2012 QB Rankings

Written by Ryan Lownes on November 18, 2011



6. Landry Jones — Oklahoma


There has been some debate over whether Oklahoma’s Landry Jones is a top NFL prospect or not. While he has his flaws, he displays excellent command of an up-tempo Sooners offense. His extraordinary production is worth noting, as his success as a game manager. On paper, he has he intangibles, size (6’4″, 220,) and arm talent to project as a future starter at the next level.


Jones is essentially a rhythm passer that is scary when at his best. His game is characterized by a pre-snap reads, efficient footwork in the pocket, and a quick release. Playing in that system, his accuracy and ball placement are generally very good. Occasionally a spread offense can mask a weaker arm. That’s not the case here, as Jones has a strong arm and flashes the ability to make any throw.


While Landry Jones certainly has a strong sense of timing and anticipation, he is not

particularly effective when he must improvise. With just adequate athleticism and a strong proclivity for the pocket, he lacks the ability to extend plays. His pocket presence is good, but he makes hasty decisions under duress. Because he typically makes up his mind where the ball will go pre-snap, decision-making will be a question for scouts.


Projection: Late First-Third Round



7. Nick Foles — Arizona


The first thing you will notice when taking a look at Arizona’s Nick Foles is his prototypical size at 6’5″, 240. He has very good arm strength, showing the ability to drive the ball to the far hash and fit the ball into tight windows downfield. Though he is not particularly consistent, he flashes a very nice deep ball. In addition, his ball placement and accuracy on short to intermediate throws is generally good.


Unfortunately for Foles, there are a number of issues holding him back from being a top prospect in this or any quarterback class. He is not an exceptional athlete by any means; he shows limited escapability and a tendency to become flustered by pressure. Mechanically he must improve consistency. 


Playing in a gimmicky, pass-happy spread offense, Foles does not always see the whole field, often locking on to this primary target. Though he has three solid years of

experience, is worth noting that he has lost thirteen of his last fifteen starts.


Projection: Late Third-Fourth Round



8. Kirk Cousins — Michigan State


Most visibly, Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins is intelligent and a natural leader. His speech at the 2011 Big Ten kickoff luncheon was memorable and served testament to his maturity. Throughout his time in East Lansing, the three-year starter has won several big games with the Spartans and shown a lot of heart. 


Though many question his physical ability, on film Cousins’ arm strength appears more than adequate for the next level. When his feet are set, he is an accurate passer with decent ball placement. Playing in a fairly conservative, run-heavy offense, he has proved to be an efficient game manager, but seems slightly uncomfortable playing from behind.


Cousins shows some escapability and nifty footwork facing pressure, but he is not particularly mobile. That is to say: he is not

much of a threat outside the pocket. Cousins can be rushed and is not very comfortable throwing and making decisions on the move. He must learn to read defenses at a higher level before he steps on the field against NFL personnel and schemes. In addition, he does not look very impressive physically at a slender 6’3″, 215.


Projection: Fourth-Fifth Round



9. Ryan Lindley — San Diego State


San Diego State’s Ryan Lindley is kind of the sleeper in the quarterback class. Physically he looks like the total package and it is worth noting the four-year starter has enjoyed a very productive career. With former coach Brady Hoke taking the job in Ann Arbor and his top receivers from a year ago moving on to the NFL, it is no surprise that Lindley has been flying under the radar.


As I mentioned, his physical ability is ability is outstanding. Lindley stands an impressive 6’4″, 230 and has a live arm. Capable of airing it out with excellent velocity, he has a quick release and tends to make some “wow” throws.


Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks for the Aztec signal-caller. Lindley shows inconsistent footwork in the pocket, displaying average mobility and agility. His accuracy is also just average and has been inconsistent. Pocket presence could

certainly improve as he is currently too easily flustered by the pass rush.


Projection: Fifth-Sixth Round



10. Russell Wilson — Wisconsin


Few quarterbacks have created the buzz Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson did when he chose to play his Senior season as a Badger. What you notice first when you turn on the tape: he is a very good athlete at the position, showcasing excellent mobility and escapability in and outside the pocket. He is capable of picking up first downs with his legs and throws well on the move. 


As a Badger, Wilson’s accuracy and ball placement have improved. Unlike many mobile quarterbacks, he is a poised, confident, and efficient passer in the pocket. His arm strength is more than adequate for the next level and he will throw downfield with touch.


While height (5’11”) is the major concern and will likely limit his chances to become a starting QB, one thing Russell Wilson is not short on is experience. He is a four-year starter with tremendous production at both

Wisconsin and North Carolina State. A natural leader with strong intangibles, Wilson has a chance to stick in the NFL as a backup.


Projection: Fifth-Sixth Round


Ryan Lownes

Ryan is currently an undergraduate student at Ohio University pursuing a degree in Sport Management. He has been attending the NFL Draft in New York City since 2005 and has aspirations of a career in scouting. He is currently a draft writer and analyst on the Draft Breakdown team, posting his latest rankings, mock drafts, scouting reports, and more. Be sure to follow Ryan on twitter for year-round NFL Draft analysis.

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