2015 NFL Draft: Lance Zierlein's top 10 quarterbacks

With the first wave of free agency over, NFL teams are turning more attention to setting their boards in anticipation of the 2015 NFL Draft. With that in mind, College Football 24/7 is running Lance Zierlein's top-10 lists at each position, starting with the quarterbacks. To view Zierlein's full scouting report on each prospect in NFL.com's Draft Tracker, click on the player's name.

Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | OLs | DLs | Edge rushers | CBs | Safeties

1. Jameis Winston, Florida State

Zierlein's bottom line: Winston is a big, highly competitive pocket passer who played in a pro-style offense and showed an ability to anticipate throwing windows, scan the entire field and make the NFL throws. His wind-up delivery and marginal mobility outside the pocket are reminiscent of Byron Leftwich, but his arm talent and issues with decision making are more in line with Eli Manning's. Winston's football potential is clearer than so-called "system" or "one-read" quarterbacks, but every stone must be overturned in an attempt to piece together a predictive character profile on Winston. Winston's supreme confidence might be considered arrogance by some, but even that trait will be alluring to teams who need to find a franchise quarterback.

2. Marcus Mariota, Oregon

Zierlein's bottom line: Scheme-based quarterback who will face the same challenges that several quarterbacks before him have faced in terms of learning how to read defenses and go through progressions. The tape was less kind to Mariota than expected, but his size, athleticism and consistency of football character throughout his career are necessary traits in becoming a good-to-great quarterback. Mariota's ability to create outside the pocket will help win games here and there and buy him time as he plies his craft. However, to reach his potential and match the play with the traits, he must develop more poise and feel in the pocket and improve his field vision. Mariota is no lock to be a great NFL quarterback, but his floor is much higher than any of the quarterbacks drafted in 2014.

3. Brett Hundley, UCLA

Zierlein's bottom line: Hundley flashes athleticism and talent, but his basic quarterbacking issues will take time to improve. In 2014, more than 54 percent of his pass attempts were from six yards and in, including 29 percent from behind the line of scrimmage, which is nothing like an NFL offense. Hundley is a "flash" prospect who shows the physical tools to be a starter, but his internal clock and issues with reads and progressions must be improved to give him a shot at becoming a decent NFL starter.

4. Bryce Petty, Baylor

Zierlein's bottom line: NFL evaluators felt like Petty's senior season was disappointing, but those same evaluators love his size, leadership and intangibles. He needs a year or two of practice time and camp work to learn how to get through his progressions, but has the intelligence to do that. Petty must have a structured offense that won't ask him to make plays outside of the pocket.

5. Garrett Grayson, Colorado State

Zierlein's bottom line: Grayson went from fringe draft prospect to clearly on the draft board with a strong 2014 season. Despite average arm talent, he uses good lower-body mechanics to generate velocity, and his touch and accuracy on deep throws is eye-opening. Grayson needs more tape work to help improve his decision-making, but his size, production and growth at the position have ticked the requisite draft boxes to make him an intriguing mid-round prospect.

6. Sean Mannion, Oregon State

Zierlein's bottom line: Tall, rhythm thrower who shows an ability to play with confidence and accuracy when used as a game manager within an offense featuring a strong rushing attack. Mannion needs plays to stay on schedule, or his confidence becomes shaky and the turnovers start rolling in. Mannion lacks arm talent to carry an offense but has enough ability to become a capable backup.

7. Blake Sims, Alabama

Zierlein's bottom line: An undersized, move quarterback who can make plays outside of the pocket. He has enough arm to threaten defenses over the top. Though up and down at times, Sims has demonstrated enough potential to warrant a look as an NFL backup in a draft class sorely lacking in quarterback prospects.

8. Connor Halliday, Washington State

Zierlein's bottom line: Lanky "system quarterback" lacking a strong arm and an ability to create plays outside of the pocket. Halliday shows an adequate level of football intelligence and has enough accuracy to warrant a draft pick. One positive is that he has clearly improved over the last two seasons and might continue on the same track once he works into an NFL system. A role as a backup might be his ceiling.

9. Taylor Heinicke, Old Dominion

Zierlein's bottom line: Heinicke has the ball placement and accuracy of an NFL backup when he's protected and dealing, but his small stature combined with his inability to drive the ball and make NFL throws could be hard to overcome once he gets into an NFL camp. Heinicke must play in a timing-based system to have a chance at making an NFL roster.

10. Bryan Bennett, Southeastern Louisiana

Zierlein's bottom line: Plays the game with too much arm and not enough eyes at this stage. Doesn't appear to have the awareness or football intelligence teams typically look for in quarterbacks, and his accuracy and decision making can be big issues at times. Bennett has an easy release with adequate arm talent and above-average athleticism. He has enough tools in his shed to end up as a project on a team's practice squad or a potential No. 3 quarterback.

*Follow Lance Zierlein on Twitter **@LanceZierlein.*

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