NFL Draft 2013: Projected Landing Spots for Top Quarterback Prospects

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2013

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 01:  Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers drops back to pass against the Marshall Thundering Herd during the game on September 1, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The 2013 NFL Draft's quarterback class has been characterized by its lack of a surefire star, its perceived absence of depth and its plenitude of dangerously flawed prospects.

But the NFL is a supply-and-demand league and, come April, there'll be a whole lot of teams wanting for a new quarterback.

Following up the 2012 stellar quarterback class, which included three quarterbacks leading their teams to the playoffs, is a tall order. Obviously, when compared to the likes of Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin and perhaps even Ryan Tannehill, the likes of Smith, Barkley and Glennon may leave NFL fans have a tough act to follow and may leave fans disappointed.

On the other hand, following the 2012 quarterback class could be a practical blessing. The maxim about rookie QBs being unable to win has been rendered obsolete and, accordingly, teams are more and more willing to roll the dice on young signal-callers.

That said, let's take a look at where some of 2013's top quarterbacks could land.

Geno Smith, West Virginia: Philadelphia Eagles (4th Overall)

If Smith shoots up draft boards the way I project, there's a chance he goes No. 1 to Kansas City. But Branden Albert is a free agent and Andy Reid loves drafting linemen, so I think that spot is reserved for Luke Joeckel.

And the Philadelphia Eagles couldn't be happier.

Nick Foles flashed potential in 2012, but few to no suggestions of greatness. He is what he is: A capable passer, a poor playmaker, a top-flight backup quarterback. Geno Smith has the potential to be so much more.

It's not just Geno's arm that NFL scouts are gonna fall in love with; it's everything about him. Much like Luck, Griffin and Wilson, he makes rooms of reporters swoon every time he opens his mouth. For God's sake, he turned down an art scholarship to play at West Virginia. How cool is that?

This kid has "face of a franchise" written all over him, something Philly, perhaps more so than any other team in the league, is in desperate need of.

Matt Barkley, USC: Arizona Cardinals (7th Overall)

There aren't enough words to describe how disappointing Barkley's season was. The backlash he's faced for returning to school has been explicit and has many lamenting how much money he might have cost himself.

But, at the end of the day, it's important not to forget why he was such a highly rated prospect to begin with. Your name isn't floated around in the same league as Luck and Griffin, unless you possess some first-rate NFL tools like Barkley.

He's got a big, accurate arm, and, by all accounts, the adept mental capacity requisite for succeeding at sport's most cerebral position. Like Geno, he's also capable of enchanting teams of reporters with his winsome smile and off-field charm.

At the end of the day, Barkley is a polished thrower that could be ready to start from Day 1 and other than maybe the Jets, no team needs that more desperately than Arizona.

Ryan Nassib, Syracuse: Buffalo Bills (8th Overall)

Much like Ryan Tannehill in 2012, Nassib has enjoyed a mountain of good, late-season press and  similarly could rise into the top 10 because of it.

Buffalo's new head coach, Doug Marrone, previously coached Nassib at Syracuse. His system, learned from Sean Payton in New Orleans, is extremely quarterback-centric and Nassib did an excellent job with below-average weapons in college.

It's hard to phrase it better than B/R's own Matt Miller, so from here, I'll defer to him:

We can all agree that quarterback is the biggest need for this team—so why not pull the trigger on the guy you know, love and trust? This may be a reach, but on my rankings, it's no bigger reach than drafting Ryan Tannehill No. 8 overall last year. 

Mike Glennon, N.C. State: Jacksonville Jaguars (33rd Overall)

Glennon has Osweilerian height, near-elite arm strength, and, according to, exceptional throwing mechanics. Unfortunately, he also has very little mobility, unremarkable college production and a penchant for throwing interceptions.

Sound familiar, Jaguars fans?

Jacksonville could potentially replace Blaine Gabbert with a similar prospect. But in practice, it wouldn't be the worst decision of all-time. Like Gabbert, Glennon has an very high ceiling, but needs to be nurtured properly in the league.

The Jaguars aren't winning anything next year, so Glennon would be allowed to develop slowly. With a surprisingly good group of receivers already in tow, it's not impossible to see Glennon becoming a productive NFL player.

Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech: New York Jets (39th Overall)

Tyler Wilson is my fifth-ranked quarterback, but Thomas could go higher because...well, it's the Jets.

He had a shaky career and an even shakier season at Virginia Tech, but he's got every tool in the book and heaps of potential. Watching him play, it's impossible for Thomas not to draw comparisons to Cam Newton.

The Jets don't need a new quarterback after their dramatic season; they need a new image. Whoever takes over as the new GM might not have Mike Tannebaum's flair for high-profile acquisitions but, in that market, it's hard not to assuage media requirements.

Thomas plays an undeniably exciting brand of football, something Jets fans could, potentially, fall in love with.