As a die-hard NFL Draft observer for over a decade, I’ve started to notice certain patterns. For instance, I know around 80 percent of the time, Cincinnati will make a bad pick and Mel Kiper Jr. will go on a two-minute rant on how bad the pick is.
Another pattern is that some team will trade down and make a pick that will leave everyone at Madison Square Garden aghast.
I now believe I can confidently predict and label almost all possible first-round quarterbacks and predict their NFL career path. Now this isn’t 100 percent fool proof, but what else is? For example, Jay Cutler is a Pre-Draft Hyper; someone who achieved little success in college, but due to good workouts becomes a first-round pick and will most likely fail.
Last year’s first-round pick Alex Smith was a Reacher. A quarterback who was possibly first-round material, but the team with the first pick was so desperate for a quarterback they reached and took one who was better suited to be taken much later.
Here are my labels:
The Superstar: The Superstar was great in college and has the good physical tools for the NFL. They were so good in college they probably would have been drafted in the first round if they had come out earlier. While they might not turn out as superstars in the NFL, they will usually at least have a solid career. Matt Leinart falls under this category.
Prime examples: Drew Bledsoe, Kerry Collins, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer.
Failed Superstars: Joey Harrington and Rick Mirer.
The Athlete: He will dazzle you either with his arm, running ability or both. The Athlete will have one big thing against him, usually a lack of accuracy. Athletes are hit or miss, but more likely hit. Even when they succeed, they never usually put up big passing numbers. Vince Young fits in this category.
Prime examples: Daunte Culpepper, Donovan McNabb Steve McNair and Michael Vick.
Failed Athletes: Jeff George, Ryan Leaf and Todd Marinovich.
Pre-Draft Hyper: He is a quarterback who has a nondescript college career, has great workouts and suddenly becomes the flavor of the month. He will have a great arm, but poor intangibles, and will fail in the NFL. Jay Cutler falls in this category.
Prime examples: Kyle Boller, JP Losman and Aaron Rodgers.
The Reacher: The Reacher is a quarterback who may or not be first-round material, but is taken in the first round earlier than he was suppose to be. Reachers usually are chosen because teams either desperately need a quarterback and a new face of the franchise, or the coach or the general manager are not particular fond of their mediocre quarterback. Reachers usually don’t have good careers.
Prime examples: Jason Campbell, David Carr, Jim Druckenmiller, Tommy Maddox, Patrick Ramsey and Alex Smith.
The Stat Machine: The Stat Machine puts up major passing numbers in college, and NFL teams believe this will translate into the pros. This usually ends with disastrous results.
Prime examples: Tim Couch, Dave Klinger and Andre Ware.
Not all quarterbacks are definable. Those like Rex Grossman, Byron Leftwich and Phillip Rivers don’t fall under the current criteria. They were good in college and were projected first-round picks, but were not superstars and were taken around where they were supposed to.
Hope that your team will be smart and avoid disasters waiting to happen, like the Stat Machine. You also can hope your team bypasses all the labels and runs into someone like Tom Brady in the sixth round.