2010 NFL Draft: Quarterback Breakdown
By Lance Epstein
The NFL draft is only two days away. Each day leading up to the draft, I will breakdown one of the seven major positions on the field. Those positions are secondary, linebacker, defensive line, offensive line, wide receivers/tight ends, running backs/fullbacks and quarterback.
With each position, I will breakdown the best player at the position, two sleepers, an overrated player, a late-round gem, and the player(s) the Eagles should select.
Today's installment is the final part of the seven part series. I will be breaking down the quarterback position.
For the Eagles the quarterback position is not an overwhelming need. The organization believes that Kevin Kolb is there quarterback of the present and future. In his first two career starts coming in 2009, Kolb threw for back-to-back 300-yard games. Furthermore, he inspiring play and pin-point accuracy was one of the reasons that the Eagles thought it was time to move on from the Donovan McNabb show and into the Kolb Era.
Still, Kolb has big shoes to fill considering McNabb lead the Eagles back from the brink of obscurity (rumors before Jeffrey Lurie bought the team was they might have become the L.A. Eagles) to five NFC Championship games, one Super Bowl and appearances and four divisional titles.
Of course Kolb has the talent to succeed and the coaches along with the players love his leadership skills. However there will be ups and downs his first season under center. He obviously will have some struggles since it is his first full season taking the reigns.
Nonetheless, he must show that he can bust out of slumps because there will be days where he is not elite or even average. He must be able to overcome the criticism of the fans and media when he has those performances and become better for it.
Can Kolb do this? That is the unknown that management has placed the Eagles franchise in. Yet, the fans feel that Kolb is the right guy to lead their team to new heights.
Besides Kolb, the only other quarterback on the roster is Michael Vick. Towards the end of last season, Vick showed improvement in throwing the ball down the field, but he wants to see more playing time.
Since Vick will not be the starter and is owed $5 million this upcoming season, do not be surprised if the Eagles try to wheel-and-deal him on draft day for a pick. Or if they are unsuccessful, try and trade him during training camp when a veteran quarterback goes down to injury. If Vick happens to land elsewhere, two guys to keep in mind are veterans Jeff Garcia and Marc Bulger.
Ultimately, Vick will be counted on to be the number two quarterback if he stays with the Eagles. Like Kolb, Vick has the talent to be a NFL starting caliber QB. Additionally, this is his first offseason where he has worked out in his career. He is supposedly in the best playing shape of his career.
Even though the Eagles have two capable quarterbacks expect them to draft a quarterback in the later rounds. Vick is a free agent after the year and he will not be coming back, so the Eagles need to have a backup in place and ready to go in 2011.
The Best: Sam Bradford, Oklahoma, 6-4, 236 lbs
The 2008 Heisman Trophy winner decided to come back for his junior year with the Sooners. However that decision nearly cost him millions of dollars as he re-injured his shoulder, which required surgery to repair. Still, he is a winner and the best quarterback prospect in the draft. At Oklahoma, his accuracy in the passing game and ability to hit receivers in stride made him one of the most productive players in the NCAA. In addition, his ideal size and mobility for the position makes a very intriguing prospect. Of course, he will need a year or two to develop to be able to take the hits at the NFL level, but he has tremendous upside.
Jarrett Brown, West Virginia, 6-3, 224 lbs
While Brown is a bit of a project, he has been impressing scouts and teams with his arm-strength. During his time with West Virginia, he flew under the radar as he backed up Pat White for most of his career and the Mountaineers were not in the national spotlight this past season. Furthermore, he has very good size to play the QB position and his elusiveness will intrigue teams to take him in the third and fourth-rounds. The biggest knock on Brown is that he has started one year in college, but Matt Cassel did not start at any time in his career and he has done all right for himself.
Mike Kafta, Northwestern, 6-3, 225 lbs
In his first three seasons, Kafta was not projected to be a draft selection, but in his senior season he flourished. He demonstrated nice touch on his passes that relied on his timing and accuracy. While he does not possess the greatest arm in the world and worked mostly out of a shotgun formation, but he does have an adequate enough arm and reads coverage well enough to be a good west coast offense QB. Depending on what team selects him, he could be a diamond in the rough for some team.
Colt McCoy, Texas, 6-1, 216 lbs
It is hard to say this about a quarterback that played so incredibly well at the University of Texas, but his skill-set does not translate into the pro game. He is undersized for the position and his injury against one of the premiere college football teams in Alabama with multiple draft prospects will have teams question his durability in the NFL. Moreover, he does not possess a big arm, which teams can live with, except that he is not always very accurate when throwing intermediate routes. One of positives is that he is a true leader and does an excellent job in decision making. Still, his small stature and size does not project very well at the next level.
Zac Robinson, Oklahoma St. 6-2, 214 lbs
Before this past season, Robinson was considered to be one of the front-runners to win the 2009 Heisman Trophy. Unfortunately, he lost his best receiving target in Dez Bryant and his numbers went from elite to barely above average. Still Robinson is a big-time sleeper late in the draft. He can make all the throws at the next level and has a fairly good arm. Furthermore, he has shown the ability to have a quick release so that defenders cannot jump on his throws. One of his major flaws is does not go through all of his progressions, but that is very teachable by an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. His athleticism to extend the pocket makes him a valuable commodity and a potential starting caliber quarterback.
Player(s) the Eagles Should Pick:
John Skelton, Fordham, 6-5, 243 lbs
Skelton has been one of the fastest rising prospects coming into the draft. Before the combine and his Pro Day, Skelton was unknown to most scouts, but he has made a name for himself leading up to the draft. He possesses good size and a NFL caliber arm. Sometimes he relies too much on his golden arm and does not get his feet set in the pocket. Certainly, his problems are correctable for any team that takes him. Skelton's prototypical height, bulk, ability to make all the NFL throws and avoid pass rushers makes him capable of being successful at the next level.
Jevan Snead, Mississippi, 6-3, 219 lbs
The most surprising move of the draft process was Snead declaring for the NFL Draft. Before his junior season, Snead was project as a first round pick. Now, he might not even be drafted until the fifth-round. In his 2009 campaign, he threw as many interceptions as he did touchdowns with 20. Even with his faults, Snead has a live arm and can get the ball out of his hands very quickly. Additionally, he has good accuracy to be in a west coast style of offense, but on deep routes, his ball flutters. One of his best attributes is his intelligence. He graduate from school early and is able to pick up coverage better than most QBs in the draft.