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2013 NFL Mock Draft 3.0

Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon SMI

Interest in Geno Smith seems to have risen after he went 60 of 64 at his recent Pro Day.

After a painfully slow start in comparison to recent years, the plot in this year's quarterback draft class is about to thicken. Matt Barkley's much-anticipated pro day workout at USC is Wednesday, and if he puts sufficient arm strength on display, he should vault himself squarely into the first-round conversation.

It says right here he will (see my No. 8 pick, by those embattled Buffalo Bills).

History tells us that's just the way this draft stuff works. With at least seven of the top nine teams in varying degrees of need at starting quarterback, passers will be in demand as much as ever, even if this year's crop is deemed underwhelming by most observers. On average, three quarterbacks get taken in the first round every year. The math has held in the past five years (with 15 selected from 2008-2012), and in the most recent 10 drafts (with 31 QBs chosen in the opening round from 2003-2012).

That means before we're done with the top 32 picks on the night of April 25, a third quarterback, along with West Virginia's Geno Smith and Barkley, is likely to hear his name called. Florida State's E.J. Manuel is the favorite in the eyes of some, given that he exhibits the skill set and mobility needed to execute in the trendy read-option offense. But others have placed their buck on Syracuse's heady Ryan Nassib or North Carolina State's strong-armed Mike Glennon.

Someone trading back into the lower third of the first round for a quarterback is a popular maneuver of late, but there could also be some teams finding what they're looking for in the veteran QB market, with Seattle's Matt Flynn and Oakland's Carson Palmer potentially still to be moved. With less than a month remaining until the draft, the quarterback drama is just beginning to swirl.

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