2012 NFL Draft Rankings: Quarterbacks

1. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
No, I’m not putting Robert Griffin III ahead of Andrew Luck just to stir up controversy. If you’ve been following the site during this process, you’ll know that I’ve had Griffin ahead of Luck since day one. Griffin’s elite athleticism, big-time arm and stellar accuracy make him my top quarterback in this year’s draft.

2. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

The common belief is that Andrew Luck is the best quarterback prospect since John Elway. However, I’m not buying it. While I do believe Luck will be a star in the NFL, he won’t be as great as many expect him to be. Just my hunch, if Luck went to any school besides Stanford, there wouldn’t be as much hype. The misconception by the media is that just because Luck attended Stanford, he is one of the most intelligent quarterbacks in NFL history. Don’t buy that. He went there on a football scholarship, not academic scholarship. Putting that aside, Luck will have a productive career. I just feel that he’s close to reaching his ceiling which doesn’t leave much room for improvement.

3. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

There’s no quarterback with more upside in this year’s class than Ryan Tannehill. This is because Tannehill didn’t even become a quarterback until midway through his junior season. Prior to that, Tannehill was a wide receiver for Texas A&M. In 2011, Tannehill threw for 3,744 yards and 29 touchdowns, which is quite impressive since it was his first complete season as a starting quarterback. Tannehill will have some learning to do in the NFL, but he has all of the physical tools to be a star.

4. Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin

If you’re wondering who my most underrated player in the 2012 draft is, he’s right here. It’s somewhat shocking to me that most experts don’t even have Russell Wilson in the top five of their quarterback rankings. After transferring from NC State, Wilson spent his senior season at Wisconsin, where he threw for 33 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Had it not been for two Hail Mary throws in the final seconds of Wisconsin’s two losses, the Badgers likely would have played LSU in the BCS National Championship Game. The only knock on Wilson is his height, as he is just 5’11”. But, if you’ve seen Wilson play, you’ll notice that his lack of height hasn’t really affected his performance. No quarterback in this year’s draft throws the deep ball with more accuracy than Wilson, so don’t be surprised if he is a longtime starting quarterback in the NFL.

5. Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State

Much like Tannehill, Kirk Cousins has great potential. Cousins’ potential doesn’t come from his athleticism, though, as he is solely a pocket-passer. In college, Cousins showed flashes of being a solid quarterback in the NFL by excelling in both of his games against Wisconsin. But, Cousins struggled in games against other top defenses, such as Georgia, Nebraska and Ohio State. He’s a high-character guy that will be ready to learn from day one, which is why he has a chance to be a starter in the NFL someday.

6. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State

It’s a known fact that Brandon Weeden is 28 years old, but that’s not why I have him this low on my list. The reason Weeden is lower on my list than other quarterback rankings is because of the pass-happy Oklahoma State offense that he played in. That offense allowed him to excel, as he threw for 4,727 yards and 37 touchdowns in 2011. But, that’s because the offense he played in allows him to spread the field out, sit in the pocket and easily find an open receiver. That won’t happen in the NFL. When the field was condensed on plays in college, Weeden played much worse. His accuracy greatly worsens when he has less time to throw the ball, which is why I think he will struggle in the NFL.

7. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona

When the 2011 season ended, Nick Foles appeared to be right behind Griffin, Luck and Tannehill as a quarterback prospect. But, after a poor showing at both the Senior Bowl and Combine, Foles is starting to look less impressive. Despite having a big-time arm and throwing for 28 touchdowns in 2011, Foles’ tape is not very likable. He has a tendency to look down receivers and force throws, which won’t bode well in the NFL. It is unlikely that Foles will be a starting quarterback in the NFL, but he will be a very reliable backup.

8. Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State

Every year, the media loves to pick out a few prospects and make them look better than they actually are. This year, Brock Osweiler is one of those prospects. ESPN has graded Osweiler out as a first-round pick, which just baffles me. Despite being 6’7″, Osweiler had more passes batted down than the previously mentioned 5’11” Russell Wilson. Osweiler has a big-time arm and is athletic for his size, but the praise from me ends there. His poor mechanics, slow release and the fact that he wasn’t asked to make many tough throws at Arizona State make Osweiler a developmental prospect in my mind. He needs to go to a team where he can learn behind a veteran quarterback for a few years, as Osweiler is nowhere near ready to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.

9. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State

I usually don’t buy into the fact that physical tools/athleticism will hold a player back in the NFL, but I am here. Kellen Moore is the winningest quarterback in college football history, which would make one think that he will have success in the NFL. But, Moore is listed at a generous 6’0″. Moore is also under 200 pounds, which isn’t the type of body frame that will hold up against NFL defenses. On top of his limitations physically, Moore’s arm strength is lacking. While he is accurate and can read defenses with ease, Moore will be nothing more than a solid backup in the NFL.

10. Chandler Harnish, QB, Northern Illinois

Here’s one of my favorite prospects in the draft. Chandler Harnish doesn’t have the arm strength that is needed to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, but he is a true dual-threat quarterback whose production in college speaks for itself. Harnish threw for 2,942 yards and 26 touchdowns in his senior season, while also leading Northern Illinois to a MAC Championship. The former MAC player of the year may not start in the NFL, but a team should definitely use a late-round pick on him as a developmental player.


About Kyle Casey
Kyle is an aspiring journalist with a dream of becoming a pro sportswriter. His passions are mainly the NFL and college football, but he enjoys watching anything related to sports.

4 Responses to 2012 NFL Draft Rankings: Quarterbacks

  1. Derek Johnson says:

    I want to ask this more as point of clarification than anything else: don’t you agree that taking Luck is a safer pick because he is a traditional quarterback, and he’s less likely to get hurt? Also, even if Luck has an average career (or busts, God forbid), at least a GM can say, I took the guy everyone thought was great. Also, I would really contend with the notion that Andrew Luck’s hype centers on him going to Stanford. If he had gone to a school with real football talent, even Texas A&M per se, they would have played for a national title. A large part of his praise is that he elevated Stanford. And he ran Stanford’s offense, with a limited number of hours to prepare. He’s got football intelligence, which is what matters.

    I actually think Foles should have ended up higher on the list, if it wasn’t for his mediocre performance as a senior. I think of all the lesser QB’s, he’s the one who could benefit the most from a good position coach.

    Since you like RG3, here’s a link to my recent post about seeing him play in person: http://derekjohnsonmuses.com/2012/04/21/wathcing-robert-griffin-iii-in-person-my-personal-story-of-seeing-rg3-face-the-blackshirts/

    Keep up the good work.

    • Kyle Casey says:

      I definitely agree that Luck is a safer pick. Griffin is aggressive as a runner and could lead to injury. And if I’m a GM with my job on the line, I’d probably lean towards Luck just because if he were to be a bust, nobody would fire me for it because of the hype.

      As for Nick Foles, I think he has the potential to be a solid QB. He struggled a bit last year, but he has the perfect body size to be an NFL QB. I think he’d most excel in a spread offense in the NFL which would allow him to open up the field. Also, he definitely needs someone to learn under. Green Bay would be one example of a perfect fit for Foles.

  2. So you have Weeden 6 because he played in a Pass Happy spread, but you har Griffen 1? Ok-State ran the ball more than any spread, or as much. Watch the tape and I don’t think you can ding Weeden because the system OSU ran he made every pro throw, and with TMonk as hes OC he played NFL style QB.

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