Sunday, November 15, 2009

2010 may not be the bumper-crop of quarterbacks we originally suspected

So, if you are Ram fan, it is never too early to begin thinking of the 2010 draft. The team is getting better. I am working on my mid-season report, although we are now past midseason. Although our most average ranking in most team categories is right around #26. We were dead last in scoring, touchdowns, and redzone efficiency. [Those three stats are tightly correlated, and it is not unusual to see them group like that.] As a direct consequence we are on pace to draft 1 or 2 again this year. You would expect the #26 ranked team to draft #6 in a 32 team league, however, as Coach Dick Vermeil said just before SB34, this game is about scoring points. Points are how you win and loose the game. Ergo, we will probably wind up drafting #1 or #2.

Our greatest suspicion is that the Rams will draft a QB 2010. The reasoning is simple:
  1. Bulger is a China Doll
  2. Bulger doesn't comprehend the West Coast Offense.
  3. Bulger was the NFL's 26th ranked passer with a rating of about 68. We'll have to see how today's better performance against New Orleans helped him.
  4. Even when Bulger faces an empty, injury depleted secondary like New Orleans, he still doesn't light up the board with TDs. Any one of your good franchise QBs would have had a turkey shoot today against New Orleans.
  5. There are supposed to be a bumper crop of QBs in the 2010 draft
  6. If not now, when? If not here, where? If not one of these guys, then who?
Well friends, I have investigated the claims regarding a bumper crop of QBs. I have looked at several scouting sites and what I have read has more of less horrified me. I will discus the several QBs listed most often on this site in the order they are most often ranked.
  1. Jimmy Clauson Notre Dame
  2. Jake Locker University of Washington
  3. Sam Bradford Oklahoma
  4. Jevan Sneed Ole Miss
  5. Colt McCoy, Texas
  6. Tim Tebow, Florida
Some say that Locker is the #1 prospect. Mel Kiper Jr. is one of those guys. Some say Clauson is the #1 prospect. I eagerly await Mike Mayock's opinion. I distrust Kiper for a generation of bust prospects I have seen him extol. Mayock still hasn't made a vicious mistake yet. Mayock is the authoritative voice.

So what do I think? I think you can take the top two ranked QBs on that list and flush them. He who busts... er... drafts Clauson or Locker will loose a first round pick. I have seen almost nothing out of either prospect that would or could creat the kind of confidence necessary to burn a #2 or #3 overall pick on either of them. If Clauson is going to be the next Joe Montana, then let me have him in the 3rd round. Locker was instrumental in Washington's upset of USC, but this upset is looking less and less compelling every day. I do not know what manner of voodoo logic draft scouts use for ordering prospects, but any possible logic behind the top two rankings eludes me. If I put you in front of the 9 U.S. Federal Supreme Court justices, how would you make a case for these two guys? Would those justices cut your logic & evidence to pieces, or would it stand up?

I loved Sam Bradford until he double-injured his throwing shoulder. He had two bad raps on him going into this season (1) he is way to light/needs to put on muscle, (2) at his weight he will be injury prone in the NFL. Well folks, he put on no muscle weight, and he suffered the atomic bomb of QB injuries: Aggravated damage to passing shoulder shoulder. Now his shoulder must be surgically repaired. This is bad folks, real bad. I would still be inclined to take a risk on him, because I believe Bradford is one hell of a kid, but I would need to drop way down the board to do so. Probably all the way to the 2nd round. At the same time, I would need to use that top pick on a lineman so Sam would enjoy better protection, and have a chance in life.

Jevan Snead just caught my eye yesterday. For those who did not watch it, Ole Miss put on an offensive show yesterday. It brought back memories of the Greatest Show on Turf. Ole Miss was playing Checkers all by themselves yesterday. Ole Miss did anything they wanted to do against the Volunteer defense. Stop me if I am wrong, but is not the famous Monte Kiffen in charge of the Tennessee defense? Yes, Snead caught my eye. He did look very good, but I am much more interested in his partner Dexter McCluster. McCluster was the game breaker yesterday. It seemed that Snead's primary task was to get the ball to McCluster who took nothing passes and turned them into 45 yard explosions. He looked like Marshall Faulk, Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas in the process.

I want McCluster on the Rams roster. Do it by any means necessary. This guy is a game-changer and an explosive play-maker.

Snead's worst knock is that he is a red-shirt junior, due to the fact that he transferred from Texas. He couldn't beat out Colt McCoy. Now Pete Prisco of CBS sports declares him to be the best QB in the draft. We need to remind everyone that since underclassmen have been allowed into the draft, 90% of all under-age QBs have gone bust. Even Marc Sanchez is struggling right now, and his final fate is undetermined. Jevan Snead might do well to stay in college, but this is unlikely. Bradford's fate will prod most good QBs to come out early, despite the bust percentages. I am keeping my eye on Snead, but I am non-committal right now.

Now we have Colt McCoy. What can I say about McCoy. I love the kid. He has great leadership ability. He is smarter than hell. He has good character. He is accurate as bloody hell. His completion percentage has frequently been around 80%. They say his arm is weak. I want to know why they say that. This is the kid most likely to transform into the next Joe Montana. He is a cerebral leader who does nothing but complete all his passes. I feel much better about drafting him than any of the others on this list. It should be noted that he will meet the Big Tuna's formula for a draftable QB. I am confident that Parcells would select him if he didn't already have 2 good young quarterbacks. The prospects on this list--except Tebow--will not qualify under the Tuna's formula.

Now we come to Tim Tebow. By now all of you know how I feel about Tim. I love Tebow to death. Like Tony Dungy, I would draft Tebow ahead of all the other QBs on this list. Like the owner of Jacksonville Jaguars, I was strongly inclined to spend a top 5 pick to get him. I have never seen a kid with better character. I have never seen a stronger will to win. I have never seen more drive to compete. I have never seen less quit. I have rarely seen this much leadership. I see rare athletic ability, and the southpaw advantage.

With that said, the Draftnics hate Tebow. They say his foot work is non-existent, his mechanics are woeful, he has never lined up under center, running the way he does will get him killed in the NFL. Worse, his experience in the wacky spreadbone attack has poorly prepared him for a career in the NFL. Many project him to Tight End or Linebacker. Although I hate all of these comments, I do see some reason in most of them. This has caused me to doubt my absolute favorite choice.

There are a number of conclusions we have to come to:
  1. Reports of a QB bonanza may be greatly exaggerated.
  2. Although there are a lot of them, every prospect has serious negatives.
  3. At this point, I would feel comfortable spending a top-5 pick on no one.
  4. If it were my call, I would move down the board, maybe out of the first round entirely, and go after Colt McCoy.
  5. If Tebow should happen to fall out of the first round, I would not hesitate to take him.