By Tim Graham
INDIANAPOLIS -- With the NFL scouting combine starting Thursday here in Lucas Oil Stadium, general managers, scouts and analysts seem to be in agreement:
Unlike recent years, there are no out-of-the-box, ready-to-rock quarterbacks in this year's draft.
You won't find an Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford, Sam Bradford or Matt Ryan.
How risky, then, would it be for the Buffalo Bills to select a quarterback with the eighth overall pick?
In an interview today with The Buffalo News, Bills assistant GM Doug Whaley was asked how he views this year's quarterback class.
"There will be guys that develop," Whaley said. "With the quarterback class, I see guys with strengths, and there's guys with weaknesses. There's no total package.
"You've just got to decide the strengths they have and that you put more importance on, and you think they can overcome those weaknesses and develop. There will be some that do and some that don't."
Kansas City Chiefs GM John Dorsey, who's on the clock with the first overall pick, made similar comments recently when explaining how his scouting department slotted quarterbacks on their early draft board.
"There is no quarterback where personnel guys can definitely say, 'He's a first-round pick,' " Dorsey said in a story by Kansas City Star reporter Adam Teicher. "There were so many inconsistencies in the collective group. There was not one guy that stood up and said, 'I'm the guy in the position this year.' There really wasn't one clear-cut guy.
"There are too many technical flaws, scheme flaws. There are so many different variables that there are a lot of people all over the place on naming the top four or five guys and who those guys would be."
In a story Buffalo News reporter Jay Skurski wrote for Sunday's paper, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay suggested there wasn't a quarterback who deserved to be taken in the first round. But McShay predicted at least one would be because teams tend to reach when drafting quarterbacks.
In McShay's latest mock draft, he projected West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith to the Bills. McShay confessed he did so because he felt compelled to give somebody a quarterback in the first round.
Fellow ESPN draftmaster Mel Kiper is forecasting zero quarterbacks in the first round. Kiper's big board (the best 25 overall players, not slotted by draft order) lists no quarterbacks.
"But quarterback, all together in any draft class, is the hardest position to put your finger on," Whaley said. "You're always rolling the dice with a quarterback.
"The thing I look at, and I'm not trying to throw these guys under the bus, but you look at Alex Smith, Tim Couch, when they were coming out, everybody thought they were surefire picks and going to be great quarterbacks."
Whaley listed safety, defensive line, wide receiver and running back as the deepest positions in this year's draft class.
"We're going to get a good football player," Whaley said. "There's going to be players that ascend to very good football players, and I think the depth in this draft is the one thing that's most intriguing."
tagged2013 draft | 2013 NFL scouting combine | Doug Whaley