I learned the hard way last year that predicting NFL success for a college star isn't so easy. After all, I'm the guy who wrote this about Alabama offensive tackle
What I meant to say was this: Smith is going to hold out, work out on his own and get made fun of by his future Bengals teammates on HBO's
If it's that tough with an offensive tackle, imagine how difficult it is to predict success for a quarterback.
Still, it's the job of scouts, writers and talking heads to analyze every throw a star quarterback makes between the end of his college career and draft day. Which brings us to
The former Florida quarterback has been the subject of intense debate on television and in print. Depending on who is talking/writing, Tebow either is a future NFL starting quarterback or an H-back waiting to happen. He didn't throw at the combine because he had to revamp his throwing motion. Wednesday, Tebow will unveil his new motion at his pro day in Gainesville.
We'll be there to chronicle every completion, but this next little exercise should put all that analysis in the proper perspective. Today, we're going to play the quarterback draft match game. Read the quote and try to fill in the blank with the quarterback from the list below. And just to make things more difficult, some quarterbacks will be used more than once.
1. "________ has got all the tools and as good an arm as anybody. But he's too up and down, and the inconsistency of the team was reflected in him."
2. "I was shockingly impressed with ________. He is very poised and makes good decisions. He may not have a great arm, but he has smooth mechanics and throws easily catchable passes. He is not the type of guy who is gonna get scared and force passes across the middle."
3. "I can't remember being in such awe of a quarterback in my decade of attending combines and pro days."
4. "______ is just different. He has the touch, the feel, the accuracy, all the intangibles you look for in a quarterback. Maybe it's because his father is a coach. [He] just seems to understand football more than any quarterback I've ever seen in college."
5. "______ is the product of the system. Is he better than
6. "Remember this: late third-round pick 1979,
7. Ominous note on ________: This gentleman completed just 177 passes at the collegiate level, versus 1,003 completions for
8. "________ is going to immediately energize that fanbase, that football team -- on the practice field, in that locker room. Three years from now you could be looking at a guy that's certainly one of the elite top five quarterbacks in this league. ...You're talking about a 2-3 year period once he's under center. Look out because the skill level that he has is certainly
9. "The knock on _______ is his body build. He's too skinny."
10. (Two-parter) Give me the linebacker-sized ____________, who at 6-5, 238 pounds is more rugged, less susceptible to injury than the 6-5, 222-pound ________. [Quarterback A] is a better athlete, stronger of arm and more fiery than [quarterback B]. To those who point out that he's also rawer, I say: So what? No quarterback does squat until he's been in the league at least three years. And to scouts cautioning that [quarterback A] is a "free spirit," spare me. You had the same line on
1. If you agree with this GM, then you probably would have passed on the quarterback. Indeed, 26 NFL GMs passed on
2. Not many people agreed with Lande, which is why
3. In McShay's defense, that's pretty much what everyone said after
4. This scout absolutely nailed
5. This scout, meanwhile, completely whiffed on
6. The man whose Web traffic pays my salary got a little carried away in
7. The Tuesday Morning Quarterback author offered a dire warning to anyone thinking of choosing
8. ESPN's Kiper, who is correct more often than he is wrong, drank the same Kool-Aid as everyone else regarding
9. Buchsbaum's statement represents the near-consensus opinion on
10. Murphy tackled the debate that raged in 1998. Unfortunately, he endorsed
So how did you do? If you guessed six or more quarterbacks correctly, then you're probably just as qualified as anyone else to predict whether a great college quarterback will succeed in the NFL. I'll see you in Gainesville on Wednesday, and we can dissect Tebow's throwing motion like the experts we are.