The NFL draft begins April 30 in Chicago, with all 32 teams looking for the next great pro talent to emerge from the SEC.

We’ll take a position-by-position look at the SEC’s draft prospects in the days leading up to the event. We started with running backs, receiversdefensive tacklesdefensive ends and safeties. We continue today with quarterbacks.

The big question that looms in the SEC at quarterback is whether or not the conference will produce a single draft choice. The 2014 draft that saw four SEC quarterbacks selected — Johnny Manziel, Aaron Murray, AJ McCarron and Zach Mettenberger — as well as an important undrafted free agent in Connor Shaw.

RELATED: Who will replace the SEC’s premier outgoing quarterbacks?

Outside of Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott, the group of quarterbacks in the SEC underwhelmed last season, part of the reason the conference didn’t even have a participant in the national championship game for the first time in nine years.

Will anyone in this year’s class catch the attention of NFL scouts?

Let’s take a look at some of the news, projections and buzz at the position entering this year’s draft.

BIGGEST STAR: Nick Marshall, Auburn

It’s the second half of the fourth preseason game. The last chance for undrafted free agents to prove they deserve one of the final roster spots before the NFL regular season.

Former Missouri standout kick returner Marcus Murphy waits in his end zone, fields the kick, and looks up to see another fringe roster player sprinting toward him, hoping to make a mark on the kick coverage team. Wait, is that … Nick Marshall?

Marshall, a two-year starting quarterback at Auburn with an SEC title to his credit, has reverted to cornerback in an attempt to get drafted. He’s a likely third-day pick at the position as well, despite fringe 4.57-second 40-yard dash speed. At an athletic 6-foot-1 and 207 pounds, Marshall has good size for a corner, and even if he’s slow and stiff in the hips, he’s a raw prospect with upside.

There’s a good chance some team will view him as a viable late-round gamble. It will be interesting to see Marshall sprinting toward kick returners, won’t it? Plus, there’s hidden value to Marshall in that he can be a team’s third (emergency) quarterback, potentially freeing a roster spot for another position.

That’s not exactly “star” material, but it’s the best this class of SEC quarterbacks can do.

RISING: Dylan Thompson, South Carolina

The SEC’s leading passer in ’14, Thompson did not draw an NFL Combine invitation.

As I mentioned in the introduction, Connor Shaw, one of the best quarterbacks in South Carolina history, didn’t get drafted after the ’13 season. Thompson, though he put up numbers, did not enjoy a season — or a career — anything close to Shaw’s. He’s little more than a one-year starter in the SEC as well.

His 6-foot-3, 218-pound frame are adequate measurements for an NFL quarterback., though, describes him as a “draft reject” due to “poor footwork and substantial accuracy and ball placement issues.”

According to a few reports, though, Thompson performed better than expected at his pro day in Columbia. He’s got little chance of getting drafted, but he may have created enough interest to get a shot at an NFL training camp.

FALLING: Blake Sims, Alabama

The surprise Tide starting quarterback beat out Jake Coker for the job, then set Alabama’s single-season passing record on the way to second-team All-SEC honors.

Attribute that resume to almost any other quarterback and he’s all but guaranteed to get drafted. Add in a 4.57-second 40-yard dash, his quick release and the fact that he’s operated within a pro-style offense and taken snaps under center, and in a blind resume test, it’s almost inconceivable that Sims now is a guy who may or may not hear his name called on May 2, the final day of this year’s NFL draft.

But Sims, at 5-foot-11, is not comparable to a Drew Brees or Russell Wilson in terms of throwing talent, experience or the ability to read defenses. Sims has decent arm strength, but although he took care of the ball for the most part in ’14, his decision-making can be questionable. He sometimes locks on targets, throws off balance and probably doesn’t possess NFL type accuracy.

Add in the fact that he never started a college game at quarterback prior to 2014, and Sims will need to scrap and claw his way onto an NFL roster as a second or third-team quarterback, regardless of whether he’s a late-round pick or goes undrafted.


  • Jameis Winston, Florida State
  • Marcus Mariota, Oregon
  • Brett Hundley, UCLA
  • Bryce Petty, Baylor
  • Garrett Grayson, Colorado State


  1. Will any SEC quarterbacks make an NFL roster or even a practice squad from this class?
  2. Can Dak Prescott impress NFL scouts as a passer in 2015, or will he have to rely on his athleticism to get drafted next year?
  3. Can last year’s class — players like McCarron and Manziel — make a bigger impact in the NFL in ’15?


  1. Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
  2. Jeremy Johnson, Auburn
  3. Jake Coker, Alabama


  • Georgia’s Hutson Mason is the highest-ranked SEC quarterback outside of Sims and Marshall on most draft websites. Wrote’s Mike Huguenin: “… he is a cerebral guy who played in a pro-style attack and has solid accuracy and poise. His intangibles are a big positive, and should he be given an opportunity, he has the potential to become a long-term backup.”
  • Bo Wallace continues to train in hopes of signing with an NFL team as an undrafted free agent. Wallace, who left Ole Miss with 10,478 yards of total offense — more than Eli or Archie Manning — maintains that injuries limited him and warped his form late in the 2014 season. “I think anybody that watched my pro day saw a different quarterback than what you saw at the end of last year, especially with the injuries,” Wallace said, according to 247Sports. “My accuracy and my arm strength diminished throughout the year and that was just from my right plant foot was messed up.”