The “Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota” debate will continue up until draft day, and throughout both of their careers. Following those two, however, the 2015 draft class has become widely known as a poor quarterback class.
While this class doesn’t offer another “projected” NFL starter, there are still a handful of passers that have the upside to surpass expectations and grow into a developmental quarterback role.
Brett Hundley and Bryce Petty are the well-known names, but two Colorado-based quarterbacks may end up being the “next two up” after Winston and Mariota.
Brett Hundley, UCLA
As a sophomore, Brett Hundley looked the part of a first-round quarterback in the making, in the mold of Colin Kaepernick with potentially more upside. However, a lack of development in his pocket presence, downfield touch, and footwork has stunted his would-be upside. Similar to Logan Thomas in 2014, NFL teams will have to determine if the three-year starter can still reach the potential his size, athleticism and flashes dictate, or if he’s all but a lost cause to develop.
Garrett Grayson, Colorado State
While his upside as a passer is limited due to just adequate arm strength and athleticism, Grayson should be viewed as the safest next-tier quarterback prospect. His footwork, pace and placement on the perimeter won’t need development at the next level. He’ll be viewed as a safe back-up option for teams, with an outside chance of being a starter in the mold of Kevin Kolb.
Bryce Petty, Baylor
The odds-on favorite to be the third quarterback taken, Bryce Petty could get some top-50 attention due to the quarterback class being so weak and his natural arm talent. However, he’ll need a full redshirt year before teams can trust him as a future franchise quarterback, and his back injury should give teams pause. The Broncos are the destination I’m projecting Petty to land.
Brandon Bridge, South Alabama
In terms of pure arm talent, Brandon Bridge may offer the most upside as a passer in the class. Never receiving ample development at the college level (transferred from Alcorn State, only started senior season), Bridge will need at least one and probably two redshirt years. However, for teams looking to have a Cam Newton-like talent (to both mold as well as practice against), Bridge may be enticing on Day 3.
Chris Bonner, Colorado State-Pueblo
One of my favorite prospects in the 2015 draft, Chris Bonner will need to overcome the “small school” label if he hopes to be drafted. However, getting experience with pro-style concepts and pre-snap reads, having ample arm talent and build, and showing a progression towards being an NFL-level passer. While the first four rounds seems unlikely, he may end up being the third best quarterback in this class in the long-term.