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Who is Joe Flacco? Only one of the draft's top QBs

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Posted: March 6, 2008

At the intersection of hope and hype stands Joe Flacco. Who? Joe Flacco, a 6-6, 234-pound quarterback from Delaware who talks the talk, quite possibly can walk the walk and has every NFL personnel man with a pulse trying to make sense of his spiraling rise up draft boards across the league.

A year ago, Flacco says he "would have been happy to even be talked about" as a draft prospect. Now he is banking on being a first-day pick. "I'm hearing probably the same thing everybody else is hearing. Anywhere from the late first to the early second round."

It is not a stretch to say Flacco, who put on a show with his legs and arm at the NFL Scouting Combine, could follow Matt Ryan and Louisville's Brian Brohm and be the third quarterback drafted. Flacco's agent, Joe Linta, says going first among quarterbacks is not completely out of the picture. But, alas, that scenario is even more far-fetched than, say, a sixth-round pick from Michigan leading a team to three Super Bowl wins and shacking up with a supermodel.

Says one scout: "There are some people that are in love with Flacco. Physically, neither Ryan nor Brohm is at that kid's level. But he needs so much technique work, so much (help on his) footwork, it's sort of scary."

But we're talking about the NFL draft -- the ultimate game of #####. Flacco's talent is undeniable, and it should be noted that Delaware is stronger than some bowl-eligible programs. Some team will breathlessly roll the dice on a player with the size and strength to stand in the pocket and the wherewithal to launch a football 70 yards.

Heck, maybe 75 yards. Anyone for 80?

"I don't think my arm strength is the best thing about me, anyway," says Flacco. "I like to believe I have good pocket presence and good accuracy. And I have the confidence to say I truly believe I am the best quarterback in the draft. I aspire to be the first quarterback picked."

Linta says Flacco is "like a Ben Roethlisberger, only quicker." Not even Linta says Flacco, a transfer from Pittsburgh who threw for 4,263 yards as a senior, will be prepared to start as a rookie. But in fairness to Flacco -- if not to Big Ben -- who's really to say which players can make it huge and which can't even come close? The science of the NFL draft is famously, tantalizingly inexact.

Meanwhile, Flacco is wisely playing this phase of the game as hard as he can. "I'm trying to give them as much as I can, show them my personality as much as I can," he says. "I'm not trying to hide anything. What you see of me is what you get. And the more you see, I think the more you're going to like me."

Steve Greenberg is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at sgreenberg@sportingnews.com.

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"I liked his ability to throw the ball down field," Houston scout Glenn Cumbee says. "There are guys who can throw short and intermediate passes, but if you can't find a guy to throw the vertical stretch stuff, people crowd your receivers and don't have to defend the whole field."

"He's a pure passer, and right now it's hard to say anything bad about the kid," Gibbons says. "He's big, strong, accurate and can lead his receivers. He has everything you're looking for in a pro quarterback."

Doesnt the above describe Flacco?

Well, its a post combine, pre-draft review of Jim Druckenmiller.

Remember him? Probably not. Case closed.

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