The success of a team often hinges on the production at the quarterback position.
So says Gil Brandt, who oversaw the Dallas Cowboys' personnel department for 29 years and currently shares his gridiron knowledge as a senior analyst for NFL.com.
"The NFL is a quarterback-driven league and we have a crop of great quarterbacks under center in 2013," Brandt says. Brandt, who also visits college campuses for draft analysis on NFL.com, sees plenty of quarterback talent coming up the pike.
"The quarterbacks we see in college now are so much more developed passers than the quarterbacks we saw 25 years ago, simply because teams are throwing the ball so much more on the high school and collegiate level," says Brandt.
Here's Gil Brandt's choices and analysis for the top QBs in college today (listed alphabetically):
Tajh Boyd, Clemson 6-2/220
"He has a strong arm and is a good runner. Boyd has started 27 games in three years and has 69 TD passes over the past two seasons. He has 21 career wins at Clemson."
Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville 6-2/210
"He has very good athletic ability to go with good arm strength and accuracy. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the Sugar Bowl in a win over Florida last season."
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M 6-1/200
"The Heisman Trophy winner has the ability to make plays with his feet and arm. He has great field vision and has been working with quarterback guru George Whitfield this offseason to take his passing skills to the next level."
AJ McCarron, Alabama 6-3/212
"He has led his team to two consecutive BCS National Championships. He passed for 30 TDs and just three interceptions last season as a junior. He has very good arm strength and doesn't make mistakes. He has a future in the NFL."
Aaron Murray, Georgia 6-1/210
"He has good arm strength and a quick release. Murray has started 44 games over the past three seasons with 95 TD passes. He set a school single-season record with 3,893 passing yards in 2012, while leading the team to 12 wins."
Brandt's Honorable Mentions
David Ash, Texas; Derek Carr, Fresno State; David Fales, San Jose State; Brett Hundley, UCLA; Taylor Kelly, Arizona State; Marcus Mariota, Oregon; Braxton Miller, Ohio State; Tyler Russell, Mississippi State; Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech; Bo Wallace, Mississippi.
The talent pool will only deepen with these five high school seniors, rated in order of talent by CBS Sports Network recruiting expert Tom Lemming:
DeShaun Watson 6-4/205 Gainesville (GA)
"He was voted the state's Player of the Year in 2012 after throwing for over 4,300 yards and gaining 1,444 rush yards. He is the Georgia career passing record leader and career passing TD leader."
Will Grier 6-3/190 Davidson Day (NC)
"You will be hard pressed to find a more prolific passer than Will Grier. He has a big-time arm, a nice touch and terrific instincts. He threw for 5,785 yards and 69 TDs as a junior."
Jerrod Heard 6-2/190 Denton-Guyer (TX)
"He shows a live arm and tremendous running skills. If a college shows patience, he should become an All-American at the next level."
Keller Chyrst 6-3/225 Palo Alto (CA)
"The No. 1 signal caller on the West Coast shows the arm strength, the poise and the leadership skills to become an outstanding pro-style QB, but also has enough foot quickness to play in any offense."
Kyle Allen 6-3/195 Desert Mountain (AZ)
"He is one of the country's finest prospects at the quarterback position. He threw for over 3,200 yards and 36 TDs last year. He fits nicely in a pro-style or spread offense."
Tom Lemming's Honorable Mentions
David Cornwell, Jones (OK); D.J. Gillins, Ribault (FL); Caleb Henderson, Braddock Burke (VA); Jacob Park, Goose Creek (SC); Wilton Speight, The Collegiate School (VA).