Three quarterbacks went off the board in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft, and two more were selected in the second round, but when the third round came and went without a single quarterback being selected, it left some notable passers available heading into Day Three of the draft.
The best known is probably Alabama’s AJ McCarron, who wrongly believed that he would be a first-round pick. McCarron had a lot of success at Alabama, but NFL personnel people tended to think that was more about the talent surrounding him about McCarron himself.
Also available is LSU’s Zach Mettenberger, who at 6-foot-5 and 224 pounds has the build of the prototypical pocket passer. But NFL teams have concerns about Mettenberger’s injury history and his off-field issues, and as a result he’s still available heading into the fourth round as well.
And another SEC quarterback, Georgia’s Aaron Murray, is intriguing. You can’t argue with his success: He was the MVP of all three bowl games he was healthy enough to play, and he’s the SEC’s all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns. But Murray is coming off a torn ACL, and he’s on the small side, and those physical issues resulted in him dropping out of the first three rounds.
And then there’s Tom Savage of Pittsburgh, who bounced around the college football world and didn’t have a lot of production, but has a great arm and looks like he has the physical tools to become a high-level NFL starter. But he won’t be ready to start right away, and he’ll have to go to a team that has the patience to develop him.
Other quarterbacks who may hear their names called today include Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Miami’s Stephen Morris, San Jose State’s David Fales, South Carolina’s Connor Shaw and North Carolina’s Bryn Renner. History tells us that most of those guys won’t amount to anything in the NFL. But history also tells us that a handful of late-round quarterbacks become superstars. Perhaps one of those quarterbacks will be drafted today.