It Is Not The First-Round QBs To Look Out For
By Drew Cathey
With the frenzy of free agency playing out before our eyes, teams will start to realize the holes in their rosters that need to be filled. With the 2014 NFL Draft quickly approaching, teams will analyze this year’s prospects as potential suitors for those holes. Many names are being thrown around as mock drafts continue to pair different players with several teams. However, it is the later rounds of that draft that are sometimes neglected in the pre-draft analysis; yet, we seem to forget that late-round picks can become superstars or Super Bowl MVPs.
Leading up the draft, 2014 seems to be a pretty strong year for the quarterback class. The likes of Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles are at the head of the class, but it seems as if they have stolen the spotlight from the rest of the incoming class, including some who could have an impact as rookies. Some people might say that those projected to go in the later rounds could end up being more valuable to a team than those who are being projected to go early on. It is teams, such as the Miami Dolphins, that could be looking for a third QB that fits in their system.
One name that seems to be left out of the conversation is A.J. McCarron out of Alabama. Of all the quarterbacks in this draft class, he won the most games during his college career. He finished with two National Championships and came close to winning a third this past year. In addition to his on-field success, he is coming from a system that is known for breeding NFL players. Some teams may not value his leadership, knowledge and talent, due to the unimpressive careers of former Alabama QBs such as John Parker Wilson and Greg McElroy. If he still on the board by the third round, or later, Miami might want to think about taking him, even if a quarterback is not a high priority. He may end up being very valuable for a team down the road.
In addition to McCarron, another quarterback to look at is Clemson’s Tajh Boyd. In a day and age where quarterbacks can to run just as well as they can throw, teams should look no further than Boyd. In his years as a Tiger, he showed that he could do it through the air and on the ground. He accounted for the majority of Clemson's points and, in the NFL where points are always needed, he could bring a spark to an offense that might be missing. Boyd seems to be overlooked a lot on draft boards and that might allow him to fall to Miami in a later round. If not, he could end up being a steal for a team who is in need of a quarterback.
The 2014 Quarterback prospect list seems to be loaded with talent. There are so many players who could make an NFL roster and make an impact immediately. Even aside from the big names atop most teams’ draft boards, there are still many players – like AJ McCarron and Tajh Boyd – who are capable of making a huge impact down the road. Players like David Fales of San Jose State, Aaron Murray of Georgia, and Logan Thomas of Virginia Tech might be names who could come up in years to come as steals of the 2014 NFL Draft.