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The Third First-Round Quarterback?

Posted Mar 7, 2013

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock believes Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib has a shot at being drafted in the first round.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- There's not another Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III in the 2013 NFL Draft.

In fact, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said there are a "whole lot of holes in the quarterbacking class."

But Syracuse signal caller Ryan Nassib believes this year's draftees have what it takes to prove the doubters wrong.

"Maybe there is no Luck or RG3, but there’s quite a few very talented quarterbacks who’ve done some great things in college," Nassib said. "It’s going to be a pretty tight race. I just hope at the end of the day I put myself in the best position. Hopefully I get put ahead of some of these guys. That’s what we’re all striving for."

Mayock said he believes two quarterbacks -- West Virginia's Geno Smith and USC's Matt Barkley -- will be taken in the first round. The question is whether a third will join them.

"If history tells us anything lately, it‟s that somebody else is going to rise," Mayock said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "I don‟t know who the third guy is – maybe there won‟t be – but right now it‟s kind of a horse race."

The most likely candidate, in his eyes, is Nassib.

The Syracuse product left the school as its all-time leading passer with 9,190 yards. The 2012 Pro Football Weekly All-American also accumulated 70 touchdown passes -- second-most in school history -- in his career.

In his final year at the school, he led the Big East in pass attempts, pass completions, passing yards, plays, total yards, and total touchdowns.

"Ryan Nassib is another guy that coaches are going to like a lot," Mayock said. "He reminds me a little bit of Andy Dalton two years ago with the way he approaches the game and Kirk Cousins. Those are two kids that kind of rose as coaches got involved in the evaluation process.”

Nassib said that as a competitor, he "absolutely" views himself as the best quarterback in the class. But he's not concerned with whether he is taken in the first round.

"Four months ago, my goal was to get drafted, period," Nassib said at the combine. "It’s not so much the first round. What the people I trust, the people who advise me have been saying is it’s not when you go, it’s where you go."

Nassib said he has tried to emulate Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub with his quarterbacking, but he has also run an offense that the likes of Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick have executed in the NFL -- the read-option.

The three-year starter admitted he's "not much of a runner by trade," but feels he's capable of running that offense at the next level if need be.

"I think any kind of system, read-option, I’ll do OK," he said. "I’m not going to pull a ball down and run for 60 like some other guys might be able to, but one thing with the experience we had running the read zone, you just make smart decisions. You can add different things onto that read zone. Maybe I don’t have to run. Maybe I can throw more instead of having to run if that’s what the read says.

"If that’s what the team that drafts me asks of me, I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure I get the job done."