Making projections about when Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and other top quarterback prospects will go in the NFL draft is tricky business this year. NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock can see why: There is apparently not much consensus among teams' rankings.
"I've never seen a bigger variety of opinions from teams on who the top quarterbacks are -- and there are more potential starting quarterbacks that go deeper in the draft this year," Mayock told USA Today Sports.
Along with the three names that have been circulating as first-round picks for months -- Manziel (who Mayock said reminds him of Hall of Famer Steve Young when Young first entered the NFL), UCF's Blake Bortles and Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater -- add Fresno State's Derek Carr into the mix of potential first-round picks. With prospects such as Jimmy Garoppolo, AJ McCarron and Zach Mettenberger making up part of that second tier of quarterbacks, it's no easier to decipher when they are likely to come off the board.
"Most teams feel the two top quarterbacks are Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles," Mayock said. "But there are other guys in that conversation, and I've heard 10 quarterbacks get grades of first, second or third round."
In other words, you might as well be throwing darts at the draft board where quarterbacks are concerned.
Despite a crowd of clubs set to pick in the top 10 and in need of a quarterback, any or all of them could instead choose to invest a later pick in a quarterback. The clubs that don't see much of a gap between the first- and second-tier quarterbacks could almost certainly find good value at the position with an early second-round pick.
Enough NFL clubs have used later picks to strike quarterback gold -- or acquire a quality starter, at least -- to make other clubs take notice, according to Mayock.
To the chagrin of some in this year's crop, that could be second-round notice.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.