John Beck, the soon-to-be 26-year-old quarterback of the Brigham Young University Cougars, is set to be selected this year's NFL Draft.
Beck is considered by some to be the third-best quarterback in the draft, behind Louisiana State's JaMarcus Russell and Notre Dame's Brady Quinn. However, Beck is more often considered to be somewhere around the fifth-to-seventh-best quarterback. Beck is older than most quarterbacks in the draft, because before landing at BYU, he served a few years in Portugal, on a church-related mission.
He began his BYU career as a freshman in 2003. He played sparingly. He did, however, make four starts. In the process, he became the first true freshman in BYU history to start at the quarterback position. As a freshman, Beck was 73-for-145 for 864 yards. He also threw five touchdowns and five interceptions.
Beck started coming into his own in 2004, playing in all 11 games, while starting 10 of them. He earned second-team All-Mountain West honors. In six of those games, he completed at least one pass of over 50 yards. His final season totals saw him completing 192 out of 343 passes for 2,563 yards, 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
As a junior, he was selected on the All-Mountain West Conference first-team, while also being named his team's MVP. Twice that season, Beck earned Mountain West Conference Offensive Player or the Week honors. Beck's season made him a candidate of the 2005 Davey O'Brien Award. He completed 331 out of 513 passes for 3,709 yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
As a senior, Beck had his best season ever. He completed 289 passes out of 417 thrown, for 3,885 yards, 32 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. He had an astounding 9.3 yards per pass attempt. His high totals earned him the Player of the Year award in the Mountain West Conference. He led BYU to a 10-2 record, which included a perfect 8-0 record in the Mountain West Conference.
Behind Beck's leadership throughout his 2006 senior season, the BYU Tigers won their first bowl game since 1996. They easily dispatched of the Oregon Ducks in the Las Vegas Bowl by a final score of 38-8.
Beck is regarded as a solid quarterback prospect. He shows high intelligence and has the ability to throw all over the football field. He has shown a lot of patience in the pocket and is not afraid to take a hit. He has also shown the ability to evade the pass rush, run out of the pocket and still make a play.
Throughout his collegiate career, Beck was very proficient. He knows what it takes to win. He was never the flashiest of quarterbacks, but more often than not, his superior efficiency simply got the job done. In many ways, Beck is an ideal prospect for an NFL team. Based on the same, Beck might be best suited as a highly capable backup quarterback - one who can manage the game without making costly mistakes.
If there is any detraction with Beck, it might be his age. The quarterback position is arguably the most difficult position to learn in the NFL. By missing those years while he was in Portugal, he finds himself three years older than most of the other quarterbacks in the draft. Considering the fact that there's quite often a one- or two-year learning curve for NFL quarterbacks, it's not out of the question that Beck might be close to 30 years old by the time he's fully suited and ready for a starting quarterback job in the NFL. On the other hand, some teams may regard his age as a positive sign that he has already matured, ready and capable of handling an NFL offense.
Another potential negative for Beck is his size. At 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, Beck may not have the physical abilities to be able to stand in the pocket and pick a defense apart as he was able to do at BYU.
Where will Beck fall in the draft? The Miami Dolphins worked him out and are interested. It's also possible the Philadelphia Eagles are interested in him as well. A first- or second-round selection is highly improbable for Beck. However, Beck may find himself falling into some team's hands at some point late in the third round. If he does slip into Day 2 of the draft, he probably won't last long.