For years, it has become common in college football for a quarterback to lead his school to double-digit win seasons, a BCS bowl victory and gaudy statistics – only to either be completely ignored by NFL teams come draft time, or to be selected late and eventually spend a career stylishly holding a clipboard.

So how does that thought process translate to some of the best draft-eligible college quarterbacks in college football today?

In particular, let’s say for the Top 25 Draft-Eligible Quarterbacks according to Phil Steele – who if you haven’t read him, is the best in the business when it comes to preseason college football rankings and projections.

Will each of these players be remembered for their time as an NFL quarterback, or instead as the “Big Man On Campus”?

Certainly, with examples like Ryan Leaf at the top of an NFL Draft, or Tom Brady near the bottom of one – it can be an inexact science predicting QB success – but let’s give it a shot anyway:

Top 25 Draft-Eligible QB’s in College Football: Future NFL Star or Just BMOC?

25. Kevin Prince – UCLA – 6-2 229

Prince has the size and frame as a pro-style quarterback, but has been injury prone throughout his career with the Bruins thus far – and hasn’t impressed with his numbers, either.

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS

24. Adam Weber – Minnesota – 6-3 221

Sure, he’s 6’3” and has pocket presence, but with more picks than touchdowns in ’09, one has to wonder how much it was Eric Decker (pre-injury) saving him more than anything else.

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS

23. Scott Tolzien – Wisconsin – 6-3 208

Tolzien is often overlooked with John Clay also in the Wisconsin backfield.  Still, he struggled against big boys Iowa and Ohio State, so he could easily be compared to Penn State’s Daryll Clark, who had the same struggles – and wasn’t drafted.

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS

22. Jordan Jefferson – LSU – 6-5 220

First thing’s first: Eliminate the fact that Ryan Perrilloux and JaMarcus Russell were packed with hype – and will likely jade your image of LSU QB’s.  That, plus Jefferson himself hasn’t been anything short of mediocre, but he does have the frame of an NFL quarterback – and has limited his mistakes, so there’s still a good chance he could turn things around… but for now…

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS

21. Pat Devlin – Delaware – 6-4 217

Many forget that Devlin led a game-winning drive for Penn State on the road against the Buckeyes a few seasons ago.  He transferred that offseason and wound up at Delaware, the same place where Ravens QB Joe Flacco played in college.  He also possesses an arm and talent similar to that of Flacco, too.

NFL QUARTERBACK

20. Kirk Cousins – Michigan State – 6-3 202kirk-cousins-michigan-state-quarterback

Cousins is a 6’ 3” pro-style guy who – with all the talent around him – could develop his game at Michigan State, but for now, unless he can improve on his completion percentage and be more consistent, he’ll just be another one of Dantonio’s solid signal callers.

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS

19. Kevin Riley – California – 6-2 223

Riley has decent size for a prospect, but no skills that immediately jump off the page and scream pro star.  It will also be interesting to see how he performs without Jahvid Best this coming season – and at this point, an elite NFL career would be a surprise.

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS

18. Jacory Harris – Miami – 6-4 190

Harris has been arguably the most inconsistent college quarterback – featuring moments of explosiveness in one game, mixed with inconsistency and poor decisions in another.  That kind of mobility coupled with inaccuracy makes me think of a guy like Quincy Carter, who was a bust at the pro level.

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS

17. Nick Foles – Arizona – 6-5 245

Foles has a large intimidating presence in the pocket – and certainly could continue to develop and improve on his game, but an awful performance in last year’s Holiday Bowl is the freshest thing in many minds.  He’ll need to play that performance out of critics’ heads.

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS

16. Landry Jones – Oklahoma – 6-4 216

The Sooners suffered a number of injuries last season – including one to star QB Sam Bradford, which paved the way for Landry Jones to get a shot – and some experience.  With some extra time under center at OU, he’s only going to get better – and has the skillset and the frame to become something special years down the road.

NFL QUARTERBACK

15. Tyrod Taylor – Virginia Tech – 6-1 217

Taylor is drawing comparisons to Mike Vick – mostly due to his size, mobility and the fact that he’s also a Hokies QB.  Still, while he can throw the deep ball fairly well, his game suffers when the running game isn’t clicking – and a Vick-like NFL career seems possible… hopefully without the additional drama.

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS

14. John Brantley – Florida – 6-3 218

Following in the footsteps of a legend like Tim Tebow can derail some players, but Brantley doesn’t appear to be one of those types.  He has the skills to succeed and the talent around him to assist with his development.  With Tebow fresh in Gator minds, it’s safe to say Brantley will be more known for his pro career, no matter what happens.

NFL QUARTERBACK

13. Greg McElroy – Alabama – 6-3 225

He doesn’t blow you away with any of his skills, but that doesn’t mean that he couldn’t stick around in the NFL for a number of years.  Still, with one national title already – and a top ranking heading into 2010, it’s more likely that McElroy will be remembered as the BMOC – and not for his accomplishments in the pros.

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS

12. Kellen Moore – Boise State – 6-0 186kellen-moore-boise-state-qb

Many will quickly dismiss Moore for his size and frame, saying that he’d never make it in the NFL.  But take a look at the success of Super Bowl-winning QB Drew Brees, and also Colt McCoy – who got drafted and could get a shot with the Browns in the near future.  Moore is extremely accurate, and has been a great leader.  My gut tells me he could be the next undersized quarterback to become something.

NFL QUARTERBACK

11. Ricky Stanzi – Iowa – 6-4 230

Stanzi has the size and frame to make an impact in the NFL – and while he certainly kept Iowa in a lot of games last season, he also made way too many mistakes passing the ball.  In the end, an average NFL signal caller like a Chris Chandler comes to mind more than anything.

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS

10. Andy Dalton – TCU – 6-3 215

He certainly doesn’t have the biggest frame of all the quarterbacks that will enter his class, but Dalton is hard-nosed player that has become a proven winner for a program that made a BCS bowl last year – and open in the top ten this year.  Success in the NFL could definitely happen.

NFL QUARTERBACK

9. Blaine Gabbert – Missouri – 6-5 240

He may be the most underrated QB in the college game – and if it wasn’t for an ankle injury last season, he could have posted the best numbers in his conference.  Gabbert will need to improve on his completion percentage to eventually make it in the pros, but his size and talent is enough to get him there if he can stay healthy.

NFL QUARTERBACK

8. Colin Kaepernick – Nevada 6-6 215

No quarterback in the college game combines this kind of height with this kind of mobility, and that’s the kind of trait that will draw NFL scouts towards him.  If he’s drafted into the right situation, an NFL team could certainly find a way to hone his skillset, get him to learn a pro offense and turn him to a legitimate NFL QB.

NFL QUARTERBACK

7. Terrelle Pryor – Ohio State 6-6 233terrelle_pryor

Many say Pryor grew into something special late last season – specifically against Penn State and Oregon.  But while the talent and athleticism has always been there, one can’t help but think of how he succeeded against the Nittany Lions – in some cases with deep passes that were nowhere near on target, but the receivers were just that wide open, that the receptions were made anyway.  NFL superstar?  Don’t see it, but that could change after this year.

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS

6. Jerrod Johnson – Texas A&M 6-5 243

If you saw Johnson against the Longhorns last year, you will know how good he can be.  Featuring big-play ability, plus an NFL frame, it’s a good bet that Johnson could wind up as one of the better – if not the best – quarterbacks in his draft class.  He’s a darkhorse – and you heard it here, first – but just as long as he can translate his game and learn a pro system.

NFL QUARTERBACK

5. Christian Ponder – Florida State 6-3 227

He has a pro-style QB frame, combined with the smarts that could allow for him to easily learn in an NFL system, but there has been a lot of inconsistency at times throughout his college career – which in the end might be what he’s most known for.

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS

4. Case Keenum – Houston 6-2 210

Keenum has done nothing but light up the scoreboard at Houston, posting gaudy statistics that most college quarterbacks would never come close to seeing in a career – let alone one season.  Still, while he has a lot of tools to become a solid NFL quarterback – he seems to be more of a product of his school’s system, instead.

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS

3. Ryan Mallett – Arkansas 6-7 238ryan-mallett-arkansas-qb

Let’s see, the kid has the kind of frame, coupled with a cannon arm that NFL scouts will just drool over – and many have slated him as a potential top pick in next year’s draft.  The biggest strike against him has been some injuries over the last few years – but all in all, whether he pans out or not, he does seem destined to be a high NFL draft pick with loads of hype.

NFL QUARTERBACK

2. Andrew Luck – Stanford 6-4 235

Luck already has the talent and the frame of an NFL quarterback – and combine that with being under the tutelage of Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh, one can point towards a successful pro career in his future.

NFL QUARTERBACK

1. Jake Locker – Washington 6-3 226

Locker is quite mobile and also possesses top-notch arm strength.  If he can stay healthy and continue to grow within Coach Sark’s system, Locker also has an outside shot to be the top pick in the NFL Draft.

NFL QUARTERBACK

jake-locker-washington-huskies-qb

* Also posted to my B/R page

 

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