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NFL draft preview: Quarterbacks

1st in a series previewing the April 25-27 draft

By Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune reporter

4:00 PM EDT, April 10, 2013

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By comparison to the quarterback class of 2012, the class of 2013 is lackluster. There is no prospect who is rated anywhere near as highly as Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III were ranked one year ago, and every quarterback prospect this year has some significant holes.

1. Geno Smith, West Virginia, 6-3, 218: He has the arm strength, size, mobility and athleticism that NFL scouts want to see in a high first-round pick. But his production was a little up and down, and the system in which he played probably inflated his statistics some. His ability to move in the pocket is questionable, as is his field presence. Smith sometimes holds the ball too long. He throws accurately. He probably could fit into a read option scheme pretty well. Smith played almost exclusively from the shotgun, so he will have to learn to take snaps from center. Some have questioned his work ethic and dedication. "I think he does some things average off the field," one national scout said. But another said, "People at the school paint a great picture of him. They think he is a really good kid."

2. Matt Barkley, USC, 6-3, 227: Going into the season, many thought Barkley would be the first overall pick. But he didn't have a great year, and now he probably won't even be the first quarterback taken. He undoubtedly would have been taken higher if he had come out last year. Scouts question his accuracy, arm strength and decision-making. "I've seen him struggle to complete balls in warm-ups," one front-office man said. "He makes his receivers work for it." He has a history of throwing interceptions and is not the most mobile QB. Barkley is a well-trained quarterback with good instincts. He keeps his poise. He has pocket awareness and understands defenses. He is a natural leader.

3. Mike Glennon, North Carolina State, 6-7, 225: He's a stringbean of a quarterback and strictly a pocket passer. His lack of mobility could be an issue. "He got away with it in college, but it's different in the NFL," one general manager said. Some have compared him to Joe Flacco because he has a similar demeanor. And he has benefited from the similarities. He is very bright, and a hard worker. Glennon can wing it, and he has a quick release. His accuracy is good, not great. One veteran scout said he thinks Glennon is the most talented passer in the class.

4. Tyler Wilson, Arkansas, 6-2, 215: Wilson combines good footwork with a quick arm to make a lot of plays. His accuracy is up and down, and he has a bit of a gunslinger mentality. He has drawn comparisons to Tony Romo. Wilson has escapability, toughness and some of the "it" factor. "I think he's the safest bet of all of them," one scout said. "He's the one guy who reads defenses." His arm strength is average, at best. He makes good decisions and competes hard. He is shorter than ideal.

5. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse, 6-2, 227: Nassib has enough arm strength, accuracy, poise, athleticism and intelligence to intrigue NFL teams. One front-office man compared him to Kirk Cousins from a talent standpoint. His complete package is impressive. But Nassib forces some throws and ends up with some bad interceptions. His decision-making is an issue. He is very bright and very confident. He is a little on the short side.

6. Landry Jones, Oklahoma, 6-4, 225: Jones once was thought of as a future first pick of the draft. His stock has declined over the last two seasons, and front-office men find him to be enigmatic. "Something is missing," one said. But he has all the tools, and his production has been excellent. The question is whether he was just a system quarterback at Oklahoma who benefited from great players around him. He has an NFL body and enough mobility to extend the play. His arm strength and accuracy are good, but his decision-making can be inconsistent.

7. EJ Manuel, Florida State, 6-5, 237: He is as gifted as any quarterback in the draft, with great size, a strong arm and excellent movement skills. But he is a streaky passer who has been inconsistent with accuracy and decision-making. He has not responded well to pressure as often as he should have. He is the type of player who could blossom at the next level. "He might be better in another environment," a national scout said. "He could be worth taking a chance on."

8. Tyler Bray, Tennessee, 6-6, 232: This underclassman has a ton of talent but is a very erratic player who has some off-the-field issues. Bray throws a pretty deep ball and is very accurate. He has been compared to Ryan Mallett in terms of talent and makeup. Bray tends to rely on his strong arm and abandon fundamentals at times. His mobility is average at best, and he will have to learn to take snaps under center.

9. Matt Scott, Arizona, 6-2, 213: He is an athletic, slightly undersized quarterback with an average arm. His accuracy is pretty good. His feet are a weapon, and he can throw on the move. Scott has a quick release. He doesn't have a lot of experience and has played mostly out of the shotgun.

10. Sean Renfree, Duke, 6-3, 219: Renfree has good arm strength and a good frame. His arm is his best selling point. His has NFL skills. He knows how to use the whole field. He has thrown way too many interceptions, however, and he makes too many risky throws.

11. Zac Dysert, Miami (Ohio), 6-3, 231: He has an NFL body and delivers the ball impressively. He is a good athlete with some running ability. Some question his football character. The system at Miami did not challenge him as a passer the way he will be challenged in the pros. He helped himself with an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl but has not interviewed well, according to an NFL front-office man.

12. Seth Doege, Texas Tech, 6-1, 200: This undersized passer impressed scouts in the East-West Shrine game. Doege is an accurate thrower who could fit in a West Coast system. He sees the field well and makes decent decisions. His talent level is marginal and he is considered an NFL backup at best.

13. Collin Klein, Kansas State, 6-5, 226: He is the 2013 version of Tim Tebow. Some NFL teams think he would be a better tight end than quarterback. He started out as a wide receiver. Klein is not a very talented passer, as his delivery and accuracy are lacking. But he is quite an athlete, he has really good size and he can move. Klein is tough, and he is a natural leader.

Others:

Ryan Griffin, Tulane

Jeff Tuel, Washington State

Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech

Alex Carder, Western Michigan

Brad Sorensen, Southern Utah

Nathan Stanley, Southeastern Louisiana

Jordan Rodgers, Vanderbilt

Matt Brown, Illinois State

The Bears

The Bears have three quarterbacks on their roster but could choose another. They lost primary backup Jason Campbell in free agency and could use a strong replacement. But the real issue is having a succession plan in place. Jay Cutler's contract is up after the season, and his future in Chicago is far from certain. As it stands now, the Bears don't have a quarterback who appears capable of replacing Cutler as a long-term starter. So drafting a quarterback — even drafting one in the second through fourth rounds — should not be ruled out.

Next: Running backs

dpompei@tribune.com

Twitter @danpompei