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NFL Draft 2015: Ranking the Quarterbacks


It's the most important position on the field and Super Bowls aren't won without them.

The quarterback has become the star of the biggest sport in American culture. It's why 12 of the last 16 NFL Drafts have started with a signal-caller. 

Yet, the two starting quarterbacks in last year's Super Bowl weren't highly touted NFL Draft prospects, as Tom Brady was a sixth-round pick and Russell Wilson was a third-round selection.

So while most of the draft talk this month has centered on Florida State's Jameis Winston and Oregon's Marcus Mariota, that doesn't mean there isn't talent elsewhere in this quarterback class.

Can Brett Hundley develop a down-the-field arm? Can Bryce Petty overcome his system moniker? Is Sean Mannion going to be the steal of this draft? Here is what you need to know about the 2015 QB class and how they stack up against one another.

1. Jameis Winston, Florida State (6-4, 232)

Stats: 26-1, 7,964 yds, 65 TDs, 28 INTs, 284 rush yds., 7 TDs

There isn't much to add to Winston's already over-covered career. He is the most pro-ready pocket passer an NFL Draft has seen since Andrew Luck. He flat out wins games (26-1 is pretty good) and delivered in the fourth quarter time and time again. His numbers dipped his senior season, but that is easily explained by a much tougher schedule, a much less talented supporting cast and a much brighter spotlight. His off-the-field maturity and decision-making are the only real reasons for concern. He was the best player coming out of high school at his position and all he did was win a Heisman Trophy, BCS title and two ACC championships.

Comp: Less mature, slower Andrew Luck

2. Marcus Mariota, Oregon (6-4, 215)

Stats: 36-5, 10,796 yds, 105 TDs, 14 INTs, 2,237 rush yds., 29 TDs

He wins big and he does it with class and efficiency. His numbers in just three seasons as a starter are freakish and his athletic ability is second to none in this QB class. He rarely turned the ball over and led his team to within one win of a national title. Is he a strong enough personality? Can he read NFL defenses pre-snap and adjust on the fly on his own? The first question may not be fair (or matter) but the second one is extremely important and justified.

Comp: Disciplined, mature Colin Kaepernick

3. Brett Hundley, UCLA (6-3, 227)

Stats: 29-11, 9,966 yds, 75 TDs, 25 INTs, 1,747 rush yds, 30 TDs

The record book at UCLA was completely rewritten by Hundley in three years as a starter. His production in both the passing and running game was obvious, but his 29 wins are No. 2 all-time in school history and that might be more important. UCLA had never won at least nine games in three straight seasons until Hundley and only twice before in school history had the Bruins won 10 games in back-to-back seasons. He has great size, great athleticism and played with a relatively mediocre supporting cast on offense. He will need to develop his downfield accuracy but he has all the tools to be a starting QB in the NFL.

Comp: Smaller Blake Bortles

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4. Sean Mannion, Oregon State (6-5, 220)

Stats: 21-22, 13,600 yds, 83 TDs, 54 INTs, -806 rush yds, 2 TDs

One look at the stats and fans should understand what type of player Mannion is. He's a statuesque pocket passer with a huge frame and big arm. His 13,600 yards and 83 touchdowns are impressive but the 21-22 starting record (albeit at a tough place to win) and 54 interceptions can't be ignored either. Mannion could be a starter should he land in the right system, like say, under Bill O'Brien.

Comp: Less efficient Derek Carr

5. Bryce Petty, Baylor (6-3, 230)

Stats: 21-4, 8,195 yds, 62 TDs, 10 INTs, 338 rush yds, 21 TDs

He won a ton of games and delivered Baylor their only two Big 12 championships in school history. He's also a much better athlete than given credit for, and is tough as nails when it comes to taking hits and leading his team. Petty will get knocked for playing in Art Briles' system and he will need to be more accurate down the field to earn a starting spot on an NFL roster.

Comp: Less polished Teddy Bridgewater

6. Garrett Grayson, Colorado State (6-2, 220)

Stats: 19-16, 9,190 yds, 64 TDs, 27 INTs, 283 rush yds, 4 TDs

Grayson has a lot going for him. He won at a good clip under an pro-style offensive guru in Jim McElwain and was a major part of a program-changing turnaround. He posted big numbers, has a good frame and strong arm but will need to refine his delivery to become a starter on the next level. His level of competition is also questionable, however, his teams did upset Power 5 programs each year he started. Otherwise, Grayson could become a very capable NFL backup.

Comp: Less athletic Andy Dalton

7. Shane Carden, East Carolina (6-2, 221)

Stats: 25-12, 11,991 yds, 86 TDs, 30 INTs, 253 rush yds, 24 TDs

He throws a nice ball and posted big numbers and tons of wins for East Carolina — try 110 total touchdowns and 25 wins. Does he have an elite arm? Should his level of competition be a major concern? Was his offense a pass-happy, QB-friendly system? These are all fair questions, but he is a quality leader who should stick around in the NFL as a backup signal-caller.

Comp: Taller Chase Daniel

8. Taylor Heinicke, Old Dominion (6-1, 213)

Stats: 31-13, 14,959 yds, 132 TDs, 37 INTs, 1,320 rush yds, 22 TDs

Talk about production. Few can match Heinicke's college stats but few played against more questionable competition than the ODU quarterback. The three-time captain is well-built but undersized and has little experience under center in a pro-style offense. Learning that style of offense and all of its intricacies is a major limitation on his upside. That said, he is accurate and makes good decisions and that might give him a chance to stick around.

Comp: Matt Barkley

9. Connor Halliday, Washington State (6-4, 198)

Stats: 10-18, 11,304 yds, 90 TDs, 50 INTs, -477 rush yds

Few players in history have posted the passing numbers that Halliday did under Mike Leach at Washington State. He isn't a great athlete, has been hurt periodically, didn't take snaps under center much and took way too many chances. However, he's got good feet and really understands the nuances of throwing the football. Should he land in a pocket-passing offense, he has a chance to stick.

Comp: Thinner Zach Mettenberger

10. Hutson Mason, Georgia (6-2, 207)

Stats: 11-4, 3,492 yds, 29 TDs, 7 INTs, -5 rush yds, 6 TDs

The deep sleeper of the group is a guy who only got one year of starting experience. However, Mason was extremely efficient with 21 touchdown passes and just four interceptions in his only year under center and he did it against the best conference in the nation. His overall lack of experience and arm strength are big concerns, but he has the size, is accurate, faced the best in college football and played in a pro-style offense. Watch out for Mason.

Comp: Matt Flynn