Teams in need of a quarterback are hoping that three will not be drafted in the top 10. Teams without a need at that position are hoping they are. But the biggest question facing teams that are drafting in the top 10, half of which PFW has consulted in the last 48 hours, is where the top quarterbacks will land.
The way we hear it, the fastest-rising quarterback in this class is Kansas State’s Josh Freeman.
“From a pure talent perspective,” said Rams vice president of player personnel Tony Softli, “Freeman is as gifted as any of them.”
“I think he will be the best of this class when we look back in three years,” said one college scouting director not in the market for a passer. “He’s a football guy in and out between the ears. He has prototype size. He can move around the pocket and make all the throws.”
“He had nothing around him — no line, no receivers, to tight ends, no running backs — and he still beat Texas,” a general manager said. “To us, he has the best arm strength in this class, better than Stafford’s.”
Other evaluators think Freeman will have to sit a year before he is ready, and they shake their heads at the Ben Roethlisberger comparisons some observers have bestowed on Freeman.
“If teams have not learned their lesson from JaMarcus Russell and Jason Campbell, then that’s their problem,” another scouting director said. “But he is going to take some time.”
Opinions also remain mixed regarding Matt Stafford and Mark Sanchez, with Stafford consistently receiving the most praise in scouting circles for his track record.
“(Stafford) is thicker. He can handle a pounding,” said a college scouting director. “He has not been playing against inferior competition in the Pac-10 (as Sanchez did). He’s going up against the same caliber of athletes he will see in the NFL. He played behind a makeshift offensive line of freshmen and sophomores. I really like the way he responded against Alabama, putting on 31 points in the second half. He’s the real deal.”
For as much praise as Sanchez received after his pro-day workout, several teams drafting in the top 10 have acknowledged privately they want other teams to believe they are interested in drafting the USC passer. Still, one GM went as far as saying he thought Sanchez was the most ready to play of any quarterback in this year’s class, praising his athletic ability and confidence.
But it has not stopped the Broncos, who possess the 12th overall pick and likely will not trade up in the draft because of salary-cap limitations, from reportedly scheduling a private workout with the USC passer, with the possibility remaining that he could fall to them at No. 12.
Page 2 of 2 - Seattle, Cleveland, Jacksonville and San Francisco are all believed to be potential landing spots for one of the elite quarterbacks. That competition might force the Redskins and the Jets, who are strongly believed to be the teams most likely to trade up for a QB, to jump into the top 10, where they could easily find some willing trade partners.