A deep '14 QB class, and the suitors

Teddy Bridgewater, Brett Hundley and Marcus Mariota have all gotten off to strong starts in 2013. Icon SMI

It’s still very early in the college football and NFL seasons, but you already can see the 2014 draft class of quarterbacks and the need for QBs among NFL teams beginning to take shape.

Unlike in 2013, when only one quarterback had his name called in the first round of the NFL draft, the 2014 class features a lot of depth. If the draft were held tomorrow, Teddy Bridgewater would be the top QB taken, and very likely in the top five. Behind him there is a second tier of five guys jockeying for position in the first- or second-round range.

It’s really difficult to separate these players, especially considering that the NFL QB market -- both in terms of the number of teams likely to be looking for QBs and what the teams are looking for in QBs (given the increased value placed on a QB’s ability to run) -- is as diverse as it’s ever been. The guys ranked second, third and fourth on my list wouldn’t have been ranked nearly as high if this were five or six years ago.

Let’s take a look first at the prospects with the best chances to be picked in the first three rounds of the draft, then the NFL teams most likely to use an early-round pick on a quarterback in 2014.

Top QB prospects for 2014 draft

First tier

1. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville Cardinals

Bridgewater is in his own tier not just because he has the size, ability and arm strength you need to succeed at the position, but specifically because of his accuracy on high-degree-of-difficulty throws, particularly under pressure. He’s mobile even though he is very effective from the pocket, but he isn’t as natural a runner as the next few guys on this list.