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Past 5-star QB prospects, how did they do?

Posted Jan 28, 2014

In looking back at past five-star quarterbacks, it's hard to predict which ones will have success in the NFL.

There is no exact science to picking the right quarterback. College game film, physical attributes, perceived intangibles, and NFL Combine results all factor into the decision. The most educated guess still has the potential to be a big, big miss that could potentially set back a franchise for years.

Saturday Down South, an SEC football fan site, revisited history to see how many five-star quarterback prospects delivered once they reached college and the NFL. While the number of high prospects that never panned out is surprising, there was another glaring discovery of those who did. Many of the most successful players in the NFL today were underrated coming out of high school.

In 2008, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were ranked lower than Terrelle Pryor, Dayne Crist, and EJ Manuel. Just one year earlier, three NFL starters, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Ryan Tannehill were ranked below the top prospects. Newton was ranked lower than his former NFL backup Jimmy Clausen, drafted in the second round of the 2010 Draft.

Another interesting note: Two of the quarterbacks on the list, Ryan Mallett and Christian Hackenberg, have ties with Texans head coach Bill O’Brien. Mallett, backup quarterback in New England, was drafted in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. During his rookie season with the Patriots, Mallett played under O’Brien who was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

At Penn State, O’Brien coached Hackenberg. The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year threw for 20 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and completed 231 passes in 2013, the fourth-most in a season in Penn State history.

First-round prospects for this year's draft, Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) and Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville) also made the list. While neither was a five-star prospect in 2011, both were listed as notable quarterbacks.

To read the complete story on past five-star quarterbacks, click here.

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