Who’ll Have the Last Laugh When Quarterbacks are Drafted in 2013

By Chris Malumphy

The publication of pre-draft player analysis is generally a joke. Typically, everyone and their mother believes they can identify the few "can't miss" players coming out of college each year but even the professionals make whopping mistakes. Drafting almost any other player is even more of a gigantic crap shoot where success is primarily based on a team's ability to select players who: 1) fit their scheme, 2) stay healthy, 3) remain outside of the coach's dog-house and 4) reside on the right side of the law. It also helps if their head coach in years two and three is the same guy who originally drafted them.

Pre-draft player analysis is so laughably contradictory that even in a year when there is said to be no standouts among the incoming quarterbacks, it has been suggested that nearly a dozen different players are not only draftworthy but are THE ones to watch, either immediately or for the long term. But geesh. Just look at history. Few quarterbacks are drafted, fewer get to play, and with very small exceptions only one or two drafted in any given year make any significant positive contribution over their entire careers.

None of the experts are in agreement about the quarterbacks available in the 2013 NFL Draft. In fact, it seems as if they WANT to differ, so that if by chance their choice has a good year or two, they'll be able to claim bragging rights. But a buck shot approach isn't helpful analysis no matter how much film is watched. Mike Mayock likes this guy. Greg Cosell likes somebody else. You can pay to see who Mel Kiper, Jr. prefers. Old scions like Gil Brandt are always good for an opinion or two. Steve Mariucci wishes he had the status of Jon Gruden and Gruden likes any young quarterback that he doesn't happen to actually be coaching. Everyone, including esteemed journalists, mock draft creators, bloggers and tweeters throws in a "sleeper" just in case. Moreover, teams are tossing out as much disinformation as possible in hopes of turning things to their own benefit.

The pundits who seem to be paid by the word, or perhaps by the link bait, have named everyone under the sun as a possibility including: Geno Smith (West Virginia), Ryan Nassib (Syracuse), E.J. Manuel (Florida State), Matt Barkley (USC), Mike Glennon (North Carolina State), Tyler Wilson (Arkansas), Tyler Bray (Tennessee), Zac Dysert (Miami OH), Landry Jones (Oklahoma) and "sleepers" Matt Scott (Arizona), Sean Renfree (Duke), Brad Sorensen (Utah) and Collin Klein (Kansas State). I'm sure I've missed several others whose names have been tossed about.

Analysts are not only looking at players' strengths, but are also identifying any perceived weaknesses. The result is that no one can run the gamut unscathed. Dissing top prospects for one seeming fault or another may just be similar to personnel recruiters who find everyone wanting because they are in search of the purple squirrel, the non-existent holy grail. That's probably how Tom Brady dropped to round six or Dan Marino had five other quarterbacks drafted ahead of him. Does Geno Smith have the work ethic? Does Matt Barkley have the arm? Can anyone develop the athleticism of E.J. Manuel? Will Mike Glennon gain accuracy? Is Landry Jones even a possibility? Can Zac Dysert rise from the MAC like Ben Roethlisberger? Does Tyler Bray carry too much baggage? Is Ryan Nassib the man? What would Tyle Wilson be like with consistent coaching? And just who are these sleepers: Matt Scott, Sean Renfree, Brad Sorensen and Collin Klein?

Who'll be the top dog of the class of 2013 years from now when all is said and done? I have no idea. And while all the speculation is fun, I'm not sure if it is very enlightening. That's why DraftHistory.com doesn't try to predict the future with mock drafts, but instead reviews past history to see how things actually worked out--which by itself, may provide signficant guidance to teams in weighing how to proceed in the future or whether you should have any expectation that rookies will play when you draft your fantasy team.

It is only a few more days until NFL teams lay their true cards on the table by making their 2013 NFL Draft selections. Quarterback is always the position that is most interesting to follow. I can't wait.