Geno Smith Launches A Throw At The Combine
The 2013 NFL Combine's fastest QBs were on display this week when they generated their top 40 times. Of course, that was just one event within an environment that enabled this year's collection of signal callers to maximize their draft status. Providing that their participation in the process yielded a sufficient number of favorable results. These would need to occur while undergoing a thorough evaluation that would allow scouts to judge their decision making ability, assess their accuracy, examine their arm strength, and observe their agility.
One of the drills that occurred during the process was the 40-yard dash. And even though there will be many other factors that will impact where each signal caller will eventually be selected in this year’s draft, their ability to run is certainly a component that will influence observers, and help determine their overall status.
There is still great uncertainty regarding where this year's collection of signal callers will be chosen. And with the likely exception of former West Virginia Mountaineer Geno Smith, there is not an obvious candidate to become the face of his franchise in 2013. At least, not to the degree that Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III handled that responsibility last season. That process began instantly once Luck and RG3 were selected in the first round. They were joined in that distinction by Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden, which marked the second consecutive year in which a quartet of QBs were chosen in the initial round. Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Christian Ponder and Blaine Gabbert all attained that status in 2011.
It currently remains highly doubtful that a foursome will be taken in the first round for a third straight year. However, the assemblage of QBs in the Class of 2013 should not be summarily dismissed. It is still very plausible that two or three members of the group will demonstrate enough positive qualities, that teams who are considering an upgrade at the position will be compelled to invest a first round pick toward addressing their need.
While a quarterback's ability to run is merely one element in each player’s comprehensive evaluation as the draft approaches, the 40-yard dash remains a high profile event. Here are the QBs who registered the 10 fastest times, along with updates on their current draft values.
1. Geno Smith, West Virginia - 4.59
Even though he is not necessarily considered to be a running QB, Smith might have altered opinions at the combine, after leading all players at his position in the 40-yard dash. His should still be considered the premier prospect from this year’s assembly of QBs. And even though he has displayed some inconsistencies with his mechanics that might prohibit him from ascending into the top 10, his overall performance at the combine should preserve his status as the one rookie QB who can the ability to start during the 2013 regular season.
2. E. J. Manuel, Florida State - 4.65
In addition to performing well in this competition, he also paced all QBs in the vertical jump. His arm strength and agility are appealing, although he needs to avoid forcing deep balls into coverage. His ability to generate big plays through the air, and run successfully when his receivers are covered should lure a team to select him during the second round.
3. Matt Scott, Arizona - 4.69
He only started one full season as a Wildcat, but does possess some intriguing capabilities. Not only did he exhibit athleticism during this dash, but his passing prowess has garnered increasing attention. He can go vertical, yet does so with accuracy. Plus, he is tall, and has a reasonably quick release. His status is worth monitoring as the draft approaches.
4. MarQueis Gray, Minnesota - 4.73
While the initial plan was for Gray to pass and run routes as a receiver during Minnesota’s March 4 Pro Day, his performance in the dash and other combine events improved the assessment that he can perform as a QB in the NFL. He is an exceptional athlete, and will be chosen somewhere within the middle rounds as a result.
5. Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech - 4.78
He does not have the size or arm strength that many of his peers possess. And his respectable time in this event will not alter the fact that he falls vastly short of consideration to be an NFL starter. It is currently doubtful that he will be selected, although he might be invited to a training camp.
6. Collin Klein, Kansas State - 4.78
While Klein has been emphatic about playing QB, any future NFL paychecks that he might collect would be as a result of his performance at another position. His arm strength and accuracy are both insufficient, and he is not a rushing threat at the next level. Tight End currently appears to be his best option.
7. James Vandenberg, Iowa - 4.92
His overall abilities are adequate, but not exceptional. It is unlikely that he will be drafted, but there is a reasonable chance that he will be invited to participate in a training camp.
8. Mike Glennon, NC State - 4.94
His exceptional height (6’ 7”) is certainly noteworthy, and his experience in a pro style offense definitely does not hurt his stock. But there are a number of growth areas that must be adhered to, which makes it questionable whether or not he can start in the NFL. But given the overall weakness in this year’s class, he should be one of the first five QBs selected during the process.
9. Tyler Wilson – Arkansas - 4.95
As with Glennon, Wilson will be mentioned frequently as QB prospects are discussed during the upcoming weeks. He displayed leadership and a favorable work ethic while quarterbacking the Razorbacks, and appears capable of sounds decision making under pressure. He will also be among the initial five QBs drafted, and could reside within the top three.
10. Brad Sorensen, Southern Utah - 4.97
He has displayed sufficient arm strength, and the ability to deliver the ball with accuracy. All of which will garner attention from scouts, and result in Sorenson becoming a late round selection.