Friday, April 9, 2010

Top-drafted Quarterbacks Likely No Good

By Guest Blogger Daron Williams

Editor's note: Every now and then, I like to add some variety to the blog and stray away from all PR/journalism posts and talk about some other stuff I love — family, food, football, you name it. And when one of my favorite guest bloggers sends something on a topic such as those my way, well of course I'm going to post it. Keeping in the vein of our theme, though, here is the result of guest blogger Daron Williams' journalistic digging that shows why potential top draft picks Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford might need a lot of PR in the future.


As I do every April, I’m thoroughly enjoying the hoopla surrounding the upcoming 2010 edition of the NFL Draft. This year, the talent pool has been classified somewhere between 'good' and 'very good,' and there are several juicy storylines to follow. Where will 'Jesus of Gainesville' land, and will there be some water nearby for him to walk on? Who will draft a boy named Suh? And what to make of the other QBs in the draft?

It is this last issue I want to analyze. With so much emphasis placed on the quarterback position, doesn’t it make sense to spend a little extra time breaking down the numbers? Without getting too technical, I’m going to undertake this effort, mainly with the intention of showing just why the Rams may want to think twice before taking likely no. 1 pick — Sam Bradford.

So let’s go. My contention is that no Big-12 QB is likely to succeed in the NFL. Two Big-12 QBs are generally listed among the top five (if not top three) QBs in this draft – Oklahoma’s Bradford and Texas’ Colt McCoy. Both come from powerhouse football farms, and both can boast record-setting offensive careers at their schools. But dig deeper.

Let’s look at the success, or lack thereof, that the current Big-12 schools have produced at the quarterback position. I’m going to focus mostly on the schools with big-name QBs in the hunt this year. For NFL purposes, I’m going to stick to the last 10 years or so because I look at St. Louis’ 1999 “Best Show on Turf” as being a pivotal moment in the proliferation of today’s pass-happy NFL offenses. You would think this would play into the hands of the Big-12’s also-pass-happy schemes. You’d be wrong.

The last three QBs drafted at Texas include Vince Young, who’s already experiencing his second NFL life, just four years after being drafted by the Tennessee Titans. Nobody doubts his athletic prowess, but I don’t think anyone sees him going to Canton either. And he still has plenty of doubters as to whether he can even throw a slant (believe me, speaking as a Titans fan, I know from whence I speak). Before that, it was Chris Simms, who’s had an unremarkable career thus far and may never start another game. Before that? Third-rounder Rick McIvor in 1984 – I’ve never heard his name, but Wikipedia tells me he played in six games over two seasons and threw four total passes (all incomplete).

OOOOO-klahoma, you say? They’ve had six QBs in the last 10 years to Texas’ four. Names such as Josh Heupel, Heisman winner Jason White and Rhett Bomar may ring a bell in college lore, but not one of them has played any real minutes in the Not For Long league. The only OU QB currently on a roster is Bomar, whom the Giants took in the fifth round, and he certainly won’t see the field behind Super Bowl winner Eli Manning.

After digging a little, I can’t really find much success in the QB ranks from any Big-12 program in the last 10 years, with the exception of Young’s moderate success with the Titans. There are currently two likely starting QBs from Big-12 schools – Young and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Josh Freeman (Kansas State), ranked the no. 16 and no. 28 QBs in the league, respectively. With two (likely) starting NFL QBs, that puts the Big-12 behind the Pac-10 (eight), the SEC (five), the Big-10 and the ACC (four each). USC alone has four current starters listed (Palmer, Cassel, Leinart, Sanchez).

So what’s the big deal? I can’t hold the professional failures of their predecessors against McCoy and Bradford, right? Watch me.

The point is, historical success by QBs hailing from a particular program, especially when controlled for coaching era in college and offensive era in the NFL, has turned out to be a great indicator of expected success for incoming QBs. The system that a player runs in college has a lot to do with how they will adjust to the NFL game, and Big-12 QBs simply haven’t cut the mustard, despite the high-flying offenses and gaudy numbers they put up in college. Why, I do not know – that’s for another column.

To be fair, one could apply the same logic to the NFL quarterbacking black hole that is The Swamp and say that Tebow has no shot at success, and one would be justified in saying so. But McCoy and especially Bradford are expected to sign sizeable contracts and challenge for starting positions immediately, and in this, one of the last few years of the pre-rookie-contract cap era, a team simply cannot afford to go wrong selecting a quarterback so high.

But they will. Sorry, Rams fans.

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