As I said yesterday, I went through the films of the potential top draft choices at SI.com, at least at the fantasy positions (I refuse to call them “skill positions”), and planned to use my observations in creating a mock draft. But now I’m not doing a mock draft. At RB and WR, I only looked at those likely to be chosen in the first two rounds. But I looked at nearly all of the quarterbacks. So today, as part of my Absurd Draft Predictions series, I’m going to predict which team is going to end up with each passer.
Of course, these video clips are assemblages of the QB’s best moments, presumably compiled by his agent or someone else who has an interest in making him look good. I had to take that into consideration. They are going to tell me 1) what kind of magic the guy can do 2) what talents his agent wants to highlight, and 3) what he probably can’t do, since the video didn’t cover it. They are not going to tell me how often he misses, what kind of a leader he is, or any number of other valuable pieces of information.
So without further ado, here are my thoughts, and coupled with what the scouts have to say about the guy, my predictions on where these quarterbacks will end up – I’m listing them in order of the draft grade given by SI.com:
1) Matt Ryan, Boston College
The video was amazing. This guy throws a beautiful ball, and can throw it long. But of course, one could make a similar video of Rex Grossman throws and he’d look brilliant. SI says his main weakness is that he loses velocity throwing on the run. I disagree with a lot of the analysis on the site though; it looks like someone has a crush on the guy. How do you not bring up the fact that he threw 19 picks? As you know, I don’t think teams in the top five will think he’s worth the risk, and no one’s going to trade up.
Drafted by: Baltimore Ravens, early first round – they might move up a few spots, or they might decide he’ll still be there when they pick, but they won’t pass him up. Ozzie Newsome trusts his ability to get defense in the later rounds.
2) Brian Brohm, Louisville
He failed to excite me on the video. His play-action was very halfassed, which is a pet peeve of mine. SI worries about how he gets rattled by the blitz and his inability to escape the rush. There’s been talk about how ridiculous it is that his draft stock slipped so much, but it sounds like he’s best off being a backup for a while before taking a team on his shoulders.
Drafted by: St. Louis Rams, early 2nd round or late 1st round. He’ll slip even further than anticipated, making some people pull out their hair and say, “Whaaaat?” If he slips all the way to the Rams’ 2nd pick in the 2nd Marc Bulger is getting up there in years, and the Rams have to be concerned about injury now. Backing up Bulger for a few years, and also having Trent Green on the team as a mentor, is a great place for Brohm to be, despite the lower pay he’ll receive. round, they’ll decide it’s a worthwhile gamble; they may even move up into the bottom of the first if he’s still there.
3) Joe Flacco, Delaware
Despite the fact that, coming from a small school, Flacco doesn’t have nearly as much high-quality video to work with, he looked great. Tremendous arm, great size, and while SI lists mobility and ability to escape the rush as a weakness, I saw him moving around the pocket fairly well; he at least has the awareness to dodge the rush. All in all, he looks very much like an NFL quarterback, and I think he’ll be the second passer selected.
Drafted by: Carolina Panthers, middle 1st round – They’ll probably take him with their 13th pick, fearing that they’ll lose him to Chicago if they try to move down. The choice might surprise some, but ideally he’ll back up Delhomme for a year or two and then be ready to be an instant star. If they pick defense, they might still end up with him in a trade up to the 20s.
4) Chad Henne, Michigan
The video made me wonder what the big deal was. His draft stock has been rising steadily, after looking great in the all-star games and workouts. He’s probably been impressive in interviews, too. But the video – if he’s better than the clips showed, he should fire whoever put that together. The throws were unimpressive, and seemed to be to wide-open targets. I noticed a tendency to stare down the primary target, which is listed as a “negative” on SI.com. I think he should be taken by a team like the Lions, where he can battle Drew Stanton for the #1 spot in a year or so. But indications are he’ll go to a team who’s looking for an instant #1. Unless this is classic lying-GM-syndrome, trying to get people to think they like Henne when they actually don’t – it’s possible he’ll slip deep into the 2nd. But right now I’ll say…
Drafted by: Atlanta Falcons, right after Brohm. Wherever Brohm is picked, the Falcons will say, “Okay, we want the next quarterback, so let’s make sure we get him.” Just like the Broncos did with Jay Cutler, picked right after Matt Leinart, and the Redskins did with Jason Campbell, picked right after Aaron Rodgers.
5) Andre’ Woodson, Kentucky
In most of the video clips I saw, I was more impressed with the receivers than the passer. Granted, Woodson successfully threw the ball away from coverage, but the throws weren’t all that pretty. If this is the best he has to offer, I’d pass. There were also some clips of rushes and scrambles, so clearly this guy has speed, but his overall rushing stats were horrible. That tells me he gets sacked a lot. I haven’t heard much buzz about the guy since late in the college season, and think he’ll slide even further than people think.
Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings, late third round. He’ll provide some injury insurance and become a low-risk project.
6) John David Booty, USC
His broken finger really hurt his draft stock, but will give him the opportunity to get time to develop into an NFL passer. I was impressed on video, and in the bit of the Rose Bowl I saw. He’s great at throwing a bullet into a small window, which suits him well for a West Coast offense. He’s not so good with the deep throws, but there are teams who can definitely use his skills well.
Drafted by: Green Bay Packers, middle third round. He can’t make the long throws Brett Favre could, but he can throw a bullet to a tight end on a slant like nobody’s business. I see him fitting very well in the Packers’ scheme. And he gives them a Plan B in case the fans turn on Aaron Rodgers too quickly.
7) Erik Ainge, Tennessee
He had the worst video of all of them; simple passes completed without a whole lot of oomph. Again, the receivers were more impressive on the tougher plays. And this is a pet peeve also: I’m pretty sure he’s only listed this high because he’s 6’5” – I swear, sometimes these guys get to salivating over size, try to translate that into potential, and rank people way too high. I hereby boldly predict that Ainge never wins an NFL game as a starter.
Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals, late 4th round. I somehow suspect they’d fall for the tall guy thing, and they’ll trade up for him.
8) Dennis Dixon, Oregon
On video, I had to be impressed by his ability to scramble and improvise. I like the way this guy thinks. He’ll be a project as either a quarterback or another position.
Drafted by: Chicago Bears, middle 5th round. Having missed out on the top guys in the draft, and perhaps not mourning that fact so much, they’ll take a shot at Dixon, who could turn out to be a special talent.
9) Matt Flynn, LSU
The consensus is that he has the talent, but either lack of experience, motivation, or work ethic has held him back. He looked good on video, able to hit on a variety of routes, and I was particularly impressed with his patience in the pocket. So the question is, will he work himself into position to be an NFL starter someday?
Drafted by: New Orleans Saints, middle 5th round. Needing a good backup for Drew Brees, they’ll keep him in Louisiana, where he’ll be well supported should his services be needed.
10) Paul Smith, Tulsa
He likes to move around the pocket, but I’m thinking he won’t have success doing that at the NFL level. He has a fine arm, and plays with enthusiasm, but he’ll still need a lot of coaching to get NFL-ready. He threw 19 interceptions, and wasn’t exactly facing elite corners in C-USA.
Drafted by: Miami Dolphins, early 7th round
And Fins fans will complain that only just now are they picking a quarterback, but they, of course, have to give John Beck a real chance to earn his money. Smith is exactly what they need: a passionate player who will push for starting time, giving Beck the competition he may need.
11) Joshua Johnson, San Diego
SI.com doesn’t like his delivery and generally doesn’t have a lot of good things to say about him, but I think he could be the steal of this class. He looked phenomenal on video, and he was hitting some long throws, so his arm strength can’t be as bad as they make it out to be. And of course I like the fact that he threw 1 interception his senior year. He was hitting his receivers in stride, and I think he’ll be very effective in a West Coast Offense.
Drafted by: Washington Redskins, late 6th round. Why not give him to my team? He’ll back up Campbell and Collins while he learns the offense, and eventually be a great insurance policy for Campbell. He should fit new coach Jim Zorn’s style nicely.
12) Colt Brennan, Hawaii
Wow, SI really hates this guy, don’t they? How can a guy rack up those stats and be the 12th best passer in this draft? I’ll admit, he didn’t look great on video; always going to the first read, hitting wide open guys… but still. The guy’s thrown a lot of footballs and won a lot of games. I have to think someone needing a serviceable backup will take a chance on him sooner than they’re predicting.
Drafted by: New York Jets, early 5th round. Not a high enough pick to truly threaten Kellen Clemens, but he’ll be in the lineup to compete next year if Clemens flops. It’s a nice fit.