take a look at Derek.
Carr is a fifth-year senior and a three-year starter at Fresno State. He graduated early from high school and enrolled at Fresno State in January of 2009. He played as a backup in 2009 then red-shirted in 2010. He has been the starter since 2011 and has shown improvement every year. To date, his numbers in the 2013 season are second to none. He has completed 350 of 502 passes for 3942 yards, 39 touchdowns, and only four nterceptions. His completion percentage is 69.7%. Granted, he throws a lot of short passes, but 69% is exceptional accuracy.
Carr has excellent size for the position. He is listed as being 6’3 – 218 lbs. He has a good frame with good arm length. He is a very good athlete for the position with speed and quick feet. He reportedly has run a 4.58 40-yard dash. His play speed is easily in the 4.6 range. Carr plays from a spread formation and I have not seen him take a snap form under center. He sets up quickly and is very good at going through a progression and finding an open receiver. He holds the ball high and has a very quick delivery. When he makes his decision on who to target, the ball is out of his hand instantly. He has good vision and rarely makes a poor decision. He does not force throws and, consequently, throws few interceptions.
Carr has very good arm strength. He can easily throw the ball 55 yards and his deep ball accuracy is excellent. I like his his ball placement. He consistently puts the ball where receivers can get yards after the catch and where the ball can’t get intercepted. He shows touch and accuracy on all different throws.
While he throws a lot of short passes, Carr can make all the throws needed to be an NFL QB. He can throw deep outs and corner routes as well as seams and flies. Like I said earlier, on his deeper throws, his accuracy and ball placement is excellent.
I see no reason why Carr will not be a successful NFL quarterback. He has matured both physically and mentally since he arrived at Fresno. To give you an idea of his mental toughness, in August, his son was born with complications. The child needed three surgeries in his first five weeks of life. This all happened while Carr was in preseason practice and the early games of the season. To be able to endure that and still play the way he has this year is a testament to his football and personal character. Many would have folded under the pressure.
Don’t be surprised, come next May, that Carr is among the top 10 players drafted, and the way he is climbing, maybe even the top five. This player has come a long way in the last year.
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|03||Teddy Bridgewater QB, Louisville||6'3"||218||A||6.7||Full Scouting Report|
|04||Blake Bortles QB, UCF||6'3"||230||A||6.7||Full Scouting Report|
I’ve been a little outspoken the past few weeks about the talent level of Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles. In both the NFL and the draftnik community, there is a difference of opinion as to his value. There are some who think he is a “can’t miss” prospect who will be drafted very high, and there are others (myself included) who feel he would have been better served to stay in school another year.
I waited to write him up for the NFP because I didn’t want to take the time to view a lot of tape if he was going to stay in school. With word out over the weekend that he is indeed entering the Draft, I spent Monday looking at tape. I looked at five games on “coach’s tape” (South Carolina, South Florida, Houston, Louisville, and Temple) and also their Bowl game against Baylor using the TV copy.
Bortles is a fourth-year junior and a two-year starter at UCF. Coming out of high school he was a three-star recruit who had offers from schools such as Purdue, Western Kentucky, and Colorado State. He has excellent size at about 6’4 – 230 to go along with good athleticism and play speed. At the Combine, he should run in the 4.7 area. He plays in a multi-offense and plays from both under center and in the spread. The Central Florida scheme is closer to a pro-style offense than many other college offenses. Bortles had good production this year, completing 259 of 382 passes for 3581 yards, 25 TDs, and nine interceptions. His completion percentage was just under 68%, but I don’t put a lot of stock into that stat at the college level. I feel ball placement is a far better indicator of a college quarterback's accuracy because of how wide open many college receivers are.
When playing from under center, Bortles can set up fairly quickly. He has a good feel for pass rushers, but he will often run out of the pocket when he is pressured instead of stepping up into the pocket. He shows he can go through a progression and find the open receiver, but there are also times when he will stare down his primary receiver. While he can go through a progression, you seldom see him look off a receiver and come back to another. He flashes making some really good throws, showing good timing, and getting good zip on the ball. He also has a lot of throws where his timing is off and he doesn’t set his feet. You see a lot of throws where he is not in proper balance. I feel his decision making is inconsistent. He is at his best against weaker opponents and when he isn’t pressured, but in games like South Carolina, when the competition is very good, he can struggle and make poor decisions. His throwing motion and release quickness are adequate. When you watch enough tape, you can see that he will change his throwing motion at times. He doesn’t have a really quick release. There are guys who make a decision, and the ball is out of their hand instantly. That isn’t the case with Bortles, and it allows DBs to get a jump on the ball (see So. Carolina)
Bortles' best throws are on the shorter passes (15 yards and less). The further downfield he throws, the less accurate he becomes. His ability to throw the deep ball is average at best. Many of his longer plays, that I saw, were actually shorter passes with long runs after the catch. He has good arm strength, but he does not have a cannon. While he can throw a tight ball, he also throws a lot of balls that “flutter”.
Bortles has good running skills. He is not going to remind anyone of “Johnny Football” with his run skills but they are good enough. While he is not elusive, he is strong and can find an open lane.
I am not going to deny that this player has talent, but I do feel that he would have been better served staying in college and developing his game. He is far from being ready to come into the NFL and play. There is too much inconsistency in his overall game. I question if he can become an eventual starter and win in the NFL. That doesn’t mean he won’t start for whoever drafts him, but as we all have seen the last five to six years, there have been MANY quarterbacks drafted with high hopes who haven’t lived up to expectations. Right now, I would take Bridgewater, Manziel, McCarron, Derek Carr, David Fales and Brett Smith before I would take Bortles. I feel all of them are better passers and better prepared to play in the NFL
|05||A.J. McCarron QB, Alabama||6'3"||205||A||6.7||Full Scouting Report|
A.J. McCarron – Quarterback
I wrote up McCarron for the NFP a few months ago so I am not going to repeat what I wrote then. As much as I liked him over the summer, I like him more now. McCarron is not a flashy player like A&M’s Johnny Manziel, but he is a very steady winner who rarely makes mistakes and is just about flawless managing a game.
McCarron is a 5th year senior and a three year starter, and if things go the right way, may be the only quarterback in college football to win three National Championships. He has very good size at 6’4-215 and good overall athleticism. Being that he plays in a pro style system, that helps him to be ready for the next level. He is patient, poised, and an excellent leader. While he doesn’t have a rocket arm, it is more than good enough. He has very good mechanics, a quick release, and is very accurate. He has very good vision, is a good decision maker, and makes plays when they are needed. He is a good enough athlete to make or extend plays with his feet. In the Texas A&M game, he completed 20 of 29 passes for 334 yards and 4 touchdowns. He did not throw an interception. In his career, he has thrown only 8 interceptions in 490 passing attempts. You don’t lose games when you don’t turn the ball over.
In order to be a winning quarterback in the NFL a player has to possess intangibles. He has to a have a strong passion for the game, be a leader, make good decisions, and have the respect of his coaches and teammates. McCarron has all those traits. There is not a doubt in my mind that he will be a winning quarterback in the NFL and start early in his career.
|06||Jimmy Garoppolo QB, Eastern Illinois||6'2"||222||B||6.6||Full Scouting Report|
When I started in scouting in the early 1980's, good scouts could find a small school prospect, keep the name quiet, and draft him in the late rounds. When the player turned out to be good they would label him a “sleeper”. That’s is not the case anymore. Between social media and YouTube, there are many ways for the small schools to get one of their players noticed. In the case of Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the school didn’t need either of those tools to get the word out on their star player. Garoppolo’s play did all the talking. It’s only early October, and just about every team in the NFL has seen him this year in practice or a game. He has been a starter since midway through his freshman year and has re-written the quarterback record book at Eastern. He hasn’t just done it against the lower level of comp FCS schools. Just about every time he has played a Division I school he has put up big numbers. This season versus San Diego State and Northern Illinois he completed a total of 65 of 95 passes for 911 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions. Through five games this year, he has completed 151 of 231 passes for 2053 yards, 23 TDs and five interceptions. That is a season's worth of production for a lot of quarterbacks. In his college career he has passed for over 10,000 yards and 88 touchdowns. By the end of this season, I have no doubt he will surpass 12,500 yards in passing and 105 TDs.
Coming out of high school, Garoppolo was not highly recruited. His offers were from Eastern Illinois, Illinois State, and Montana State. Big Ten schools Iowa, Indiana, and Purdue all looked at him but did not offer. I’m sure they regret that decision as none of those schools have a quarterback with Garoppolo’s talent.
Garoppolo does not have a cannon for an arm. He has good arm strength and can easily throw the ball 50+ yards but by no means can he drill the ball. He doesn’t have John Elway or Brett Favre arm strength, it’s more like Sam Bradford or Aaron Rodgers when they came out of college. His arm will improve when he gets into an NFL strength program and he is doing exercises conducive to improving his arm strength. My one concern is he doesn’t throw a consistently tight ball. While he shows he can drive the ball, I have also seen a number of throws where the ball flutters. It will be interesting to see what his hand measurement is when he attends an all-star game or the combine. Quarterbacks with small hands can sometimes have a problem spinning the ball consistently.
Garoppolo can make all the throws needed to play in the NFL. He has good pocket presence and awareness. His decision making improves every year as he gains experience. He is a play maker who comes up big when it is needed. His leadership on the field is obvious.
At this point, I’m not ready to say he is a potential first round pick. He is talented and will go early but I don’t think I would take him in the first. He still has at least seven games to play this season and then the FCS playoffs. How well he plays the rest of the season and in an all-star game will determine his final value. Jimmy has a lot of upside. He will be a guy who goes through a number of interviews. Before the process is over, he will be looked at as much if not more than any other player in the draft.
Follow me on twitter @greggabe
|07||Aaron Murray QB, Georgia||6'1"||212||B||6.5x||Full Scouting Report|
Aaron Murray – Quarterback
Murray is a 5th year senior and a four-year starter for Georgia. He has been highly productive with over 10,000 passing yards and 95 touchdowns going into the season. In Saturday’s game he completed 20 of 29 passes for 333 yards with no touchdowns and 1 interception. Though the stat sheet looked good I thought his play was average. He was unable to come up with the big play when it was needed. The best he looked all game was on the final drive in the last few minutes of the game when the game was out of reach for Georgia. It didn’t help that Georgia lost one of its best receivers for the game and season early in the game when junior Malcom Mitchell injured his knee.
Murray has adequate size for an NFL quarterback at 6-1 and 208. He plays from both under center and in a spread. He has good athleticism with good play speed and quick feet. When playing from under center he shows good setup quickness. When under center or in a spread he shows good feet and agility to move around in the pocket and keep plays alive. He has a good feel for pass rushers and does a good job stepping up in the pocket before he throws. He has good not great arm strength and he throws a tight catchable ball. In this game he showed he can make all the throws needed to play in the NFL, he just wasn’t consistent with those throws. On a number of short passes he was low and short with the ball.
Murray shows patience in the pocket and does a good job going through a progression. He can find secondary receivers and he has a quick release. He usually reads coverages well, but on one play early in the fourth quarter he misread a linebacker’s drop and threw an interception. This play basically took Georgia out of the game. He had another turnover when he fumbled while getting sacked.
I like the way Murray handles himself during a game. He shows poise and he is clearly in charge. Overall, except for ideal height, Murray has a lot of the tools needed to be successful in the NFL. He has a lot of experience against top competition and played in many “big” games. He is smart, agile and poised. Just off of this game I would say he is a legitimate third-round type but one game isn’t a season. With quarterbacks you have to study the whole body of work and that will include this season as well as last year. I will be watching Murray more as I get more tape.
|08||Brett Smith QB, Wyoming||6'2"||206||B||6.5||Full Scouting Report|
Wyoming hasn’t exactly been a top football power, and their good players get little publicity east of the Rocky Mountains. The last three years, they have had a QB who has played very well on an average team.
Smith has adequate size at about 6’ 21/2" – 215. He is a good athlete with better than adequate speed for a quarterback. I would estimate his play speed at 4.7. He plays in a spread formation offense and never plays from under center. He is a poised, patient player and does a good job reading coverages and finding an open receiver. With his athleticism, he can keep plays alive with his feet and has good run skills. They run a lot of read-option type plays, and while Smith isn’t Johnny Manziel with the ball in his hands, he is an effective runner.
Smith has put up good numbers while at Wyoming. This year, he completed 63% of his passes for 3375 yards, 29 TDs and 11 interceptions. For his career, he has completed 751 of 1212 passes for 8843 yards and a 62% completion percentage. He has also thrown for 76 TDs and only 28 interceptions. Smith does not have the supporting cast that many top quarterbacks have, so those numbers are impressive.
I like that he is an accurate passer with good ball placement. He can throw the ball with velocity while on the run to either direction. He has the patience and poise to go through a progression and find an open receiver. He seldom forces throws. He doesn’t have a cannon, but his arm is good enough. His mechanics are good and he has a quick release. I did notice that his release is not the same with every throw. Also, he will not consistently set his feet before he throws. When he shows proper footwork, the ball comes out nicely.
I have seen Smith make all the throws that an NFL QB has to make. He can throw a deep out, slants, posts, and fades. He can fire the ball if necessary and can also throw with touch. Because he doesn’t have a bunch of 4.5 receivers catching his passes he can put a bit too much air under his deep balls. He can get away with that in college but not in the NFL.
Overall, Smith has the talent to be an eventual starter in the NFL. Playing in the pass-happy, no defense Mountain West, he doesn’t have to place the ball in many tight places like he will in the NFL. He will need some time to develop and perfect his throwing mechanics and footwork, but he has a lot of upside. I can see him being a starter by the middle of his second year or the start of his third year at the latest. Unless he really “wows’ coaches and scouts at the combine and his pro day, I don’t see him being a premium pick (first or second round), but he could easily be drafted anywhere form the middle of the third round on. I would say that Smith will be having a lot of private workouts for coaches come March and April, and don’t be shocked if you hear his name as a chart climber.
Follow me on Twitter - @greggabe
|09||David Fales QB, San Jose State||6'3"||220||B||6.5||Full Scouting Report|
It is a great year for quarterbacks in the upcoming draft with the likes of Teddy Bridegewater, Johnny Manziel, and A.J.McCarron among those expected to be available come May. Another name that gets its fair share of publicity is San Jose State’s David Fales.
Fales is a fifth-year senior who originally enrolled at Nevada in 2009. He red-shirted that year and then transferred to Monterey Peninsula College where he threw for over 4600 yards and 37 touchdowns in his two years at the junior college. He transferred to San Jose State for the last two seasons and has put up some outstanding numbers. In 2012, He led San Jose to an 11-2 record while throwing for over 4100 yards, 33 touchdowns and completing over 72% of his passes. That outstanding year got the San Jose coach (Mike McIntyre) a new job as head coach at Colorado. In 2013, under a new coach and in a new system, Fales numbers are not quite as good as they were a year ago. To date, he has completed 233 of 386 passes for 3202 yards and 22 touchdowns. He has also thrown 12 interceptions, up from nine a year ago. San Jose's record has dipped to 5-5 this year.
Fales has excellent QB size. He is listed at 6’3 – 220 and looks all of that. There have been reports that Fales has small hands, but those measurements usually come from a young combine scout and many times they are inaccurate. We will find out exactly what his hand measurement between an all-star game and the combine. Fales shows good athleticism. He has good quickness and feet and can move around in the pocket. While he isn’t a burner, he isn’t slow. I would estimate his speed at about 4.8.
In 2012, Fales played from a variety of formations. This year, he is mainly in a spread formation. When taking the snap, he holds the ball high and can move his feet in the pocket. He does a good job seeing the field and finding an open receiver. He shows he can find a secondary receiver when his primary is covered. Once he finds his target, he has a quick release. He has a compact, overhand delivery and throws the ball with accuracy. While he doesn’t have a “cannon” for an arm, his arm strength is sufficient. He shows he can drive the ball, but on some of his deeper throws, he can have a tendency to put too much air under the ball. Like most quarterbacks in college, his arm strength will increase once he gets in an NFL strength program. As I said above, Fales throws the ball with accuracy and he also shows good ball placement. The key to becoming an accurate NFL quarterback is being able to place the ball. On tape, I have seen him make some excellent back shoulder throws when a defender is all over the receiver.
For the most part, Fales is patient and poised, but he will force some throws, and when he does, the results aren’t always good. Fales isn’t known as a runner, but he will "take off" if he has to. He has adequate mobility and shows he can throw on the run.
Fales is an interesting guy. He still needs some development, but he has the traits to be an eventual starter in the league. He is not playing quite as well this year as he did in 2012, and he has turned the ball over more, though a part of that can be attributed to being in a different system this year. At this time, I don’t see him being drafted in the premium rounds (first and second), but he could easily be drafted in the third or fourth. Interviews and workouts will also influence where he eventually goes. I’m looking forward to seeing him in person at one of the all-star games and hopefully upgrade him.
Follow me on twitter @greggabe
|10||Zach Mettenberger QB, LSU||6'5"||230||B||6.4||Full Scouting Report|
Zach Mettenberger - Quarterback
Mettenberger originally enrolled at Georgia in 2009 and redshirted. He was charged and pleaded guilty to a sexual battery charge in the spring of 2010 and was removed from the football roster. He transferred to Butler Community College in Kansas and played there in the 2010 season. He then transferred to LSU. He was a backup in the 2011 season and has been the starter the last two seasons. Until this past Saturday at Ole Miss, he had been enjoying a productive season. In their first 6 games, he had thrown only two interceptions, but he had three on Saturday as LSU suffered their second loss of the season. For the year, Mettenberger has completed 135 of 207 passes for 2164 yards, 16 TDs and five interceptions.
Mettenberger is a big guy at about 6’5 – 230. He is an average athlete and lacks top foot quickness. He has some straight line quickness but is not overly agile. I would say he runs in the 4.9 – 4.95 range. He plays in a pro-style offense and has played from both under center and in a spread this season. He shows adequate setup quickness, but he is not very mobile. Because of his lack of mobility, he does get sacked a lot. He will show a feel for pass rushers and step up in the pocket, but he cannot extend plays with his feet. He displays good throwing mechanics, holds the ball high, and has a quick compact delivery. He has very long arms but can get rid of the ball faster than many long armed QBs. He has good arm strength. He doesn’t drill the ball, but he puts a nice spin on it and throws a very catchable ball. This season he has shown good accuracy and touch to go along with good ball placement. He shows poise in the pocket, is patient, and can go through a progression. In the games viewed, his decision making was good, and I didn’t see many forced throws. LSU does have some designed rollouts, and he shows he can throw on the run, but he is not a threat to get yardage with his feet.
When grading QBs you not only look at the physical traits but what they do in key situations. In one game (Georgia), Zach was 6-9 on third down including three TD passes. That is excellent production, but you don’t see that every game. His on-field demeanor has also been good in the games I’ve seen. He has shown a great deal of improvement this season. Having a former NFL Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator (Cam Cameron) helps in his development. Still, at this time, I don’t see an NFL starter. There are questions I need answered. As big as he is, I don’t see a well-developed kid. He needs to spend more time in the weight room. While he has shown some on field leadership this year, I need to know more about his football character (passion for the game, work habits, competitive nature, etc.). His past indiscretions may have been just a sign of immaturity at the time, but at the position he plays, you have to have all the answers. There is still a long way to go in the evaluation process, and I will update this evaluation as I get all the answers. He is an interesting prospect, but at this time I wouldn’t use a premium pick on him.