Young quarterbacks travel many paths through the NFL.
Casserly: Draft steals on each day
Which players are bound to outperform their draft slots? Charley Casserly identifies 10 value picks to keep an eye on. More ...
Aaron Rodgers spent years learning behind a legend, while too many of his peers were tossed into the fire and consumed beyond recognition. Last year's newbies did the opposite, torching the NFL and raising expectations for this year's class of rookie signal-callers.
With that in mind, here's my list of quarterbacks with the best chance to succeed in the NFL based on where they were drafted. This isn't about who's first to play -- often an ominous distinction -- but long-term growth at the quarterback position.
Here we go:
I don't view any of the drafted quarterbacks as viable Day 1 starters, and I worry for any passer on this list shoved into action too early.
We won't hear much from Nassib out of the gate, but there's no better mentor/team combo on this list than Eli and Big Blue.
With proper teaching, this former N.C. State passer could find himself in a good position to eventually run the show.
I'm not as down on this pick as some, but you don't draft Manuel at No. 16 overall to sit and watch. Coach Doug Marrone might opt to feature Manuel in subpackages early with Kevin Kolb running the base offense.
Manuel has good teachers and a handful of weapons around him, but this is a boom/bust scenario.
NFL.com draft analyst Josh Norris ranked this Walmart-shopper as the draft's top passer and NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah called Wilson "one of the toughest quarterbacks I've ever evaluated."
The Steelers refuse to rush their rookies into action, and Jones will slow-cook under center. This is a top-shelf organization that understands how to groom its reserves.
You have to love Barkley's fire. He's agitated, he feels overlooked, he's itching to prove the NFL community wrong.
Still, Barkley is lost in a crowded quarterback room, where he'll be challenged to separate himself.
The Jets are an easy target, but I don't drop Smith to No. 7 to dump on Gang Green or this player. I'm scared for Smith when I read hyperbole labeling him "the future of the franchise."
Harrison: Recapping the draft
The Jets' talent-poor offense places tremendous pressure on Geno -- if he wins the job -- to do it all from Day 1. Unlike the Giants, the Jets are in transition, with a coach on the hot seat, quarterback Mark Sanchez questioning his existence and an owner desperate for media attention in a city that spits out losers.
If Smith emerges victorious, he'll be a legend in Florham Park until the end of days.