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Doug Farrar
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Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Room at the top

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The one thing that stands out to me about the 2010 quarterbacks class is ... well, that nobody stands out as an instant NFL prospect. There's Oklahoma's Sam Bradford, with his great accuracy, but he's rehabbing a shoulder that was first injured soon after most of the Sooners' great offensive line graduated after the 2008 season. He's able to play pitch-and-catch as well as anyone, but it isn't just his injury situation that raises a question mark.

How will he hold up against the NFL version of pressure? It's great that he's added 13 pounds of muscle in the offseason; teams will be far more confident in his physical stability at 236 pounds than 223. But there's a lot we don't know yet about 2010's best college quarterback that we did know with Mark Sanchez and Matt Stafford last year.

Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen is the most "pro-ready" of this QB class, based on his extended time under center and in Charlie Weis' offense. But his game tape leaves with a decided feeling of "meh" -- there isn't much about him that stands out. Certainly not enough to cast aside legitimate questions about his leadership ability, and certain alleged personality flaws that might get in his way at the pro level.

Texas' Colt McCoy is perceived as a second-round pick by most -- he's recovering from his own shoulder injury, and he's not going to blow anyone away with his arm. It's less a Howitzer and more a very accurate BB gun. Does he have enough in that sub-cannon to make it in the NFL? That's the question, but I look at this 6-foot-1, supposedly noodle-armed quarterback with spread offense debits against him, and I wonder if I'm looking at another Drew Brees. Now, it's quite possible that Brees is the outlier among smaller guys at his position, and it's always a mistake to treat the outlier as the norm, but McCoy impresses me as much or more as anyone in this draft class at his position for one reason -- he's got a resiliency that can't be taught. When Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh absolutely blew up and sacked McCoy 4.5 times in the Big 12 Championship, McCoy kept getting up, kept fighting, and Texas won that game. At the scouting combine, I saw a reporter ask McCoy about his size, and I saw his eyes set in a way that I knew I would remember. I like a guy with the need to prove something to the world, and the tools to make it happen, and I believe that Colt McCoy is that kind of player.

I can't say the same about Tim Tebow. Look, I have no reason to doubt that he's got the kind of intangibles that very few players have ever had. From the neck up, he brings Roger Staubach to mind, and who wouldn't want to coach Roger Staubach? But when it's time for the reality check ... well, I don't want to be the one to throw water on the barbecue, but Tebow simply doesn't resemble an NFL quarterback. His throwing motion isn't just slow and from the wrong angle; he's also telegraphing his throws early just about every time. And unlike Randall Cunningham and Byron Leftwich, he doesn't have the arm strength to overcome those issues. I think he'll "redshirt" with an NFL team for a year or two, try as hard as he can when he gets his shot, but I don't see it happening for him. As much as the NFL has met the college spread offense halfway, there are still things Tebow doesn't have that are absolutely required. Footwork. Accuracy plus velocity. The ability to read defenses at a very high level. I don't see these things in Tebow. Is he a football player? Without question. Is he an NFL quarterback? I just don't think so.

One guy who impressed me at the combine was Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson. Robinson played in a spread offense, but he has the kind of overhand arc, downfield accuracy, and functional mobility that could have him succeeding in the NFL. He's a fourth- or fifth-round pick who could surprise.

But of all the quarterbacks in this class, I don't see one who really stands out no matter what. Bradford could be exceptional in a New England-style system where he's in the shotgun 70 percent of the time, and I like McCoy's chances in a West Coast offense. But the best players at any position are not system-dependent; they can succeed anywhere. I could very well be wrong, but I don't see that in this group.

By Doug Farrar  |  March 17, 2010; 12:20 AM ET  | Category:  Doug Farrar , Draft , Quarterbacks , Scouting Combine Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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