QB Stock Watch: Analysts Link Geno, Manuel To Eagles

First, some direct Eagles connections:

Rob Rang of CBSSports.com has the Eagles taking Geno Smith. Same for  Clark Judge and Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com; Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times; Mel Kiper of  ESPN; Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com; and the fine people over at OurLads.com.

Chris Steuber and the folks at both Mocking the Draft and Walter Football.com predict EJ Manuel will be the Eagles’ second-round pick.

Jon Gruden says Malvern Prep’s Ryan Nassib could be the sleeper of the draft.

When it comes to the tools, I see a guy with a live arm who can deliver the ball with great timing. He needs work on how and where he uses velocity on his throws, but he can make all of them. I don’t see a great athlete — this isn’t a guy who will run the read-option for you consistently, but he’s shown he can run it, and he has what I call “nuisance speed.” He has enough to bother you if you don’t account for him, and he can scramble for first downs. He’s benched 420 pounds, so the guy has some strength and can stand in there and take a hit.

I can’t stand here and predict a great career for Nassib. But I’m not afraid to call him a sleeper because I know he can make adjustments, I know he’s been able to thrive in situations in which he’s not being handed a big talent advantage and I know he can make calls and execute at pace.

Ron Jaworski‘s QB rankings are as follows:

1) Smith
2) Nassib
3)  Manuel
4) Landry Jones
5) Mike Glennon

Matt Barkley is all the way down at No. 6.

Then there are the physical concerns. When I see Barkley throw, I don’t see enough drive on the ball. I don’t see him snapping off throws. I thought he often pushed the ball rather than get that good wrist snap that generates velocity and a tight spiral. I also didn’t see him driving off his back leg on throws. He threw the fade well and had some nice deep posts, but I didn’t see him making a lot of NFL throws despite an NFL-caliber receiving corps in a pro-style offense under Lane Kiffin.

I think Barkley is capable of having a very long NFL career. But I don’t consider him one of the top QB prospects in this draft class.

As for Manuel, Jaws predicts that “at a minimum, I think we’ll see a team trade up into the back end of Round 1 to select him.”

Manuel is scheduled to attend the draft in New York. (He and Smith will be the lone representatives of this quarterback class.) I checked in with someone close to the Florida St. quarterback to see if they viewed the invite as an indication that he will definitely be a first-round selection. The Manuel camp hopes that’s the case but don’t know for sure, and say EJ wanted to attend regardless.

Josh Norris at NFL.com believes that Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson is the top quarterback in this class.

I don’t expect Wilson to be among the top quarterbacks selected in April’s draft, but he can be successful wherever he lands, thanks to his willingness to stick to the pocket and test vertically. There are some placement issues, but those can be fixed with improved footwork.

Less than two weeks, and still no consensus when it comes to this group of quarterbacks. Pretty telling.

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