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2015 Draft - Early QB Evaluations

The QB outlook in St. Louis is - well - murky. Sam Bradford has gone down with his second ACL injury in as many years, journeyman veteran Shaun Hill is at the helm, Austin Davis is promising yet unproven, and Garret Gilbert is a largely unknown quantity. Could the 2015 Draft Class hold the Ram's future starter?

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Grading Scale:

A+: The elite prospects, these guys are the best around and will make an impact from day 1.

A: The guys with medium or medium high floors and high ceilings. Immediate starters.

A-: An A or A+ grade player with outside concerns (legal trouble, injury history, etc.)

B+:The guys with low or medium-low floors and high ceilings. Broad category with anywhere from a borderline 1st/2nd rounder to a top 10 pick who needs time to develop (Blake Bortles, anyone?)

B: The guys with medium floors and medium/medium-high ceilings.

B-: A B or B+ grade player with outside concerns (legal trouble, injury history, etc.)

C+: Medium-low floors and medium ceilings. Solid contributors.

C: Low floor and medium ceiling. Generally backups, role players or guys who eventually start.

C-:A C or C+ grade player with outside concerns (legal trouble, injury history, etc.)

D: Mainly developmental guys and special teams contributors.

F: The untouchables.

Jameis Winston - Florida State

HT: 6'4" WT: 227lbs

What I Like: "Famous Jameis" has an exceptional physical tool set; he couples an ideal build with a strong arm and athleticism. When I watch his tape, four things jump out at me:

  • His clean, quick release and polished footwork. Rarely does Winston throw from a weak base or with a poor arm slot when it isn't completely necessary.
  • This man is cool, calm and collected in the pocket. Seriously, the poise of this young man is incredible. He can sense when the pocket is collapsing and when to step up, something that can't always be taught.
  • He runs like a fullback. Escaping the pocket isn't his first instinct but when he does, look out!
  • The deep ball! This guy tosses bombs with killer precision.

Combine all these traits with the fact that he's comfortable in a Pro-Style offense, and you've got yourself an enticing prospect.

What I'm Not Crazy About:

  • Let's talk about his ball placement. On intermediate routes, especially out routes, Winston lacks consistency. A lot of times he lets balls float on him or under throws the receivers. He was bailed out on a few floaters last year by the insane jump ball ability of Kelvin Benjamin, but he doesn't have that luxury anymore.
  • He runs like a fullback. Wait, wasn't that a positive? In a sense, yes. But also no. Have I lost you yet? Good. The ability to one-cut his way to daylight is admirable but it comes at a cost. On too many plays he refuses to slide or go out of bounds and instead puts his body at risk fighting for a few extra yards. It hasn't caused problems thus far but as time goes on those stingers will add up.
  • He's a had a few off the fields blunder's. There's that alleged rape issue (never amounted to anything) and now the crab legs incident.

Grade: A- (Off-the-field issues and the possibility of him picking baseball over football keeps him from an A+ grade.)

Pro Comparison: Somewhere between Cam Newton and Joe Flacco

Marcus Mariota - Oregon

HT: 6'4" WT: 217lbs

What I Like:

  • Great combination of build, arm strength, and mobility. He's a long-striding scrambler with shifty moves in the open field.
  • All accounts point to Mariota being intelligent, humble, hard working and a good leader.
  • He has top level accuracy to go along with his impressive arm strength. He can deliver on time, wall placed balls to all levels of the field with considerable zip, even when he's on the run.
  • He's not a one-trick pony of a mobile quarterback. When under pressure he can make plays with his legs but scrambling isn't always his first instinct. On designed runs he's a true weapon and a threat to score every time he takes off with space.

What I'm Not Crazy About:

  • Mariota still needs to prove himself as a pocket passer. He has the skill set to dissect a defense from the pocket but hasn't consistently shown the ability to do so. The scheme at Oregon simplifies QB reads and incorporates a lot of designed runs - far from a pro-style offense (barring Chip Kelly's Eagles). As a result of the scheme, Mariota often locks onto his first read and doesn't progress through reads fast enough. If he can show the ability to progress through reads quickly and deliver the ball to the right receiver, his draft stock will raise considerably.
  • He often is oblivious to pressure off the edge and unable to sense the pocket collapsing and step up.
  • In 2013 he seemed to disappear from games at times. In fact, there are a few games where he looks entirely unimpressive and uninspired (see Cal and Virginia games).

Grade: B+

Pro Comparison: Colin Kaepernick

Kevin Hogan - Stanford

HT: 6'4" WT: 228lbs

What I Like:

  • Like Mariota and Winston, Hogan sports a prototypical build for a franchise quarterback.
  • He exhibits sufficient poise and excellent toughness in the pocket, often willing to step up in the face of pressure.
  • Experienced in a pro style offense; capable of operating under center or in the gun. He can deliver balls with velocity and accuracy on bootlegs.
  • Good accuracy on short and intermediate throws.

What I'm Not Crazy About:

  • Hogan's deep ball accuracy is inconsistent. He's shown flashes of brilliance but hasn't delivered deep balls accurately on a throw-to-throw basis yet.
  • He often stares down his receivers and doesn't always progress through his reads.
  • He wasn't the same quarterback on the road in 2013 as he was at home. He has a chance to prove this notion wrong in 2014.
  • His delivery is long, which isn't always a problem but will garner him some criticism in the pre-draft process.

Grade: B

Pro Comparison: Philip Rivers