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Breaking down the quarterback prospects

Mike Mayock By Mike Mayock | NFL Network

My top 5 senior QBs include three potential first-round picks, an intriguing wild card and a I-AA star with considerable upside. A synopsis of each QB follows:

Mayock's full rankings

Find out who Mike Mayock's top five NFL draft prospects are at every position. Some of his choices might surprise all of you rabid draft followers out there: Get the complete rankings ...

1. Matt Ryan -- 6-foot-5, 228 pounds (Boston College)

Should be a top 5 pick. He has the rare combination of natural ability and the critical intangibles of leadership, work ethic, toughness and football intelligence. He has a big arm and an ideal frame for a quarterback. He also has an ability to get bigger and stronger and possesses deceptive athleticism. He won't win any races, but understands how to move in the pocket to create throwing lanes. He had tremendous accuracy but has an annoying habit of forcing the ball into coverage. This results in a higher number of interceptions. His stock will continue to soar as coaches and general managers interview him at the Senior Bowl and combine.

2. Andre Woodson -- 6-4, 210 pounds (Kentucky)

A potential first-round pick given his tremendous arm strength and upside. He has excellent size and throws a great ball when given a clean pocket. However, his accuracy and decision-making diminish when forced to move within the pocket. Additionaly, Woodson has a long delivery which must be accelerated at the pro level or he will always struggle to deliver the ball on time. Woodson is tough and has played well in an extremely difficult conference.

3. Brian Brohm -- 6-3, 227 pounds (Louisville)

Brohm was a tremendously productive four-year starter at a school with a fairly sophisticated vertical passing game. He also benefited from NFL-style WRs Mario Urrutia and Harry Douglass and dependable TE Gary Barnidge. Brohm can process information and deliver the football on time. He has good, not great, arm strength and very good accuracy when he can step into his throws. Brohm is not very athletic and not as consistent with his decisions and accuracy when forced to redirect his feet. He showed good toughness throughout a difficult senior season with a new coaching staff and porous defense. His value warrants late-first to mid-second round consideration.

The best of the rest:

Name School Analysis

Chad Henne Michigan Up-and-down senior year compounded by injuries.

Colt Brennan Hawaii Side-armed slinger with quick release.

J.D. Booty USC Injury on throwing hand complicates evaluation.

Josh Johnson San Diego Athletic playmaker must show well in All-Star environment.

Erik Ainge Tennessee Lacks mobility and arm strength.

4. Dennis Dixon -- 6-3, 200 pounds (Oregon)

Knee injury against Arizona further complicates a difficult evaluation. He elevated his game as a senior by completing 68 percent of his passes with 20 TDs and only 4 INTs. Improved his decision-making and accuracy despite playing minor league baseball last summer. Dixon throws the ball better than Vince Young did in college and is almost as athletic with his legs. He is a a raw prospect with tremendous upside, but the knee must be evaluated prior to the draft.

5. Joe Flacco -- 6-6, 235 pounds (Delaware)

The transfer from Pitt has opened eyes with his size and arm strength. Flacco can make every throw with touch and accuracy. I watched him practice earlier this season and came away highly impressed with his arm, but felt like he needed significant work with his feet. With a good postseason (all-star games, individual workouts, etc.), Flacco has a chance to go in the second or third round.

i told yall brohm would slip....he projected that brady quinn and Aaron Rodgers slip......Brohm may slip to the second round...not alot of teams are looking for QB...Minny,Ravens,Bears.....and with players like chad penington,Mcnabb,J.P losman most likely out there.......i can see him slippin

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i told yall brohm would slip....he projected that brady quinn and Aaron Rodgers slip......Brohm may slip to the second round...not alot of teams are looking for QB...Minny,Ravens,Bears.....and with players like chad penington,Mcnabb,J.P losman most likely out there.......i can see him slippin

I hope this team will wise up for a change.

Brohm could slip right outta the first day all together.

What kind of coach would Petrino be if he couldn't teach (t)his offense to a young QB prospect with more upside than Brohm?

To suggest anything different is really an insult, don't you think.

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Miami may not be sold on Beck and may take a QB, and Cleo isn't the future.

NYJ seems to have given up on Pennington, but may not believe Clemens is the guy.

Minny will need a QB incase Tavaris doesn't pan out. He isn't playing well, and a RB shelf life is roughly 10 years so they won't wait to long to put a QB beside Peterson.

Baltimore obviously needs someone. But, I don't see them drafting.

Bears are not high on Grossman or Griese, McNabb may be their solution, but look for them to make a draftpick if they A) can't swing a deal or B) don't believe McNabb can stay healthy.

Eagles may or may not be completely sold on Kolb as their future. I don't think he's played, but we don't know what they think of him. PROBABLY won't draft another QB but we've seen teams do dumber things (Detroit).

Panthers have Carr and Delhomme... Expect them to draft. Delhomme is old and Carr is... Carr.

How many of these teams DRAFT a QB I could not tell you. However, they are all likely to look into acquiring a QB just incase... No telling if Kolb and Beck will pan out, and it's always good to have a backup just incase. As Cleveland is showing us, 2 possible future Franchise QB's isn't a bad thing. Gives you leverage in a trade later if you don't need one.

Atlanta needs a QB but not enough to take one with a Top 5 pick. In saying that, I believe we have 2 second rounders so take the best QB available then. Brohm if Petrino thinks he'll be a good NFL QB. I don't care. Anyone but Harrington is fine by me.

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Matt Ryan is so overrated it's absolutely hilarious... and all Andre Woodson has over Brian Brohm is arm strength.

Not to say that I'm totally sold on Brohm... but he is getting a horrible rap for having the best career of any of these guys. He has everything anyone could hope for in a franchise QB prospect and is profoundly more proven and consistent than Matt Ryan, who for some reason is everyone's draft lovechild despite his horrible horrible decision making on the field and poor attitude.

Ryan practically has no personality and flat out said "no thanks" when asked about being drafted by Atlanta.

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Grim Truth (12/5/2007)
Miami may not be sold on Beck and may take a QB, and Cleo isn't the future.

NYJ seems to have given up on Pennington, but may not believe Clemens is the guy.

Minny will need a QB incase Tavaris doesn't pan out. He isn't playing well, and a RB shelf life is roughly 10 years so they won't wait to long to put a QB beside Peterson.

Baltimore obviously needs someone. But, I don't see them drafting.

Bears are not high on Grossman or Griese, McNabb may be their solution, but look for them to make a draftpick if they A) can't swing a deal or B) don't believe McNabb can stay healthy.

Eagles may or may not be completely sold on Kolb as their future. I don't think he's played, but we don't know what they think of him. PROBABLY won't draft another QB but we've seen teams do dumber things (Detroit).

Panthers have Carr and Delhomme... Expect them to draft. Delhomme is old and Carr is... Carr.

How many of these teams DRAFT a QB I could not tell you. However, they are all likely to look into acquiring a QB just incase... No telling if Kolb and Beck will pan out, and it's always good to have a backup just incase. As Cleveland is showing us, 2 possible future Franchise QB's isn't a bad thing. Gives you leverage in a trade later if you don't need one.

Atlanta needs a QB but not enough to take one with a Top 5 pick. In saying that, I believe we have 2 second rounders so take the best QB available then. Brohm if Petrino thinks he'll be a good NFL QB. I don't care. Anyone but Harrington is fine by me.

Miami have beck....no way they get a qb early again

NYJ have kellen clemens

Minny....i had brad childress say tarvaris jackson is turning into the qb he thought he would

...this still might go after a qb

Ravens...Kyle Boller is showing them promise....i think in the first would..they will look for a wr or corner

Eagles.....you gotta be kiddin me...there second round pick havnt got in....so why would they give up on him before they see what he can do

Bears.....i see them going after a chad pennington or a mcnabb....they need a vet while there window is open

Panthers.....i can see them using a first round pick....i think john fox will live and die by Delhomme tho..they is in the need for a safety or DE...rucker wont be resigned....or even OLB....nail diggs start for them.....he is no starter

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I don't think Brohm be available in the second after the combine and workouts, still there are many people project him like a high first round. It's too early.

I am agree with Grim Truth in many teams can go QB if the correct player is available. More, good veteran QBs usually are expensive in free agency.

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Grim Truth (12/5/2007)
Miami may not be sold on Beck and may take a QB, and Cleo isn't the future.

NYJ seems to have given up on Pennington, but may not believe Clemens is the guy.

Minny will need a QB incase Tavaris doesn't pan out. He isn't playing well, and a RB shelf life is roughly 10 years so they won't wait to long to put a QB beside Peterson.

Baltimore obviously needs someone. But, I don't see them drafting.

Bears are not high on Grossman or Griese, McNabb may be their solution, but look for them to make a draftpick if they A) can't swing a deal or B) don't believe McNabb can stay healthy.

Eagles may or may not be completely sold on Kolb as their future. I don't think he's played, but we don't know what they think of him. PROBABLY won't draft another QB but we've seen teams do dumber things (Detroit).

Panthers have Carr and Delhomme... Expect them to draft. Delhomme is old and Carr is... Carr.

How many of these teams DRAFT a QB I could not tell you. However, they are all likely to look into acquiring a QB just incase... No telling if Kolb and Beck will pan out, and it's always good to have a backup just incase. As Cleveland is showing us, 2 possible future Franchise QB's isn't a bad thing. Gives you leverage in a trade later if you don't need one.

Atlanta needs a QB but not enough to take one with a Top 5 pick. In saying that, I believe we have 2 second rounders so take the best QB available then. Brohm if Petrino thinks he'll be a good NFL QB. I don't care. Anyone but Harrington is fine by me.

ummmm on Minn... they are sold on Tavaris Jackson... you should hear them on sirius talking about him... they love the guy. and you dont go drafting another QB when you are developing another that sets you back and leads to loss production.

Minn will probably be going after a WR in the draft...

WE BETTER BE GOING FOR A LT named JAKE LONG!!!!! dont let another Joe Thomas get away from us!

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I hope we take the best QB available with our 3rd or 4th pick. I don't know who will be available, but at least McKay seems to be able to find QB talent in that area of the draft, or at least talent that will land us draft picks (Schaub).

I'm not sure how long it has been, but over the past few years, QBs seem to slide down the board. Seems like it has been happening since the year Leaf was drafted, but I could be wrong. I know it's very apparent over the past two years and maybe longer.

We need so much talent at so many positions though that I say we go QB with one of those picks and pick up good skill players or OL and DL talent early on. Who knows, with better protection, our current QBs, as much as I hate them now, might be stop gap or servicable for a year to let our 3rd or 4th pick candidate develop into what we need.

We're just too bad to ignore the OL, DL and a powerback, especially in a year that appears deep at the QB position in the draft and/or free agency.

celtik

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atljbo (12/5/2007)
Breaking down the quarterback prospects

Mike Mayock By Mike Mayock | NFL Network

My top 5 senior QBs include three potential first-round picks, an intriguing wild card and a I-AA star with considerable upside. A synopsis of each QB follows:

Mayock's full rankings

Find out who Mike Mayock's top five NFL draft prospects are at every position. Some of his choices might surprise all of you rabid draft followers out there: Get the complete rankings ...

1. Matt Ryan -- 6-foot-5, 228 pounds (Boston College)

Should be a top 5 pick. He has the rare combination of natural ability and the critical intangibles of leadership, work ethic, toughness and football intelligence. He has a big arm and an ideal frame for a quarterback. He also has an ability to get bigger and stronger and possesses deceptive athleticism. He won't win any races, but understands how to move in the pocket to create throwing lanes. He had tremendous accuracy but has an annoying habit of forcing the ball into coverage. This results in a higher number of interceptions. His stock will continue to soar as coaches and general managers interview him at the Senior Bowl and combine.

2. Andre Woodson -- 6-4, 210 pounds (Kentucky)

A potential first-round pick given his tremendous arm strength and upside. He has excellent size and throws a great ball when given a clean pocket. However, his accuracy and decision-making diminish when forced to move within the pocket. Additionaly, Woodson has a long delivery which must be accelerated at the pro level or he will always struggle to deliver the ball on time. Woodson is tough and has played well in an extremely difficult conference.

3. Brian Brohm -- 6-3, 227 pounds (Louisville)

Brohm was a tremendously productive four-year starter at a school with a fairly sophisticated vertical passing game. He also benefited from NFL-style WRs Mario Urrutia and Harry Douglass and dependable TE Gary Barnidge. Brohm can process information and deliver the football on time. He has good, not great, arm strength and very good accuracy when he can step into his throws. Brohm is not very athletic and not as consistent with his decisions and accuracy when forced to redirect his feet. He showed good toughness throughout a difficult senior season with a new coaching staff and porous defense. His value warrants late-first to mid-second round consideration.

The best of the rest:

Name School Analysis

Chad Henne Michigan Up-and-down senior year compounded by injuries.

Colt Brennan Hawaii Side-armed slinger with quick release.

J.D. Booty USC Injury on throwing hand complicates evaluation.

Josh Johnson San Diego Athletic playmaker must show well in All-Star environment.

Erik Ainge Tennessee Lacks mobility and arm strength.

4. Dennis Dixon -- 6-3, 200 pounds (Oregon)

Knee injury against Arizona further complicates a difficult evaluation. He elevated his game as a senior by completing 68 percent of his passes with 20 TDs and only 4 INTs. Improved his decision-making and accuracy despite playing minor league baseball last summer. Dixon throws the ball better than Vince Young did in college and is almost as athletic with his legs. He is a a raw prospect with tremendous upside, but the knee must be evaluated prior to the draft.

5. Joe Flacco -- 6-6, 235 pounds (Delaware)

The transfer from Pitt has opened eyes with his size and arm strength. Flacco can make every throw with touch and accuracy. I watched him practice earlier this season and came away highly impressed with his arm, but felt like he needed significant work with his feet. With a good postseason (all-star games, individual workouts, etc.), Flacco has a chance to go in the second or third round.

i told yall brohm would slip....he projected that brady quinn and Aaron Rodgers slip......Brohm may slip to the second round...not alot of teams are looking for QB...Minny,Ravens,Bears.....and with players like chad penington,Mcnabb,J.P losman most likely out there.......i can see him slippin

I'm not sold on any of those guys. Dixon was the best option until he got hurt. Woodson fell off near the end of the season. Brohm played well but i'm not sure he would fit here even though Petrino had him for 3 years. The system he played in is similar, but will have to be tweeked to work on the NFL level. Ryan is probably the best of the bunch but has publicly stated that he doesn't want to come here. Last years QB class was more of a sure thing and most of the top QB have their teams in playoff contention. This class seem to be more of a crapshoot than in past years.
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what is funny is that every scouting report is different.

some have Brohm first and some have Ryan first. I haven't seen one yet that has Woodson first. Also many reports list Brohm as having great arm strength. Personally I have seen Brohm make a throw before over 40 yards on a rope.

In the games I have watched of Woodson he seems to make a lot of Chris Leak type passes. When the ball leaves his hand it reminds me of some of passes that Leak threw at Florida last year. He is obviously way better than Chris Leak, but the ball does seem to float to the receivers hands a lot.

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Brohm was a tremendously productive four-year starter at a school with a fairly sophisticated vertical passing game. He also benefited from NFL-style WRs Mario Urrutia and Harry Douglass and dependable TE Gary Barnidge. Brohm can process information and deliver the football on time. He has good, not great, arm strength and very good accuracy when he can step into his throws. Brohm is not very athletic and not as consistent with his decisions and accuracy when forced to redirect his feet. He showed good toughness throughout a difficult senior season with a new coaching staff and porous defense. His value warrants late-first to mid-second round consideration.

Here's Joey's QB evaluation:

Negatives: Does not have a great arm. Must have his feet set and use a full delivery to get the ball downfield with accuracy and velocity. Still can be erratic and streaky with his accuracy. Is not that mobile or much of a threat to run for big yardage. May have looked better than he really is because he is in such a good offensive system.

Joey had a "good, not great" arm coming out of college too.

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Honestly, the more Brohm continues to slip, the better for us. What's intersting IMO is that given how high we are going to be picking - we won;t be able to justify picking any of these QB's there. But we'll somehow find a way (DeAngelo Hall?) to get another first round pick to get one of them, and I would guess Brohm would be the likely target.

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Carter (12/5/2007)
Matt Ryan is so overrated it's absolutely hilarious... and all Andre Woodson has over Brian Brohm is arm strength.

Not to say that I'm totally sold on Brohm... but he is getting a horrible rap for having the best career of any of these guys. He has everything anyone could hope for in a franchise QB prospect and is profoundly more proven and consistent than Matt Ryan, who for some reason is everyone's draft lovechild despite his horrible horrible decision making on the field and poor attitude.

Ryan practically has no personality and flat out said "no thanks" when asked about being drafted by Atlanta.

umm when did Ryan say that about Atlanta? I find that very hard to believe.

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snicker (12/5/2007)
Carter (12/5/2007)
Matt Ryan is so overrated it's absolutely hilarious... and all Andre Woodson has over Brian Brohm is arm strength.

Not to say that I'm totally sold on Brohm... but he is getting a horrible rap for having the best career of any of these guys. He has everything anyone could hope for in a franchise QB prospect and is profoundly more proven and consistent than Matt Ryan, who for some reason is everyone's draft lovechild despite his horrible horrible decision making on the field and poor attitude.

Ryan practically has no personality and flat out said "no thanks" when asked about being drafted by Atlanta.

umm when did Ryan say that about Atlanta? I find that very hard to believe.

I can't remember where I read that he said that, and I didnt hear him say that. I just remember a thread saying that he said it on a tv show. Sorry I can't be more precise but I think it is actually true. They asked him if he would like to play in the ATL and he paused and replied "No thansk".

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I don't care what the prospects rate Brohm at, he needs to be our first round pick even if we pick #2. For our team needs and because Brohm knows our offense and has a great coaching relationship with Petrino, Brohm needs to be our QB of the future.

It may be a reach for other teams but for us but and the situation this team is in Brohm is like a gift wrapped franchise QB waiting to play in Atlanta. The situation could not be better for Brohm to come here and do well.

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swanlee (12/5/2007)
I don't care what the prospects rate Brohm at, he needs to be our first round pick even if we pick #2. For our team needs and because Brohm knows our offense and has a great coaching relationship with Petrino, Brohm needs to be our QB of the future.

It may be a reach for other teams but for us but and the situation this team is in Brohm is like a gift wrapped franchise QB waiting to play in Atlanta. The situation could not be better for Brohm to come here and do well.

If we draft a QB and play them behind this o-line we'll end up with another David Carr.

And please spare me the miracle of rebuilding the O-line though free agency. Why would a free agent want to come here?

1. We're not winning the Superbowl anytime soon so they're not coming here to win.

2. The Head Coach alienates veterans so I doubt a vet is coming here to play for him.

Therefore the reason free agents will come here is $$$$$$$$ so we will have to overpay for any quality free agents. And until we actually get the money from Vick we don't the cap space to sign expensive free agents.

And I don't think Brohm is a franchise QB. I think Joey has shown us that THIS system needs a QB with a great arm. The evaluations I've seen on Brohm is that he has a "good, not great arm."

I wonder what the reaction would be if we drafted Brohm and he has the same arm as Harrington?

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atljbo (12/5/2007)

Miami have beck....no way they get a qb early again

NYJ have kellen clemens

Minny....i had brad childress say tarvaris jackson is turning into the qb he thought he would

...this still might go after a qb

Ravens...Kyle Boller is showing them promise....i think in the first would..they will look for a wr or corner

Eagles.....you gotta be kiddin me...there second round pick havnt got in....so why would they give up on him before they see what he can do

Bears.....i see them going after a chad pennington or a mcnabb....they need a vet while there window is open

Panthers.....i can see them using a first round pick....i think john fox will live and die by Delhomme tho..they is in the need for a safety or DE...rucker wont be resigned....or even OLB....nail diggs start for them.....he is no starter

For Miami and NYJ I said they may not be convinced the ones they have are the guys. Neither have overwhelmed anyone, and while Beck is in a hopeless situation, the Dolphins may not be sold and have gotten a lot of flack for not taking a QB early. Granted, they are more likely to take someone on defense but it isn't impossible.

In Minny... I don't see much in Tavaris and wouldn't be shocked if they drafted a QB. For the Eagles I didn't say they were likely but it isn't impossible. No one really knows how big they are on Kolb. Personally, I'd like to see him play.

I still say the Panthers will go for a QB. They can't trust who they have, and good safeties and DE's can be found in any round falling through the cracks. If they get a shot at a Top QB in the draft I say they take it.

Most of the teams aren't likely to take a QB in the first round, I'll give you that. Mostly I was listing teams that I wouldn't be surprised to see draft a QB in the first 2 or 3, which means ATL can't be too cavalier with how long they take to make the pick.

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These QB's all have a certain amount of upside and downside that isn't considered in these numbers. I guess they give all of the 'homers' a chance to pound their chests for the QB of their favorite team, regardless of the reality of how well their favorite might fare as a potential NFL QB.

Stats may be one factor in evaluating a player, but the total evaluation process is much more than a bunch of numbers. If stats were the sole basis in predicting NFL success, we wouldn't need GM's and Coaches, and Joey Harrington would be Peyton Manning. Every one of these college players is playing in a program that has similarities/differences when compared to the offense that is being installed here. Each QB will have strengths and weaknesses in their abilities to read defenses/adapt appropriately, know where all receiving/blocking options are and adapt appropriately, etc.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions about who is the best fit, but in the final analysis, Falcon fans will find that Petrino is an excellent judge of QB talent and he will work to get the best possible selection that will fit in with his offensive scheme.

Go Falcons!

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