2014 NFL Draft Preview: Ranking the quarterbacks by round based value


Mar 20, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans running back Arian Foster and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel shake hands following the fourth quarter of the game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

I know what your first thought is seeing this title. “What is ‘RBV’?” RBV is an acronym for “round based value” and this is a new approach to ranking draft prospects at every position that I want to use. I am asked on a regular basis to rank prospects and the typical list question frustrates me because it limits the nuance needed to give an honest assessment about a draft prospect.

With that in mind I started thinking about how I can blend both a big board with an examination of the fluid draft value market. Understanding and manipulating the draft is essential for a quality general manager. By understanding how other teams view prospects, a general manager can trade down to add picks and still get the man they want. Take the Dallas Cowboys last year. They traded down with the Niners and drafted a center that every team had labeled a third round pick. By doing so they waited on a free safety which was another significant need and he hardly contributed to the team because he was a very raw third round prospect. Had the Cowboys traded down then selected Cyprien who played well for the Jaguars, then still move up in round three to get their center, they could have had significantly more success. The overall point is, it is time to examine value, what is good or bad value, and who are good values as they are projected now.

I will be using the general attitudes around the NFL and what reporters say regarding where they believe each prospect will go as the basis for the round each player is assigned. I will have a “good value” list and a “poor value” list. I will not address every player, rather just those I feel most strongly about, get questions about, and based on hype. For those who are accustomed to my work being in depth and long form this will not follow in that model. Instead it will be more geared toward a quick view list.

Bad Value

7. David Fales SJSU (Round 3)

I constantly get questions about Fales mostly because he is a local kid, and for some reason many people think he is a second round prospect. Frankly, I wouldn’t take him before round four. He has a limited arm talent and his best games came against limited competition. I do not trust lots of what I see with him.

6. Tom Savage Pitt (Top 40)

I have been touting Savage for months, but Gil Brandt has recently said he thinks he is a top 40 prospect. With all due respect, I don’t think so. He has lots of boxes checked, but he has limited experience and inconsistent play.

5. Derek Carr Fresno (Top 15)

There has been a lot of talk about how teams are starting to fall in love with Carr and I get it. He’s big, he can move, and he has a cannon for an arm. Carr also is an outstanding person and knows how to read coverages, but his pocket presence is very alarming. Outside of the Top 20 he has great value, but as a top pick his RBV is not great.

4. Johnny Manziel TAMU (Top 15)

This is a case of hype getting out of control. Yes Manziel does some magical things, but comparing him to Russell Wilson is an insult to Russell Wilson. Manziel consistently misread defenses not seeing open receivers and his mechanics need a lot of help. He may be a playmaker, but he is not a top of the draft pick. I am not crazy like Ron Jaworski, but the Manziel hype can get a little bit ridiculous both ways.

3. Jimmy Garoppolo EIU (Round 2)

I was on the Garoppolo train well before anyone else was, but his hype has gotten out of control. Bill Polian said he is a first round pick. I don’t know how to respond to that. Watch his tape. Quickest release in the draft, some of the worst feet and reads in the draft.

2. Logan Thomas VTech (Round 3)

I have been hearing insiders saying that teams are interested in Thomas in round three due to his athleticism and arm strength. I do not view Thomas as a draftable prospect and if he is taken before round five I will laugh. Sometimes there is simply no justification for reaching on a guy even in round three.

1. Blake Bortles UCF (Top QB)

Bortles lacks an elite arm which is strange for his size, Carr was faster than him, he needs help with his mechanics, and he is inconsistent in the deep game. So why is he considered the top quarterback in this draft? I have no idea. I cannot explain it whatsoever. He has a few splash throws and some nice runs in big games and he is suddenly a stud because he is tall. Consider me confused. If he is the first quarterback taken over the much more polished Teddy Bridgewater that only proves his horrendous RBV to me.

Good Value

7. AJ McCarron Bama (Round 2)

I have been hard on McCarron and I know people much higher on him than I am, but right now seeing most people view him as a middle round two prospect is solid value. He has significant upside and the risk assessment there is fitting.

6. Aaron Murray Georgia (Round 3)

Murray has some phenomenal tape and the fact that he started in a balanced offense in the SEC for several years is a huge bonus for this player. If you take away his knee injury he would be an early round two pick, he would need to sit at least a year to fill out and develop physically, but he has the rest down.

5. Brett Smith Wyoming (Round 4)

Smith is a sneaky good prospect will the height, weight, and hand size you want in a quarterback. He is mobile and has a very solid arm. He needs a lot of pro coaching to really understand the pro game, but he has the upside to be a very valuable fourth round pick.

4. Connor Shaw South Carolina (Round 4)

Similar to Smith, Connor Shaw has a ton of upside as a fourth round pick. Many people forget that Shaw completed over 63% of his passes every year and he played under a head coach that understands quarterbacks and the pro game. He is a very interesting prospect to take a shot on.

3. Zach Mettenberger LSU (Round 2)

I said early on Mettenberger is a first round pick and if it wasn’t for his knee injury he would be. He is big, strong, has pocket presence, can make every throw, and operated a complex pro style offense. This is a prototype pocket passer that can get on the move a little and throw the ball on the run with pocket movement. What he does best is step up in the pocket and throw bullets.The fact you can likely get Mettenberger outside of the first round and then develop him long term while healing his ACL is a huge boost to his value as a prospect.

2. Bryn Renner UNC (Round 5)

Renner’s senior year was wrecked by a lot of talent leaving, constant changes, and several injuries, but he has the best pocket presence of any quarterback not named Teddy. One interesting tid bit, Peyton Manning loves him and lobbied Phil Savage to have him included in the senior bowl until his final injury got him. If you want to watch great tape on his pocket presence watch the game against the Gamecocks.

1. Teddy Bridgewater UL (Top QB)

The idea that Teddy is not the top quarterback in this draft is laughable. Is he Andrew Luck? No, but he ran a complex offense at the line utilizing a pro three play kill system, he can read a defense very well, he has a very quick release, and top mechanics and pocket presence. My knock on Teddy is his deep balls and how he won’t get away with some college throws in the NFL, but there is no doubt he is the best quarterback in this draft.