NFL clubs searching for a quarterback in the 2015 NFL Draft might want to be wary of overvaluing the available options, based on the assessment of an AFC personnel executive who was critical of the college-passer crop that could potentially make up the draft field at the position.
"It's not a very good group," the executive told philly.com. "After the first two, you're throwing darts."
The first two to which the executive referred are Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Florida State's Jameis Winston, two underclassmen who haven't announced whether they will enter the draft or remain in college. The two will face off on a huge stage New Year's Day at the Rose Bowl in a semifinal matchup of college football's first four-team playoff. But even those two don't exactly excite this particular evaluator.
"Even Mariota and Winston, neither of those guys is [Andrew] Luck. Mariota is closer to Luck than Winston as far as being pro-ready," the executive told philly.com. "They're both better than [Blake] Bortles, who was the first quarterback taken last year. They're both better than [Ryan] Tannehill when he came out. But neither of them is a slam dunk."
The same executive hasn't been particularly impressed with Baylor senior quarterback Bryce Petty, either.
Luck's immediate success as an NFL quarterback in 2012 has made him something of a gold standard for quarterback prospects that have entered the league since then. As such, comparisons of any quarterback prospect to Luck can seem a bit unfair. But the next Luck is nevertheless what plenty of quarterback-needy clubs are looking to acquire. NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt projects the quarterback position as a primary 2015 draft need for eight NFL clubs.
Underclassmen have until a Jan. 15 deadline to declare whether they are entering the draft.