By Sean Haugh.
Successful dynasty league owners know to keep a few roster spots open for long-term prospects. People who stashed away Aaron Rodgers early on are now enjoying the benefits of their brilliant move. During this last season, I started stocking up on Matt Leinart and Kevin Kolb. Assuming he doesn’t stink up the place, the Leinart acquisition has already paid off, while we already know Kolb will shine as soon as he gets his opportunity to start.
So who are the quarterbacks worth stashing away for the next few years? Not counting rookies who have yet to be drafted, there are five young QBs who have caught my eye.
Dennis Dixon, Steelers
Late in his second year, Dixon made Charlie Batch unnecessary and established himself as Ben Roethlisberger’s primary backup. That in itself is remarkable, because Batch is a fairly reliable backup.
In the one game Dixon started in relief, week 12 at division rival Baltimore, he put up a passing line of 12-of-26 for 145 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also showed some remarkable scrambling ability, rushing three times for 27 yards, 24 of them for another touchdown. He also had another brilliant 40-yard run called back due to a holding penalty.
Dixon only got the start because Batch was also injured. His coach Mike Tomlin gave his performance a positive review, saying, “I like his demeanor throughout it all. He made some plays. I thought he represented himself relatively well.” Relative is the right term. While most of the time Dixon showed poise and a willingness to make tough throws, it was his interception to Paul Kruger in overtime that led to the Ravens’ victory.
Dixon slid to the fifth round in the 2008 NFL draft because at the time he was still recovering from a torn ACL suffered when Oregon played Arizona State, an injury further aggravated because he continued to play in the next game against Arizona. I’m not holding his injury history against him. Just the opposite—his continuing to play shows both Dixon’s toughness as well as the inadequacy of Oregon’s medical staff.
Dixon will sit behind Roethlisberger for one more year. After that his rookie contract will expire, the Steelers will have a decision to make. Do they pay big money to keep him as a backup or let him walk? The price will be steep because there just aren’t 32 starting quality QBs in the NFL right now. Stash Dixon away now and enjoy the show during the 2011 offseason...