This year’s NFL Draft brought us arguably the most depth in a NFL draft since 2003. Looking past the only two sure-fire superstars (Jadaveon Clowney and Khalil Mack), you will see a class that will produce a bevy of talent at all positions. Among said talent are pronounced prospects and there is talent that has been shuffled under the ESPN and NFL Network coverage that will impact their respective team for years to come. Keep aware of roster movement and perceptions players will get through limited playing time and injuries, etc.
Logan Thomas, Pick 120, Arizona Cardinals
Standing at 6’6’, Logan Thomas is the tallest Quarterback in this year’s draft and taller than incumbent Arizona starter Carson Palmer. What does that mean? Usually it means the passer will have solid pocket presence due to his inherent ability to see over linemen and have more accurate reads on player’s routes and timing. Usually it means the QB is slow and is prone to slow mechanics. Logan, unlike his stature’s stereotype, runs a 4.61 forty yard-dash and has a quick, but inconsistent windup. Scouts may vary on his ability to lead an NFL team, but all can agree that Thomas has the highest upside of any passer drafted this year. Watching tape, the most impressive thing about him is not his quick snap release or his speed. It is the ability to completely sell out a play and his body for a first down. This guy is a gamer and ultra-durable (Started forty straight games).
The red flags are there; the inconsistent games, the questionable ball placement and the seemingly small window of field vision. If there is value perceived in a dynasty draft, he is worth the gamble with one of the NFL’s premier offensive minds involved. Best case scenario, he falls somewhere between Daunte Culpepper and Cam Newton. Worst case, he gets frustrated and/or the Cards land a franchise QB to replace Palmer. His value is equal or greater to Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater due to his composite tools, roster situation and regime in Arizona.
Tom Savage, Pick 135, Houston Texans
Another big bodied QB, Savage has been saddled with expectation since his Freshman All-American year at Rutgers. Time and circumstance saw Tom move through Arizona and finally Pittsburgh’s programs before making it to this year’s draft. Thankfully for the pedigreed (Brother Bryan played at Wisconsin and Hofstra) passer, his only obstacle to starting in the NFL is thirty-one year-old NFL journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was signed a two-year deal over the offseason. As the Houston front office sifts through the rubble that was 2013, either TJ Yates or Case Keenum will hang on as number three while Fitzpatrick and Texans’ quarterback coach Karl Dorrell groom Savage to be their apparent franchise QB. Savage may seem to have some speed and read issues in the backfield, but as soon as he can learn to look off NFL defensive backs, his balance and cushy, catchable balls should be a hit in Houston. Andre Johnson’s departure should not be viewed as too much of a drawback. GM Rick Smith has shown considerable eye for talent, especially at receiver. Due to his delectable position on the roster, Dynasty Fantasy owners should cue on him fairly quickly. His team and GM’s commitment/strategy to win should firmly supplant him above Derek Carr in value.
Aaron Murray, Pick 163, Kansas City Chiefs
Once hailed as a sure-fire NFL franchise Quarterback, this former All-American has fought through injury and disappointment at Georgia to limp into the NFL as a fifth-round pick with zero expectations. The writing is on the wall for incumbent starter Alex Smith, his contract ($7.5M currently, $14-17M to extend) is entering it’s last year and the former number one draft pick just turned thirty. A transition period will ensnare the Chiefs once again if this season unfolds poorly for Smith and both back-up Chase Daniel and the winner between Aaron Murray and Tyler Bray will get a crack at the starting gig if chaos happens. Murray’s career at Georgia is storied, regardless of the lack of trophies. Generating four years of 3,000 yards or more at an SEC school and forgoing an almost guaranteed top five draft position in ‘13 shows maturity and consistency. IF Murray gets a legitimate shot at the starter spot, you will see one of the quickest releases in the game, coupled with solid decision-making and nimble feet. His journey to the NFL is a cautionary tale that only Sam Bradford and Andrew Luck have gambled with and gotten paid on. Aaron has his work cut out for him at number four on the Chiefs depth chart, but is worth a stash in deeper leagues due to his tremendous experience and work ethic. He stays healthy and performs well in flashes of opportunity, I see a similar ‘chip on the shoulder’ Brees-type undersized QB that is motivated every game. This kid is a winner, hidden in circumstance.