Thursday, March 1, 2007

NFL's No. 1?

Discussion about the NFL draft centers around which quarterback will go first - LSU's JaMarcus Russell or Notre Dame's Brady Quinn. Quinn appears to be the more-finished product, although Russell has more "upside potential." SI's Peter King writes in the magazine this week:
The top of this draft looks a lot like 1998's. That year Washington State's Ryan Leaf was the big, strong guy with a great deep arm; Tennessee's Peyton Manning was the heady passer who hadn't won the big game in college. Manning went No. 1 to the Indianapolis Colts, Leaf No. 2 to the San Diego Chargers. Nine years later Manning sits atop the football world, and Leaf is a college golf coach in West Texas. "The repercussions of this pick will last for years," said Browns general manager Phil Savage. "You're picking a flavor, basically. Brady's probably the safer pick. He's been so well-schooled in every aspect of quarterback play, and we've had three or four years to evaluate him because he's played so much college football. And people in this league respect [Notre Dame] coach Charlie Weis. They'll listen to him about Brady. Maybe there's more upside with JaMarcus because he's so physically gifted. It's a tough call."

But a better analogy might be the 1993 draft, where the Patriots used the first pick to pick the bigger, stronger, Drew Bledsoe, and the Seahawks chose Notre Dame's Rick Mirer at #2.

While Bledsoe went to one Super Bowl by himself, and helped the Patriots get to Supe XXXVI, it's fair to say that he will ultimately be seen as a disappointment. Mirer, in contrast, lasted just 3+ years as a starter, and was a bust.

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