Ryan Nassib is going to the NFL one way or another. He's almost certainly going in the first two rounds. He is very likely going to be drafted tonight, and he may even go top 10. Some whack job earlier even suggested he could go top 5. That guy is nuts.
Honestly, for most of this process - from the end of the 2012 season through today - I have not truly believed Ryan Nassib would be a good NFL player. I always saw his ceiling as being a fringe starter on a bad team, but more likely to be a good backup. There's nothing wrong with that. You can make a lot of money and it's far better than most Syracuse QBs ever did in the NFL.
This week though, I've started to change my mind.
Not that I think Nassib is the next Andrew Luck or RGIII. I still wouldn't recommend taking him in the first round, because I think he's going to need some time and seasoning to reach his potential, and many first round picks are thrust right into the starting lineups these days.
But I've started to think he's this year's version of Chandler Jones.
Like Nassib, Jones was seen as a middle-round pick by most of us when he declared for the draft. He started rising quickly, and suddenly, on draft day, he was a first round pick. Not only that, he actually was quite successful in his rookie year and seems to be completely deserving of that first-round status.
It was hard to think he could go to the NFL in 2012 and become an impact player right away. But he did. How could we possibly miss that? We saw Chandler play every game.
In seeing every game of Chandler Jones' career, we saw all the good, but we also saw all the bad. And in our little Syracuse world, he was not an impact player all the time. We saw games where he disappeared (probably due to injury), while NFL scouts saw the West Virginia game. While other games showed flaws, the WVU game showed potential.
"If he's capable of THAT, then we can work out the kinks at the NFL level. You can't teach that ability."
And that's where Ryan Nassib comes in. While we think of the Pitt game, and the Rutgers game and the Minnesota game, NFL scouts are watching the Missouri game and the Northwestern game. They're seeing incredible potential. We're seeing a balance of the good and bad, equaling out to a mediocre player (at the next level), but NFL teams think they can build around the potential.
Maybe I'm just trying to will it to be true. But perhaps we've been too hard on Nassib. Maybe NFL teams know more than we do.