Derek Carr, Fresno State Bulldogs (December 21, 2013)

Derek Carr – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2014 NFL Draft Preview: Quarterbacks

by Contributor Sy’56

**NOTE** – I altered the format for the QBs.  I don’t see NYG going after one here unless a tremendous value drops to one of their final picks.  I am going to offer a few thoughts on all of my top 10 guys.

Current Quarterbacks on NYG Roster:

Eli Manning – 33 – Signed through 2015

Curtis Painter – 29 – Signed through 2014

Josh Freeman – 26 – Signed through 2014

Ryan Nassib – 24 – Signed through 2016

Rusty Smith – 27 – Signed through 2015

Where They Stand:

There is already a lot of in-house competition for the backup QB spots and it should be a good one to watch.  NYG has guys coming from a bunch of different walks here and at least two of the names above won’t be around come September.  Manning had one of his worst seasons to date in 2013.  By no means does he appear to be done or on the downfall, but one can’t help but be somewhat alarmed.  He consistently made poor decisions with the ball in his hands and no matter how bad the situation around him, an 18:27 TD/INT ratio is simply awful and unacceptable.  The upgrade in OL talent will help and I think the new scheme will breathe new life in to what was a stagnant offense, however.  A replacement for Manning is not needed quite yet but the thought has to be in the back of your mind after watching last season and knowing about a somewhat serious ankle injury that seems to be lingering.  Painter is a below average backup that hasn’t shown anything on game tape that would hand him the backup job.  He’ll have to compete with the newly signed Freeman.  Freeman isn’t far removed from being considered one of the top young signal callers in the league.  Youth and an impressive tool set are still on his side and I look forward to seeing what he can do in a much better surrounding situation with NYG.  Nassib received a pass for his rookie campaign and I can’t say we know enough to make a legit analysis of him.  A lot of his evaluation comes from practice and what he does by himself between practices.  He should have the #3 spot locked down barring a major letdown throughout preseason.  Smith is a training camp body that won’t factor in to the team’s plans from what I can see.

Top 10 Grades:

1 – Derek Carr – Fresno State – 6’2/214: 82

I love the poise, toughness, and accuracy of Carr.  He has it all between the ears and in a QB class full of prospects with huge question marks when it comes to the intangibles and/or durability, I’m taking Carr above all.  He has the arm talent, he can move well, and he knows the game as well if not better than everyone on this group.  Carr is the kind of guy you trust to lead a team on and off the field.  He elevates others to another level.

2 – Johnny Manziel – Texas A&M – 6’0/207: 81

Love the excitement and danger-factor he brings to every play of every game.  He is more than a scrambler, he is a true playmaker with elite movement in short areas.  My issues with him mainly revolve around his style of play that doesn’t exactly fit with his frame.  Can he play 16 games every year?  Not if he plays like he did in college because he’s no longer taking hits from college kids.  These are angry, aggressive men that will aim to take him out of a ball game.  That combined with questionable maturity prevents him from having a top 10 overall grade on my board.  I have to admit the upside here is intriguing and if I were a team in need of a QB, he would be really hard to pass on.

3 – Blake Bortles – Central Florida – 6’5/232: 75

Bortles has it all minus the big time arm when considering tool sets and upside.  I love how he can move in and out of the pocket.  He’s a big boy but he can really move in a similar way to what we saw out of Big Ben in 2004.  Does he have the arm power though?  I don’t see it.  He doesn’t throw the ball as well as I want when going beyond 20 yards either.  The quick decisions aren’t there as often as they should be and I think there is a lot more progression needed here than most are saying.  I wouldn’t take him in round 1.  There isn’t a big gap between him and the rest of the class.

4 – Aaron Murray – Georgia – 6’1/207: 74

I never liked Murray in college up until this past season.  I think he’s as tough as it gets both mentally and physically.  He has a quick release that is accurate with some underrated power.  Murray is coming off the torn up knee and if that weren’t the case I would have had him above Bortles.  He played at a really high level against his best competition and was rarely the reason they lost some big games.  He was the one that kept them in it despite an awful offensive line and banged up skill position group.  I trust him.

5 – Teddy Bridgewater – Louisville – 6’2/214: 73

I’ve never been high on Bridgewater.  Not so long ago everyone was pointing to him as the top overall guy in this class and I disputed it from the beginning.  Now he may not even go in round 1 despite a handful of teams really needing a franchise QB.  I think he has good intangibles with very good accuracy and average arm strength.  I never liked his throwing motion though.  I also question his ability to take hits in the NFL, he just looks frail to me.  I see a decent amount of comparisons to Sam Bradford here.  He is a 3rd/4th rounder in my books but he’ll go earlier.

6 – Zach Mettenberger – LSU – 6’5/224: 73

There are some off the field things that need to be looked in to with him and he is coming off a knee injury.  But when it comes to throwing talent, Mettenberger might be the top guy in this class.  He has a lot of zip on his short and intermediate passes but he can also rifle the ball downfield with ease.  He showed quicker decision making in 2013 and I think the upside is legit.  He would be a top 45 overall guy  if there wasn’t an injury in the picture and his off-field investigating checked out OK.  Reliable backup that I think will be in demand to start somewhere within a few years.

7 – Jimmy Garoppolo – Eastern Illinois – 6’2/226: 73

I only saw Garoppolo three times, which is about 3 less than I ideally get to watch when it comes to QBs.  With that said, I think he can be a Matt Moore type.  A guy who could be one of the top backups in the league but won’t ever be THE guy for a winning team.  That’s fine if you are taking him on day three as early as round 4 in my book.  Backup QBs have more value than most fans think.  I would trust him as mine.

8 – Tom Savage – Pittsburgh – 6’4/228: 72

Yes, a very good thrower with a nice release and powerful frame that can handle the physical side of the game.  I want to like Savage a lot.  I talked about him last August as a guy who could break in to the first round but I was disappointed in 2013.  He was woefully inconsistent and made some of the worst throws I saw all year out of this group.  Such volatile QBs like this are guys I simply will stay away from unless you are talking about day three.  At that point you can take a flier on him and hope for the best.

9 – AJ McCarron – Alabama – 6’3/220: 72

I’ve always appreciated the way McCarron handled himself at Alabama.  That position at that school during this era had more pressure than some of the NFL programs.  McCarron has some deep ball ability to him and can make safe, sound, quick decisions quickly.  That’s a good combination for a QB to start with in this league.  He may be destined for backup duty his whole career but that’s more than OK with me if we are talking day three.

10 – Jeff Mathews – Cornell – 6’4/223: 72

I am as intrigued as someone can be after watching a QB play three times when it comes to Mathews.  I think he has a big time arm with legit toughness and presence in the pocket.  Mathews is really good at the mental side of the game and will bring other players to another level.  There is a lot of progression that needs to be made with footwork and consistent arm angles, but there is upside here.  He could end up being a top 5 QB from this class and he can be had late day three from what I see.

NYG Approach:

Fans need to realize that they should never say never when it comes time to project what a team will do in the draft.  Anything is possible and that is where the debate ends.  With that said, I don’t think they will take a QB in this draft.  Nassib deserves another year or two to prove his future worth via practice and preseason.  In addition to him, NYG has two veterans battling it out for the spot behind Manning.  They appear to be set for 2014 but if there is a big time value available late day three, it may be worth going after.  I think Manning has a few good enough year left in him but you need to be prepared for the worst.  Having too many quality QBs is a GREAT problem to have.