By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Almost to an unfair level, the critics have piled on Landry Jones the past few months, nitpicking and dissecting his every quarterbacking flaw with an enhanced microscope.
But that’s the inherent pain of the pre-NFL Draft process, where GMs and scouting personnel are actively digging up, then closely analyzing, tape from your fourth-grade Pop Warner game (so you’d figure they’d be capable of finding a GIF of one of the worst looking 40′s in combine history).
However, there’s some hope for Ol’ Landry, a ray of pundit light at the end of the ESPN tunnel.
Bill Polian, the former Colts GM who drafted Peyton Manning and currently serves as an ESPN NFL analyst, said on a Thursday show that Jones is his top-rated quarterback in this draft class.
“I just think, of this group of quarterbacks, which probably none are ready to come in and start right away, he’s the most ready and there’s the least wrong with him, from the standpoint of physical traits,” Polian said on ESPN’s NFL 32.
“I don’t think that he’s in the class with Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck or RGIII…or even (Ryan) Tannehill,” Polian said. “But I do think that he has a big arm, he can make all the throws, is very poised in the pocket and has a good release. He can see the field, he understands what he’s looking at. He has leadership qualities, even though he’s a quiet low-key kid.”
Clearly, Polian’s anointment of Landry atop the QB list comes with a caveat, which he noted, mainly concerning the lack of elite quarterbacking talent available.
But regardless, Polian still said he viewed Landry as a mid- to late-first rounder, slightly ahead of Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib and West Virginia’s Geno Smith, his next highest-rated signal-callers.
The NFL Draft begins next Thursday.