The NFL 2005 Draft was supposed to herald two great future franchise quarterbacks in Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers. Standouts from the draft class have come from the defensive side of the ball with Shawn Merrimen and Demarcus Ware, offensively being over shadowed by wildcat sensation Ronnie Brown. Smith was the first pick of the draft going to the 49ers and Rodgers was supposed to follow soon there after but slipped all the way to the Packers at 24th slot.
Both Smith and Rodgers are desparately in need of a win to keep their teams in the playoff hunt. The Niners are two games back of the division leading Cardinals and still have one to play against them. On the other hand the Packers are trying to stay in the wildcard race with teams like the Eagles, Falcons, and Giants.
Smith has recently taken over for the struggling Shaun Hill and started the last three games leading them to 1 - 2 record while throwing for 6 TD's and 6 INT's. The prior stat line pretty much tells us the story of Smith's 5 year career, 12 - 21 as a starter with numbers to reflect his record, 31 TD's and 43 INT's.
Rodgers had the benifit of learning from one of the all-time greats in Brett Favre for the first three years of his career and also took over a team that had 13 - 3 record and ended its pervious season in the NFC Championship game.
With all of that is his corner, Rodgers should be experiencing great amounts of success. Not so much. He, too, has a losing record overall boasting an 11 - 14 career record. Rodgers has had personal success throwing for 46 TD's to only 19 INTs but positive numbers have not translated to wins for the Packers.
Better Career Thus Far
At first glance everyone would say Rodgers has been better, but if you take in all accounts I can make a case for Alex Smith coming closer to his unrealistic expectations.
First off, Smith was drafted by a rookie coach with high expectations in Mike Nolan and on top of that he was defensive minded.
Second of all, he did not benifit of getting any time to learn from the sidelines and especially not from a future Hall of Famer. He was thrown into the mix right out of the gate to a team not strong enough to support a rookie and subjected to some early disappointment with a 2 - 5 record as a starter.
My third point as to why I would say Smith came closer to meeting his expectations is that in his second season in the league he started all 16 games and led the Niners to a 7 - 9 record.
Now a seven win season is not impressive but you have to take into account that it was only his 'second' season. Smith also did not have the talent on offense that Rodgers has and did not have the same amount of time to get familiar with the system and the pace of the league.
In Rodgers first full season of being a starter he led the team to six wins. Granted he may have had to fill the shoes of a legendary QB in Green Bay, but he attempted to do this with more time and talent in the system than Smith was given.
At this point in the two play callers' careers the edge goes to Rodgers, but only slightly due to the individual success he has had. Anyway you look at it both of these men have underachieved the expectations they had coming out of college.
On Sunday Smith and Rodgers will go head-to-head for the first time in their NFL careers. The Packers and Rodgers have home field advantage in the game and this should give them the inside track to victory.
The Niners are coming off a win in which they picked off high profile QB Jay Cutler 5 times last Thursday night. Last weeks' Thusday night game gave Alex and the offense extra time to work out the kinks as they struggled in a win at home against the bears.
49ERS 16 - PACKERS 24
ALEX SMITH- 15/27 207, 1TD 2INTs
AARON RODGERS- 24/32 319, 2TDs 1INT
QB's NFL Future Prediction
I don't believe this season will finish with a playoff birth forcing the 49ers to look elsewhere in the off season to bring in a veteran who can manage this offense. This is a Singletary football team and the games are to be determined by the offensive and defensive lines, by running the ball and stopping the run. There is no room for QB's with a higher interception to touchdown ratio on the 2010 Niners roster.
Smith will bounce around as a back up in the NFL for the next five to six years and ultimately retire a hugh disappointment in comparison to his draft position.
Rodgers, on the other hand, has shown that he can put up solid numbers in this league and is surrounded by a young and very talented football team. Rodgers has another ten plus seasons with the Packers filled with playoff runs and pro bowls. Although I have projected a promising career for Rodgers, the ultimate goal of Superbowl title will elude him.