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NFL Draft Predictions: Which Quarterback Will Be Selected First?

NFL Draft fun.

In the 2012 NFL draft, quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were picked first and second overall, while two other quarterbacks were also selected in the first round.

This year, things don't seem as rosy at the quarterback position and no player is a lock.

According to Scouts Inc.’s Top 32, the top two players in the draft are Luke Joeckel, offensive tackle from Texas A&M and Eric Fisher, offensive tackle from Central Michigan.

The coverage of the 2013 draft is less focused on quarterbacks this year, with Scouts Inc. not having a quarterback in its top 25. The only quarterback ranked in the top 32 is Geno Smith at No. 29.

Other top quarterbacks in the draft this year include USC’s Matt Barkley, Tennessee’s Tyler Bray, and Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib. Here's a little bit of background information on all of the top guys:

Geno Smith – West Virginia: NFL combine results – 4.59 sec. 40 yd. dash, 33.5 in. vertical jump, 124.0 in. broad jump

Most remember Smith for his outstanding performance against Clemson in the 2012 Discover Orange Bowl where he threw for 407 yards and six touchdowns. In his last season as a Mountaineer, Smith threw for 47 touchdowns and only six interceptions, giving him a 163.9 rating. Smith is more of a pass thrower than a pass rusher, and there are teams in the NFL that have Smith on their radar because of that. In a year with so many other talented players in positions other than quarterback, if any QB is going in the first round it’s Smith. 

Matt Barkley - USC

Due to his separated shoulder suffered last season, USC quarterback Matt Barkley was unable to participate in the NFL combine. A high school All-American, Barkley continued his success while at USC. In his first three seasons, Barkley improved his touchdown-to-interception ratio and ended his career with school passing records for yardage and touchdowns. Unfortunately, USC’s hopes for a national championship and Barkley’s hopes for a Heisman trophy were ended with Barkley’s drop in efficiency from previous years and his injury. When an NFL prospect gets injured, it sometimes gives scouts a bit more skepticism. With Barkley’s outstanding capabilities before his injury, look for him to be drafted as early as the second round. 

There’s a lot to say about Bray both on and off the field. On the field, he has a powerful arm that helped him break Peyton Manning’s school record for touchdown passes in the first four games of a season. Bray finished his junior season throwing for 3,612 yards, 34 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. Off the field, Bray is said to have a slight attitude problem, and has trouble making the right calls. Some have compared him to Brett Favre due to his powerful arm but inability to constantly make the right play. Although he has a mighty arm, Bray struggled when playing against SEC powerhouse teams such as Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. It’s hard to see where Bray will end up, but both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans are apparently considering him.

Ryan Nassib - Syracuse: NFL Combine results: 5.06 sec. 40 yd. dash, 28.5 in. vertical jump, 105.0 in. broad jump

Playing for a team that hasn’t had a double-digit winning season since 2001 can bring frustration, but Nassib earned a lot of publicity in his time at ‘Cuse. In his first season as a starter, Nassib threw for 2,334 yards, 19 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. In his senior season, Nassib improved substantially by throwing for 3,749 yards with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Current Buffalo Bills head coach and former Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone has been quoted saying that the Bills are looking for a new quarterback. With ties to Nassib, Marrone may try to draft the quarterback to help improve Buffalo’s recent slump. 

Here at CollegeSpun, we decided we'd get into drafting mode ourselves -- many of our writers chimed in on the quarterback debate, predicting which signal-caller would be the first off of the board. Predictions are below:

Dustin Stinson – Ohio State

I think Geno Smith will be drafted first. He’s the most talked about the most athletic in the QB class in this draft.

Tim Fontenault – UConn

It's lucky that this class has an NBA Draft class as terrible because this is the worst NFL Draft class I can remember in a long time. Teams that are looking for a long-term quarterback should wait a year or two. But if someone's looking for a plug right now, it's Geno Smith. Yes, he struggled at times in the Big XII, but out of all the less-than-stellar quarterbacks this year, he is the least likely to end up working out with JaMarcus Russell in pursuit of redemption. All bias aside, Ryan Nassib failed to wow me when I saw him play up close. To give you an idea of what that says, Syracuse beat UConn 40-10 that day. This is a guy who was behind a basketball player on the depth chart. I don't see him being anything special in the NFL, so maybe the Jets will take him.

Antonio Venegas - Ohio State

I think Geno Smith is off the board first. Best QB in draft and teams at the top need a QB. I'm thinking he lands in Buffalo or Cleveland. The reason for Cleveland? It's the Browns. They're bound to make an odd pick at some point in the draft and I'm not sold on Brandon Weeden.

Dylan Hicks – Missouri

The 2013 QB class is very weak. Personally I don’t think any of the top QB prospects are NFL ready and a can’t miss talent. However, Geno Smith has the look of an NFL-ready quarterback. He has the downfield arm strength coaches love and is fairly mobile. He’s no RGIII when it comes to mobility but Smith has shown good footwork. Geno will go first, but don’t be surprised if we see a run-off of Nassib and Barkley similar to how Gabbert and Ponder went two years ago.

Annie Dunbar – Kentucky

Geno Smith will be the first quarterback drafted 6th to the Browns. It seems to me like the Browns are always in desperate need for a solid QB who can actually complete passes – Smith is their man. He was roughly 72% for pass completion and threw 98 touchdowns in his college career. Smith or bust.

Dan Lazinsk – UConn

I think Buffalo takes Ryan Nassib at #8. Doug Marrone coached Nassib at ‘Cuse and the Bills have said they’re looking for a quarterback. If Buffalo wants Nassib I don't think they will pass him at 8. It’s too big of a risk to wait it out, someone will take him.