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2012 Draft – Year of the Quarterback

Posted by Zach Clanton on May 6, 2011 – 2:19 am in: 2012, NFL Draft

When this past bowl season ended, there were many people drooling about the coming Quarterback class. While there were 4 Quarterbacks taken in the first round (all 4 happened to be taken in the top 12), this past class has nowhere near the amount of hype that the 2012 draft class will have. While Cam Newton maybe one of the most freakish athletes we have seen to play the Quarterback position, does he have the poise, and the swagger of the amazing Andrew Luck, who would have been without question the top pick in last week’s draft. When you say Jake Locker and all of his amazing tools that he has yet to put all together? I raise you with the USC product Matt Barkley who has the size, the arm, and has been coached up by the Quarterback Guru in Steve Clarkson since he could crawl. Barkley has been one of the hottest names in prep football since he was a freshman at the always powerful Mater Dei High School. While those two will be at the top of the class names such as Landry Jones (Oklahoma), Ryan Lindley (San Diego State), EJ Manuel (Florida State), and Nick Foles (Arizona) will be hot topics as well.

Scouting reports:

1. Andrew Luck RS Junior Stanford- Some people have tagged Luck as the best Quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning, myself included. Had he elected to come out in last week’s draft he would have been the number one pick, and would be calling signals for the Panthers this upcoming season. The leap he took from his freshman to sophomore seasons were remarkable. He plays fluid, with confidence, he does not have elite arm strength but he has some of the best accuracy we have seen in a long time. When he tucks the ball down and runs he runs more like a fullback than a Quarterback, and while teams may not want there Quarterback out there lowering the boom on oncoming defenders it has to make you happy to know you have a Quarterback who isn’t afraid to play some football.

While it is hard to find a weakness in Luck’s game, his major one as of now is his deep ball, he tends to put too much air on it at times but I expect to see improvements in his Junior year.

Sophomore season: 263-372 3338 YDS 70.7% 32 TD 8 INT 170.2 RTG

2. Matt Barkley Junior USC- Barkley stepped into the drivers seat of one of the most storied football programs in the history as a freshman and hasn’t looked back. Some may say that he hasn’t lived up to the hype but the progress he has made during his first two years at USC has been huge. He has spent the last two years at USC and the 4 years in high school running a pro style offense preparing himself for this next step. Barkley has the technique, the arm strength and the accuracy you look for in a franchise Quarterback. His numbers took big leaps from his freshman to sophomore year, and you can expect them to take a bigger leap this season as USC is loaded at the skill positions.

Barkley has had problems during his first two years at USC forcing the football into coverage, and throwing off of his back foot. He shows flashes of greatness, but if he can cut down the number of INT’s I don’t know of many Quarterbacks who can match his abilities.

Sophomore season: 236-377 2791 YDS 62.6% 26 TD 12 INT 141.2 RTG

3. Landry Jones Junior Oklahoma- The offensive juggernaut in Norman has produced some of the most successful college Quarterbacks over the last ten years. Some may want to tag Jones with the “System Quarterback” label, but many did the same with Bradford (Number 1 overall pick of 2010 draft). While OU plays in a modified spread system, the Quarterback plays primarily from under center, and have many NFL style reads. Jones’ arm strength is more than adequate, and his accuracy is special. He comes back for his junior season to lead a team that many expect to be the top team in the country, his play will be a huge part of a possible National title run for the Sooners this fall.

Jones’ weakness seems to be his consistency right now, there are days in which he looks like a future all pro, and days where he looks like a scout team Quarterback. He has won many games as the Sooner signal caller, but has also been in the center of some of their losses.

Sophomore season : 405-617 4718 YDS 65.6% 38 TD 12 INT 146.3 RTG

Tune into my next blog for more Quarterback talk, and scouting reports.

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