NEPD Editor: James Christensen
After an exciting first week of college football action, here is a look at how some of my top quarterback prospects performed.
Which potential 2014 NFL Draft quarterbacks are making moves up and down draft boards? Read on to find out.
Tajh Boyd – Clemson
Boyd routinely fit the ball into tight windows and manipulated defenders with his eyes and play-action. He looked comfortable in a pocket that got dirty on occasion and was adept at re-setting his shoulders and throwing strikes on the move. His ability to create a window using multiple arm angles helped him get past some long-armed Georgia defenders.
Boyd’s night wasn’t perfect though. He had one series where he threw up a prayer into double coverage followed by a ball thrown three yards behind his receiver. Of course he bounced back with a beautiful touch pass to the sideline – that was promptly dropped.
In addition to his arm, Boyd’s legs make him tough to defend. He runs like a fullback though, which he’ll have to tone down in the NFL.
Logan Thomas – Virginia Tech
Frustration is the word that best describes Logan Thomas. Thomas should be so good. Cam Newton 2.0 so they said, myself included, before the start of the 2012 season. The player we saw last year, however, was barely draftable.
He certainly didn’t acquit himself against an admittedly stellar Alabama defense – displaying poor accuracy and questionable decision making – hallmarks of last season. Thomas was hurt by some drops as well – his receivers didn’t help things certainly.
I’m not so sure that NFL teams will give up hope. He has an unteachable frame and tantalizing physical attributes. He’ll have to prove that he can’t play… which he is well on his way to doing.
Thomas staring down his receiver and getting picked by Sunseri was just the tip of the iceberg. I’d also like to see Thomas step up more confidently in the pocket and quit throwing off his back foot.
A.J. McCarron – Alabama
McCarron had been living in the lap of luxury with an incredibly talented offensive line group in front of him – three of whom could be starting this year as rookies in the NFL. The new group of blockers didn’t live up to expectations and it showed in McCarron’s performance.
Although he was able to make some truly NFL throws – a deep out to Amari Cooper was particularly good – McCarron was basically held in check. This year, facing some pressure, will finally show exactly what McCarron is able to do on his own – exactly what NFL scouts need to see.
Teddy Bridgewater – Louisville
Bridgewater tore up the putrid Ohio defense without much trouble. He had one interception where I suspect there was some miscommunication, as two Louisville receivers ran the same route, but otherwise took advantage of the lack of pressure and acres of space surrounding his receivers.
Zach Mettenberger – LSU
Mettenberger had an improved base and showed better mechanics in his win over TCU. His downfield touch looked better as well. I expect big things out of the LSU quarterback this year.
Blake Bortles – Central Florida
Bortles looked great against Akron, showcasing an improved touch and accuracy. I still would like to see him clean up his feet, as he tends to “step in the bucket” when throwing to the left, leaving some velocity on the table.
Derek Carr – Fresno State
Carr threw the ball 73 times against Rutgers – racking up absurd numbers in a 52-51 overtime victory. Carr looked nimble on his feet (4.5 speed!) and was very precise – especially on the myriad screen and underneath routes that the Bulldogs run. His touch down the field was as good as always.
Brett Smith – Wyoming
I haven’t caught this game yet (My DVR is smoking right now), but from what I’ve read Smith – our 14th ranked quarterback – is progressing nicely as a junior. Read more about Smith’s performance against Nebraska here.