Quarterback is the most scrutinized position in the NFL and the draft is no different. Even the greatest quarterbacks in the league have scouts nit-picking and searching for the tiniest flaws.
The top two picks in this year's NFL draft will be quarterbacks, but where will the rest of the quarterback class be drafted? Here's a look at my most intriguing prospects from this year's group.
THE CREAM OF THE CROP:
Andrew Luck, Stanford, 6'4", 234 lbs
Luck has been the top overall quarterback for over a year now. He would have been the #1 pick last year but chose to return to Stanford for one more season. Some scouts have been trying too hard to find flaws in his game, citing a "great but not excellent" throwing arm–about as bad as the criticism gets. Luck's strengths are great decision making, good athleticism, has all the measurables and holds great leadership skills.
Comparable to: Aaron Rodgers
Draft projection: #1 overall to the Colts
CAPITALIZED ON THE HYPE:
Robert Griffin III, Baylor, 6'2", 231 lbs
I've been keeping an eye on Griffin III since he was a true freshman in 2008. A former track star in college, RG3 has superior speed but lacks run power and has tried to put an emphasis on being a pocket passer. Griffin III can throw a beautiful and accurate deep ball, but sometimes locks onto a primary receiver and fails to go through his progressions which will lead to a lot of interceptions in the NFL if he doesn't fix that. Griffin is capitalizing on the perfect storm, he was a relatively unknown player before last season, won the Heisman trophy, and has piggybacked on Cam Newtons record breaking rookie season. Teams want the next Newton and hope RG3 can be that.
Comparable to: Cam Newton (without the run power and size)
Draft projection: #2 overall to the Redskins
Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M, 6'4", 221 lbs
Tannehill will be taking advantage of the top two picks being quarterbacks, probably going much higher than he should. Tannehill has the size and arm strength to be a prototype quarterback, and as a former wide receiver he has good athleticism. But Tannehill only has one full year of experience under center, and tends to rely too much on his arm strength, forcing throws and getting intercepted by defenders. Tannehill needs at least a year to develop, but in today's NFL, he might be a starter before mid-season.
Comparable to: Phillip Rivers
Draft projection: #8 overall to the Dolphins
Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State, 6'3", 221lbs
Weeden is the oldest player in the draft (he's 28) and that age is hurting his stock. Weeden still has some development needs and if a team is going to pick him up, they'll want immediate production out of him. Weeden has a gunslinger's mentality and the arm to back it up, but inconsistent accuracy has hurt him in the past.
Comparable to: Jay Cutler
Draft projection: early-to-mid 2nd round
Nick Foles, Arizona, 6'5", 243 lbs
Foles has at times been thought of in the same class as Andrew Luck. Foles has the arm strength and superior size in the pocket, but played in a simplified short passing system at Arizona, has inconsistent accuracy, and tends to throw to the first option too often. Foles also has very heavy feet and has trouble moving in the pocket.
Comparable to: Derek Anderson
Draft projection: 3rd round
Brock Osweiler, Arizona State, 6'7", 242
Osweiler was recruited to Arizona State as a basketball player before deciding to join the football team his freshman year. He has good athleticism and size that makes him hard to bring down in the pocket. Osweiler has the arm strength and accuracy to make all the necessary throws but has a very long and awkward throwing motion. He's a natural born leader and could be great, but he must sit for a year or two before being given the starting quarterback position for a team. He might be a great fit behind Peyton Manning in Denver but we'll see if he falls that far in the 2nd round.
Comparable to: Joe Flacco/Ben Roethlisberger
Draft projection: 2nd round
Kirk Cousins, Michigan State, 6'2", 214
Cousins has been referred to as a film junkie and a gym rat; in other words, the man has a strong work ethic. His arm strength is average and he doesn't get big, flashy plays on the highlight reel, but Cousins gets the job done. Cousins excels in the short-to-intermediate passing game and needs to learn to take risks and throw the deep ball.
Comparable to: Tom Brady (coming out of college)
Draft projection: late 2nd-early 3rd round
Ryan Lindley, San Diego State, 6'3", 229
Lindley started all four years at SDSU throwing for over 12,000 yards. He's a flame-thrower, can launch the deep ball, but drills the ball on short passes too and sometimes has consistency issues. Lindley is a proven leader and is smart enough to play the position. With some time to develop, he could be really good.
Comparable to: Byron Leftwhich
Draft projection: 4th-5th round
THE SMALL SCHOOL PROSPECT:
B.J Coleman, Chattanooga, 6'3", 233
Coleman has the talent to be a big time quarterback (he transferred to Chattanooga from the University of Tennessee) and is a pure football player that loves the game. He has the size and arm talent to make it but sometimes struggles with his accuracy and has trouble moving in the pocket. A definite developmental project.
Comparable to: Matt Moore/Chad Henne
Draft projection: late 3rd-5th round
PLAYERS TEAMS WISH WERE A FEW INCHES TALLER:
Russell Wilson, Wisconsin, 5'10", 204
If Wilson were 6'2 he'd be a top 10 pick, even at 6' he'd be a sure-fire first rounder. Wilson is a good scrambler with speed in the 4.4-4.5 range, but often times tucks the ball and runs too soon. With his speed and size, Wilson would be great to possibly convert to the receiver or running back positions but it's thought that he would want to go play baseball before changing positions in football.
Comparable to: Michael Vick/Antwan Randle El
Draft projection: 4th-5th round
Kellen Moore, Boise State, 6', 197
Moore has a weak arm but has a remarkable ability to throw with guys open. Often times when Moore throws the ball it looks like he just threw it away, but then almost magically, the ball lands in a receivers hands. Normally scouts don't consider a player of Moore's size unless he has a big arm (see Michael Vick). Many scouts also feel Moore has hit the ceiling as far as his development, he probably won't get much better than he is now.
Comparable to: a shorter Chad Pennington
Draft projection: 5th-7th round
Keep logging on to CraveOnline.com for pick by pick projections and analysis leading up to the NFL draft on April 26th-28th.
J. Lance Moose is a contributor and lead football writer for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JLanceMoose, and subscribe on Facebook facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.