Renowned college scouting guru for ESPN, Mel Kiper, recently put out his list of the Top 5 underclassmen at every position. It's an Insider thing so unless you are one I don't know how much of the article you'll get to see. It's a very basic list format but he does go through every position on both sides of the ball. Pretty good stuff if you are looking for some basic names to follow as we begin to get a better feel for draft places and needs for NFL teams this season.
He has included a lot of popular names in the list but that is obvious because it's a list of the best players and naturally the best players are the popular names. For example the Top 5 QBs are in order;
- Andrew Luck, Stanford
- Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
- Cam Newton, Auburn
- Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
- Nick Foles, Arizona
It does seem like a pretty solid list and it's somewhat difficult to argue with at this point but I would like to make one thing known. Cam Newton is not a Top 5 QB right now. Would you want him to be the signal caller for your NFL team at this time next year given what we know about him now? I would even put Matt Barkley, USC up there before him. Yes Newton is an incredible weapon in the college game but how often have we seen a great scrambling QB dominate in college and amount to not that much in the NFL.
Typically the #3 QB goes off the board in the NFL Draft sometime in the mid 1st through early 2nd round. Last year we saw Denver take a shot on the Jesusback, Tim Tebow, and the jury is still out on that move but it certainly doesn't sound like he is really pushing Kyle Orton too strongly. Mike Vick is probably the best example of a recent QB who has had success as a run first style player at the position. Actually he looks to be much better now than he maybe ever was before. Unfortunately for Atlanta it took him some jail time and a new team before that happened though. Admittedly I don't know Cam Newton personally and can't really put much analysis into his character and he certainly seems to be a harder worker than Vick was so maybe he'll try harder to be a passing QB but who knows. My point is that at this point in his career it's hard to say that Newton projects to be top tier QB in the NFL.