In next April's
draft three experienced passers seem certain to be among the top 10 picks for
the first time since the fateful trio of Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb and Akili
Smith went one-two-three in 1999. But predicting where Boston College's Matt
Ryan, Kentucky's Andre' Woodson and Louisville's Brian Brohm will fall in the
draft order is trickier than usual.
The three have
plenty in common: All are in the 225-pound range, run the 40 in 4.8 seconds,
have 30 or more college starts and complete at least 60% of their passes. Ryan
(right) and Woodson are 6'5", Brohm a little shorter. A year ago Brohm was
the best of the three in scouts' eyes, but the strong-armed Ryan and the
improvising Woodson gained a slight edge on him this season. "I have no
idea yet how they'll fall on our board," says one NFC personnel director
whose team will be looking to draft a quarterback. "We [scouts] talked
about that on the road a lot this year—there's no consensus on an order yet.
Ryan's the best thrower, Woodson lifted his team the highest, and Brohm might
be the most pro-ready. Depending on which juniors come out, if you want one of
these three guys, you'll probably have to move into the top 10."
Among teams likely
to pick that high, Atlanta and Baltimore are the most inclined to take a
passer. Look for New England, which owns San Francisco's first pick by virtue
of a 2007 draft-day deal, to trade it for more choices in lower rounds;
Carolina, Chicago or Kansas City might be willing to strike a deal with the
Pats and move up to take a QB.
scenario: Atlanta's Bobby Petrino passes on Brohm, whom he coached at
Louisville, and selects Ryan, who has a higher ceiling; the Ravens, seeking an
accurate passer with a winning r�sum� to elevate their offense, take Woodson;
the Bears finally get off the Rex Grossman roller coaster and draft Brohm.
As was made clear
by that '99 crop of passers—Couch and Smith played miserably and were both out
of the league by 2004—picking quarterbacks in the top 10 is a high-risk
endeavor. But that won't stop teams desperate for passers from taking this
year's threesome early on draft day.