Near the end of ESPN’s coverage of the NFL Draft, analyst Mel Kiper Jr. revealed his top quarterback prospects for the 2012 draft.
No. 1 was Stanford’s Andrew Luck (well, duh). No. 2 was Arizona Wildcats senior Nick Foles.
That seemed to catch many — at least many in the Twitter-verse — by surprise, considering next year’s draft could also include USC’s Matt Barkley, Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins (who was Kiper’s third-rated QB) and San Diego State’s Ryan Lindley.
(Boise State’s superb senior, Kellen Moore — who should end up as college football’s winningest quarterback and one of its most efficient — isn’t considered a prime NFL prospect because of his lack of height.)
Anyway, quarterbacks are hard to judge — especially when projecting a year from now.
But Kiper isn’t the only guy who does this kind of thing for a living who thinks highly of Foles.
One of the pieces of information that came to me last week as I took some time off from TucsonCitizen.com to help put together Lindy’s Football Annuals was a Top 50 list of 2012 prospects from NFLDraftScout.com.
You can find their work at CBSSports.com, but not even that website has NFLDraftScout.com’s 1-50 list.
Foles was 41st on that list of prospects for the 2012 draft. That’s not quite as optimistic as Kiper, but it’s not bad … and it especially ain’t bad for a quarterback from Arizona.
Foles has the size and the arm to play the position in the NFL. He has shown plenty of moxie in late-game situations. He embraces a leadership role.
On the other hand, his speed is suspect, he often holds the ball too long and he needs more consistency on his deep throws. Plus, Foles will face all the same questions that spread quarterbacks get — can they adjust to being under center, can they make more complex reads in the passing game.
Will he be the second-best QB prospect after this season?
Really, who knows? But at least two draft projections think, for now, Foles has a very bright future.