With the college football regular season wrapped up, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks is rolling out his top 10 college players by position. The schedule is as follows:
(Denotes underclassmen; only players three years removed from high school considered)*
1. Andrew Luck*, Stanford (6-4, 235):The best quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning has a game that matches the hype. He is a pinpoint passer. His awareness, accuracy and ball placement is advanced beyond his years, and he is capable of making all of the throws from inside or outside the pocket. Although his arm strength is not in the class of Matthew Stafford or Jay Cutler, he generates enough velocity on his passes to squeeze ball into tight windows. With an exceptionally high football IQ that enables him to call the game flawlessly from the line of scrimmage, Luck is the total package at the position.
2. Robert Griffin III*, Baylor (6-2, 220): It is rare when the best athlete in college football plays quarterback, but that is certainly the case with RG3. He is a remarkable playmaker in the open field with the speed and quickness to outrun defenses on the perimeter. Although his improvisational plays routinely are highlight worthy, it has been his extraordinary play from the pocket that has scouts buzzing. He can pick apart defenses with precise passes and is surprisingly accurate for a player with unrefined fundamentals.
3. Matt Barkley*, USC (6-2, 220): There was not a hotter quarterback in college football than Barkley over the final half of the season. He shredded the Pac-12 and showed evaluators he has game, despite lacking elite arm strength and athleticism. His ability to connect the dots from the pocket makes him an ideal fit in West Coast-based systems.
4. Landry Jones*, Oklahoma (6-4, 230): Jones didn't finish the season with a bang, but he possesses the physical tools scouts covet in quarterbacks. He is a strong-armed passer capable of making all of the throws from the pocket. Although he tends to be a streaky playmaker prone to making questionable decisions, his potential and upside ultimately will win out.
5. Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M (6-4, 222): As Aaron Rodgers continues terrorizing the league with his combination of precision passing and crafty athleticism, teams are looking for signal callers who fit that mold. Tannehill is far from a polished quarterback at this point, but his dramatic improvement after only two seasons as a starter has scouts salivating over his upside and potential as a pro. With comparisons to Tony Romo being uttered in scouting circles, Tannehill will be a prized commodity leading up to draft day.
6. Nick Foles, Arizona (6-5, 240): Lost in the Wildcats' disappointing season has been the spectacular play of Foles. He has been steady as a playmaker and has excellent physical tools for the position. Although his production is inflated partially due to the wide-open nature of Arizona's offensive system, Foles' accuracy, ball placement and high football IQ make him an intriguing candidate as a potential franchise player.
7. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State (6-4, 218): The advanced age (28) of Weeden will lead to concerns about his long-term potential, but his strong arm and gunslinger's mentality has intrigued scouts across the league. He can make all the throws from the pocket and is an all-star caliber talent when he makes good decisions with the ball. If can display better consistency during the bowl game and all-star circuit, Weeden can earn high marks in the minds of evaluators.
8. Kirk Cousins, Michigan State (6-3, 205): Teams looking for a developmental prospect with big-game experience and exceptional tools will spend time closely studying Cousins' game. As a strong-armed thrower with awareness and anticipation, he is capable of connecting the dots from the pocket with efficiency. His balanced distribution is admirable, but he occasionally locks on his primary receiver, which leads to costly turnovers. If he can show growth as a playmaker during the bowl game and all-star circuit, Cousins could cement his status as a top talent at the position.
9. E.J. Manuel*, Florida State (6-4, 245): Manuel could be the top choice on this list next season due to his extraordinary combination of size, athleticism and arm talent. He flashed glimpses of becoming a clutch playmaker during the final half of the season, and scouts are certainly paying close attention to the ongoing development of his game. With more experience and seasoning, Manuel could be the franchise player that coaches look to build around.
T-10. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin (5-11, 205): The lack of prototypical size will keep Wilson from surpassing some of his counterparts on this list, but his unflappable poise and leadership skills are enticing for coaches searching for a developmental prospect. His seamless transition from N.C State to Wisconsin showcased his adaptability and squelched concerns about his ability to direct a pro-style attack. With a big arm and underrated athleticism that allows him to thrive inside or outside of the pocket, Wilson is a wild card who could shoot up draft boards following close examination.
T-10. Kellen Moore, Boise State (5-11, 191): It is perplexing to some that Moore doesn't garner high marks on draft boards considering his winning pedigree and remarkable production, but he fails to pass the eyeball test with his diminutive stature and marginal arm strength. However, it is undeniable that he has a tremendous feel for the game and is one of the best big-game players to play college football in some time. His ability to carve up opponents with his accurate throws is mind-boggling, and scouts certainly will value his intangibles over his physical tools. While that might not be enough to shoot him up the charts, it could make him a viable developmental option for the right team.