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Patriots.com Draft Board: Quarterbacks

1. Matt Leinart, USC – The most prepared, technically sound quarterback in this draft. Can make all the throws he needs to make at the NFL level. Not as talented as Carson Palmer physically but kind of reminds me of Troy Aikman with his accuracy on the intermediate routes. Vince Young and Jay Cutler may have more upside but Leinart is the safest pick out of the three.

2. Vince Young, Texas – A much better quarterback than people give him credit for. Is known for his ability to run with the ball but shows awareness in the pocket to go with his strong arm. With all his physical ability, if he gets with the right coach who can teach him the position, the sky is the limit for Young. Andy Hart thinks Young is the next coming of Dan Marino.

3. Jay Cutler, Vanderbilt – Probably a little over-hyped but when talking with this guy, you can't help but fall in love with him. Has the moxie and intangibles teams look for in a quarterback to go along with a cannon for an arm. Needs to break some bad habits and be more consistent on his throws but has a lot of upside because of his desire and attitude.

4. Kellen Clemens, Oregon – In my opinion, there is the big four at quarterback, not the big three. I wouldn't be shocked if three years down the road, Clemens turns out to be the best quarterback to come out of this draft. He has a strong arm and really impressed scouts with his performance at the Combine. Was injured after eight games last year and that hurt his draft stock early on but he's on the rise as of late. Could end up going as early as the second round now.

5. Charlie Whitehurst, Clemson – Was inconsistent in college and never really reached his full potential. Has good size and is able to make most throws but struggles a little bit with his decision-making. Could be a solid pro after a couple of years if he works hard and cuts down on his mistakes.

6. Bruce Gradkowski, Toledo – Intelligent signal caller with limited physical skills. Is one of those guys who plays better than he tests. Kind of similar to Tom Brady coming out of college. Nothing really blows you away about him but he's a leader and a winner. I wouldn't be surprised to see him starting in the NFL someday because of his feel for the game but at the very least, he should be a capable backup.

7. Brodie Croyle, Alabama – A developmental quarterback with some decent skills. Battled injuries in college but when he was healthy proved to be a gutsy leader with good intangibles. Needs to deliver the ball quicker, especially when being blitzed. Takes too many sacks. Doesn't have a rocket for an arm but is accurate and throws a catchable ball. Needs to show better pocket awareness but possesses some of the skills NFL teams look for in a quarterback and could end up being a solid backup.

8. Reggie McNeal, Texas A&M – An athletic quarterback with a big arm. Is raw but has some upside. Can be very streaky at times and needs to show more consistency. Struggles hitting receivers on the run. A great athlete who could turn into a starting pro quarterback some day if a team is patient with him. He won't be ready to play for a couple of years because he's still way too erratic as a passer.

9. Ingle Martin, Furman – Started his career at Florida before transferring to Furman. Really impressed at the Combine where he showed he had a strong arm and was very accurate in all the drills. Tested out as having the best velocity of any quarterback at the Combine, yet throws a catchable ball. Shows good poise in the pocket and can make plays out of nothing. A very intriguing late-round prospect.

10. Omar Jacobs, Bowling Green – Would have been better served to stay in college for his senior season. Put up big numbers at Bowling Green but struggled at the Combine in the throwing drills. Is a developmental prospect that is a few years away from playing in the NFL. Played in a shotgun/option-type offense in college, so he needs to learn how to play in a pro style system. Sometimes just throws the ball up into coverage. Has a long way to go but at this point so do the rest of the quarterbacks left on the board. Andy Hart says he wouldn't select Jacobs if the NFL expanded the draft to 25 rounds.

Overrated

Cutler – I think Cutler is a good prospect who could end up being a productive NFL quarterback but right now his hype is overshadowing his actual ability. Cutler is one of the top 30 players in this draft but he certainly isn't one of the top five. If he goes that early, I think it will be a mistake. Cutler has a chance to be a good NFL quarterback, I'm just not sure we are looking at the next Peyton Manning or Carson Palmer. I think he's more likely to be the next Kerry Collins. In other words, a good – but not great – NFL quarterback with a very strong arm.

McNeal – I love Corey Chavous and respect his opinions on the draft because he's an intelligent player who actually puts a lot of work in evaluating prospects. However, to say that McNeal is the best player is this draft is ludicrous. McNeal was very streaky in college and when he's off, he's way off. McNeal is a good athlete but he needs to be coached up and is a long way away from being a starting NFL quarterback.

Drew Olson, UCLA – Olson is a guy I'm really down on. I think he has a weak arm and makes some terrible decisions on the football field. I know some people have him ranked in their top ten but when I watch Olson, I see an undrafted free agent.

Underrated

Clemens – Clemens draft stock is really on the rise. His size, accuracy and arm strength is as impressive as any quarterback in the draft. It's funny because with all the talk these past three months about Leinart, Young and Cutler, this guy has the physical tools to be better than all of them in a couple of years. Clemens reminds me of Drew Bledsoe and before Patriots fans laugh, remember that a lot of teams would of loved to have Bledsoe as their starting quarterback during his career.

Gradkowski– It's funny because after I got done watching Gradkowski on tape, I went over to Andy hart and told him the former Toledo gunslinger reminded of Brady in a lot of ways. Andy responded by saying he thought the exact same thing when he was watching Gradkowski. Now, are we saying Gradkowski is going to be the next Brady? Absolutely not. However, he does have the same instincts and intangibles that someone like Brady possesses. He doesn't wow you with his arm strength or athletic ability but there's something about Gradkowski's game that makes you like him. He's smart, gutsy and plays with a lot of poise. If he ends up in the right system, Gradkowski could really surprise a lot of people down the road.

Possible Patriots

Martin – The Patriots may not even draft a quarterback and if they do, it won't be until the later rounds of the draft. Martin is an intriguing guy because he started his career at Florida before transferring to Furman and putting up solid numbers. He was one of the most accurate quarterbacks at the Combine and with his combination of intelligence and physical ability, the Patriots may be tempted to take a chance on him if he's around late in the draft.

Paul Pinegar, Fresno State – I actually don't like Pinegar at all but he's expected to be available late in the draft and since he played for Fresno State, the Patriots may know things about him that would make them believe Pinegar is worthy of a late-round pick. Pinegar makes a lot of bad decisions and struggles with his accuracy but in Round 7 of the draft, teams are looking for players with upside who fit their system. If the Patriots feel like Pinegar falls into that category, he could wind up in New England.

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