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Draft King Analysis

December 1, 2008
Lou Pickney,

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At the moment there is a three-way tie for the #3 draft spot (behind 0-12 Detroit and 1-10-1 Cincinnati). The Chiefs, Seahawks, and Rams are all 2-10, and they all have opponent win percentages of 52.34%. But, with the Seahawks and Rams meeting in week 15, the three-way tie won't last. You might recall that there was a three-way tie for the #3 pick last year, which Atlanta ultimately ended up with (and used to draft Boston College QB Matt Ryan).

This article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reveals why changes that may be made to the NFL's collective bargaining agreement could cause players to make the leap to the NFL now as opposed to next year. With the people who would benefit most from the present NFL rookie salary rates (current college players) not having a say in the negotiation process, look for them to get the short end of the stick when the process is reworked.

There is no senior quarterback likely to go in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, but there are a number of quality underclassman who could be in the mix to be selected with one of the first 32 picks. We won't know until next month who will be in and who will be out, but it's worth taking a look at who could end up in the mix.

Matthew Stafford, Georgia (Junior)
Pro: 6'3" 235 with a rocket arm, Stafford is the favorite at this point in my eyes to be the top QB taken in the 2009 NFL Draft. A three-year starter at Georgia, Stafford has experience and poise and plenty of experience against elite talent.
Con: Accuracy has been an issue for Stafford, but that has improved during his time with the Bulldogs -- 52.7% in 2006 to 55.7% in 2007 to 61.1% in 2008.

Colt McCoy, Texas (Redshirt Junior)
Pro: With a 77.6% completion rate in 2008, McCoy's accuracy cannot be questioned. He's 6'3" 215, which is good in that he has NFL quality height.
Con: He could use a little more bulk to handle the hard hits that come with being an NFL quarterback. Also, he lacks NFL-quality arm strength in the opinion of some observers.

Sam Bradford, Oklahoma (Redshirt Sophomore)
Pro: He has the height you want for a QB at 6'4", and Bradford possesses impressive poise in the pocket. His 68.1% completion percentage in 2008 has been very good, as has his 46 passing TDs against just six interceptions in 2008 (which was no fluke when you consider that Bradford threw 36 TDs against eight interceptions as a freshman in 2007).
Con: Bradford is relatively inexperienced compared with some of the other quarterbacks who will be in the mix, though he has been nothing short of impressive as a starter at OU. He has, according to some scouts, just "adequate" arm strength.

Tim Tebow, Florida (Junior)
Pro: 6'3" 240 with amazing speed for his size, Tebow matches that with great leadership skills, amazing speed (sub 4.6), and an unquestionable toughness. Tebow isn't afraid to keep playing even when he has blood pouring down his face, as evidenced in the Florida win over FSU this past weekend. He has wonderful arm strength, perhaps behind only Matt Stafford in that area in this group.
Con: Playing in a shotgun system at Florida leaves some questioning if he can play in a traditional NFL offense. Tebow won't be able to rely on the QB draw nearly as much on the pro level. His 65% completion percentage in 2008 is actually down slightly from the 66.8% completion percentage he had in his 2007 Heisman Trophy campaign, and that's with fewer passes this year (246 attempts so far in 2008 compared with 350 attempts in 2007).

Nate Davis
Nate Davis has been stellar at QB for Ball State. (Icon SMI)

Mark Sanchez, USC (Redshirt Junior)
Pro: At 6'3" 225, he fits the mold for an NFL quarterback. He has good arm strength to go with nice mobility and quality leadership skills. He has posted a 65.4% completion percentage this year and thrown 28 TDs against 9 interceptions.
Con: Sanchez has only one full season as USC's starting quarterback. He would likely need quite a bit of training and learning in practice on the pro level before being able to move comfortably into a starting job.

Nate Davis, Ball State (Junior)
Pro: Davis, who has lead Ball State on an impressive run in 2008, possesses amazing awareness and is quite accurate with his passes. For his career Davis has thrown 73 touchdowns (versus just 20 interceptions), and in 2008 his completion percentage is 67.2% (25 TD/6 INT for the season). He is 6'2", and he has a large enough frame at 220 pounds to where he won't be dubbed "too small to play QB in the NFL" in contrast to a player like West Virginia's Pat White, who is 6'1" but weighs just 190-195 pounds.
Con: Davis lacks the arm strength of the top-tier QB prospects. His stats may be slightly skewed because of generally playing weaker competition, though by the same token he doesn't have the same caliber of supporting staff around him that the other guys in this mix do.

Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State (Junior)
Pro: Robinson, at 6'3" 215, has NFL quality height. He has posted strong numbers throughout his career (5904 yards passing with 50 TDs against 17 pickoffs), and has a career 62.2% completion percentage.
Con: Robinson doesn't have the arm strength to be a high pick in the NFL, not in 2009 or 2010. Additionally, the problems he has had at times with decision-making under pressure could prove to be a significant detriment to his draft position.


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