Casual fans tend to turn off the NFL draft after the first round; some will stick around for the rest of the first day, but by Day Two the draft viewership is strictly hardcore fans. However, there are plenty of diamonds in the rough as scouts and GMs mine for the next Tom Brady or Marques Colston.
Here are a few quarterbacks expected to hear their name called on the second day of the draft but who have the potential to make the team that selects them look very smart for doing so.
Rhett Bomar could have been Sam Bradford. Back in 2005 Bomar was a redshirt freshman at Oklahoma, earning honorable mention All-Conference and freshman All-American honors as well as the Holiday Bowl MVP. That offseason, however, included misdemeanor charges of alcohol possession by a minor and, worse, dismissal from the Sooners after his “no-show” job at a local car dealership came to light. Bomar transferred to Sam Houston State and sat out a season before rewriting the school record books in his two-year stay there. His performance earned him a trip to the Senior Bowl and could punch his NFL ticket as early as the third round.
Scouts like Bomar’s strong arm and quick delivery, as well as his athleticism and mobility. However, at 6-2 he a tad shy of ideal size for a pro quarterback, and playing out of the spread offense means he has catch-up work to do on taking snaps under center, footwork for his drops, and reading defenses as he backpedals. The off-field issues are also a concern, especially since Bomar’s attitude as well as his game have drawn comparisons to J.P. Losman—and that didn’t exactly end well. Ultimately, a team will take a chance on Bomar’s arm and athleticism and hope the former academic All-American can keep his confidence from becoming cockiness while refining the skills necessary to be an NFL quarterback.
Another quarterback who’ll be drafted on potential rather than production—a traditional Day Two trend—is Texas A&M’s Stephen McGee. Though he took over the starting job late in his redshirt freshman season, McGee’s numbers were subdued by the Aggies’ offensive scheme. His senior season under former Packers head honcho Mike Sherman was set up to be a showcase, but a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder limited McGee to just three starts and prevented him from putting up the expected big numbers.
McGee is unquestionably athletic—his 4.66 40 at the Combine was second among quarterbacks—and he has the size and arm to play quarterback on Sundays. His exposure to a pro style offense has been limited, however, so he’ll require plenty of schooling in the fundamentals. Unlike Bomar, McGee’s character is a selling point—he was voted permanent team captain as a sophomore—and could be what convinces an pro team to take a chance that he’ll translate his physical gifts into the ability to play quarterback in the NFL.
You’d think a three-year starter who set a boatload of passing records at an SEC school would be a first-day lock. That doesn’t appear to be the case for Alabama’s John Parker Wilson, even though he capped his successful run with the Crimson Tide by earning Offensive Player of the Game honors at the Senior Bowl. Wilson has adequate size, but he’s not quite up to the specifications of the prototypical NFL quarterback. He’s also a decent athlete, though he’s not going to drop jaws with his physical skills.
Even more damning is that scouts are concerned Wilson’s arm isn’t strong enough to make the deeper throws. That’s not necessarily a fatal flaw should Wilson land in a West Coast offense, where his accuracy and touch make him a perfect fit. Wilson also has the intangibles that separate “athletes” from “quarterbacks”. In a worst-case scenario, he projects to be a solid clipboard holder who wouldn’t kill a team if forced into action in a pinch; best case, he carves out a successful dink-and-dunk career in a WCO at the NFL level.
Many scouts find themselves going back to 2007 film when they attempt to get a read on Michigan State’s Brian Hoyer; after all, his nine touchdowns and nine interceptions last year as a senior hardly jump off the page. But during his junior campaign, when Hoyer was throwing to current NFLer Devin Thomas, his 20 touchdowns and 2,725 yards provided pro teams with something to chew on. Hoyer also helped himself stand out in a thin class by being, if not outstanding, at least the most consistent passer at the East-West Shrine Game.
Hoyer doesn’t have any one remarkable trait—size, arm, athleticism—that separates him from the pack; that said, he does enough right and has demonstrated enough leadership skills that he could stick with a pro team (probably in a WCO scheme) and employ Napoleon’s battle plan: 1) show up; 2) see what happens.