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Start him or sit him? Part 4

Thank god! This stupid series that I started is about to end. Here are the QBs picked in the 1st round from 2005-2010.

 

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33) Alex Smith: 1st pick by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2005 NFL Draft

What was the deal? The days of Steve Young and Joe Montana were long gone. The 49ers were a terrible football team and had a new coach in Mike Nolan. Of course, you know what happens when you have a new coach..you tend to get a new QB via the draft. The 49ers had Ken Dorsey the year before and a few others that shall remain nameless, because they were that bad.

His rookie year: Eh. Well, Mike Nolan decided to let Smith ride the bench at the start of the season, and he didn’t get his first start until week 5. However, during his 2nd start, Smith got injured and didn’t start again until week 13. For the season, Smith was absolutely terrible. Smith had just 1 touchdown pass and 11 interceptions. He was also sacked 29 times. Now, Smith did win his final two starts, but his rookie year was nothing to remember by. Of course, the team that the 49ers had around Smith during his rookie year didn’t help either.

Legacy: Smith is pretty much on his last legs in San Francisco. It seems like every offseason, we always get a rumor that he’s going to get cut. Anyways, Smith has been a bust so far during his time with the 49ers. He’s had some nice moments, but for the most part, he has battled injuries, struggles and benchings. Hell, he’s even been called out for having small hands and all due respect, being small and being a guy, isn’t what you want to hear.

Final result: Bust

 

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34) Aaron Rodgers: 24th pick by the Green Bay Packers in the 2005 NFL Draft.

What was the deal: Well, it seemed like there would always be a yearly rumor that Brett Favre was thinking about retiring. So, the Packers wanted to find the heir apparent, in case Favre quit. Now, Rodgers probably wasn’t in Green Bay’s plans, as a lot of experts thought he was going in the top 5. For months, it seemed like Smith and Rodgers were going to go 1 and 2 in the draft. However, Rodgers dropped faster than Charlie Sheen’s career. In one of the more shocking drops in recent memory, Rodgers fell all the way to the 24th spot. Some experts claim that he dropped because of concerns with his arm strength. Um, yeah..that’s why I hate the hype prior to the draft! In case you were wondering, the Bills didn’t have a 1st round pick because they had traded that pick the year before to Dallas, in order to draft Losman (Doh!). BTW, the Bills would have had the 23rd pick during the draft (Double DOH!).

His rookie year: Rodgers did next to nothing during his rookie year. In fact, he didn’t do much of anything until his 4th year in the NFL. In three years as the back-up to Favre, Rodgers threw only 59 passes and never started a game during that time.

Legacy: Um, yeah..you think those teams that passed on Rodgers are kicking themselves? Rodgers has been awesome since he took over the reigns for Lord Favre. During Rodgers first season as a starter, he threw for 28 touchdowns to go along with 4 rushing touchdowns. He was lights out from the moment he stepped onto the football field in Green Bay. Yeah, I guess he must have learned a lot as Favre’s understudy (Eye-roll).

Final result: Not a bust.

 

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35) Jason Campbell: 25th pick by the Washington Redskins in the 2005 NFL Draft

What was the deal: The Patrick Ramsey experiment hadn’t panned out for the Redskins, so it was time to find the next great franchise QB.

His rookie year: Campbell did absolutely nothing. He didn’t even take a snap during the season. The Redskins for the season were actually kind of successful, as they went 10-6 under Mark Brunell.

Legacy: If you look at Campbell’s stats, they aren’t really half that bad. He has 22 more touchdowns than interceptions and has a career QB rating of 82.3. In fact, his stats from 2009 with the Redskins are pretty decent; 20 touchdowns and almost 4,000 yards. However, he’s not with the Redskins anymore and he never guided them to the playoffs. Last year, he was yanked in and out of the line-up in Oakland on a weekly basis. Campbell has also had something like 5 or 6 offensive coordinators, which is just way too many. Maybe, Campbell can rewrite his career, but for now, he’s a bust

Final result: Bust

 

36) Vince Young: 3rd pick by the Tennesse Titans in the 2006 NFL Draft

What was the deal: The Titans had a miserable 2005 season. Gone was Steve McNair, who the Titans actually banned from the facility before even cutting him, which was strange. The owner, Bud Adams, was obsessed with Vince Young because of his epic performance in guiding the Longhorns to a win in the National Title Game against USC.

His rookie year: Vince Young came into the season as the #2 QB, but after the Titans got off to a slow start, they decided to bench Kerry Collins (How many times has the poor guy been benched?), and Young took over and had a very stellar season. I actually saw Young play against the Bills towards the end of that season, and I was blown away with how well he had played. Young had almost 300 yards in total offense to go along with 3 touchdowns, in the Titans 3-point victory over the Bills. I thought to myself, “Man, if he’s this good as a rookie, can you imagine what he’ll be like in two years?” For the season, Young had 19 touchdowns (12 passing and 9 rushing) and almost 3,000 yards in total offense. Plus, his win/loss record was impressive; going 8-3 as the starter. Sky was the limit, right? WRONG.

Legacy: From a possible suicide attempt to fights at strip clubs to inconsistent play, Vince Young is a mess. From afar, Young looks to be a player who can’t handle criticism and feels that he’s entitled to being a god. As of now, Young is going through a messy divorce with the Titans, where by some reports, he doesn’t want to leave. Anyways, it looks like he’s going to be a goner because he just doesn’t have the mental toughness to make it in this league. Of course, he could find himself like Kerry Collins did, but for now, he’s not a great draft pick.

Final result: Bust

 

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37) Matt Leinart: 10th pick by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2006 NFL Draft.

What was the deal: Denny Green was the coach of the Cards, and the team was “what we thought they were?!” and that was bad. The Cardinals had Kurt Warner on the roster, but he didn’t really pan out during his first year with club; passing for just 11 touchdowns in 10 starts. As for Matt Leinart, had the USC product declared for the draft a year earlier, he probably would have gone number 1. However, he loved the Hollywood lifestyle in LA and I think he was probably banging a Hilton or Kardashian, so, he decided to stay put. The decision cost him  guaranteed money, as he ended up dropping to the 10 spot in the draft. A lot of experts were surprised that Leinart fell all the way down, as some saw him being picked in the top 5.

His rookie year: Leinart rode the bench for the first four weeks of the season, but the Cards were sluggish out of the gates and needed a spark, so, they turned to #11. In Leinart’s first two starts, he actually played well against two playoff teams in Kansas City and Chicago, where he passed for four touchdowns. Unfortunately, the cards lost both of those games, and Coach Green ended up having a melt down after the Bears game. For the season, Leinart played ok as a rookie, throwing for 11 touchdowns and over 2,500 yards in the 11 games he started. He also had a 400 yard passing game against the Vikings during the season.

Legacy: Once Denny Green got fired at the end of the season, Leinart was kind of screwed. Gone was the guy who selected him, which is not good news for a 2nd year QB who is about to get a new coach. Ken Whisenhunt showed up and you can tell from the start, he wasn’t really thrilled with Leinart. The USC QB only started 6 more games for the Cardinals and ended up losing his job to Kurt Warner, who played exceptionally well under Whisenhunt. This past season, with Warner retired, Leinart was suppose to be the full-time starter. Unfortunately, he struggled in the preseason and showed up a wide receiver who ran the wrong pattern. With that, the QB’s fate was sealed in Arizona. By the end of the preseason, Leinart was cut and is now a back-up in Houston.

Final result: Bust.

 

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38) Jay Cutler: 11th pick by the Chicago Bears in the 2006 NFL Draft.

What was the deal: Cutler’s stock was soring prior to the draft because of his performance at the combine, where he showed off his cannon of an arm. The Broncos were in love with Cutler, so they traded up to the 11th spot to select him. At the time, the Broncos were just in the AFC Title game with Jake Plummer as the starter. It was kind of a surprising move because of the Broncos success the year before, and it wasn’t like Plummer was an old man (going into just his 10th year).

His rookie year: Cutler came into the season backing up Plummer, which of course, came to no surprise to many. Now, what did suprise a lot of people was the way Cutler was inserted into the starting line-up. The Broncos had just lost two games in a row, but they were still 6-4 and competing for a division title. However, Mike Shanahan wanted to get Cutler into the driver’s seat in a hurry and decided to bench Jake the Snake. Unfortunately, the Broncos went 2-4 in Culter’s starts and missed out on the playoffs. Even still, Cutler turned in a nice performance as a rookie, throwing for 9 touchdowns and just 5 picks in 6 games started.

Legacy: lightning rod and peaks and valleys would be the best way to describe Culter. With Shanahan in Denver, Cutler flourished under the coach’s tutelage, averaging 23 touchdowns and 4,000 yards a season. However, the Broncos defense was the sh#ts and a late season collapse in 2008 cost Shanahan his job. Then, Culter and new coach, Josh McDaniels, didn’t see eye to eye, and Cutler was then traded to the Bears. Like in Denver, it has been up and down in Chicago for the Purdue product. Yes, he guided the Bears to the NFC Title game, but then was questioned by the media, fans and players across the league, about his toughness because he couldn’t finish the game. Even with all the negatives, I think the positives have outweighed them. Cutler has thrown for 50 touchdowns while playing in Chicago and last year, he finally lowered his interception total to 16.

Final result: Not a bust.

 

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39) JaMarcus Russell: 1st pick by the Oakland Raiders in the 2007 NFL Draft.

What was the deal: The Raiders were coming off a disastrous year, in which Andrew Walter and Aaron Brooks combined for just seven touchdowns. The Raiders were just plain bad. Of course, Al Davis is all about having the QB with the rocket arm. Coming out of LSU, Russell had the cannon to match Al’s desire.

His rookie year: They always say that it’s important for a QB to get as many reps as possible during OTAs and training camps. Well, Russell and the Raiders would have none of that, as #2 held out until week 2 of the regular season. Russell sat for the most part and started the season finale, where he threw for a touchdown and completed 74% of his passes. Yeah, pretty uneventful rookie year.

Legacy: JaMarcus Russell didn’t last long in Oakland, as he was cut after his 3rd season and is currently looking for work somewhere (Maybe a McDonalds). Russell battled weight and attitude problems while in Oakland. Russell’s last year in Oakland was a disaster, as he threw for just 3 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Final Result: BUST.

 

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40) Brady Quinn: 22nd pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 2007 NFL Draft.

What was the deal: Like Matt Leinart and Aaron Rodgers, Brady Quinn had a monumental type of a drop in the draft. Most experts thought he’d go in the top 5, but for whatever reason, he plummeted all the way down to the 22nd spot. A draft spot in which Cleveland had traded a few draft picks to Dallas, in order to select the Notre Dame product. I just remember that Quinn came out without his suit coat on and was chewing on bubblicious.

His rookie year: Quinn probably would have been the opening day starter for the Browns, but the QB held out of training camp and ended up riding the bench behind Derek Anderson. Unfortunately for Quinn, Anderson had a lights out year, throwing for 29 touchdowns and guided the Browns to 10 wins. Because of Anderson’s play, Quinn only attempted 8 passes during his rookie year.

Legacy: Quinn ended up riding the bench the following year for the first 9 games. However, the Browns struggled and decided to turn the keys to franchise to Quinn. In Quinn’s first start, he played exceptionally well against the Broncos, throwing for 239 yards and two touchdowns with a QB rating of over 100. However, that would be his only decent performance for the Browns. Quinn started only 11 more games for the Browns and struggled, passing for just 8 touchdowns. His completion percentage was a meager 52% for his career and once Eric Mangini came in, Quinn was finished. As of today, Quinn is the 3rd QB for the Denver Broncos.

Final result: Bust

 

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41) Matt Ryan: 3rd pick by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2008 NFL Draft.

What was the deal: The Falcons were a franchise in utter turmoil. Mike Vick was in jail and their previous head coach had weaseled his way out of Atlanta to coach college ball at Arkansas. So, as what seems to be the norm with new head coaches, Mike Smith decided to draft a franchise QB. Yup, new coach, new QB.

His rookie year: You couldn’t write up a better rookie season than what Matt Ryan did with the Falcons. Ryan guided them to the playoffs, which was some sort of miracle when you consider how bad the team was the year before. Ryan’s stats were ok for a veteran QB, but this was a guy who was just starting his road to being one of the best 10 QBs in the league. For the season, Ryan passed for 16 touchdowns and over 3,500 yards passing. He was also sacked only 17 times, which is pretty fricken remarkable for a rookie QB.

Legacy: Matty ice is as cool as a cucumber. He’s been the Falcons best player over the last two seasons and has passed for 50 touchdowns in that span. He guided the Falcons to best record in the NFC this past season and looks to be a big time player at QB.

Final result: Not a bust.

 

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42) Joe Flacco: 18th pick by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2008 NFL Draft.

What was the deal: The offensive greatness (sarcasm) of Brian Billick had finally run its course in Baltimore. New coach, John Harbaugh, did the unthinkable?! He drafted a QB in the first round?! Wow, such innovation. We’ve never seen that done before.

His rookie year: Like Matt Ryan, the Ravens decided to institute Flacco as the starter from day one and they didn’t regret it. Flacco help guide the Ravens (Alright, the defense really did) to the AFC title game. For the season, Flacco was your classic game manager (Think Big Ben’s rookie year). Flacco threw for just 14 touchdowns and didn’t even reach 3,000 yards in 16 starts.

Legacy: Even though Flacco was a game manager during his 1st year, he’s evolved into a better QB since. Over the last two seasons, Flacco has thrown for 46 touchdowns and just 22 interceptions. He’s also averaged 3,600 yards a season during that span.

Final result: Not a bust (BTW, trim your damn eyebrows, Eddie Munster).

 

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43) Matthew Stafford: 1st pick by the Detroit Lions in the 2009 NFL Draft

What was the deal: Yeah, the Lions needed a QB. What else is new? The Jon Kitna experiment had run its course and the Lions had just come off a 0-16 season. Like I’ve said, it could be worse, we could be Lions fans.

His rookie year: Stafford started from day 1 for the Lions, but the problem has been that he can’t play on day 13 or 14. Even though Stafford started the season opener for the Lions, he missed six games due to injury. For the season, Stafford started 10 games, throwing for 13 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. His defining moment came against the Browns, a game in which he threw for 5 touchdowns, dislocated his shoulder, but was still able to throw for the two point conversion to win the game. Gutsy kid. Hell, if we had a player accomplish that in Buffalo, he’d have a statue on Elmwood Avenue that JP Losman could pick up garbage next to.

Legacy: Stafford is going into his third season in the NFL, but what seems to be his biggest problem is that he can’t stay healthy. Last year, he averaged two touchdowns a game, but the problem was that he only started three games.

Final result: Still pending

 

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44) Mark Sanchez: 5th pick by the New York Jets in the 2009 NFL Draft

What was the deal: Rex Ryan was the new sheriff in Gotham City and like all new coaches, they wanted their own QB. Sanchez was perfect for the NYC. He was a flashy, good looking QB. Yes, I hate the Jets and I still hate Mark Sanchez. Yeah, I just decided to throw that in.

His rookie year: Like the last three QBs drafted, the Jets decided to start Sanchez from day one. For the season, Sanchez was merely a game manager (See: Big Ben and Flacco) and even though the Jets were successful (Went to the AFC Title game), Sanchez struggled. For the season, Sanchez started 15 games and passed for 12 touchdowns and an eye-popping 20 interceptions. I mean, how could we not forget his epic 6 interception performance against the Bills?

Legacy: Yes, it’s still too early to tell what the Jets have with Sanchez. Do they have a franchise QB or merely a game manager? He had a better 2nd year, throwing for 17 touchdowns and just 13 interceptions. However, his QB rating was merely 75.3 and was still scrutinized at times by the fans and media. Not to mention, the dude seems to be on Page six more often than not, by dating 17-year olds and Tony Soprano’s daughter. Sorry, but I’m picking Soprano’s daughter, not some high school cheerleader.

Final result: Alright, I hate the dude, but he’s not a bust.

(Editor’s note: Alright, I’m tired, so I’m going speed round)

 

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45) Josh Freeman: 17th pick by the Tampa Bay Bucs in the 2009 NFL Draft

What was the deal: The Bucs had just fired their GM and coach, and like all new coaches, they wanted…Oh, forget it?!

His rookie year: Heading into the season, Freeman was the 3rd QB for the Bucs, but luckily, Tampa Bay was awful (See: Bills 2009 home opener). So, it only took 8 games for Freeman to get his chance to start. For the season, Freeman struggled, throwing for just 10 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Yuk.

Legacy: Even though Freeman struggled his first year, he played exceptionally well last year. Freeman was awesome, throwing for 25 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions. He also passed for over 3,400 yards and had a QB rating of 95.9. So far, Freeman is leading the pack of the draft class of 2009.

Final result: Not a bust.

 

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46) Sam Bradford: 1st pick by the St. Louis Rams in 2010 NFL Draft.

What was the deal: The Rams sucked and needed a QB (Sorry, but I told you this was the speed round)

His rookie year: What seems to be the trend for QBs who go in the top 10, Bradford started from day one. Bradford played well on a team that really didn’t have much talent around him. For the season, Bradford threw for 18 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and 3,512 yards. Not bad for a rookie. The Rams were just one win away from actually making the playoffs, but the team and Bradford, ran out of gas in the season finale against the Seahawks.

Final result: Too early to tell. Sorry, but after 16 games, you can’t give a boom or bust grade.

 

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47) Tim Tebow: 25th pick by the Denver Broncos in the 2010 NFL Draft

What was the deal: At this point, I don’t care. Anyways, Josh McDaniels wanted a QB. I’m sure Jim Kelly was pissed off that his dinner date with Tebow led to nothing.

His rookie year: Tebow came into the season as the number 2 QB, which didn’t surprise anyone. Unfortunately, the Broncos were terrible and ended up firing their coach towards the end of the season. Tebow ended up starting the final three games of the season, in which he threw for 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. As of now, there are still looming questions about whether Tebow will be the long term answer for Denver, as John Elway and John Fox are now in charge of the Broncos. Like I said before, you don’t want to be a 2nd year QB when a new regime enters the picture.

Final result: Still pending.

 

Final tallies:

1)15 QBs were taken from 2005-2010.

2) 6 of them were busts, while 3 of them are still pending. Hey, for once, the numbers don’t favor the busts!

3) 7 of the QBs started from day 1, with only two of them being busts (Alex Smith and Vince Young)

4) Only 2 of the QBs (Campbell and Rodgers) didn’t start a game during their rookie year.

5) Of the 15 QBs, 10 of them started more than six games during their rookie years.

 

Final thoughts on this round: I think we are seeing more of a trend of QBs starting from day 1 than what we saw from years past. Even guys who didn’t start the season opener, got substantial playing time during their rookie year.

Anyways, I’m going to do a final post in which I put all the numbers together.

Joe

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