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DaKCMan AP
04-21-2008, 07:55 AM
Despite pitfalls, QBs will go early
By Charles Bricker
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
April 21, 2008


It has been 10 years since the San Diego Chargers made an $11 million mistake by using the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft to select quarterback Ryan Leaf.

Eleven million dollars in signing bonus money. Plus his salary. Plus the unforgivable waste of a very high first-round selection, which so badly stalled the Chargers' progress that it would be six years before the club would have a season with more wins than losses.

If Leaf was the only quarterback upon whom a small fortune had been squandered, San Diego's embarrassing misjudgment could be excused as an aberration.

In fact, year after year NFL clubs throw away millions, and high draft picks, in gambles on the most important position in football.

In all, 28 quarterbacks have been drafted in the first round since 1998. Four have been abject failures David Carr (Houston, 2002), Tim Couch (Cleveland, 1999), Akili Smith (Cincinnati, 1999) and Leaf (1998).

Another nine have been less than mediocre, though they, too, have become multimillionaires because of their teams' desperate draft choices.

Only Eli Manning ( New York Giants, 2004), Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh, 2004) and Peyton Manning (Indianapolis, 1998) have reached elite status all Super Bowl winners. Now, five days before the draft, a number of teams must ponder whether Boston College's Matt Ryan is the next first-round quarterback mistake.

By all estimates, he'll be taken among the top 10 players. Kansas City at No. 5 must upgrade at quarterback. Baltimore at No. 8, which in 2003 wasted a first-rounder on Kyle Boller, is in position to blow off another top pick. Carolina, at No. 13, might strike a deal with New England for the No. 7 spot.

Ryan, 6-foot-5 and 224 pounds, is sturdy enough to endure a few hits in the pocket, but an impressive scramble against Virginia Tech notwithstanding, he's no runner and, while he threw 56 touchdown passes, he also threw 37 interceptions.

Scouts have praised his poise and leadership, but there's nothing unusual about those qualities in leading college quarterbacks, and none of that has much meaning when the QB is facing an NFL pass rush. The Dolphins' John Beck is a good example of a "poised" collegian who looked panicked in his rookie NFL season.

That said, there is a lot to recommend Ryan. Downfield passing isn't his forte, which is essentially an arm strength issue, but neither was it Joe Montana's stock in trade. Ryan was a successful quarterback on a team that didn't have a strong running game or great receivers.

More to the point, however, in a year that is not rich with quarterback prospects, Ryan is the best of the bunch.

Why do teams over-draft quarterbacks? Because there are few great throwers and because the position is so important. For many clubs, that justifies the expense, even knowing that far more first-rounders fail than achieve.

Of course first-round quarterbacks succeed. There were six first-rounders running the 12 playoff offenses last season and one of them, Eli Manning, won the Super Bowl. But the runner-up, Tom Brady, was a sixth-round pick and two other playoff quarterbacks, Tony Romo of Dallas and Jeff Garcia of Tampa Bay, were undrafted.

Romo is now earning the sort of money given first-round quarterbacks. But there is a difference. He's a proven commodity. If sanity prevails this year, Ryan might be the only first-round quarterback this year, though how many desperate clubs will leap at Joe Flacco of Delaware or Chad Henne of Michigan?

Two quarterbacks were taken in 2007's first round, though it's too early to judge if they've been a waste of cash and picks.

JaMarcus Russell, the No. 1 pick, signed a six-year deal with Oakland, though he's already missed the first year because he signed so late he missed training camp, was handed only one start, threw 66 passes, pitched four interceptions and fumbled four times.

No one is complaining too hard yet. Without a training camp, he wasn't ready to play, even for a bad team. He'll have his camp this year and the Raiders will soon know whether he's worth the $37.5 million in guaranteed money he's being paid.

Brady Quinn, the No. 22 pick by Cleveland, missed 11 days of training camp before signing a five-year deal that paid him a $7.75 million signing bonus.

He threw three passes and spent his rookie year watching Derek Anderson rejuvenate the Browns and give rise to predictions that Cleveland could be back in the playoffs for the first time in six years.

Who is Derek Anderson? He was draft guru Mel Kiper's 14th-best quarterback in 2005, right after the eminently forgettable No. 13 Gino Guidugli.

Baltimore drafted Anderson in the sixth round and paid him a pittance, by NFL standards, before waiving him Sept. 20. He was claimed by Cleveland, where he was 10-5 as a starter last season.

Unless he has a startling reversal of form, he could be more than just an alternate to the Pro Bowl this season.

And Quinn? Carrying a clipboard and collecting his prodigious salary? The Browns will want to see if Anderson can continue with his elevated play before deciding to deal Quinn for a draft pick or proven player.

In either case, they're stuck for his signing bonus, like so many other teams who have drafted a first-round QB, and, even if they dump him, they're also responsible for his salary cap figure.

There are Peyton Mannings out there. And Roethlisbergers.

But every one of them there are four Joey Harringtons or Byron Leftwiches. And the wasted dollars keep piling up a mountain of money mocking most of the teams that can't resist drafting a quarterback in the first round.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/football/pro/dolphins/sfl-flspdraftqbs21sbapr21,0,7425492.story

El Jefe
04-21-2008, 08:18 AM
Interesting read.

DenverChief
04-21-2008, 08:23 AM
yup.....btw WTF happened to Andre Woodson?

eazyb81
04-21-2008, 08:35 AM
It's similar to drafting a HS pitcher in the 1st round of the MLB draft. They are huge gambles, but they are also your best chance to find a truly elite player.

Also, the writer probably should have included great 1st round QBs who haven't won a SB yet. Guys like Carson Palmer and Donovan McNabb are certainly elite.

DaKCMan AP
04-21-2008, 09:02 AM
yup.....btw WTF happened to Andre Woodson?

He's very raw. He has a strong arm and was very productive in college with lesser talent against great competition, but he doesn't have good mechanics and doesn't have the best accuracy. He's a project, didn't perform great in workouts or the senior bowl and thus his draft stock has plummeted.

pikesome
04-21-2008, 09:05 AM
yup.....btw WTF happened to Andre Woodson?

My read (take it for what it's worth) is that he was a great physical specimen with a strong arm. His pluses, though, distracted people from his very unpolished nature. There's a lot of work before he'd be NFL-ready, if ever.

pikesome
04-21-2008, 09:05 AM
He's very raw. He has a strong arm and was very productive in college with lesser talent against great competition, but he doesn't have good mechanics and doesn't have the best accuracy. He's a project, didn't perform great in workouts or the senior bowl and thus his draft stock has plummeted.

Yea, that. :)

DenverChief
04-21-2008, 09:07 AM
He's very raw. He has a strong arm and was very productive in college with lesser talent against great competition, but he doesn't have good mechanics and doesn't have the best accuracy. He's a project, didn't perform great in workouts or the senior bowl and thus his draft stock has plummeted.

My read (take it for what it's worth) is that he was a great physical specimen with a strong arm. His pluses, though, distracted people from his very unpolished nature. There's a lot of work before he'd be NFL-ready, if ever.

Thanks guys :) :thumb:

SNR
04-21-2008, 12:44 PM
Cade McNown was a MUCH bigger bust than David Carr or even Tim Couch.

suds79
04-21-2008, 12:45 PM
This article just goes to show how far and away QB is above all other positions.

Teams are desperate to find the next Peyton Manning.

He sited how the Chargers missed with Leaf and what? 6-8 years later (don't feel like looking it up) they try again with Rivers.

Sometimes, you've got to gamble.

While we see teams gamble on a high round draft pick, I wonder why you don't see more teams gamble and draft one in the mid to low round picks every single year.

If you do that, you're bound to hit sooner or later right?