NFL Draft: Picking a QB early in the draft is a real crapshooton April 28th, 2006 at 3:13 am
Vince Young is likely to be going to the Tennessee Titans with pick #3
NFL Draft History is littered with teams broken dreams after taking a QB in the first round and having him being a bust.
by Mike Zimmer, still hates Akili Smith
What the heck do I know about QB’s? I really did think that once upon a time that Ryan Leaf had the better shot at being great while I thought Peyton Manning was too mechanical and goofy to be a good NFL QB. Then again, I smelled David Klingler and Akili Smith a mile away. I was sure that Notre Dame’s Ric Meier was tougher and more NFL ready than Drew Bledsoe. Again, I smelled Tim Couch and am smelling Kyle Boller more and more. NFL teams roll the dice everytime they pick a QB in the draft–especially early on in the first round. Heck, some teams make this mistake over and over again when it comes to picking the wrong guy. Cincinnati and Detroit stand out the worst in my mind with the mentioned Klingler and Smith joining the likes of Joey Harrington, Andre Ware and Chuck Long as bonafide busts. This season, there are 3 “Big” QB’s on the top of the draft board and no one knows for sure what this years crop will yield. Here is a quick snap shot at the QB rankings and some thoughts on some other QB’s that might become the next Tom Brady (picked very late in the draft by the Patriots). Here is my Rankings…
1. Matt Leinart–(USC)–This is surely the kiss of death for Leinart when I say that I think Leinart is a no brainer and Vince Young is the flop. Leinart is a winner despite his somewhat effeminate demeanor, his lackadaisical apporach to being an athlete and some what passive nature. Leinart is a Winner and that is hard to teach. He was able to lead the Trojans to 2 Championships and a trip to a third attempt at the crown. He worked out of a Pro-offense in college and was blessed with distributing the ball to a cadre of superstar weapons. Then again, this is also one of the knocks on him–as he was surrounded by a fantastic offensive line, a brilliant run game and had good recievers. Leinart doesn’t have the biggest arm and his mobility is another weak part of his game. His ability to take a hit has been questioned too, making him suddenly go from (if he had come out of college last season and entered the draft instead of taking ball room dancing and sticking it out one more year to be the BMOC) the overall number one pick to perhaps slipping down the draft board as far down as perhaps the Raiders at pick #6 or further. On the upside, Leinart is a prototype QB when it comes to build, instincts and the intangibles that make him a leader. I think that he will slip to the #4 spot in the draft and be too hard for the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets to pass on. Who he reminds me of: If he were cockier and more of a dedicated athlete, he reminds me of Boomer Esiason when he came out of college. He could however be awful like another former Pac-10 QB who got picked early in the draft in Cade McNown.
2. Vince Young–(Texas)–Again, by me saying that Young will suck, he is bound to be the next Michael Vick/Donovan McNabb hybrid or at worst something akin to Randall Cunningham in his prime. However, I think Young is the next big flop to be taken very early in the NFL draft by a team that is reaching. The Titans are in line with pick #3 to take Young. The club is reportedly split on the pick too with the brass wanting Young and the coaching staff including Offensive Coordinator Norm Chow (former USC position coach) want to take Leinart. Young is an absolutely freakishly gifted athlete. He is so big that he looks like a Power Forward that has decided to take up football. He is fast and makes offense happen. But he played in a very simple offense at Texas, playing out of the shotgun and running as much as passing. His throwing motion is hinky and to the side as well and not exactly overly strong. These knocks as well as a rediculously low score on the wonderlic test make me suspicious. And don’t go telling me anything about how the Wonderlic doens’t matter–when you are not very bright, playing QB in the NFL will eat you up. Michael Vick is a prime example of this as he is talented beyond comprehension with his legs, but his grasp of the NFL passing game after 4+ years is still mediocre to poor at best. Think of him as: A nasty cross between Andre Ware, Akili Smith and an un-polished rookie year Randall Cunningham.
3. Jay Cutler–(Vanderbilt)–Ok, I have a problem with a guy that won 11-games in four years as a QB in college being a top end pick. However, watching Jay Cutler make all the throws at the combine (I watched in on demand on NFL network on demand!) it is hard to dispell his talent. The thing is, if you don’t win on a high level, are you able to win at the pro-level? Cutler is not exactly brilliant and perfectly cut from a mold either. He throws off his back foot, he makes coverage mistakes and forced the ball at Vandy. Then again, he was surrounded by a very poor supporting cast. Put him on a good team and you never know, he may blossom. The upside I like about Cutler is that he is no premaddonna, but blessed with confident carriage like that of Brett Favre–a guy he keeps getting compared to. He is no dummy either, afterall he did attend Vanderbilt. Who he reminds me of: A dumbed down and lesser version of Brett Favre with a smidge of Tim Couch. Yuck. Some teams in the 7-20 spot in the draft is going to find him too talented to overlook. I see him headed to St. Louis with pick #11.
4. Brodie Croyle–(Alabama)–Croyle has some major negatives against him right off the bat. He was an injury waiting to happen and was incredible un-lucky when it came to staying healthy. He also is lean and fragile looking despite being blessed with some un-teachable skills. The upside are those skills that include a quick release and fantastic zip on the ball. Croyle looks like a pro QB when he throws the ball and can make all the throws necessary. He is not mobile, but has happy feet that allow him to slip pressure. The upside is, he has played since he was a freshman in college when healthy–the downside was the injury history. Think of him as: A slimmer, Marc Bulger. It is entirely possible that Croyle is the first QB taken in the second round. The Jets if they don’t draft at QB could be a good fit as would the Saints–if they want a project behind Drew Brees.
5. Kellon Clemens–(Oregon)–This kid broke his leg late last season and it is too bad considering that he could be one of the guys considered in the first round. Clemens however is another Oregon QB from the system that has produced “Jeff Tedford” QB’s like Joey Harrington, Kyle Boller and more profoundly awful, Akili Smith and Aaron Rodgers. Clemens is a talented scrambler and can make all the throws even in bad weather up in Eugene, Oregon. He Reminds me of: Jake Plummer.
And then there was a glut of alsorands: 6. Omar Jacobs (Bowling Green)–has all the intagibles to make all the throws neccessary, but is raw and undersized. Also a system guy that was almost never under center in the offense. 7. Charlie Whitehurst (Clemson)–An over-rated kid with an above average arm and size. Never great and sometimes just not good at Clemson. 8. Paul Pinegar (Fresno State)–Pinegar is a tough QB that took some punishment as a Bulldog. He has the prototype size and above average arm but he was limited by his team and a nasty 30 INT’s over the last 2 seasons.9. Justin Holland (Colorado State)–It’s hard for me to think that after watching this kid a few times over the last few years on the late games and Thursday night ESPN * games that he was not better in his Senior year. Big, with a lightning fast release and zip he is the full package physically. 10. Drew Olson (UCLA)–Above average arm and smarts looks like a career back up that could rescue a team if need be ala Frank Riche.
Editors note: It is clear that I will not make it to every position by Saturday morning and by the reader responce thus far, this might not be a bad thing. I will be doing offense only with the WR/TE’s next and maybe, just maybe some talk about the offensive line. Defense will just have to be played out as the draft unfolds on Saturday.