One Bills Drive might be coming to the realization that a change at quarterback will be needed for the future and the easiest way to do that is through the NFL Draft. It’s a depressing moment to be talking draft with games still left on the schedule but the next week and a half will be your last chance to see the college prospects in action. So, let’s take a look at some of the guys to keep an eye on during the bowl season and Senior Bowl.
Matt Barkley – USC
This season hasn’t worked out the way that “Matty Trojan” had envisioned it when he came back for his senior year. His career is over after a big hit in the UCLA game injured his shoulder and he was just ruled out medically for the Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech. The severity of his injury will effect where he goes in the draft but he’s got the pro-style credentials. The biggest thing that has changed his status from “lock #1 pick” coming into the season was his alarmingly high turnover numbers. Barkley racked up 15 interceptions this year in eleven games after throwing just seven in twelve games as a junior. But when he’s on, he’s dangerous. With 2 six touchdown games this season he shown he can sling it but needs to work on his decision making. Next Game – Senior Bowl.
Aaron Murray* – Georgia
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here, but with the weaker talent in this year’s draft I’d be surprised if Murray didn’t declare himself eligible. To me, Murray would be the best prospect in this year’s draft should he throw his hat in the ring. A career 3:1 touchdown to interception ratio and a record breaking career at a storied school in the nation’s toughest conference is a pretty good resume. Murray has played in 40 games for the Bulldogs and has completed 62% of his passes in that time with 90 touchdowns. He led his team to just yards of the National Championship game in the game of the year against Alabama. The lone blemish on his season was a loss at South Carolina where he was dealing with the news his father had been just diagnosed with thyroid cancer, so I’ll cut him some slack there. He can scramble when needed, he can throw on the run and he’s got the arm strength to make the jump to the NFL. Next Game – Capital One Bowl vs. #16 Nebraska – Jan. 1st – ESPN
Tyler Wilson – Arkansas
Wilson expected his senior season to be a run to glory as the signal caller of a legitimite SEC and National Championship contender. Then his coach and famously brilliant play caller Bobby Petrino got into a motorcycle accident with his mistress and the spiral for the Razorbacks was on. Wilson had a decent season amid the disarray of the program but not the numbers he expected. The only person in the SEC that accounted for more of his team’s offense was Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. His last college game was a big one in a near upset of LSU where he threw for 359 yards and ran for 38. He has a similar arm to Ryan Mallett but isn’t as statuesque. Next Game – Senior Bowl
Geno Smith – West Virginia
Somehow he’s ranked as the top quarterback prospect in this draft which should tell you all you need to know about the qb talent available – good, not great. His numbers are crazy with 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions but running the Dana Holgerson offense always equals big stats. When Smith faces pressure, he fails. His conference isn’t exactly known for defense and while it’s not fair to criticize him for that, when he did face respectable defenses, he threw picks. Two INT’s each against Oklahoma and Kansas State, including not having a completion longer than 13 yards against the Wildcats. He’s the classic, “This guy’s got all the measurables” prospect but look at the actual product on the field. It shows every snap in the shotgun, average accuracy on NFL type throws and just another average quarterback. Next Game – Pinstripe Bowl vs. Syracuse – Saturday Dec. 29th – ESPN
Mike Glennon – NC State
He’s a big guy at 6’5” 230lbs but has averaged an interception a game for his entire college career. The other side of that argument is that he’s averaged 30 touchdowns a season. He was a big part of the second half comeback upset over Florida State this year, but then had other games where he disappeared like against UConn and Virginia. I’m just not overly impressed with him and don’t think he deserves to be raised up draft boards like we’ve seen lately. He’s got talent but he’s a guy that will need to be developed. Next Game – Music City Bowl vs. Vanderbilt – Monday, December 31st – ESPN