Quinn tops thin senior QB class

Updated: September 19, 2006, 5:14 PM ET
By Todd McShay | Scouts Inc.

The 2006 quarterback class, which boasted star power atop the board in Vince Young and Matt Leinart and quality depth with seven first-day selections, is a tough act to follow.

With the college football season under way, NFL scouts are hard at work evaluating prospects for the 2007 draft. Our Scouts Inc. draft specialists are no different. DraftTracker 2007 already is loaded up with in-depth scouting reports on nearly 250 college seniors who are on the NFL's radar, and our guys are filing updates each week as the prospects perform on the field.
• NFL DraftTracker 2007
Brady Quinn is not as flashy as Young or Leinart but the hype-machine is in full throttle for the Notre Dame signal-caller, who enters this season as the Heisman Trophy favorite and the top quarterback prospect in regards to the 2007 draft. After floundering for his first two collegiate seasons, Quinn broke out under first-year head coach Charlie Weis in 2005, completing 64.9 percent of his throws for 3,919 yards and 32 touchdowns against just seven interceptions.

Another season like the last could land Quinn the top-overall spot in next year's draft.

The only senior prospect with the potential to challenge Quinn to be the top quarterback taken is Michigan State's Drew Stanton. The 6-foot-3, 223-pound gunslinger possesses all the physical tools it takes to be successful at the next level, including the size, arm strength and athletic ability. Most importantly, he shows rare intangibles as a leader and competitor. However, Stanton's inconsistency and history of injury inevitably will hurt his draft standing.

There is a noticeable drop-off after Quinn and Stanton at this early point in the process. UTEP's Jordan Palmer, younger brother of Bengals' starting quarterback and former top overall pick (2003) Carson Palmer, is a strong pocket passer with impressive size. However, Palmer lacks ideal mobility and must bounce back from a 19-interception junior campaign.

Troy Smith (Ohio State) might be the least-polished of this group, but the dual-threat quarterback has made considerable strides as a passer and decision-maker the past two seasons. Plus, if he can't make it as a quarterback in the NFL, Smith is athletic enough to play a slash-type role for the team that drafts him -- much like Michael Robinson (49ers), Brad Smith (Jets) and Reggie McNeal (Bengals) from the 2006 draft.

Trent Edwards (Stanford) and John Beck (BYU) flashed NFL tools last season but need to build on that success in order to warrant first-day consideration in next Spring's draft. On the flip side, Tyler Palko (Pittsburgh) and Chris Leak (Florida) must recapture their sophomore successes after struggling to adjust to new coaching staffs as juniors last season.

One of the most underrated prospects at this point is Kevin Kolb (Houston), who possesses a fine combination of size, arm strength and mobility. If he can limit his mistakes as a senior after tossing 15 picks in 2005, Kolb's draft stock could skyrocket.

Finally, the lack of overall talent in this year's senior class could make it enticing for top juniors to leave early for the 2007 NFL draft. Potential candidates include Brian Brohm (Louisville), Kyle Wright (Miami-Fla.) and Chad Henne (Michigan).

Top 15 Senior QB Prospects
Rnk Prospect, School Height Weight
1. Brady Quinn, Notre Dame 6-3 3/8 226
2. Drew Stanton, Michigan State 6-2 7/8 235
3. Jordan Palmer, UTEP 6-5 229
4. Troy Smith, Ohio State 6-0 210
5. Trent Edwards, Stanford 6-3 1/4 220
6. Kevin Kolb, Houston 6-2 3/4 228
7. Chris Leak, Florida 5-11 1/2 210
8. John Beck, BYU 6-1 7/8 215
9. Jeff Rowe, Nevada 6-4 3/4 222
10. Tyler Palko, Pittsburgh 6-1 222
11. Lester Ricard, Tulane 6-4 218
12. Drew Tate, Iowa 5-11 3/8 191
13. John Stocco, Wisconsin 6-1 204
14. Zac Taylor, Nebraska 6-1 5/8 210
15. Luke Getsy, Akron 6-2 1/8 226

Top 5 Potential Early Entries
Rnk Prospect, School Height Weight
1. Brian Brohm, Louisville 6-3 3/4 221
2. Kyle Wright, Miami-Fla. 6-3 5/8 217
3. Chad Henne, Michigan 6-2 222
4. JaMarcus Russell, LSU 6-4 3/4 248
5. Matt Ryan, Boston College 6-4 7/8 223

Day 1 Quarterbacks in 2006 NFL Draft
Rnk Prospect, School Team Round (Overall)
1. Vince Young, Texas Titans First (3)
2. Matt Leinart, USC Cardinals First (10)
3. Jay Cutler, Vanderbilt Broncos First (11)
4. Kellen Clemens, Oregon Jets Second (49)
5. Tarvaris Jackson, Alabama State Vikings Second (64)
6. Charlie Whitehurst, Clemson Chargers Third (81)
7. Brodie Croyle, Alabama Chiefs Third (85)

Three-Year Tally

The following graphic shows the number of quarterbacks selected in each round of the previous three NFL drafts. Most NFL teams use this type of chart to study position trends when setting up their respective draft boards each year.

Round 2006 2005 2004 Avg.
1 3 3 4 3.3
2 2 0 0 0.7
3 2 3 1 2
4 0 2 1 1
5 2 2 1 1.7
6 2 1 4 2.3
7 1 3 6 3.3
Total 12 14 17 14.3