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updated: 4/16/2013 7:35 PM

3 second-round QBs who are first rate

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  • Former Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel is projected to be a second-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

      Former Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel is projected to be a second-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft.
    Associated Press

  • Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib is another potential second-round pick in the NFL draft.

      Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib is another potential second-round pick in the NFL draft.
    Associated Press

  • Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson had only four wins as a senior, but his leadership skills and athletic talent should help him get picked in the NFL draft.

      Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson had only four wins as a senior, but his leadership skills and athletic talent should help him get picked in the NFL draft.
    Associated Press

 
 

Geno Smith and Matt Barkley are the only quarterbacks mentioned as first-round picks in this year's NFL draft.

But three other quarterbacks could wind up with better pro careers than either of them. Syracuse's Ryan Nassib, Florida's E.J. Manuel and Arkansas' Tyler Wilson all have characteristics that could make them second-round picks and successful pros.

The 6-foot-4, 237-pound Manuel has ideal stature and excellent athleticism. He runs a 4.62 in the 40-yard dash and had a 25-6 record in his 31 starts. A dangerous runner with good touch, he also throws a catchable ball and is an inspirational and charismatic leader and a positive locker room presence.

"I definitely feel I'm the best quarterback in this class," Manuel said. "I'm very confident in my abilities. No disrespect to anybody else; that's just the way I feel. All the guys probably feel the same way."

Nassib does.

"Absolutely," said the Syracuse signal caller who started 38 games over the last three seasons. "If you're a really competitive person, you're going to come out here (at the NFL combine), and you're always going to feel like you're the best. You have to think that way if you want to be successful."

According to Pro Football Weekly's 2013 Draft Preview, the 6-foot-2, 227-pound Nassib is "Built like a small linebacker and carries the mental and physical toughness of a throwback tough guy."

Over the last three seasons, Nassib had a 67-27 TD-interception ratio. He showed a live arm and nice touch along with enviable field-general skills. He was allowed to audible and, at times, call his own plays, and he played in two different prostyle offenses and worked hard to master both systems.

"I've experienced a lot of things," Nassib said. "I've been in multiple systems, and I've learned a lot of football. Football is my passion."

Wilson went 15-9 in 24 starts for the Razorbacks and helped hold the team together after Bobby Petrino was canned as head coach in the spring of 2012 for an inappropriate relationship with a school employee he hired.

"It was tough," the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Wilson said. "We had a year there that we all didn't anticipate. But we had to find a way to win games and battle. We just didn't win as much as we wanted to."

The Razorbacks went 4-8 under John L. Smith, who was hired on a 10-month contract and let go after the season.

Wilson learned a lot about dealing with adversity.

"We started the year (rated in the) top five in the country," he said. "A lot of people in, Arkansas anyway -- I'm not sure about the rest of the country -- thought we could win a national championship, which was among the reasons I wanted to come back.

"When the Dumpster is turned upside down, it's about how you react to it. I felt it was my responsibility, along with a lot of the senior guys, to keep the program together. There was a two- or three-week period there where we didn't have a head coach and there could have really been a lot of controversy as far as guys transferring. But we kept it together."

Wilson completed 62.1 percent of his passes, threw for 3,387 yards with 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His team won just four times, but Wilson got some valuable life lessons.

"I learned to come to work every single day and compete your tail off," he said. "It tests your character, so I learned I've got pretty good character."

• Follow Bob's NFL reports on Twitter @BobLeGere, and check out his Bear Essentials blog at dailyherald.com/sports.

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