No ‘top-end certainty’ for quarterback crop

Posted by Vic Carucci on January 23, 2013 – 2:13 am

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

MOBILE, Ala. – It would be an understatement to say the 2012 draft set the bar for the quarterback position incredibly high.

How about high enough to reach another galaxy?

You had the top overall pick, Andrew Luck, leading the Indianapolis Colts to the playoffs. You had the second overall choice, Robert Griffin III, showing dynamic ability as a runner and a passer for the Washington Redskins before suffering a serious knee injury in the postseason. And you had Russell Wilson, a third-round choice, helping the Seattle Seahawks reach the NFC Championship Game.

Analysts around the league aren’t discussing this year’s quarterback crop in the same way.

No one at the spot is being identified as the top overall pick of the draft. For that matter, it is uncertain whether any of this year’s quarterback prospects should even be considered a first-round choice.

Last year, four quarterbacks were selected in the first round – Luck, Griffin, Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins), and the Browns’ Brandon Weeden – and all started from the beginning of the season, along with Wilson.

“You don’t have the top-end certainty like you had the year before,” said Mike Mayock of NFL Network. “With Luck, with RGIII, you checked off every box: toughness, physicality, talent, off-the-field, on-the-field, work ethic. It was easy.

“Now, this year, it’s a lot different. What you see now is sporadic talent. You see first-round talent, but it’s nowhere near as consistent.”

It would be fair to say that the murkier quarterback picture for this year’s draft creates a chance for several players at the position to grab the position’s top ranking, regardless of the round in which that falls.

That means players participating in the Senior Bowl – such as North squad members Ryan Nassib of Syracuse and Zac Dysert of Miami, Ohio, and South squad member Landry Jones of Oklahoma – share an equal opportunity to receive that distinction.

“Oh, definitely,” Dysert said.

He spoke extensively about that very topic with former NFL quarterback Chris Wienke, with whom he is working at the IMG Football Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Wienke runs the academy that helps college prospects prepare for the NFL Combine and other workouts before April’s draft.

“(Wienke) said there’s not one guy out there that’s impressing everybody, that’s the automatic first pick,” Dysert said. “So it’s a great motivator, for me, at least. It’s still wide open. Anybody can take that (No. 1) position. I’m working very hard to try to be that guy, and I believe that I have some strengths that I can actually be that guy.”

“It’s a very competitive class,” Nassib said. “It’s going to be an interesting situation.”

To say the least.

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