Due to the nature and importance of the quarterback position, NFL teams are constantly looking for the next signal-caller coming out of college who will lead their franchise to glory over the next decade or so. This often results in several teams trading and jockeying for position in the annual draft in order to acquire their next quarterback. All too often, teams will give up a king's ransom in order to position themselves to draft what is perceived to be a top quarterback.
Teams looking to hold on to as many assets at the position and draft a future franchise quarterback in the later rounds may want to take a look at Memphis' Riley Ferguson.
At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Ferguson has a similar physical makeup to Tom Brady — perhaps with a bit more muscle on his frame. In terms of his style of play, the 23-year-old is absolutely fearless when it comes to forcing the ball downfield. He's a bit of a throwback to some of the gunslingers who were around in the late 1990s and early 2000s. That said, the offense he operated at Memphis has a lot of similarities to some of the high-powered, spread-type attacks (New England, New Orleans) that we see in the NFL today.
There are going to be some concerns from a lot of teams about the competition he played against, but it's tough to argue with his productivity. During his two seasons as the starter in Memphis, Ferguson threw for 7,955 yards, 70 touchdowns with only 19 interceptions while completing 63 percent of his passes. In the two games that he played against Power Five competition (UCLA, Iowa State) during the 2017 season, he completed 44 of his 61 attempts (62 percent) for 684 yards, eight touchdowns and just one interception.
Ferguson drew a lot of interest from the New York Giants during the week leading up to the East-West Shrine game. He'll likely draw a lot more at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, where it will quickly become apparent that he puts as much zip on his throws as any quarterback in the country. If he can show good football instincts and accuracy, Ferguson could vault his name into the heart of the conversation surrounding what is shaping up to be a very good quarterback class.
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo!, SBNation and Bleacher Report. He has covered the Big Ten Conference extensively throughout his career. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.