NFL Draft: Rollin's Top Underrated Quarterbacks for 2012
Size matters—or does it?
Tonight, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will be taken first and second overall in the 2012 NFL draft. I have no doubt they will be stars and perennial starters in the NFL. Ryan Tannehill, however, I'm not so sure about.
Measurables only get a quarterback so far in this league—intangibles, experience and intelligence is the true measurement of an NFL quarterback.
Too many times, we have seen teams pass up on quarterbacks because of their measurables. Tom Brady was a horrible athlete, but he's one hell of a quarterback. Isn't he?
Charlie Ward was too small and wasted away in the NBA. The Redskins and Buccaneers chose Heath Shuler and Trent Dilfer instead. Now, all we can do is wonder what could have been.
NFL scouts and analysts are like lemmings that just follow the trend. Nobody was sure about Tannehill until they had him measured and playing catch with receivers in shorts. Just forget that he repeatedly failed in the second half of the big game. Forget that he was moved to wide receiver for Jerrod Johnson, until he sucked it up so bad they had to bring in Tannehill.
I'm not saying Tannehill is a bust. He could be a good quarterback someday—especially under Joe Philbin in Miami. But there are four proven winners that are being overlooked by scouts for various reasons that have nothing to do with their performance.
Will they get their shot and be able to prove me right? It's tough to say. Only one of them appears to be a first-rounder, so there is little chance we will ever see these guys in action.
But with the mistakes the NFL has made in the past, their draft status means nothing to me.
4. Kellen Moore, Boise State
Kellen Moore is a totally different animal from the quarterbacks I'm listing. I will agree with the scouts' assessments that he has somewhat of a noodle arm. I'm not sure it is the worst in the draft, but his arm is definitely the worst on my list—and least likely to be a success because of it.
I still like what Moore brings to the table, though. He is the son of a coach and has a full understanding of the game. I'll take that over a guy with a great arm and no brain any day of the week.
Though he doesn't have superb arm strength, his accuracy is undeniable. Last season, Moore completed 74.3 percent of his passes at Boise State. He also threw 43 touchdowns to just nine interceptions.
What makes his accuracy elite, is being able to read coverages and place the ball in the perfect spot. Have you ever heard of a quarterback throwing a receiver open? We hear that often about elite NFL quarterbacks—and that is what Kellen Moore does best.
If he is drafted, I fully expect him to waste away in the NFL. That is not because if his lack of skill. It would simply be a lack of opportunity, due to the whacked-out grading scale of NFL scouts.
Moore has less-than-impressive size, at 6'1” and 190 pounds, and a weak arm to boot. Neither of which is glaring enough for me pass up in the late rounds. But according to Scout.com's rankings, we will probably see Ryan Lindley, B.J. Coleman and Chandler Harnish taken over him.
3. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
At 6'4” and 218 pounds, size isn't a question for Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden. It isn't accuracy, arm strength, mental capacity or stats, either. It's simply that he is 28 years old.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure Kurt Warner was 27 when he finally got a shot in the pros. Before that, he was bagging groceries and playing in the AFL. Are you telling me you wouldn't draft Warner at 28?
The only thing Weeden is missing, besides an earlier birth date, is great athleticism—but he's still more athletic than Tom Brady. I'd say he has the second- or third-strongest arm in the draft, behind Griffin and Luck. He is also one of the most accurate.
You can give me style of offense and say that he had Justin Blackmon all you want, but the guy completed 72 percent of his passes for 4,727 yards and 37 touchdowns. I would even argue that Weeden helped make Blackmon—not the other way around.
Weeden is an intelligent quarterback with a great arm. And, unlike Tannehill, he doesn't fold in the second half.
As a matter of fact, his completion percentage improves when his team is down. Last season, Weeden was completing 75.9 percent of his passes when OSU was down by 14 or less. That is a winner—and exactly what I would want in a quarterback.
2. Case Keenum, Houston
Exactly why is Case Keenum being completely ignored? Playing at Houston appears to be his biggest flaw. Put this guy in a West Coast offense and watch him shine.
Folks also say he has a weak arm and gets shaky under duress. I never saw either of those traits in the Houston games I watched. Watch this video and tell me Keenum folds under pressure.
Unfortunately, Keenum didn't impress at the combine—while playing catch with receivers he hasn't thrown to before. Yes, let's continue to put combine performances at the top of our list of qualifications. His size is also not impressive enough at 6'2” and 210 pounds.
How about we talk about what he did on the field?
It seemed like Keenum was breaking a new record with every game in 2011. He finished his collegiate career owning the NCAA record books for the most passing yards (19,217), the most passes completed (1,546) and the most touchdown passes in a career (155). He is also in the record books for throwing 76 passes in a game without an interception.
Let's not forget the nine touchdown passes he threw on Oct. 27, either. I don't care where or who you're playing. That, my friends, is baller status.
Alas, scouts and analysts have whittled this poor guy down to a joke. At best, he will go in the sixth round—or possibly not at all.
This begs the question: Does anyone think for themselves these days?
1. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
Like Weeden, Russell Wilson made the right choice, choosing football over baseball. Wilson will only make every throw you ask him to and run a 4.55-second 40-yard dash.
Here we go again with ridiculous reasons not to take him.
As it turns out, Wilson is too short to play quarterback, at 5'11”. Please, don't mind the fact he played behind offensive linemen that ranged from 6'4”-6'9”. One would think that if height was an issue, he'd throw more than four interceptions in a season.
That's exactly what he did at Wisconsin. Wilson tossed 33 touchdowns to just four interceptions, with a completion percentage of 72.8. In 2009 with the Wolfpack, Wilson broke the all-time NCAA record, throwing 325 consecutive passes without an interception.
He was also the nation's most consistent quarterback in 2011, with a quarterback rating of 191.8.
While we're at it, let's totally ignore the fact he transferred from NC State to Wisconsin for his final year of eligibility—picking up the pro-style playbook in July and starting by September. He also graduated after just three years at NC State. Needless to say, he has the brain to run an NFL offense.
As a matter of fact, Wilson has just about everything a team could possibly want in a quarterback—except height. He is the best of the under-ranked quarterbacks in this 2012 draft, and he just might be better than everyone not named Luck or Griffin.
Chances are, I will never get to prove how right I am about some of these quarterbacks. But if they are eventually given the opportunity to start in the NFL, before they become old and crusty, team owners may begin to question the skill sets of their own NFL scouts.
When that time comes, you know where to find me.
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