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 I can't believe this. I have changed my mind about #1. 
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dh86 wrote:
Its looking like we will not be taking a QB at #1, so I have wasted oh, about 200 posts by debating this issue.

And what, may I ask, makes you say that? How is possible to know, at this point, who we will or will not be taking with the #1 pick?

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February 20th, 2009, 5:39 pm
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This article is along the lines of my stance on QB's in this years draft.

NFL teams wary of undergrad QBs

John Clayton*ESPN.com wrote:
INDIANAPOLIS -- The fascinating part of the 2009 NFL draft isn't just that the four top-rated quarterbacks are underclassmen. The fascinating part will be how quickly the NFL can accept four quarterbacks who skipped their senior seasons.

Judging college quarterbacks is harder than ever. The spread offense totally has changed the college game. Thanks to the spread, quarterbacks operate out of shotgun formation. They complete higher percentage passes to a more diverse group of receivers. Completion percentage is as much a byproduct of the scheme as it is the quarterback, because there aren't enough good corners to line up on the pass-catchers.

Most scouts agree there isn't a Matt Ryan in the 2009 draft, but many of those scouts downgraded him in the 2008 selection because his completion percentage dropped from 61.6 to 59.3 during his senior year. They failed to recognize the Boston College receiving crew simply wasn't good enough.

Ryan ended up winning 11 games as the Atlanta Falcons' rookie starter. He seems like the best quarterback prospect to come into the league since Peyton Manning in 1998.

Matthew Stafford of Georgia, Mark Sanchez of USC, Josh Freeman of Kansas State and Nate Davis of Ball State are the top quarterbacks being evaluated at the scouting combine that started this week in Indianapolis. The list of draft failures of quarterbacks who skipped their senior seasons is long and expensive.

Ryan Leaf heads the list. He was all-world coming out of Washington State, appearing to be another John Elway. His immaturity and unwillingness to adapt cost the San Diego Chargers millions, and sent fear into every franchise considering drafting a quarterback who didn't stay to play a senior season.

Tim Couch, Heath Shuler, Tommy Maddox and Andre Ware are just a few more of the names that send chills down scouts' spines as they contemplate Stafford, Sanchez, Freeman and Davis.

The league was spoiled for a few years because there once was a trend among quarterbacks to play four collegiate seasons. Peyton Manning did it. His brother, Eli Manning, stayed. So did Philip Rivers, Drew Brees, Donovan McNabb, Carson Palmer and so many others.

Their loyalty and maturity made decision-making a little easier. Those quarterbacks who stay for a senior year polish their games. Their completion percentage improves dramatically, and NFL franchises aren't rushed into judgment. General managers set their scouts' agendas during the summer, and if they need quarterbacks they have a full fall to evaluate games, do proper interviewing and psychological testing. The NFL teams can watch the best quarterback prospects play against future pros in the East-West Shrine Game or the Senior Bowl.

Evaluating underclassmen is like cramming for a final in college. Underclassmen don't declare for the draft until mid-January. Then the clock starts. Scouts who were focused on seniors have to go back and study the tape on underclassmen entering the draft.

Teams have three months to make the most difficult decision a franchise must make. The ultimate success of a team is dependent on the play of its quarterback.

Thanks to the spread offense and the success of Ryan and Baltimore Ravens starter Joe Flacco as rookies, conventional wisdom is thrown out the window. The easiest transition was having the first-round quarterback sit during his rookie season. Carson Palmer and Steve McNair were success stories from franchises that resisted the temptation to rush prospects who entered the league as the highest-paid players on their team. Try talking an owner into investing a $60 million contract on a rookie who's going to carry a clipboard. It isn't easy.

Ryan and Flacco's successes threw organizational patience out the window. They led their teams to the playoffs as rookies, and under first-year head coaches, at that. Once again, the pressure will be on to rush quarterbacks into service.

The college success of the spread offense also made an easy evaluating tool less relevant. For years, teams looked back at the success and failures of college quarterbacks and found completion percentage a big factor. Teams broke down the final two college seasons of the quarterback and found that a combined 59 percent completion figure was a good guideline for study. The final two years were critical, because quarterbacks who play as freshmen and sophomores have skewed stats.

For a while, the combined 59 percent completion figure during the final two college seasons was like a Mendoza line. Those above that mark were successes. Those who were below were failures. Peyton and Tom Brady, McNabb, Palmer, Chad Pennington, Rivers and so many other success stories completed at least 59 percent of their passes in the span of their final two seasons.

Leaf, Akili Smith, Joey Harrington, Patrick Ramsey, J.P. Losman, Kyle Boller and so many others were among the many collegians who did not exceed the 59 percent-accuracy mark in their final two seasons combined. They have been NFL failures.

Now, even the Theory of 59 is outdated. Stafford, Sanchez, Freeman and Davis all completed a combined 59 percent of their passes or better during the final two seasons. Had they stayed in school for a senior year, their stats would be even better heading into the pros. If you use the Theory of 59, every quarterback in the draft except Rhett Bomar would be projected success, because Bomar is the only draft quarterback with less than a 59 percent completion rate. Still, this theory is a good evaluating tool, because accuracy is often more important than strong arms when looking at quarterbacks.

Teams will have to break down every pass and determine the completion percentages of throws longer than 10 yards to project the success of these quarterbacks. Of course, the NFL game has changed in many ways to give all of these underclassmen hope. With officials calling fewer than 1.7 holding penalties per game on average, quarterbacks can complete 65 percent of their passes working out of three- and five-step drops. They even have enough time to get to their third and maybe fourth reads on some throws.

Stafford, by the way, plans to run but not throw this weekend at Indianapolis. The Detroit Lions are seriously considering him for the first pick in the draft, so Stafford doesn't want to scare them by having a bad throwing day to receivers he just met. He'll do his throwing on the Georgia campus under his terms.

Maybe it's fitting that the class of 2009 is one in which teams have to use a hurry-up strategy to get to know the quarterbacks of the future. The NFL is going to more no-huddle, hurry-up offense. This weekend at the combine is the first real chance teams can get to know the 2009 quarterbacks of the future. The draft is a little more than two months away.

It's a hurry-up pace for a no-huddle league. Fitting.


I like some of the QB's in the draft. But I don't like the risk at where they're targeted. Case in point for this article. It's a huge gamble to take the no. 1 overall on an early entry QB.

The only time I thought it was okay for an early entry QB to go no. 1 overall was with Vince Young. Looks increasingly like that would've been a wrong move too.

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February 20th, 2009, 7:02 pm
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Quote:
Some people say Stafford is the best QB prospect to come out in many years


WHO???

I'd like to see ANY source for that one!

I realize that says "some people"...... but I'm assuming we aren't taking old cousin Mearl's opinion on that.... so are we really talking about actual talent evaluators of any sort there???


February 21st, 2009, 12:20 am
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I dont have a quote or anything and don't intend on hunting for one but I believe that is Mel Kiper Jr stance on it...take that for what it is though


February 21st, 2009, 1:14 am
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:roll:

Quote:
http://www.mlive.com/lions/index.ssf/2009/02/mel_kiper_matt_stafford_and_ma.html

Kiper, though, also said that Stafford -- and Mark Sanchez -- are not "super elite prospects'' and they both come with risks.


Wow, what an endorsement.

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February 21st, 2009, 1:24 am
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Not sure if it helps or hurts the argument for/against Stafford, but I find it interesting where each guru/NFL draft site on the Internet ranks Stafford overall in this draft class. Most gurus/sites rank Crabtree at #1 or #2. Here is what I was able to find so far:

Mike Mayock (NFLN): #6 Overall
Nolan Narwocki (ProFootballWeekly): #2 Overall
Mel Kiper (ESPN): #3 Overall
Scott Wright (DraftCountdown): #1 Overall
NFLDraft Scout: #8 Overall
Scouts, Inc. (ESPN): #5 Overall
NFL DraftDog: #5 Overall
FootballsFuture: #9 Overall
FFToolbox: #3 Overall

I ranked these sources in order of my level of respect for their opinion. Mayock, I think, is the best in the business: he correctly pegged Jay Cutler and Matt Ryan, although he whiffed badly on JaMarcus Russell. Nolan is a very underrated analyst for ProFootballWeekly who I relied on a lot for the big board for my blog. Mel Kiper is the godfather and very knowledgeable, but he makes lots of hilariously wrong predictions. There is a big drop off between Scouts, Inc. and the lower tier draft sites, who do ridiculous things in their top 100 lists like putting inconsistent Michael Oher #1 or ranking Aaron Curry all the way down at #10.

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February 21st, 2009, 1:52 am
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Touchdown Jesus wrote:
dh86 wrote:
Its looking like we will not be taking a QB at #1, so I have wasted oh, about 200 posts by debating this issue.

And what, may I ask, makes you say that? How is possible to know, at this point, who we will or will not be taking with the #1 pick?


This is from Don Banks' recent article:

Quote:
Give a listen to Schwartz when asked for his take on the dubious distinction of picking in the top slot:

"This is my 16th year in the NFL and it's my first experience with it -- and hopefully my last,'' Schwartz said. "It is a different animal. I've compared it a little bit to playing blackjack. You can go play blackjack in Vegas, and play $5 tables, and play for a couple hours and make bad decisions and lose $100 and have some fun. You go play at the $5,000, or $10,000 table and you're making bad decisions, you're walking home. You're not flying home. You've got to add that into the equation. Not only is it an opportunity to get a great player. But you need to make sure.''


and...
Quote:
"I've said before, we're going to build the team like it's an outdoor team,'' Schwartz said. "We're not going to build it to be a dome team. This is a great dome, and Ford Field is a great dome. But the fact is that we have to go to Lambeau, probably in December. We'll have to go to Chicago, maybe for a game that might mean the playoffs. You need to be big and physical, run the ball and stop the run when the weather gets bad. When you look at Tennessee and other places I've been, if you're strong on the offensive and defensive line, you'll be consistent from week to week.

"That doesn't leave you. You can have a dominant skill player, but he might get hurt one week or the wind might be blowing, like it was in Buffalo when New England played up there, and you can't throw the ball. Or the footing might be bad and the running back can't make his yards. But offensive line and defensive line will make you consistent from week to week.''



This led Banks' to ask.....
Quote:
Does that sound like a guy about to tie his and the franchise's fortunes to a quarterback at No. 1?


I realize that coaches, GMs, and everybody else is in the business of misinformation at this time of year..... but I have a hard time believing that a defensive-minded guy who has worked under Belichick and Fisher is going to stake his future on an underclassman QB that isn't rated as high as other QBs in recent years.


February 21st, 2009, 7:25 pm
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To me the Lions will have the option of 3 positions and only 4 to 5 players with the number 1 pick.

Stafford QB- People are split on how to build a franchise, and alot will go with QB. Just as many will tell you that its stupid to draft a Stafford this year. Personally I wouldnt mind it, but i wouldnt go crazy. Best value for the pick.

Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe LT- With Backus sliding inside it frees up the chance to draft bookend tackles. I think these two have really seperated themselves from Oher and Andre Smith. Both have seemed to have good combines and Andre Smith and Oher at this point may be available at 20 at this point.

Bj Raji DT- Long shot but plays the most important position on a defense in my opinion being a run stopping DT. Curry and Jenkins are great, but without a DT that attracts a double team almost every play the LBs cant get free and that allows the O line to double on the ends. A great DT makes the line pass rush better, which helps the corners have to cover less and frees up the linebackers as well. The question is if hes good enough for 1.

A pick on anyone else would be a wasted pick in my eyes.


February 22nd, 2009, 7:55 pm
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Post No passing fancy: Teams still feel uneasy about QB spot
Interesting article about unsettled QB situations. Helps to project the draft, so I figured I'd put it here.

No passing fancy: Teams still feel uneasy about QB spot

Vic Carucci|NFL.com wrote:


The Arizona Cardinals' re-signing of Kurt Warner was important on two fronts.

One, it eliminated any lingering doubt that the Cardinals, fresh off of a shocking run to the Super Bowl, know how to do things right. Keeping Warner was vital to the difficult chore of maintaining all of the credibility they have gained as a force to be reckoned with. Allowing him to join another team would have been added to a long line of poor decisions in the club's history.

Secondly, Warner's agreeing to two-year deal with the Cards -- rather than signing with San Francisco 49ers -- brings a little more focus to what still is a mostly fuzzy quarterbacking picture in the NFL.

Combined with Kerry Collins' re-signing with the Tennessee Titans and the trades that sent Sage Rosenfels to the Minnesota Vikings and Matt Cassel to the Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona's retention of Warner leaves four fewer questions at the position than the league had at the start of the offseason. (OK, saying that Rosenfels is truly an answer to the Vikes' perpetual QB instability is a bit of a reach, but at least counts as being somewhat proactive).

Many other questions linger, such as:

Will the New York Jets stay in-house for a replacement for the retired Brett Favre or pursue someone from the outside?

In talking with multiple NFL front-office people, I am moving more in the direction of believing that new coach Rex Ryan will have no problem picking a starter from among his unproven trio of Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff, or Erik Ainge. Ryan's fundamental beliefs have not changed since he was defensive coordinator in Baltimore. He's putting together a team that will be carried by its defense, will run the ball persistently and effectively, and have a quarterback whose best trait is keeping the ball out of the opponent's hands. If he makes a few big plays, that's a bonus.

Now that Warner is off the market, where do the 49ers turn?

Probably nowhere on the outside. They pretty well determined that Warner was the only free-agent quarterback they wanted to pursue because his talent was so much greater than that of anyone else available. And their flirtation with Warner made a loud statement about what they think of their quarterback situation. For now, it's probably safe to assume they'll go with Shaun Hill as their starter and use the 10th overall pick to draft a franchise quarterback, perhaps Mark Sanchez of USC. They've asked Alex Smith to take a pay cut, which makes salary more palatable for a backup role.

Are the Detroit Lions going to use the No. 1 overall pick on a quarterback?

Possibly, but not likely. There are simply too many question marks hovering over the presumptive player they would take, Matthew Stafford of Georgia. Like Sanchez, he is entering the draft as a junior and, to a man, every player-personnel person with whom I have spoken says neither is close to ready to play as a rookie and could very well be at least two years away from starting. For the Lions, that likely means sticking with Daunte Culpepper and making the best of it until they see what the next draft brings.

What are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers going to do for a starter?

I have no idea ... and I'm not sure that the Bucs do, either. They said good-bye to Jeff Garcia, and perhaps that made sense. Age and diminishing skills were clearly catching up with him. For now, Luke McCown has the job by default, but how comfortable can the Buccaneers feel about that? Not very, considering they were part of a potential trade that would have sent Jay Cutler from the Denver Broncos to Tampa Bay.

Speaking of Cutler ... what gives with his situation?

No matter how much new coach Josh McDaniels insists Cutler is off the trade market, this remains a pretty big mess that won't be easy to clean up. Cutler is angry. He doesn't understand why he wouldn't be wanted by the team whose offense he helped lead to second place in the NFL in a Pro Bowl season. Nevertheless, McDaniels has every right to want the quarterback he believes will effectively run the new scheme he is bringing to the Broncos -- an approach that just might not be a good fit for Cutler. Multiple league insiders aren't convinced Cutler will remain in the Mile High City. Stay tuned.

Who will start for the Cleveland Browns, and who will be shown the door?

Eric Mangini considers the Browns' quarterback situation to be wide open, and why not? Derek Anderson went down in flames last season after looking like a star in 2007. Since arriving in Cleveland two years ago, Brady Quinn has raised more questions than answers about just how good he can be with a record of 1-2 as a starter and 563 passing yards for his career.

With Collins and Warner gone, who are the best free-agent quarterbacks left?

It is a fairly thin crop. Byron Leftwich is probably the best, yet many player-personnel types are still bothered by his long windup and lack of mobility. Garcia is the biggest name in the open market, but isn't likely to get a call unless it is some team's absolute last resort. Everyone else out there is, to quote an NFL GM, "just a guy."


Sidebars
Quote:
QB quandaries
Other teams that should feel uncomfortable about their quarterback situation:

Buffalo Bills: Trent Edwards still has much to prove.

Carolina Panthers: The lingering image of Jake Delhomme's playoff meltdown is troubling.

Chicago Bears: Kyle Orton has the starting job for now, but you get the sense the Bears believe they can do better.

Cincinnati Bengals: Can Carson Palmer keep that right (throwing) elbow, which caused him to miss most of last season, healthy?

Houston Texans: Matt Schaub has to deliver a playoff season or another house-cleaning to be coming.

Jacksonville Jaguars: David Garrard needs to recapture the magic of '07.

Oakland Raiders: JaMarcus Russell still has plenty of maturing and developing to do.

Philadelphia Eagles: How happy is Donovan McNabb with a team that unceremoniously benched him before his dramatic late-season rally?

Washington Redskins: Jason Campbell still has plenty of room for improvement before he can be considered a rock-solid starter.
Quote:
Uneasy times in Mile High City
New coach Josh McDaniels is making his mark with the Broncos. McDaniels' moves, including an attempted trade of Jay Cutler, have Denver's players on edge, writes Vic Carucci. More ...

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March 4th, 2009, 10:21 pm
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