A Sneak Peak into the Quarterback Class of 2014 – Part II
Let’s now take a look into a few more potential quarterbacks that the Browns can choose from in the upcoming draft. Again, there are many variables that go into the draft process – as well as differing styles of quarterbacks. Continuing in chronological order – based on the team’s bowl game – the next three quarterbacks are Marcus Mariota, Brett Hundley, and Johnny Manziel.
Marcus Mariota (Alamo Bowl): 18/26 passes (69.2% completion rate), 253 yards, 1 touchdown, and 133 rushing yards.
Analysis: It was definitely a solid performance put together by Mariota. Facing a perceived weaker team (in an unranked Texas squad), I figured the coaching staff would work more on his passing game and less of his running ability. However, that was not the case and that will have to wait until next season. The quarterback can obviously haul it when tucking the football away, but scouts will want to see is how he can read and react to professional defenses. The discussion is likely moot as Mariota plans on returning to Oregon next year, but regardless – he has a shot to be something special at the next level.
(2013 Season): 227/360 passes (63.1% completion rate), 3,412 yards, 30 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 582 rushing yards, and 9 rushing touchdowns.
Analysis: Being only a redshirt sophomore could cause the quarterback to remain in college, but let’s take a further look anyways. What sticks out about the dynamic quarterback is his ability to run and escape defenders. With the speed and size of NFL athletes, this ability will undoubtedly be reduced at the next level. However, it is still a weapon that offenses will want to utilize. His yard-per-attempt is an astounding 9.47 – getting the ball downfield appears to be his forte. One concern continues to be his frail frame – being six-foot four inches is tremendous, but only weighing 211 pounds could raise red flags among scouts.
Brett Hundley (Sun Bowl): 16/27 passes (59.2% completion rate), 226 yards, 2 touchdowns, 161 rushing yards, and 2 rushing touchdowns.
Analysis: Hundley did it all against the Hokies; the quarterback passed and ran his way towards his team’s victory. He did not throw an ample amount of passes, and I would have liked to see his completion rate a little better – but the athlete obviously still performed well enough to win. He avoided turnovers and even scored on a long touchdown gallop. It appears that his game could use some tooling (i.e. complex routes, looking off defenders, etc.), but that will come in time. However, the quarterback did not declare himself eligible for the upcoming draft, therefore Hundley will get another year to see his collegiate game improve.
(2013 Season): 232/342 passes (67.8% completion rate), 2,845 yards, 22 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 587 rushing yards, and 9 rushing touchdowns.
Analysis: Like his Pac 12 counterpart, Hundley is a solid runner, both during designed attempts and broken passing plays. Compared to Mariota, his increased completion percentage is a plus but the interception rate is a bit disappointing. Despite only having a moderate yards-per-attempt of 8.32, scouts should not worry about his ability for the “big play”. The signal caller is roughly the same height as Mariota but has 11 pounds more on his fellow quarterback; he has good size for an NFL quarterback (when he enters for the draft).
Johnny Manziel (Chick-fil-A Bowl): 30/38 passes (78.9% completion rate), 382 yards, 4 touchdowns, 73 rushing yards, and 1 rushing touchdown.
Analysis: It was a rather impressive game by Manziel. Part of his output may have been due to necessity; as his team trailed by as many as 21 points in the second half. Nonetheless, the signal caller made big plays when it mattered. Personally, I was impressed as the quarterback showed toughness, leadership (in firing up his offense on the sidelines and calming down Mike Evans), and resiliency in this contest. Questions will still linger around Manziel, especially whether he can hold up in the NFL; both physically and mentally. However, film on this contest will be reviewed over and over – making it difficult for scouts to find fault.
(2013 Season): 270/391 completions (69.1% completion rate), 3,732 yards, 33 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 686 rushing yards, and 8 rushing touchdowns.
Analysis: The most entertaining and electric athlete will be the center of the scouting world from now until the NFL Draft. In addition to his huge statistics (both positively and negatively), the Texas A&M product has a brash attitude that eludes both leadership and cockiness. On the field, Manziel faced the stiffest competition in the SEC and came away with a solid completion rate and a good deal of scores. Unfortunately, he also tossed multiple interceptions – which cannot be replicated at the next level. His build of six-feet one inch and 210 pounds will lead to offensive coordinators telling the quarterback to be smart when leaving the pocket. Nonetheless, he should be fun to watch next fall – whether he performs or struggles. He is a viable option for the Browns in the first round, and it will be interesting to see what they choose to do.