Perhaps we should not be stunned by
But could a simple formula have warned us of Russell's lack of NFL readiness? And
Call it the Rule of 26-27-60.
Here is the gist of it: If an NFL prospect scores at least a 26 on the Wonderlic test, starts at least 27 games in his college career and completes at least 60 percent of his passes, there's a good chance he will succeed at the NFL level.
There are, of course, exceptions. If NFL general managers always could measure heart, determination and other intangibles, then
But short of breaking down tape, conducting personal interviews and analyzing every number and every snap of every game, remember the Rule of 26-27-60 the next time a hotshot prospect comes down the pike.
Since 1998, these are some of the NFL quarterbacks who aced all three parts of the Rule of 26-27-60:
Meanwhile, among the once highly-touted prospects who failed at least one part of the formula: Ryan Leaf,
There are a few notable exceptions to the rule but only by slight margins.
How about the quarterback class of 2010? Top pick
It stands to reason why the Rule of 26-27-60 makes the most sense as a quick guide to NFL quarterbacking success, too.
The 26 represents the minimum Wonderlic score required to score a passing grade. Consider some of the lower-scoring quarterbacks drafted since 1998 when it comes to the Wonderlic: Vick (who scored a 20), Akili Smith (26), Couch (22), Carr (24), Young (16, first reported as a six) and Russell (24). All of them have been considered at best under-achievers, at worst busts.
The most notable exceptions to the rule are
The 27 represents the minimum number of starts a quarterbacking draft prospect should have had in college to make the grade. Ask any NFL scout if he would rather have 12 games to grade or 27. Playing a lot of games means more opportunity to hone your craft in the heat of battle and gain confidence in your ability to perform under pressure. That translates well to the next level. Oregon's Akili Smith was drafted in 1999 after making just 11 collegiate starts. He ultimately made just 17 starts in Cincinnati.
And how many quarterbacks, like Leaf and Russell, have been drafted based on "upside." That is another way of saying a player couldn't complete 60-percent in college. Do you really think he can do it at the next level?
The exceptions are few. Finding NFL quarterbacks certainly is a science, but it's not rocket science. When in doubt, turn to the Rule of 26-27-60.