Category Archives: Quarterbacks

A New Number One

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It’s official, we’ve released version two of our 2009 NFL Mock Draft, and there is a new face a-top the draft board– Matthew Stafford, the quarterback from the University of Georgia.

The Lions have an undeniable need on the o-line, but that need can be satisfied at both pick #20, and pick #33. Our Mock has the Lions going offensive tackle Eben Britton at 20, and the Lions would be wise to go offensive guard at 33. This draft strategy allows them to take a risk on Stafford, knowing that he will not suffer the same fate as Joey Harrington.

Stafford has looked absolutely lights out in all post-season workouts, and seems to be handling himself like a true professional. His footwork is top-notch, he ran a tremendous 40, and he possesses this draft’s biggest arm. He is a bonafied leader, clean off the field, and embodies the rebirth that the Lions are going through.

Even if he turns out to be nothing but a serviveable QB, he will still be an improvement from the Lions current QB situation, which cannot be left in its current state for the start of training camp. Yes, Stafford will bring a massive price-tag, and his failure would be a major set-back, but the Lions cannot be haunted by mistakes of the past. Stafford has all the makings of a top signal-caller, and given the necessary support around him, he should flourish in Detroit.

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The Surprise Candidate

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USC Trojan junior quarterback Mark Sanchez has abruptly ended his career in So-Cal, and has opted to enter this April’s NFL draft. The decision appropriately shocked those in football circles, but as a matter of simple arithmetic, it all added up for Sanchez:

1. An impressive junior campaign, where Sanchez and the Trojans lost only one game. Bearing in mind that USC plays in the cake-walk PAC-10, the Trojans silenced their critics with the highly publicized decimation of the Ohio State Buckeyes in front of a nationally televised audience. Furthermore, Sanchez’s personal stats included 34 passing touchdowns, versus only 10 interceptions over the entire season.

2. A stellar bowl performance in the 2009 Rose Bowl, which saw Sanchez throw for 4 touchdowns and add one on the ground as the Trojans trounced the then No. 6 Penn State Nittany Lions. Sanchez looked flawless, throwing for a career-high 413 yards, evading pressure, showcasing his arm strength, and emulating the composure of a great leader.

3. The decisions of both Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford to return to both Florida and Oklahoma, respectively. Both would have been near, if not at the top, of most scout’s quarterback rankings, and their abrupt omission from draft boards seemingly opened the door for Sanchez. He now only faces competition from Georgia’s gun-slinger Matthew Stafford for the title of number-one rated quarterback.

So what does this equate to?

Sanchez, all-of-a-sudden, becomes a realistic option for the Detroit Lions with the number one overall pick in the 2009 Draft. With their franchise amidst one of the biggest identity crises in sports history, the Lions may look to duplicate the success of the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens, in drafting a first-round “franchise” quarterback.

It must be said that both Matt Ryan (Atlanta) and Joe Flacco (Baltimore) are anomalies. Rookie quarterbacks are supposed to be lack-lustre and it would be unfair to hold Sanchez to this expectation. Given the publicized failure of recent underclassmen quarterbacks declaring for the draft, in addition to Sanchez’s blatant lack of starting experience, he undoubtedly has a lot of proving to do, before and after draft day.

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Lost In Translation

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The man in the photo above is named Tim Tebow, the junior quarterback for the National Champion Florida Gators. As the picture would suggest, the Gators’ home uniform is a shade of royal blue that is strikingly similar to the shade universally associated with superman.  Tim Tebow completes this similarity with his on-field ability, and for some, has reformed the emblematic “S” on the chest into the shape of a one and a five.

Tebow is a tremendous leader, a shocking athlete, and a first-class human being. He was a Heisman trophy winner a year ago, and the winner of two National Championships in his three years at Florida. This year he was undeniably the Gator’s driving force in a campaign that saw them lose only once, and claim the year-end No.1 BCS ranking.

In two years as a starter, Tebow has thrown 67 touchdowns, versus only 11 interceptions. Even more stunning is his 43 rushing touchdowns amassed over three years, which is now the current Gator record, eclipsing the previous mark of 37 touchdowns; that record was held by Emmit Smith.

Yet scouts don’t believe Tebow’s raw talent, pure success, or acclaimed character will translate to the big leagues for the fact that he played in Urban Meyer’s “spread option” offence. Without getting too technical, this essentially has the quarterback in a consistent no-huddle shotgun, with multiple recievers to spread opposing defences. This has forced scouts to suggest that Tebow is the product of a system that has perrenially inflated the stats and appearance of quarterbacks. The most recent example of this would be Alex Smith, the No. 1 pick of the 49ers who ran Urban Meyer’s offence at Utah, and has been a ghost in the NFL.

This is me seizing the opportunity to publicly endorse Tim Tebow. And this is why…

When the pocket breaks down, and Tebow is on the run, he has the ability to evade pressure, look down field, locate a reciever and use a god-given cannon-of-an-arm to make any throw. He is accurate. He is elusive. He is as physically imposing as Big Ben in Pittsburgh, with the feet of Fran Tarkenton. He loves the big games and brings the passion you can’t teach.

Tebow is not Alex Smith.

He is a first-rounder with all the tools, the attitude and the intangibles. No question he will need to be fine tuned, and learn the professional ropes, as anyone does. But his success will translate just fine.

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