2014 Senior Bowl preview
January, 20, 2014
By Todd McShay, Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl | ESPN.com
Ed Wolfstein/USA TODAY SportsLogan Thomas has prototypical size for a QB, but can he come up big at the Senior Bowl?
• 2014 Senior Bowl rosters
MOBILE, Ala. -- Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel – the top three quarterback prospects in the 2014 class -- are all underclassmen, so they're not eligible to play in the Senior Bowl. However, six of the top nine senior quarterbacks will be in Mobile for this week's Senior Bowl. Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray were invited but knee injuries will prevent them from playing. AJ McCarron is the only highly rated senior to decline an invitation.
Here's a quick look at the positives, negatives and missions to accomplish for each of the six Senior Bowl quarterbacks:
Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois; QB rank: 6th; Team: South
POSITIVES: Good anticipation. Above-average touch and tempo. Elevated play in big games. Fast eyes and decisive. Good short-to-intermediate accuracy. Quick release and above-average arm strength when he transfers weight properly. Keeps eyes married to feet, so he keeps himself ready to pull the trigger at any moment. Strong work ethic. Humble. Very good football intelligence and football character. Lost only two games as a senior: at Northern Illinois (49-39) and in FCS quarterfinals to Towson (where he completed 76 percent for 321 yards with 2 TDs and no INTs). Also beat bowl-bound San Diego State by 21 points
NEGATIVES: Level of competition. Smaller than ideal hand span (9 1/8 at East West Shrine). Needs to be more consistent with deep accuracy. Will take unnecessary chances.
WHAT CAN HE ACCOMPLISH THIS WEEK? Erase any concerns regarding level of competition.
Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech; QB rank: 7th; Team: North
POSITIVES: Prototypical build (6-foot-5 5/8, 256 pounds). Strong and durable. Mobile for size. Strong in pocket, tough to bring down. Ball explodes off hand. Can drive ball vertically with ease. Tough. Hard worker.
NEGATIVES: Sloppy footwork. Erratic arm. Forces too many throws. Must take better care of football. Inconsistent eye discipline. Late on too many throws.
WHAT CAN HE ACCOMPLISH THIS WEEK? All six quarterbacks will have new pro-style schemes to operate, they should have good pass protection, and there will be plenty of playmakers to use. Thomas needs to thrive with a level playing field.
Stephen Morris, Miami (Fla.); QB rank: 9th; Team: North
POSITIVES: Quick release. NFL arm. Can squeeze ball into tight windows down the field. Can drive ball vertically. When healthy, shows escapability in pocket and above-average mobility. Resilient. Mentally and physically tough. Can throw accurately on the run to both sides. Hard worker.
NEGATIVES: Lean frame. Durability issues. Inconsistent accuracy. Doesn't always sense backside pressure. Takes too many chances downfield. Too many turnovers.
WHAT CAN HE ACCOMPLISH THIS WEEK? Fully healthy and with even playing field, Morris needs to show more consistency with footwork and ball placement as a passer.