We're at the end of the college regular season and many questions remain unanswered with regard to the draft legible quarterbacks. It's been a dramatic year overall - from Sam Bradford's injuries, Jimmy Clausen's emergence and the continued debate on Tim Tebow's NFL prospects. A lot can still change before the season comes to a close, but where are we right now?
Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
Nothing's changed from earlier in the year, when Bradford re-injured his right shoulder and made the decision to end his season prematurely. We're no closer to knowing how that injury has healed and likely won't hear anything until nearer the combine. Teams will need to convince themselves durability won't be an issue at the next level, but is there any way of truly finding that out when he's not on the field?
Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame
People say he's 'pro-ready' but I'm not convinced. His low, side-arm throwing motion is a concern, he loses all velocity throwing off his back foot and you don't see a great range of passes. Almost all his throws are high percentage outside slants, which is a surprise considering the weapons he has at his disposal. He'll almost certainly declare for the draft, but I wouldn't be surprised if he had a long wait in New York reminiscent of another former Notre Dame signal caller.
Tim Tebow, Florida
The debate rages on - can Tebow take his college success into the NFL? He's done nothing to silence the critics this year, putting up smaller numbers than his two previous campaigns and not attempting to adjust his throwing mechanics. Still - he's led his team to a 12-0 season and Tebow remains an unrivalled leader. Some think he'll be a gigantic bust, others think he'll find a way to win. Only time will tell, but I expect one team will roll the dice in round one.
Colt McCoy, Texas
The Heisman favorite is a victory against Nebraska away from making it to the BCS Championship and likely taking home the biggest individual prize in college football. However, I just don't think he's a NFL quarter back. Nearly all his throws are short 5-6 slants or bubble screens. He doesn't make great reads and relies on his legs to make plays - something he won't be able to do as much at the next level. Buyer beware, but I don't expect anyone will take him in the first round - in all honesty he should be a mid-round flier at best.
Jake Locker, Washington
Nearly everyone - be it expert or humble fan - believes Locker should return to Washington next year. He's got unmatchable athletic ability and the tools to be a potential #1 pick in 2011. Some argue another season in Steve Sarkisian's pro-style offense will be his making. But Locker also knows what he'd have to turn down in that scenario - millions of dollars. It's a difficult decision for the home-town favorite and he'll likely seek advice from many before making a final choice.
Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
Like Locker, Mallett will soon be presented with a tough decision. Without doubt he could use a year of seasoning - he has potentially elite tools but has been strikingly inconsistent in 2009. But Sam Bradford's injury woes this year has highlighted what could go wrong when millions of dollars are at stake. With all the debate surrounding the CBA and a potential rookie cap in the future, this could force Mallet and Locker to head for the pro's when they'd otherwise be best served staying put.
Tony Pike, Cincinnati
The Bearcats QB started the year on fire, putting up big numbers and leading an unfancied team to an unbeaten season. There was talk of Pike being a potential first round pick and challenging for the Heisman. Then reality set in - injuries forced Pike to the sidelines and his subsequent replacement matched his solid production. Question marks were raised about his work habits and desire after reports suggested he was close to quitting until his father persuaded him to continue. He has good size and decent mechanics but lacks arm strength. The negatives recently have hampered his stock, he'll need to show well at the senior bowl and combine.
Jevan Snead, Ole Miss
Tipped by many to be this year's version of Matt Stafford, it's been a disastrous year for Snead. He's thrown seventeen interceptions and made countless errors - despite owning ideal size and arm strength. The Rebels' coaching staff have to take their share of the blame, Snead hasn't been handled well this year especially after the bad start from which he never recovered. Considered a sure fire first rounder at the start of the year - Snead won't even declare now. He'll return to Ole Miss in 2010 hoping for much better.