Bill Polian says Landry Jones is the best QB in the draft

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In the 1998 NFL draft, Colts General Manager Bill Polian had a decision to make: Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf? He chose right, and as a result his job in Indianapolis was safe as long Manning was there.

Now Polian is playing a different role, analyzing the draft for ESPN, and he was asked to pick the best quarterback in this year’s draft. Polian’s surprising answer? Oklahoma’s Landry Jones.

Polian said he attended the 2011 Oklahoma-Texas A&M game and watched Jones complete 18/38 passes for 255 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions, and Polian thought Jones compared favorably to Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was last year’s No. 8 overall pick and is now the Dolphins’ starter.

“He was a good one, and when he had a good supporting cast around him, he was great,” Polian said of Jones. “I was at the game in Norman where he beat Tannehill head-to-head, in a very, very fierce wind. So this guy has been a winner, he’s got stature, he’s got arm strength — he can make all the throws. He sees the field quite well, and he’s a natural leader.”

Polian acknowledged that there are concerns about Jones, including his lack of mobility, and he said he doesn’t see a Peyton Manning in this year’s draft. But he thinks if there’s a quarterback who’s going to make an instant impact for an NFL team in 2013, it’s Jones.

“I don’t think anybody in this group is going to be able to step in right away and lead the team, but if you ask me, who’s the guy who’s most ready, and who’s the guy who’s had the most winning experience, it would be Landry Jones,” Polian said.

From all indications, Polian’s view is a minority opinion — most people think Geno Smith of West Virginia, E.J. Manuel of Florida State, Matt Barkley of USC and Ryan Nassib of Syracuse are all better prospects than Jones.

64 responses to “Bill Polian says Landry Jones is the best QB in the draft

  1. I will say this. Drafting Jones in the 3rd or 4th would be smarter than any of these other guys besides Smith in the 1st.

    I don’t think he’s better than they are, but they are all going to get picked way to early.

  2. “From all indications, Polian’s view is a minority opinion — most people think Geno Smith of West Virginia, E.J. Manuel of Florida State, Matt Barkley of USC and Ryan Nassib of Syracuse are all better prospects than Jones.”

    Which really tells you that any team would be nuts to draft one of these QBs in the first round, and certifiably insane to waste a top ten pick on one.

  3. He’s the most gifted pocket passer in my opinion, and I find him the most intriguing QB in the draft. He was equal parts amazing and awful at Oklahoma.

    Does that make him the best? I don’t know, but as a Browns fan, I’d take a 3rd-4th rounder on a guy with that kind of physical talent.

  4. Just one big question mark with Landry Jones. He hasn’t display the fire in the belly to excell at football in the past two years. Is it reasonable to expect that leopard is going to change its spots in the NFL?

  5. Bill Polian is still skimming the fat off of that 50/50 guess from a decade and a half ago and it just happened to be an all time great…Landry Jones??? Bill needs to lay off the shinola before making such drunken

  6. Depends on the context.

    Would I prefer Jones over Smith straight up? No.

    Would I prefer getting Jones in the third to using a first on Smith? Yes.

  7. As a Sooners die hard, this guy drove me nuts. You’d think you were watching Bradford our there one game, and then an important game roles around and he’d remind you that Bradford was long gone.

  8. Landry Jones and Tyler Wilson are the best QB’s in the draft, hands down with a slight edge to Wilson. Don’t believe the Geno hype, and then also look at what Tyler Wilson had to deal with at Arkansas…

  9. Ryan Nassib and EJ Manuel are the best out of the bunch. I still can’t decide which of the two I would draft. Matt Barkley IMO is the most NFL ready, but Nassib and Manuel have the highest ceiling. Only time will tell who if anyone is right.

  10. I think most fans agree with me that they don’t want Landry jones on their team. You know who he is the spitting image of? Matt Schaub…he’s tall, slow, collapses under pocket pressure, & is a premature balder. I hate Matt Schaub & I don’t need his long lost brother to take over once he’s out after next year

  11. I think it’s fair to say Landry Jones is a physical prototype for what you look for in a traditional pocket QB –

    He has NFL size and an NFL-caliber arm. He was productive in college. He has good throwing mechanics and a quick release makes him very effective in the short to intermediate passing game.

    However, his issues are mental. He lacks consistency. He’s horrible under pass-rush pressure – even worse, he feels pressure even when he’s well protected, and that’s because his pre-snap reading ability is poor, which prevents him from knowing when he should expect quick pressure.

    He reminds me of Chad Henne – a 4-year starter at Michigan with NFL size + arm who had games where he looked like a great QB (ask the Texans last year) but lacked the game-to-game consistency to become a franchise QB.

  12. Few wanted Russell Wilson last year. The hype machine said RGIII, Luck, and others. RGIII had a great year. Luck had a great year. But RW is right up there with them. I’ll always listen to people with experience that have been successful in the past, before I’ll swallow the KoolAid, from the hype machine.

  13. @ wryly1 who says:

    Just one big question mark with Landry Jones. He hasn’t display the fire in the belly to excell at football in the past two years. Is it reasonable to expect that leopard is going to change its spots in the NFL?
    Great question. I agree with Gruden’s take on Landry. I do think he got kind of “bored” at Oklahoma. Yeah, I know, I know all the people will yell and scream at how THEY would never get bored at a major college football program..blah, blah, blah…

    But sometimes that happens. Sometimes a kid excels at something early and, unintentionally loses interest. Landy may be better with a greater challenge. I guess, we’ll see.

  14. Stop giving this guy pub, I’m tired of hearing his dopey voice spewing idiotic ideas, and His man crush on Gayton. There’s a reason I don’t watch ESPN when he is on, please don’t bring him into my sanctuary anymore.

    Thank you

  15. Whoever drafts Landry Jones is getting stuck with the banana Laffy Taffy.

  16. And I think we’ve just been reminded of why the Colts had almost no talent outside of #18 and why they failed to win but one ring despite having a historically great QB.

  17. I still like the idea of going with the guy who’s seen a lot of snaps at a high level of competition. Landry Jones has all of that and I think a change of scenery will make the difference with him. Very few QBs can build a weak-talent team (Newton, Gabbert) into a good one, sothe situation he lands in is everything.

  18. in other words, there isnt a real franchise type QB in this draft, wait until next year and take a gamble , but im sure some team will “gabbert” some QB in this draft too early and the guy will be a bust, at least wait til the later rounds and take a gamble on one of the 2nd tier Qb’s in this draft, one of them has to turn out decent, just dont know which one yet

  19. Well he’s definitely not going to be a threat to run in the NFL so he would have to have an exceptional set of skills and credibility to pan out that is identifiable and discernible above the others. If Polian really feels this way then he really has to provide an extremely comprehensive review to back up this extraordinary claim.

    I’d really like to hear the full analysis, please explain this one to me and show me how everybody else fails compared to Landry and why?

  20. Football Outsiders Lewin College QB forecast which is purely statistical ranks Landry as the best as well.

    The Lewin forecast has had mixed results (rated Brady Quinn highly) but it had Russell Wilson as the highest ranked last year which I doubt anyone else even had him close to RG3 and Luck.

  21. posters here denegrating Polian as a GM are are simply demonstrating their extreme stupidity.

    Bill Polian led three teams:

    Carolina an expansion team – took them to the Super Bowl in the second year of existence

    Then he went to Buffalo and they made 4 consecutive Super Bowls.

    Then Indy – 2 Super Bowl appearances, 1 win and one of the power house teams for over ten years.

    So now some idiots will point out his teams were 1-7 in Super Bowls…like that is somehow a record of a bad GM.

  22. I may disagree with Polian on this point about Landry Jones and some others, but after building Super Bowl teams in both Buffalo and Colts, it is safe to say he knows more about scouting football talent than all the commenters on this site, and Jim Irsay put together.

  23. wryly1 says:
    Apr 19, 2013 4:18 PM
    Just one big question mark with Landry Jones. He hasn’t display the fire in the belly to excell at football in the past two years. Is it reasonable to expect that leopard is going to change its spots in the NFL?
    That’s my problem with Jones too (and same goes for Barkley). Look at the track record of quarterbacks who were supposed to be taken in the top ten if they came out their junior year, then went back to school and tanked their senior season:

    Brian Brohm (projected- #1 overall, picked- bottom of the 2nd, now- out of the league), Chase Daniel (projected- #1 overall, undrafted, now-3rd stringer/camp arm), John David Booty (projected- top 10, picked- 5th round, now- out of the league), Brady Quinn didn’t actually have a “bad” senior season, but it was definitely a slump (projected- Top 10, picked- bottom first, now- making it really hard to resist putting a Myoplex “now he’s done” pun in here).

    Gabbert and Sanchez probably would likely have followed the same pattern, and saved the Jags and Jets a lot of grief. Point is, there’s no bigger warning sign of a bust than a senior slump, which is why I would stay far away from Jones and Barkley if I was a GM. Conversely, this makes Geno Smith a more intriguing prospect, as he managed to put himself on the national scene as a senior, meaning he may have a higher ceiling than any other quarterback in this draft.

  24. Polian predicted the Ravens and Falcons in the Super Bowl at the beginning of the year.

    According to the Flacco and Ravens haters that troll this website, Polian is out of his mind.

    I just hope that the Ravens pick up Landry Jones in the 5th round.

  25. I agree that Landry Jones is the best QB in the class. I want the Bucs to draft him in the 4th.

    Of course, what do I know? I wanted them to draft Flacco as well.

  26. It’s too bad he’s not a GM for one of the teams that the Patriots play regularly. It would be a lot easier to win if he were.

    This opinion is outright insane. Landry Jones is one of the worst QBs in this class. The kid isn’t worth drafting (in any round). His production came between the 20s in a spread offense. He couldn’t score the ball when they were in the red zone.

    He’s a camp arm.

  27. Im sick of running qbs. Its so annoying. Cant wait till one really gets wacked. If you knew how to read defenses you wouldnt have to scramble. Like tomlin said..its the flavor of the week.

  28. The QB who will have the best career will be the one who lands in the best situation. Imagine if Rodgers ended up in Jacksonville or Oakland instead of Green Bay and was thrown to the wolves in his first year.

    If Geno Smith is drafted by the Jags he will not have a better career than Barkley.

  29. Hey, Bill? Just because you were once bad enough to have the 1st pick in the draft when he came out, that doesn’t make you a great evaluator of QB talent. It just means you were able to spell ‘Manning’ correctly (when almost every team said he was easily the best player) and get his name turned in within the required time limit.

    Now, go back to whatever it is you do.

  30. I wish Buffalo would never have went separate ways with Polian. He IS the reason for the unbelievable feat the Bills pulled off, whether they won or not, they went to 4 Super Bowls in a row! The record will never be matched or beat again, not in my lifetime. Between what he accomplished with Buffalo and Indianapolis, he should be labeled the best GM ever. He is a football genius, and anyone who disagrees doesn’t know jack about the sport.

  31. Bill was once a great GM as evidenced by his work in both Buffalo and Carolina before ever coming to Indianapolis, but the game seems to have slipped by him.

    I thought maybe it was him giving too much authority to his son in the latter Colt years for why the roster became Peyton manning and a lot of bad picks, but clearly he was in on a lot of those swings and misses with him from recent statements.

    he doesn’t seem to grasp how the NFL changed before his eyes in the last 5 or so years at all.

  32. It seems that even General Managers have a shelf life in much the same way that NFL players do. Bobby Beathard and Charlie Casserly were once the cream of the crop as GM’s, but they eventually lost their “golden touch”. Bill Polian is in the same category.

  33. Truth of the matter is, very few of you saw Landry play football at OU. Even fewer of you have ever coached a down of any competitive football and none of you have ever been, or are now, an NFL GM, and yet you know exactly what Landry did or didn’t do. What I’ve been reading is the same things posted by you armchair GM’s is the same thing “experts” have already said. The kid broke several Big12 passing records. Holding the record for yards and TD’s is an achievement by themselves. He broke school records and stat wise had a better career than Jason White and Sam Bradford…Heisman winners. Ever single draft experts, coaches, GM’s and fans bash football players, especially QB’s and every draft there are some kids that makes all these haters eat their words. The beauty if the draft us ya just never know. Ryan Leaf was a bust but, he wasn’t until well after the draft. No one really knew he would choke. Many didn’t give Montana a positive word and then he, with a great team, proceeded to be one of the best. Landry may or may not be a bust… but, you don’t really know and no matter what he does, those who guessed right will be strutting around telling us how right you guessed. I mean, were!

  34. For all you guys bashing Bill Polian, saying he is “off his rocker” so to speak… please… STOP. At this point no one knows who the best QB in this class, sure many would say Geno but even he has his share of question marks. Every draft we have surprises and disappointments as to which players pan out and which players turn out to be bust.

    Bill was a great GM, with a very respectable legacy. The man obviously knows football better than anyone commenting on this post. NOW, I’m not saying I agree with him, but I’m man enough to admit that I’m not sure who the best QB is in this draft, but if Polian feels Landry is that QB, there must be some sort of depth to it.

  35. Best QB in this draft? Who knows – not a great QB draft.
    Gino Smith did fine – until he faced a defense – and that did NOT work out well.
    Matt Barkley – USC QB track record isn’t sooo very great lately.

    Sure – they can all play the game – in the right fit – they will likely all be good – in the wrong fit – they would all be terrible.

    Seeing Gino struggle when he faced a defense though – that gives me a lot of hesitation. He has a ton of talent – but cannot read a defense.

  36. He is right, I think. Landry Jones will be better than Peyton manning if he goes to a team that can coach him up and isn’t like the niners when they drafted A. Smith, who could have been great but was matched with coaches like marriucci and that bunch a baggers.
    I’d like him or Montana to back up the keaper in San fran

  37. Any quarterback that gets drafted in this draft could be the best.If they ever got a chance sitting behind Aaron Rodgers for 2 seasons. You can learn a lot from Mike Mccarthy’s quarterback school.

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