All these athlete quarterbacks who keep failing
We are just over two months away from the NFL draft which will take place whether there is a CBA agreement or not. All you need are owners and new players for this one. And if there is a lockout, then you can bet every player drafted will make some kind of replacement roster.
But aside from wild speculations, mock drafts are all the rage right now. OK so I lied about the wild speculations. Like the mock we ran earlier in the week that had the Bucs taking a defensive tackle in the first round. Haven't these people heard of Gerald McCoy, Brian Price and Roy Miller?
The most coveted position in a draft by the media is of course the quarterback one. From the legendary 1983 draft where six went in the first round (of which three are Hall of Famers) to the three who included Josh Freeman in 2009, the top passers coming out of college are subject to more scrutiny than any other.
The term "franchise quarterback" is one bandied about and teams have gone into multi-year slumps based on mistakes made on passers at the top end of the draft (Cincinnati - Klingler, Smith, Detroit - Harrington, San Diego - Leaf etc).
But in recent years, it seems each draft has a real can't miss running/passing player going in the first round who is "the next Michael Vick" (that should scare dog lovers everywhere) and who will revolutionise the position for the next decade. And they keep failing.
Trent Dilfer, who aside from being a first round failure as a franchise QB for the Bucs, is one of the best analysts out there right now and took part in a superb ESPN interview with Bill Simmons just before the Super Bowl in which he talked about scouting these players.
And his point was that too many of these "athlete quarterbacks", the Vince Youngs, the JaMarcus Russells of the world, they have been successful in college based on their athletic abilities and not their heads. They have never had to truly read or understand a defense, so hence they fail when they get into the NFL.
Dilfer (who still had some hair in this 1994 draft picture) also put Michael Vick into that category as before his incarceration, he was exactly the same and "a horrible passer" according to Trent. But since Andy Reid got hold of him, Vick has learned to read defenses and his passer rating and ability as an all-round quarterback has gone through the roof.
I will brag a little here and claim that I called both Young and Russell as future busts from before they were drafted for the same reason. And I will have Cam Newton firmly in that category and potentially Tim Tebow too.
The likes of Josh Freeman and Ben Roethlisberger are athletic and can move around the pocket to extend a play, but they are doing it whilst continuing to read a defense. And they have the abilities up top to make it all work. Would anyone anywhere call JaBustus Russell (as Steve Careford now calls him) any kind of leader?
So when the first round rolls round at the end of April, someone is going to take Newton and is going to claim that his future potential totally outweighs any doubts over his passing ability or mental make-up. And now that Matt Millen is finally barred from ever selecting another player, you just know that Washington's prize idiot Dan Snyder is going to pull the trigger on another athletic quarterback disaster.
You've been great, enjoy the Communards.