Rising quarterback fills out draft's top trio

Good quarterbacks seem to come in threes. In 2004, it was Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger. In 2006, it was Vince Young, Matt Leinart and Jay Cutler. In 2007, JaMarcus Russell and Brady Quinn have been anointed as the top two. One rising prospect seems intent on rounding out this year's trio.

Drew Stanton (6-foot-3, 226 pounds) has the numbers of an elite quarterback. A three-year starter at Michigan State, he completed 533 of 846 passes (63 percent) for 6,524 yards, 42 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. He is also a threat to tuck the ball and run; he rushed 332 times for 1,512 yards and 15 scores as a collegian.

"He's a great, great competitor, and you really have to consider his body of work to fully appreciate what he's accomplished during his career. Drew's name appears throughout the Spartan record book," said Michigan State head coach John Smith.

Stanton's record-setting talents were on full display at the Senior Bowl. He did a good job of moving in the pocket and was on target with most of his short to intermediate throws, although his longer attempts did tend to flutter a bit.

He did well in working through his progressions and showed terrific poise in the pocket. Overall, it was an impressive performance for a player working to adapt to an entirely new offense.

"My offense at Michigan State didn't do much underneath the center," Stanton explained. "When I get a chance to come out here and show the scouts what I'm capable of doing, it's a big thing for me to come out and take seven-stop drops and five-step drops from underneath the center and make all the necessary throws in order to play at the next level."

Stanton looked strong in the pro-style offense run by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' staff and several teams took notice. The Miami Dolphins, St. Louis Rams and Dallas Cowboys are among those he met with during Senior Bowl week.

However, Stanton would be happy to be selected by the Buccaneers, which would allow him to continue working with Coach Jon Gruden.

"Coach Gruden is one of those guys you hear a lot of great things about and all of those things hold true. He has helped me a lot over a short period of time with my development," Stanton said.

Stanton currently carries a second-round grade but could sneak into the bottom of round one. But no matter where he is taken in the draft and no matter which team he goes to, Stanton should continue to be productive. He is a heady and athletic specimen capable of greatness. Given the high standard he has set for himself, he won't accept anything less.

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