Breaking Through: Will Matt Leinart Ever Be What We Thought?

Jack MCorrespondent INovember 19, 2009

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 01:  Quarterback Matt Leinart #7 of the Arizona Cardinals looks on against the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals are sitting pretty good this year with a 6-3 record that puts them atop the NFC West.

Kurt Warner has led the Cardinals to the fifth-ranked passing offense with 2,515 passing yards halfway through this 2009 season.

Yep, things seem to be flying high in Arizona at the moment, but what about the future?

Remember Matt Leinart...Heisman-winning quarterback with USC? No. 11 overall pick in the 2006 Draft? Of course you do. Well, it is pretty obvious that things didn't quite turn out as planned for Mr. Leinart, but here's some hope for all you Cardinals fans: There's still a chance!

Yes, things didn't work out at first, but that is not necessarily his fault. He suffered greatly from a running game that was near the bottom of the league. You can actually look at his numbers and see that in his first 11 starts, he did better than many NFL quarterbacks that made it big.

In Eli Manning's first season as a starter, he threw for a much worse completion percentage than Leinart did, with a 48.2 completion percentage as opposed to Leinart's 56.8 percent.

In 1998, Peyton Manning had a worse touchdown to interception ratio then Leinart did.

In Donovan McNabb's rookie season, he only averaged 4.4 yards per attempt. On the other side, Leinart averaged 6.8 yards per attempt, which almost mirrors the accomplished NFL quarterbacks Drew Brees and Tom Brady.

These statistics and a gut feeling have led me to a bold prediction: Matt Leinart will be a Pro Bowl quarterback in the next five years. Once Warner retires, expect the former Heisman-winning quarterback to explode and be an elite quarterback for the rest of his career.