Who are the next three up?

We get it. Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are the top two quarterbacks in this draft. It has been overanalyzed and, at this point, just taken as a fact. The topic that has been mostly skated over is the next three quarterbacks in this draft after them. For the most part, experts have agreed that the prospects in play are Garrett Grayson, Bryce Petty and Brett Hundley. No one can seem to agree on how to rank them though. None of these guys have very similar backgrounds nor do they seem to have like skill sets. It’s time to get to know the other quarterbacks in this draft.

Bryce Petty, Baylor
Height/Weight: 6’3”/230
Age: 23
The red-shirt senior had another successful year at Baylor. Petty led his team to a bowl game against Michigan State and looked set to win before a stunning comeback by the Spartans. The only other game that Baylor lost was to West Virginia. Petty demonstrated that he has a reliable arm, throwing over 400 passes in two years as Baylor’s starter. He is a talented player with enough mobility to extend plays. He demonstrates good zip on his on most of his short to intermediate throws. He doesn’t possess a cannon so that he can hit receivers on a line, but he leads his receivers well, allowing for them to run onto the ball.

Some concerns can be raised about his consistency. Petty aired out the ball with over 325 yards in two straight contests before he turned in a 111-yard, 31.8 completion percentage outing at Texas. Petty also seemed to throw his interceptions in clusters. He would go weeks without tossing one before getting picked off twice against TCU and Oklahoma State. Some other concerns rise when you look and see his yards per attempt and touchdowns fell while his interception total rose. Another major knock is the system he played in college. He used only a one-read system that never really required him to run through his progressions, something he will desperately need to do at the next level.

Overall, I think Petty is a solid player who has the right physical tools to succeed in the NFL. He needs a year or two to polish his mechanics and learn a pro system but he could prove to be a fringe starter one day. If nothing else, he will be a solid backup for a number of years in the league.

Predicted Round: Fourth
Ideal team: San Diego. Petty would get to learn from Philip Rivers for at least a year before the veteran potentially left town. Mike McCoy, as a former quarterback, would likely be a good coach for Petty as he learns to adjust

Brett Hundley, UCLA
Height/Weight: 6’3”/226
Age: 21
There is a lot of potential for this kid. He is tough, determined and athletic. Hundley is a dual-threat quarterback but that does not mean that he cannot throw. Hundley has already shown plenty of development as the quarterback of UCLA. He is a three-year starter and improved his completion percentage every year while cutting down on his interceptions. What was impressive too was that Hundley managed to avoid making multiple mistakes in games. He never threw more than one interception in a game all season. Most importantly, Hundley has shown that he is willing to take a hit when he makes a throw.

Some concerns can be raised about how much he throws the ball, falling below 400 attempts in each of the last two season. He also never even came close to matching his yardage total from his first season. His touchdown passes fell every year as well, dropping to a middling 22 in 2014. Hundley also has a lot of criticism for his lack of an internal clock. He took 125 sacks in 3 seasons, which can’t all be on him but that is a really high number for it to be all on the offensive line. Hundley will also need to improve his velocity on throws and find a way to avoid short arming them.

Hundley has a lot of developing left but he has already shown he is capable of being coached. It shows in his stats. Hundley could be a very difficult player to stop if he takes time to work on his mechanics. He needs to improve his release and body movement. Hundley is a lot like Colin Kaepernick, just without as strong an arm.

Predicted round: third
Ideal team: Denver Broncos. Hundley would obviously be able to learn from one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. On top of that, he would be in a system that relies heavily on plays from the gun and lots of play-action, which is what Hundley did a lot of at UCLA. 

Garrett Grayson, Colorado State
Height/Weight: 6’2”/216
Age: 23
One of the more unknown prospects in this year’s draft, Grayson has been a bit of a late riser. He spent the last two years as the starting quarterback for Colorado State, showing vast improvements from his first to second year. Grayson tossed 32 touchdowns to only 7 interceptions with just over 4,000 passing yards. He wasn’t always consistent but Grayson managed to post absurd completion percentages at times this season, going above 70 percent on 5 separate occasions. Grayson displayed his amazing deep ball touch throughout the season. Grayson has worked in multiple offensive sets and demonstrated great poise in the pocket.

Grayson needs to work on some of his underneath throws. He has great arm strength but occasionally will lead his receivers too much, setting them up for big collisions. Grayson’s mechanics need a little bit of refinement as well. His release is a little elongated. He has been known to be a little slow in his progressions and fails to get into his drop back quickly enough. Grayson never really got the chance to play against top competition in the Mountain West Conference. The best teams Grayson faced all season, Boise State and Utah, beat him by a combined total of 48 points.

There is talent there, that is for sure. Refining that talent will be the challenge team will encounter with Grayson. He has a great deep ball, which is something a lot of prospects do not. He has a lot of the makings of a great NFL quarterback. Grayson needs some development, but he definitely has the potential to be a starter one day.

Predicted round: third (before Hundley)
Ideal team: New Orleans Saints. Learning from Drew Brees for a year, another quarterback who is slightly undersized, would be a blessing for Grayson. He has made a career so far out of a deep ball thrower, which the Saints offense does a lot of. It would be a good fit and allows Grayson to develop for a year or two.

Rivers leaving SoCal?

The rumors continue to swirl about various NFL franchises making the move to Los Angeles. It likely will not be for a couple of years now that a team actually makes the transition. However, the teams most frequently involved in talks of a move to Southern California are the Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams and oddly the San Diego Chargers. The last one is a real head-scratcher. The Chargers had an average attendance last season of 65,530 per game last season on average. The maximum capacity of their stadium is only 70,561. The fan base is available for the Chargers in San Diego but that doesn’t seem to be enough. It might be soon enough though if the team is serious about keeping its best player.

Since 2006, Philip Rivers has been the starting quarterback in San Diego. As the starter, he has led the Chargers to five postseason appearances and really been the focal point since LaDainian Tomlinson left for New York. He has been named to the Pro Bowl on five separate occasions. Rivers is one of the best quarterbacks in the league right now and while he might not be the best in the business. He is a well above average starter. However, with all the rumors circulating that the team might be moving, Rivers has made it clear that he does not want to resign with the Chargers. His contract is set to expire after this season so that makes this a very time sensitive issue.

The potential solution rumored to swirling around the winds of NFL news is to trade Rivers away to a quarterback needy team to cash in on a top draft pick. The Chargers hold the 17th pick in this year’s draft but with many teams in the top five wanting a bonafide franchise signal caller, there is a market for Rivers. The issue is that whatever compensation San Diego might get will likely not be enough to really offset the loss of Rivers. If the team traded away the five-time Pro Bowler, they would likely be looking to land Marcus Mariota from Oregon as his replacement.

However, as it has been well-documented, Mariota likely will not be a Day 1 starter. He will need a year to work out the final kinks in his game before taking over as the starter. The Chargers would more or less be pushing back any chances of competing in the playoffs for about two years, at least, with Mariota at the helm. The reality is that this team needs to run the risk of Rivers leaving. There is no guarantee that the organization moves out to LA and even if they did you can hope that maybe Rivers will change his mind.

Sure it would be nice to get a security policy in case Rivers does leave but the smarter way for San Diego to do that would be to draft a quarterback in the second or third round that has the potential to replace Rivers in 2016 if he does leave. With Brent Hundley, Byrce Petty and Garrett Grayson all expect to go in one of those following two rounds, the Chargers could find a talented, quarterback with a lot of potential. It would be an ideal situation where you let him learn from the veteran Rivers for a season before letting him take the reins the following year.

My final evaluation, keep the sure thing rather than gamble your future on something that may or may not happen. Rivers is on the cusp of very good and elite. He is not someone you can simply replace. Only netting the second, or potentially later, pick in the draft should not be enough to tip the Chargers’ hand. Selecting Hundley or one of those other players in a later round is a much safer plan and it allows you to cover your bases, as the Chargers clearly want to. Word I am hearing is that the San Diego organization is looking to just ride this year out and wait to see what happens with both relocation and Rivers’ contract. My opinion: keep number 17 in Charger powder blue. He gives them the best chance to win, and after narrowly missing the playoffs last year, the Chargers could be poised to make a postseason run. Under a rookie quarterback, none of that is possible.