Cory’s Corner: This QB draft class is surprisingly average

This is the golden age of the quarterback.

Defensive backs aren’t allowed to be as physical with receivers and pass rushers aren’t allowed to attack the game’s most important position with reckless abandon.

Quarterbacks are allowed a cocoon of security as milestone passing numbers become as mundane as a morning slice of toast.

Three-hundred yard passing games have been replaced by epic 500-yard ones. Dan Fouts’ untouchable 609 passing attempts in 1981 has been replaced by Matthew Stafford’s spiral circus of 727 in 2012.

So all teams from high school to pro are now passing fancy.

Which begs the question, why isn’t this year’s NFL Draft quarterback class a little better?

Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are far and away the best quarterbacks in the field. Yet, Winston has been compared to arguably the biggest quarterback bust in JaMarcus Russell and Mariota still has trouble taking his eyes off the main target.

After that, it’s a huge drop off. Guys like Brett Hundley, Bryce Petty and Garrett Grayson appear poised to be career backups. And if a team rolls the dice late on a guy like Cody Fajardo, they better be prepared to have him off the 53-man roster.

So how did we get here? With quarterback gurus like George Whitfield now serving as the prerequisite to a major college and pro career, it’s really surprising that this draft has flopped so much.

It certainly isn’t 2012 when Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden were all picked in the first round. Russell Wilson and Nick Foles were also picked in the third.

This isn’t the year to push all of your chips to the middle of the table with hopes of landing a franchise quarterback. Of course, all the tea leaves say that Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht will throw caution into the wind and take Winston anyway.

And if the Browns learned anything from the Johnny Manziel experiment, it should be that a quarterback’s off-the-field behavior is of paramount importance. He is the face of a franchise. He’s the guy that people — teammates, coaches and media — go to for answers when things are going off the tracks.

So if you thought Manziel came to Cleveland with a checkered past, Winston will be going to his first NFL stop with a past filled with questions. Things like being accused of sexual assault, stealing crab legs and yelling an obscene phrase while standing on a table. Not to mention his penchant for throwing interceptions and his lack of foot speed when the pocket breaks down.

Mariota, on the other hand, is a system quarterback that reminds me of Brady Quinn. Both guys came into the league with a lot of promise after turning college football sideways with tremendous success. However, the game never slowed down for Quinn and was relegated to a backup role.

And to prove how weak this quarterback class is, Quinn is thinking about putting down his Fox Sports microphone and putting on an NFL helmet. Granted, he will turn 31 next season and he owns a 4-16 career record, but even he could compete with what this class has to offer.

There has been a lot of sizzle with these quarterbacks. They certainly know how to market themselves.

But when it comes down to the meat-and-potatoes of playing the position, there are more questions than answers.


Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn


10 thoughts on “Cory’s Corner: This QB draft class is surprisingly average

  1. You know what? The nice thing for us is that WE DON’T CARE for at least another 5 years. Probably closer to 10!

    Good place to be in. It’s going to be fun watching a couple of those QB needy teams mortgage their futures to get a “maybe at best” prospect! I only wish the Vikings would have gotten Johnny Football so they’d have to partake.

    Stupid Browns.

    1. Lol, true! What a relief we are worried about ILBs and CBs, but not the most critical position. I believe Rodgers can play until his 40s, as long a the Packers keep a strong O-line like they have now.

    2. God we are spoiled. 24 or 25 years of Favre and Rodgers. A total 5 MVP trophies. Incredible. Ron Wolf and TT did the impossible. 100 years from now people will be saying, “You guys had 2 QB’s in 30 years?”.

    3. We all agree Rodgers is great but it’s the NFL and careers can end on a single play. So we can’t assume we are set at QB for 5 or 10 years. Major uncertainty surrounds every player. So GB is really no different from anyone else regardless of how great our current starter is. I like Tolzein. Much better arm than Matt Flynn. But we need to find another young guy that can develop in case we lose Rodgers and Tolzein or Tolzein flops. That’s just the nature of the NFL. Career ending and/or debilitating injuries happen almost weekly in the NFL – that’s the one part of the NFL that truly sucks. With that said, this does not seem like the year to invest in a 3rd QB. Weak class. Too much value at RB, WR, OL, DL and OLB. I would guess TT will get at least one player in each of these areas as well as an ILB.

  2. Agreed that this QB class will have little immediate impact. I don’t like Winston for his off-field behavior, but also for his slow release. At best, he’ll turn out like Byron Leftwich. At worst, JaMarcus Russell. He’ll have his growing pains this season, it probably won’t be until 2016 that we’ll see how he adjusts.

    As for Mariota, I have more hope for him — depending on who drafts him. If he goes to the Jets, they could destroy his career. They’re not known for developing QBs, they just throw them to the wolves and hope they work out. Mariota did not play in a pro-style offense and will need more time to adjust. Would the Jets or another team give him that time? There’s no off-field concerns with him and he seems much more mature.

  3. This QB draft class is weak for the same reason most are. QBs are more important. Must be 6’2″, 220 Lbs. at least. Leader – how many “leaders” do you know? Strong arm; touch; accuracy on the run. Good instincts, football IQ. Courage: keep eyes down field while wondering if Newhouse whiffed. Pocket awareness, makes rushers miss in tight places. Run a bit so 4.80 forty. Ego to handle pressure. College schemes often don’t prepare them for the NFL. Rare to sit for a year. Whatever I forgot.

    Are QB prospects getting worse? 2015 looks terrible. 1990: Jeff George (1st), Andre Ware (7), Tommy Hodson (59), Peter Tom Willis (63), Neil O’Donnell (70), Troy Taylor (84), Cary Conklin (86), Scott Mitchell (93), Craig Kupp (135), John Friesz (138), Mike Buck (156). [9 more QBs I never heard of taken in rds. 8 – 12 which no longer exist – some might have been drafted in 7th if couldn’t take them later. Now 1990 sucked for QBs.

    1995: Steve McNair (3rd pick), Kerry Collins (5th pick), Todd Collins (45th), Kordell Stewart (60th), Stoney Case (80th), Eric Zeier (84th), Rob Johnson (99th), Chad May, David Barr, Steve Strensom (all 4th rd), Jay Barker (5th), Colquitt, Whelihan, (6th) and John Walsh (7th). This isn’t very good.

    2000: Chad Pennington- 18, Giovanni Carmazzi (65th), Chris Redman (75th), Tee Martin (163), Marc Bulger (168), Spergon Wynn (183), Tom Brady (199), Todd Husak (202), JaJuan Seider (205), Tim Rattay (212), Jarious Jackson (214), Joe Hamilton (234). Putrid. No names made up.

    2005: Alex Smith (1), Aaron Rodgers (24), Jason Campbell (25th). 2nd Rd: None. Andrew Frye, Andrew Walter and David Greene (3rd rd). Kyle Orton, Stefan Lefors 4th. Dan Orlovsky, David McPherson 5th. Derek Anderson, 6th. James Killian, Matt Cassel, Ryan Fitzpatrick in the 7th. Is this decent?

    2013: EJ Manuel (16th), Geno Smith (rd 2), Glennon (rd 3), Matt Barkely, Nassib, Tyler Wilson, Landry Jones (4), Brad Sorenson, Zac Dysert, BJ Daniels, Sean Renfree (7). TBD, nothing to write home about.

    2014: Bortles, Manziel, Bridgewater, Derek Carr, Garoppolo, Logan Thomas, Tom Savage, Aaron Murray, AJ McCarron, Zach Mettenberger, David Fales, Keith Wenning, Tajh Boyd, Garrett Gilbert. TBD, but this looks like a bumper crop compared to 1990, 1995, 2000.

  4. Skipped 2010: Sam Bradford (1), Tebow (25), Jimmy Clausen (48), Colt McCoy (85), Mike Kafka (122), John Skelton (155), Jon Crompton (168), Rusty Smith (176), Dave LeFour (181), Joe Webb (199), Tony Pick (204), Levi Brown (209), Sean Canfield (239), Zac Robinson (250). Fair. Some B-U QBs.

  5. OK, here’s goes my predictions of what TT will do in this draft. All would sensible.

    1 – I think he will trade out of R1. How many R1 grades are in thsi draft? 15? 20? Surely not 30. Thus, it makes sense to trade down if you can find the deal.

    2 – Either with pick 30 or perhaps as low as pick 40, TT will draft for need, as always. That means NT, ILB or CB. You could throw in OLB and 3-4DE too if you like but I didn’t.

    TT will draft one of the following 6 guys:

    NT: Jordan Phillips or Eddie Goldman – Both would be big upgrades. I like Phillips better.

    ILB: Eric Kendricks or Stephone Anthony – Again, both would be major upgrades. Outside shot: OLB: Eli Harold, Paul Dawson or Randy Gregory.

    CB: Marcus Peters or Jalen Collins – TT may shy away from Peters but either would solve the problem of being short-handed in the secondary. Outside shot: CB Byron Jones.

    There you have it Packer fans, one of those 6 players, along with an extra R4 pick, likely will be a GBP on draft day. You will cheer TT as a genius. I will call it a no-brainer.

    I heard today that there are 30 DEs in this draft w R5 grades or better. One for every team.

    This could be a year where TT drafts a player for each level of the defense with his first 3 picks. But, value figures to be great at WR late in R3. Ditto for RB in R4. A big draft could propel this team back to the SB in 2015! Thompson has never had a big draft on the defensive side of the ball in his career going back to his days in SEA. Could this be the year? Not likely but we can hope.

    1. I think you are correct in his trading – it is always better to trade down statistically. An extra 4th rounder can easily be a starter. In any case I think he trades one way or the other. I don’t see the talent in this draft. I watched Mariotta and Winston a lot and they made way too many terrible passes. I hope they succeed – I have nothing against them, but I would not draft either one of them.

      1. I didn’t give a lot of thought to trading up but you’re right, that’s another avenue open to him if there is somebody that drops to 20 or so. I think DEN will take a NT/DT at pick 20. Then again, TT has only trade up in R1 once. He paid dearly for it but he hit his only HR on defense (CMIII). Maybe a Parker or Gregory falls to 20ish and he strikes. But that is a longshot scenario for him.

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