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I Think Everyone Should Read This


Guest Negatorris
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Guest Negatorris

Today, with the benefit of decades more experience, a keener understanding of the qualities needed to be successful and millions of dollars spent in scouting and evaluating talent with precision ... teams still are hitting about 50 percent in trying to identify future All-Pro quarterbacks in the first 10 picks, and the same 50 percent with first-rounders in general.

There are two ineluctable truths that one can never forget about the position:

1. Quarterback is the single most difficult position to master in the world of team sports. No other position -- not baseball pitcher or soccer goalkeeper or basketball point guard -- requires such a mixture of athletic skills, raw brainpower, functional intelligence and that ineffable something that Hemingway once described as "grace under pressure."

2. It is the single hardest position to evaluate and project in all of professional sports. NFL teams, armed with three or four years of major college game films, hundreds of pages of scouting reports, dozens of hours of workouts in Indianapolis, pro days and individual team workouts, as well as multiple one-on-one personal interviews, still will miss routinely.

Since 1998, 17 quarterbacks have been selected first, second or third overall in the draft. Certainly there are some special names on this list --

Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Donovan McNabb. As of late, there are some promising picks, as well -- Matt Ryan,Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton. But also on that list of 17 are Ryan Leaf, Tim Couch, Akili Smith, David Carr, Joey Harrington and JaMarcus Russell. What do all these players have in common? The coaches who were there when the players were drafted are no longer employed by those teams.

The franchise quarterback is the Holy Grail of the football business. The search for one can make or break careers. Draft the right quarterback, and everything else you do instantly looks smarter. Pick the wrong one, and you might as well put your house on the market and start updating your résumé. The quest to land the quarterback with the Right Stuff -- along with the fear of missing a chance to draft that quarterback -- gets into the heads of football people. It has humbled men much smarter men than me. Sooner or later, it can force many people in the game to veer from their principles, abandon strategy and skepticism and ... reach.

Consider that from 1999 to 2011, there were 39 quarterbacks drafted in the first round of the draft, but only 16 drafted in the second round. Think about that: By all rights, the distribution from one round to the next should be roughly equal. Even if teams tend to overrate or overvalue quarterbacks, they should overrate them and overvalue them all the way down the line. But that's not what happens. Teams worry nearly as much about passing on a franchise quarterback as they do about drafting a player who turns out to be a bust.

In 2008, the Miami Dolphins bypassed QB Matt Ryan, instead taking tackle Jake Long with the first pick of the draft. Long is an outstanding tackle, but four years later, during which time the team has had four different starters at quarterback, the Dolphins are desperately in need of a franchise quarterback. In 2005, the Minnesota Vikings bypassed Aaron Rodgers twice and took wide receiver Troy Williamson and defensive end Erasmus James. Neither Williamson nor James is in the league. And look at the carryover for Minnesota and Miami: The Vikings reached at the quarterback position in last year's draft, taking Christian Ponder at No. 12, while the Dolphins are thinking about doing the same thing in this year's draft, by potentially taking Ryan Tannehill at No. 8.At other positions, there is a rough pecking order based largely on a tangible set of skills that a prospect shows: This wideout has both the speed and the hands to be a first-rounder, while that receiver isn't fast enough to justify a first-round pick. But with quarterbacks, it's different. Too many of the elements are intangible to begin with, or difficult to reliably project from one level to the next. That, combined with the pressure every GM is under to find a franchise quarterback, means that players who have the basic skill set (size, fundamentals and a strong arm) tend to go in the first round, even when there are red flags (ranging from questions about accuracy, makeup, composure or leadership skills) that might compel a team to wait until later in the draft.

Need is a terrible negotiator and an even worse evaluator. But the panic to draft someone who might turn out to be great is immense. Which is why, in addition to worrying about whether Tannehill would be a reach at No. 8, the Dolphins are also worrying about if he'll even be around then. Some other, equally desperate team -- Seattle, for instance -- may trade up to take him first.

Insightful article by Brian Billick.

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Half the league is still looking for their starting QB. That is the reason I wanted to draft Ryan otherwise I was on the Dorsey train up until the last month. Too many teams wasting season after seaon with the QB carousel and picking up has beens or drafting bust. It's funny if you look at the history of the Heisman winner they rarely make an impact in the NFL.

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Good article, thanks for posting. I've said since the beginning - we don't know what kind of career Ryan will end up having - but he has been very successful during the regular season for us. We haven't had success in the post season, but it will come. Get that line fixed - and we'll soar.

Most QB's come into their own between the 4th and 6th years. Look at the careers of the QBs who are successfully starting after 9 years. Track their early successes and look at where they really became a true franchise QB. In most cases, with very few exceptions (Brady, Big Ben), it took a minimum of 4 and an average of 6 years to see them mature completely into the position.

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Great read and very true. Unfortunately the numbskulls will read "blah blah blah and a strong arm blah blah blah" and somehow spin that against Ryan, despite the various praise directed his way in the rest of it. Bottom line, we have our franchise QB, and a **** good one at that. Glad to be in and out and done with this thread before the douches trash it....lol.

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We've seen a marked change the last couple years, as more NFL teams adopt the wide opening passing attacks that are taking over the NCAA. Simply put, QBs are entering the league much better prepared to be effective and start from day one. The bust percentage is way down since 2008. Almost half the teams in the league have added their starter in that time.

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Good article, I always asked the "get rid of Ryan folks" who could you realistically get rid of Ryan for? When you look at the 2008 draft other than Matt the other QB's taken in the first 4 rounds was Joe Flacco, Brian Brohm, Chad Henne, and Kevin O'Connell. and when you look at the 1st 10 picks the only players to make the Pro Bowl other than Matt was Jake Long and Jarrod Mayo. We have a "franchise QB"

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Good article, I always asked the "get rid of Ryan folks" who could you realistically get rid of Ryan for? When you look at the 2008 draft other than Matt the other QB's taken in the first 4 rounds was Joe Flacco, Brian Brohm, Chad Henne, and Kevin O'Connell. and when you look at the 1st 10 picks the only players to make the Pro Bowl other than Matt was Jake Long and Jarrod Mayo. We have a "franchise QB"

Can't see how a weak top 10 class and weak QB class can be used to appraise Matt Ryan.

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Guest Negatorris

We've seen a marked change the last couple years, as more NFL teams adopt the wide opening passing attacks that are taking over the NCAA. Simply put, QBs are entering the league much better prepared to be effective and start from day one. The bust percentage is way down since 2008. Almost half the teams in the league have added their starter in that time.

There are few teams that have had the same QB(drafted) starting year from year starting from 2008.

Falcons

Bucs

Jets

Ravens

Lions

Rams

And the Rams, Jets, and Ravens are not 100% confident in their starters. AB, and TD have already expressed their commitment to Ryan. And when looking at Total QBR(Not just passer rating) for 2011, Ryan is better than all of those QBs, and he was #5 in the league.

Yes the playoff woes are a concern, but I have little reason to doubt Ryan's ability to prove everyone wrong. And the reason I say this is because he's still young, not expendable, and has show promise and brilliance. Again, their are concerns about the playoffs, but 90% of the players on the team haven't showed up for the games, and if that's the case you look towards coaching, which AB has already expressed.

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Good article, I always asked the "get rid of Ryan folks" who could you realistically get rid of Ryan for? When you look at the 2008 draft other than Matt the other QB's taken in the first 4 rounds was Joe Flacco, Brian Brohm, Chad Henne, and Kevin O'Connell. and when you look at the 1st 10 picks the only players to make the Pro Bowl other than Matt was Jake Long and Jarrod Mayo. We have a "franchise QB"

True. I remember being on the Dorsey/Brohm train. That would have probably been a disaster. Some like to point to the prospect of us picking a Flacco/Dorsey combo. IMO both Flacco and Ryan are both on par with each other- at this point, but I don't think Flacco would have panned out much plugged into our 2008 and 2009 teams. Amazing that we actually "hit it" in such a weak draft.

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Interesting insight....with this in mind do you feel it is worth spending a pick this season on a QB project considering Redman is getting on in age and JPW isn't regarded too highly.

Russell Wilson in the 5th as a Mike Vick like athlete who is the antithesis of our present 3 QB's style size and skill sets?

Edited by Vinrouge
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Interesting insight....with this in mind do you feel it is worth spending a pick this season on a QB project considering Redman is getting on in age and JPW isn't regarded too highly.

Russel Wilson in the 5th as a Mike Vick like athlete who is the antithesis of our present 3 QB's ?

I think we will, I mean Redman is toast, and it is obvious JPW does not belong on an NFL roster ....I would like either Keenum or Moore in round six .......

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Guest Negatorris

Interesting insight....with this in mind do you feel it is worth spending a pick this season on a QB project considering Redman is getting on in age and JPW isn't regarded too highly.

Russell Wilson in the 5th as a Mike Vick like athlete who is the antithesis of our present 3 QB's style size and skill sets?

I really like Russel Wilson. I actually believe he could one of the QB steals of the draft, along with Weeden, but I doubt we use a high round pick on him, and I doubt he drops. Wilson though, can be a good development project under Ryan. Anyone is better than JPW, and when Redman retires, we'll have our backup for a long time.

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Interesting insight....with this in mind do you feel it is worth spending a pick this season on a QB project considering Redman is getting on in age and JPW isn't regarded too highly.

Russell Wilson in the 5th as a Mike Vick like athlete who is the antithesis of our present 3 QB's style size and skill sets?

Yeah...I don't have much faith in our backups even playing a close game against good teams. I could see us using a 6th or 7th and I don't believe it would be a waste.

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Amen to that! Imagine if we didn't draft a QB in the first round. (I know a lot of people wanted Glen WHO) SMH

I have always owned up to the fact that I wanted Dorsey, I thought Ryan was a bad pick, because I believed the rest of the team was so bad. I figured he would get killed and we would be left with nothing. I'm glad that I was wrong i couldn't be happier that Ryan is our Franchise QB.

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There are few teams that have had the same QB(drafted) starting year from year starting from 2008.

Falcons

Bucs

Jets

Ravens

Lions

Rams

And the Rams, Jets, and Ravens are not 100% confident in their starters. AB, and TD have already expressed their commitment to Ryan. And when looking at Total QBR(Not just passer rating) for 2011, Ryan is better than all of those QBs, and he was #5 in the league.

Yes the playoff woes are a concern, but I have little reason to doubt Ryan's ability to prove everyone wrong. And the reason I say this is because he's still young, not expendable, and has show promise and brilliance. Again, their are concerns about the playoffs, but 90% of the players on the team haven't showed up for the games, and if that's the case you look towards coaching, which AB has already expressed.

Teams who've drafted, or will draft their starting QB since 2008: Jets, Ravens, Bengals, Browns, Colts, Titans, Jags, Redskins, Lions, Rams, Falcons, Panthers, Bucs, Vikings. That's 14. Almost half. You could make argument for Flynn in Seattle, who was drafted in that time frame and should be the starter. Also Tebow, though he is no longer a starter, may yet find that role in the league.

Also, your statement that Matt Ryan has shown promise and brilliance is incorrect. Matt has delivered on his promise, but never to the level of brilliance.

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Miami Dolphins who passed on Ryan are no further away from achieving their goals as well. We lost our last 3 playoff games with a franchise QB ..You dont need a franchise QB to win in this league if you have a GM that surrounds a team with actual talent and a defense . A game manager can lead a team to a Super Bowl . Alex Smith was a couple of drop punts away from getting his team to a Super Bowl ..So while having a franchise QB is nice it brings regular season success and keeps you in mix of playoff hunt it does not mean he can lead us to our ultimate goal which is a championship

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