With all the focus being on the four top ranked QBs in this years draft it is easy to forget that drafting one in the first round is no guarantee of finding a franchise QB, and sometimes a future starter is lurking way down the rankings. A great example of this is Tom Brady who was largely overlooked in the 2000 draft – ending up as pick 199, a compensatory pick at that. So who could be worth a punt in 2014?
One worthy of consideration if you are prepared to forgive his youthful indiscretions is Zach Mettenberger. who at 6-5 has good height and is quite powerful. His LSU career has been steady and despite his earlier arrests he has kept out of trouble for the last couple of years which hopefully indicates he has learned from his mistakes. We think due to injury worries he will be on the board in round three, and this could be good value if he can be placed behind a veteran QB for a season or two.
Jimmy Garoppolo may have been ranked higher if he had played for a higher profile college team that Eastern Illinoi, however all he could do was lead his team to victory, and in 2013 the Panthers recorded 12 wins. In what was probably his highest profile game v Northern Illinoi he outshone fellow QB prospect Jordan Lynch by putting up 450 yards and 6 TDs. Ok they lost but it showed they could compete against a ranked team, and he was instrumental in their other wins. Is he a starting QB? probably not in week one, however if he was to slide towards the end of round two someone should take a chance.
Its hard to assess just how good AJ McCarron is, given he played behind one of the best offensive lines in the SEC for much of his college career, and he got plenty of playing time thanks to the Crimson Tide’s formidable defense. Still you can’t knock his achievements and again if he drifts down into the third or fourths rounds then he would be worth a punt.
Finally any franchise willing to take a late round punt could do worse than pick up Logan Thomas out of Virginia Tech. He is a big guy who impressed us at the combine with his speed and agility, showing well in the dash, cones and shuffle. He was a bit of a late comer to the game not playing until the 8th Grade, and even then he spent a good proportion of his time at WR. He was not drafted into the College game as a QB, however this hasn’t stopped him from putting up some good stats, and anyone who watched him in the Hokies win over Miami last season will have seen he has potential. OK the thumping in the Sun Bowl means he ended his career on a loss, however he only played for part of the game (it was 7-7 when he played his last down) and the collapse only came in the 4th Quarter against a good UCLA team. Over the season they beat the teams they should have and losing to the likes of Alabama & Duke was no disgrace. He is prone to throwing interceptions, however he has room for improvement given his late start in the QB role. Overall we like Logan Thomas and in our opinion any team getting him in the 6th or 7th round will have got a bargain (Packers please note).