Just because I'm not an instant draft-grade guy doesn't mean I can't opine about what we've just seen, and what we're about to see in the next few months. Take the quarterback position. Let's rank the 11 quarterbacks who got picked in the draft in two categories: who will have the biggest rookie-year impact, and who landed in the best spot.
Keep in mind that history says more than half the players picked in any draft will wash out. Just three of the 11 passers picked three years ago -- Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman -- have had any impact whatsoever.
This year, I think one of the low-round guys has a chance to makes waves, and maybe early. The order of the rookie impact players:
1. Robert Griffin III, Washington (first round, second pick overall). He goes to a more NFL-ready team than Andrew Luck, with a better line and backfield than the Colts, and a better defense to keep him in more games.
2. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (first round, first pick overall). Remember: Peyton Manning went 3-13 as a rookie. The Colts shouldn't look for wins this year out of Luck, but rather progress. They'll see lots of it.
3. Brandon Weeden, Cleveland (first round, 22nd overall). The Browns were hot on Weeden through the pre-draft process, and I'm convinced if they got wind of someone trading ahead of them to pick the 28-year-old passer, they would have trumped the bid. Colt McCoy will take the first snap of training camp, but he's going to have be near perfect to hold off Weeden from starting by Oct. 1.
4. Ryan Lindley, Arizona (sixth round, 186th overall). Whoa, you say. Pump the brakes, pal. Nope. Lindley started 49 games in a pro-style offense in college, and the Cardinals aren't sold that Kevin Kolb is the long-term answer. Something tells me Lindley will have his shot to play by midseason.
5. Ryan Tannehill, Miami (first round, eighth overall). This is a good thing, people. Joe Philbin isn't going to push his first-round trophy into savior duty early. He made it clear to me that the best player will play from among Tannehill, Matt Moore and David Garrard.
I met a fan Saturday at FinFest, the Dolphin annual fan event at Sun Life Stadium, who told me he hopes Miami sits him two years and develops him the way the Packers did with Aaron Rodgers. Amazing. A sane fan. The Dolphins won't wait that long, but I could see Tannehill sitting the first year ... unless he has such a big edge in the playbook -- he told me 75 percent of it is the same as his college playbook -- that he makes mental jumps over the incumbents.
6. Russell Wilson, Seattle (third round, 75th overall). How about GM John Schneider telling me Wilson was one of the three best players he scouted in 2011? That, plus the fact that neither Matt Flynn nor Tarvaris Jackson have a stranglehold on the starting job, tells me Wilson will have a fair chance to win the job at some point this season.
7. Nick Foles, Philadelphia (third round, 88th overall). Mike Vick gets hurt a lot. Mike Kafka was just OK when he had his chance last year. Trent Edwards is just off the street. If Foles has a great training camp (I have no idea if he will or not), he'll be on Andy Reid's mind when the inevitable happens.
8. Brock Osweiler, Denver (second round, 57th overall). Hey, it's no lock Peyton Manning's going to make it through the season whole. And if the Broncos didn't think Osweiler was better than Caleb Hanie, they wouldn't have picked him in the second round.
9. Kirk Cousins, Washington (fourth round, 102nd overall). He has to beat out a veteran who offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan trusts, Rex Grossman, and Griffin will have to get hurt or be awful for Cousins to play. I don't get the pick.
10. Chandler Harnish, Indianapolis (seventh round, 253rd overall). Luck insurance. Likely a practice-squadder behind Luck and Drew Stanton.
11. B.J. Coleman, Green Bay (seventh round, 242nd overall). See Harnish. Hard to see how he'll beat out Graham Harrell for No. 2.
Now for the best landing spots, in order: Griffin, Luck, Weeden, Tannehill, Lindley, Foles, Osweiler (for the long-term), Wilson, Cousins (because of coaching, not opportunity), Coleman (ditto) and Harnish.
Let's get to your email:
DRAFTING ON NEED, OR THE LANG HAUL. "There are various ways to approach a draft, but do you get the sense there are more teams who pick based on need, or based on draft board value regardless of need? If you were running a team, which approach would you take? A team like the Colts are in clear, 100% rebuilding mode. They have needs across the board. If a team has that many holes, can't you make the case that they should draft "best available" or whoever they like the best instead of purely drafting for need? If they're trying to put it all together for five years down the road, does it matter if they don't, for example, draft a CB this year if they happen to like players at other positions better?'' -- Matt, West Chester, Pa.
Good point, Matt. And I thought Ryan Grigson, the new Colts GM, stated his case well in the column Monday. It could be that the second tight end will be a great choice, and the Colts should have ignored crying needs at cornerback and on the defensive line. I just thought, especially with the fact the Colts are going to a new defense and coming off such an awful defensive season, it was incumbent on them to do something to help. I understand the point people will make about the fact the Colts will struggle mightily this year, so they should just honor their board. They may be right. But that's going to be one bad defense unless Chuck Pagano has some surprises up his sleeve.
WE'LL DISAGREE ON THIS ONE. "As an NFL junkie, I hear over and over that no position in sports is as important as the quarterback to an NFL franchise. And by default the second most important position is the guy who backs up the franchise guy. So the Redskins should have passed on Kirk Cousins and stuck with John Beck as their number three? Or Rex Grossman as the long term number two? Nope, as a long suffering Redskins fan who has rooted for the likes of Shane Matthews, Tony Banks, John Beck, Todd Collins and on and on, I can promise you having two young QBs on a roster who can potentially start and lead a franchise to respect is something to cheer.''-- Kevin MaGann, Peachtree City, Ga.
First, no one has ever said the backup quarterback is the second-most-important position on a team. That's a ridiculous point, with all due respect. I just don't think it's a smart idea to draft a quarterback you hope will be your backup with your third pick in the draft -- with the knowledge that you're not going to have a first-round pick in either of the next two drafts. As I said Monday morning, Ryan Mallett's value hasn't increased sitting behind Tom Brady and never playing. How's a guy going to be a great backup if he never has a chance to play?
ON THE PRO BOWL. "I agree with you that the Pro Bowl is a terrible game to watch. I emailed you this one other time. Why not have a rising stars game? This game should consist of practice squad players from the entire NFL and punters and kickers could be found to participate. These guys are hungry to make a splash and they would be able to shine to a national audience. I believe everyone would play hard and it may make an NFL career for a player or two. The NFL could have an insurance policy for any significant injury. The NFL teams cannot say no because they do not have exclusive rights to the practice squad players.''-- Pat, Eau Claire, Wis.:
Problem is, who cares? Who wants to watch guys who are essentially Triple-A players who no one knows? The ratings would be awful. No one would watch. People are grasping at ideas how to fix or amend the game. It's not worth the effort or our thought. Thanks for the suggestion, though -- it's better than most I've gotten.
ANOTHER THOUGHT ON THE PRO BOWL. "I agree with the removal of the Pro Bowl. One thought I had was to do something like the NHL. The NHL All-Star weekend has the players doing skills competitions: Hardest shot, most accurate shot, fastest skater, etc. I think that it might be interesting to have something similar for football players: Most accurate throw, hardest hit, that sort of thing. I think if the challenges are done right, that it would really give a chance for some of the non-star (QB, TE, receivers) positions to get some exposure.''-- Marcel Beaudoin, Gatineau, Quebec, Canada
I suppose some hardcore fans would watch. I just don't think it's important enough to keep alive.
THERE'S A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE 102ND PICK AND THE 253RD. "I don't how everyone can be so critical of the Redskins for selecting a second QB yet give the Colts a pass for doing the same thing. It's not right to discount Chandler Harnish because he was the last player drafted. He is going to enter camp and compete just as hard as Cousins for the spot. This just feels like the people in the media not doing their homework and jumping on the Redskins because they are historically an easy target.''-- Kurt, of Annandale, Va.
Has nothing to do with the Redskins being an easy target. If the Colts used their third pick in the draft on a quarterback after taking Andrew Luck first, I'd have said it was a dumb move by them too. Harnish was a marginal prospect and was one pick away from being on the street and signing as an undrafted rookie somewhere. Kirk Cousins was picked where other players of good value were on the board. The Redskins aren't good enough to use such a luxury.
HE THINKS KELLEN MOORE STINKS. "Kellen Moore didn't get drafted because he has no arm, he's short, and he has suspect feet. I watched him in person when I covered Boise State vs. Colorado State this year. I walked away thoroughly unimpressed. He didn't have to make a single "big time" throw. He had tight ends and wide receivers running wide open all day. He hit all underneath routes, and he floated a few up the seam to his TE's on busted coverages. I don't know that a ball ever traveled more than 30 yards in the air the whole game from him. Boise State went 50-3 AS A TEAM, he didn't win those games all by himself.
He'll never play a snap in the NFL. Russell Wilson is in because he has a gun and he's athletic. Drew Brees is a stud because he's got a lightning quick release, a good enough arm, and he's athletic. Moore has no arm and isn't athletic, and he's short. The only thing he has going for him is his W-L record, which is a bogus stat in and of itself.''-- Warren McCarty, Amarillo, Texas
You've got a lot of company in NFL front offices, Warren. Sorry. I refuse to believe a kid who beat Oregon twice, completed 82 percent on the road and beat Georgia and played a gutty game to beat Virginia Tech back East is valueless.
AND NOW FOR THE REST OF THE STORY ON THE KID THE FANS BOOED AT THE DRAFT. "My 10-year-old son, Brandon Morabito, is the boy who made the Patriots sixth-round pick at Radio City on Saturday. I can't tell you how much it meant to me to read your point about the New York fans who lustily booed him. We knew he'd be booed and I prepped him for it. I was taken aback that it grew louder even after Brandon was shown on the giant screens.
That said, I can't tell you how proud I am of how he handled it. As he continued to announce the pick and the noise grew, he smiled and began almost yelling to get the words out. I can honestly see that it took nothing from the amazing moment he was given.
My wife had to be consoled; Brandon did that too!! We both met Commissioner Goodell, Brandon was able to walk the green room to podium, get the draft hat, and have his picture taken with Mr. Goodell. All in all, it was an amazing experience for my family.
Thank you Mr. King for your kind words. Keep up the good work and do me a favor, try Narragansett Summer Ale. It's not your father's Narragansett Beer.''-- Mark Morabito, Norton, Mass.
Thanks for the advice, Mark. You've got one heck of a boy. I hope the louts who booed him read this.