1st Round NFL Quarterbacks of This Decade: A Recap
Quarterback. The single most important position on the football field.
Every year, we see teams drafting quarterbacks high, hoping for the next Troy Aikman or Peyton Manning, but more often than not they are busts.
Now that 2010 is hitting its halfway point, and we have closed out this decades draft, I have taken a look at all of the quarterbacks taken in the first round since 2000. Hope you enjoy, and if I bring up some bad memories of your team's past, I'm sorry. I'm only human.
Chad Pennington- 18th overall pick of 2000 NFL Draft
The first quarterback taken of the 2000's, Chad Pennington is still in the NFL, but it looks like his time may very well be over.
Pennington has always been heckled by his critics for having barely any arm strength, and his arm sure won't be any stronger this season after ending the 2009 season on injured reserve with a torn shoulder he suffered vs the Chargers. This is the second serious injury Pennington has suffered on his throwing arm.
Pennington started his career as a Jet, but after eight seasons, he packed his bags and went to Miami. In his first season as a Dolphin, Pennington made an immediate impact, helping a 1-15 team go to 11-5 in one season. He threw 19 touchdowns next to only seven interceptions and won the Comeback Player of the Year Award.
One interesting side note is that Pennington has been in the NFL for 10 years, and has only started a full 16 game season twice.
Michael Vick- 1st overall pick of 2001 NFL Draft
“Every dog has his day.” -Tony Montana
No pun intended, but this dog's day was on April 25th, 2007 when a search warrant was issued on Vick's home in Virginia.
Everything for Vick went downhill from there. He spent the next 21 months in prison and is now trying to regain his once elite form, which is kind of hard do to when backing up Kevin Kolb.
With the 1st overall pick in 2001, the Atlanta Falcons selected former Virginia Tech superstar to help lead them to glory. While Vick may not have brought a Super Bowl title to Atlanta, he sure brought a lot of publicity and attention.
During his tenure in the ATL, Vick was arguably the most popular and marketable player in the NFL. His rank is also top tier in all time sales in jerseys.
Vick spent 6 seasons in Atlanta and without a doubt his most memorable came in 2006 where he became the first and only quarterback in NFL history to pass and rush for over 1,000 yards, but soon enough his inevitable downfall happened.
On August 13th, 2009, Vick was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles to backup former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, and the highlight of his season, was the touchdown pass he threw against the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs. Currently with McNabb out of Philly, Vick sits in the shadow of #4, Kevin Kolb, and I actually believe if he is given an opportunity, he will shine bright again.
David Carr- 1st overall pick of 2002 NFL Draft
The newest expansion team, the Houston Texans, selected David Carr with the first overall pick in the 2002 NFL draft. David Carr would play 5 seasons in Houston and oddly enough only missed 4 starts...it's too bad he was just awful.
After winning his first start against the Dallas Cowboys, it was all downhill from there.
David Carr would become the most sacked quarterback in single season NFL history, being sacked 76 times. Not only that, but during the 16 games he started, Carr only threw nine touchdowns next to 15 interceptions, and the Houston Texans only scored 22 touchdowns in general.
After the ties were cut in 2006, David Carr spent the next three seasons as a backup, one with the Carolina Panthers, and two with the New York Giants.
Currently, he is a San Francisco 49er, and is backing up another #1 overall pick, Alex Smith.
Joey Harrington- 3rd overall pick of 2002 NFL Draft
Any quarterback taken by the Lions is all but destined to fail. Joey Harrington took over for Mike McMahon in week one against the Miami Dolphins.
As a rookie, Joey Harrington threw 12 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, but one good note is that he was only sacked 8 times. Harrington played 55 games, but only won 18.
After the 2005 season, the Lions decided with the new acquisitions of Jon Kitna and Josh McCown, that Joey Harrington was expendable. On May 12th, 2006, Harrington was traded to the Miami Dolphins for a 6th round pick that potentially could become a 5th rounder.
Harrington would spend one season with the Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins, and the New Orleans Saints.
Patrick Ramsey- 32nd overall pick of the 2002 NFL Draft
I bet that you did not know Patrick Ramsey was a first round pick, but with the final pick of the 2002 NFL draft, the Washington Redskins picked the former Tulane quarterback.
Ramsey would play four seasons as a Redskin, but he would never make the slightest difference to the franchise. After the 2006 season, Ramsey would never start another game as an NFL quarterback. He would be signed by the New York Jets, Denver Broncos, Tennessee Titans, and Detroit Lions.
On June 1st, 2010, he was signed by the Omaha Blackhawks.
Carson Palmer- 1st overall pick of 2003 NFL Draft
The Cincinnati Bengals needed a leader and a play maker after earning the 1st overall pick, and with that pick, they took USC quarterback and 2002 Heisman winner, Carson Palmer.
The 1st overall pick of the 2003 draft did not play a single down his rookie year and struggled as a first year starter in 2004.
Cason was the great quarterback and leader that a hectic locker room needed. In 2005, Palmer lead the Bengals to an 11-5 record, breaking a 15 year curse of losing records.
However, the hearts of the Bengals were broken on the first play from scrimmage against their rival Steelers. Palmer threw a 66 yard pass to the now late Chris Henry (R.I.P). However on that play, Palmer was hit low, tore his knee, and the Bengals lost the game.
The Bengals hit their stride early in the 2009 season and surprisingly won the AFC North, but lost to the New York Jets in the first round.
The Bengals look to come back strong in the 2010 season and if there was any time they could truly succeed, it is now. Plus, to achieve greatness, #9 has to be under center.
Byron Leftwich- 7th overall pick of 2003 NFL Draft
As a rookie Leftwich did about as good as anyone could do playing quarterback for Jacksonville.
While his first two seasons weren't exceptional by any means, they were average. Fortunately, in 2005, Leftwich made major strides.
In the 11 games Leftwich played that season, he had an 89.3 passer rating, threw 15 touchdowns, and only five interceptions.
Then the Jaguars played the Arizona Cardinals, and he broke his ankle when safety Adrian Wilson sacked him on the first play from scrimmage. Leftwich missed the last five games of the season, but he did return to play the New England Patriots in the playoffs where his team lost 28-3.
Leftwich re-injured his ankle in 2006 and right before the start of the 2007 season, Leftwich was released and signed by the Atlanta Falcons. Then he was released again and signed by the Steelers.
After the Steelers, he was then signed by the Buccaneers, and then traded back to the Steelers.
He is now competing for the starting job in Pittsburgh with Ben Roethlisberger facing suspension. (What a ride.)
Kyle Boller- 19th overall pick of 2003 NFL Draft
A warm body on your roster. That is all this guy is.
Throughout his six year career, Boller has contributed next to nothing. His “best” season in his NFL career was in 2004 where he started all 16 games, but only threw for 2,559 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. He was also sacked 35 times.
The highlight of Boller's career has to be in 2007 where he and the Baltimore Ravens almost upset the then undefeated New England Patriots where he surprisingly preformed very well, completing 15 of 23 passes for 210 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.
After being injured in the preseason against the Minnesota Vikings, Boller was placed on injured reserve on September 3rd, and rookie Joe Flacco took his spot as starting quarterback.
He was later released and signed by the St. Louis Rams during the 2009 offseason, where he struggled again, and was then cut and is now under contract by the Oakland Raiders.
Rex Grossman- 22nd overall pick of 2003 NFL Draft
After the first three years of playing as a Chicago Bear, all seemed lost when Grossman spent a majority of his time on the sidelines, marred by injuries.
But he finally stayed healthy enough to start all 16 games of the 2006 season as he lead the Bears and their number one ranked defense to the Super Bowl against the Indianapolis Colts.
He lost the game, in which he turned the ball over multiple times, be it by interception or fumble. This was his best season, but he also threw 20 interceptions next to 23 touchdowns.
The next two seasons Grossman was slowed by injuries and was eventually released by the Chicago Bears on March 1st of 2009.
He was then signed by the Houston Texans to backup Matt Schaub, saw action only once, and on his very first pass, threw an interception. He is now currently on the Washington Redskins roster. While having an absolute cannon for an arm is nice, it doesn't mean anything if you can't complete a single pass to someone wearing the same jersey as you.
Eli Manning- 1st overall pick of 2004 NFL Draft
While I have always defended Eli Manning from his critics, the way he carried himself on draft day was absolutely pitiful. Manning publicly stated that he would simply not play for the Chargers and was traded to New York for Philip Rivers and draft picks, which would be used on Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding.
Many people criticized Manning as a choke artist and someone who just couldn't win the big one. Eli, however, silenced his critics (at least for one moment), when he lead one of the most famous drives in NFL history, defeating the then undefeated New England Patriots.
He was named the MVP of Super Bowl XLII, and even before that, he led the Giants to victory against the Green Bay Packers in the blistering cold. Manning now has a Super Bowl ring and has proved that he truly can be a winner.
Also, Eli Manning should be applauded for his toughness. Since becoming the full time starter in 2005, Manning has started every game and has never thrown for less than 3,000 yards and 21 touchdowns in a single season.
Philip Rivers- 4th overall pick of 2004 NFL Draft
Philip Rivers has established himself as an elite quarterback in the NFL. It is a shame that when it comes to playoff time, he and the Chargers all crumble under the pressure.
Philip Rivers IS the San Diego Chargers. If he goes down week one, the Chargers win a maximum of six games that season. While he may mouth off and trash talk more than he should, he sure can back it up with his game.
Philip Rivers has the second highest passer rating in NFL history for any quarterback with a minimum of 1,500 pass attempts, (95.8) only bested by arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, Joe Montana, and has the second highest win percentage among starting quarterbacks (.719), where only Tom Brady has won more.
In 2007, the San Diego Chargers beat the Tennessee Titans with Philip Rivers at the helm helping San Diego win their first playoff game since 1994.
The stats all just speak for themselves: 11 fourth quarter comebacks, 106 touchdowns next to a mere 45 interceptions, and a average of 63.1 completion percentage. Rivers just needs to win a Super Bowl to truly cement his legacy, and before his career is up, he will have one.
Ben Roethlisberger- 11th overall pick of 2004 NFL Draft
It is almost shameful to see someone with this much talent and ability allegedly doing these absolutely idiotic acts. Big Ben was drafted with the 11th overall pick in 2004 to lead the Steelers to glory, and he has accomplished this, twice.
This guy just looks like an NFL quarterback, and Ben Roethlisberger practically owns the entire Pittsburgh Steelers record book for quarterbacks.
As a rookie, he set an NFL record for most wins by a rookie quarterback with 13 and had an amazing passer rating of 98.1. He also became the youngest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl in a very controversial game against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL where he had a gaudy passer rating of 22.6, with zero touchdowns and two interceptions.
He made up for that in 2008 against the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII where he lead the Steelers downfield and connected with Santonio Holmes for the game winning touchdown.
Ben holds a 8-2 playoff record, and is the one quarterback in Steelers history with a 4,000 yard passing season. Such a shame someone this great makes such stupid choices...
For the past few seasons, Ben has constantly put his image, and once his life, on the line. On June 12th 2006, he crashed his motorcycle and was not wearing a helmet. Oddly enough all he suffered was a broken jaw and nose. Pretty lucky for someone who himself will admit that he was “moments from dying.”
He played that season and had statistically his worst year, throwing 23 interceptions as the Steelers stumbled and missed the playoffs.
The season after next, Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault. I personally believe that this was complete garbage, especially how the “victim” backed down once things started to get heated up, but then Ben was accused AGAIN of sexual misconduct with a 20- year-old woman at a bar in Milledgeville, Georgia.
Ben is now serving a six game suspension without pay and has forever damaged his image.
J.P. Losman- 22nd pick of 2004 Draft
After drafting Lee Evans with the 13th overall pick in the NFL, the Buffalo Bills moved back and selected J.P. Losman with the 22nd overall pick in hopes that they could possibly become a dynamic duo. Too bad only one panned out.
Losman started his NFL career with misfortune. He broke his left fibula during training camp and that massively stunted his growth as a rookie.
He saw very limited action, throwing five passes, completing three, and throwing one interception. From then on, Losman was slowed by injury, poor decision making, and brutal schedules.
He never lived up to any expectations and only started one full season. He would be released by the Buffalo Bills after the 2008 season. He then spent one season with the Las Vegas Locomotives in the AFL and lead his team to the championship. He is now a member of the Oakland Raiders.
Alex Smith- 1st overall pick of 2005 NFL Draft
I think it is honestly safe to say that Alex Smith had the single worst rookie season of any player in NFL history.
Alex Smith appeared in nine games his rookie season, threw only one lone touchdown next to 11 interceptions, and was sacked 29 times. The next few seasons would be much of the same. Alex started all 16 games and played remarkably average throwing just as many touchdowns and interceptions (16).
2009 was without a doubt his best season. He was beat out by Shaun Hill for the starting job, but took over when the 49ers were down, 21-0. He then helped to almost pull off a tremendous upset, but the 49ers ended up losing, 24-21.
While he may have gone 2-5 as a starter that season, he statistically preformed well. He actually showed remarkable signs of progress.
The 49ers are one of the most dangerous teams coming into the 2010 season, and if Alex Smith can preform well, look for the 49ers to be playing into January. This is Alex Smith's last chance as a quarterback in this league, and I for one really hope he succeeds.
Aaron Rodgers- 24th overall pick of 2005 NFL Draft
Aaron Rodgers, was thought to be a number one overall pick leading up to the draft. However, he then dropped 23 slots before being drafted to the Green Bay Packers.
Aaron spent his first three seasons in the NFL on the sidelines holding a clip board and watching Brett Favre. But once inserted into the starting lineup, he shined.
It's almost hard to believe that when Favre was traded to the New York Jets in 2008 how much backlash was placed on Aaron Rodgers.
I still remember seeing pictures of Green Bay Packer “fans” holding signs basically declaring how much they hated him, and I'm sitting in my chair confused. I thought if they would just him some time, he will be great. And I turned out to be completely right as usual.
In his first two seasons as a starter, Rodgers would pass for over 8,000 yards and 50 touchdowns. I personally think that the Packers will win the NFC this year and make it to the Super Bowl, but in order for them to do that, they need to protect Aaron Rodgers.
In 2009, he was the league's most sacked quarterback going down 50 times (about a third of the sacks were Minnesota's Jared Allen), and if the Packers want to win, they need to keep Aaron's jersey clean.
Look for Rodgers to compete this year for MVP.
Jason Campbell- 25th overall pick of 2005 NFL Draft
I honestly do not believe I have ever defended any player more than I have for Jason Campbell. In 2005, the Washington Redskins surrendered three draft picks to move up and draft Jason with the 25th pick. He was named the starter on November 19th 2006.
Jason would play four seasons with the Washington Redskins, and in all of those seasons, would throw more touchdowns than interceptions.
In 2009, Jason Campbell experienced what I thought was a breakout season, throwing for 3,618 yards and 20 touchdowns.
A lot of people have criticized Jason for his decision making and ability as a quarterback intellectually, but look at the team over the last four seasons. Four different offensive coordinators, two different head coaches, and a general manager who I seriously doubt has every watched a real football game.
Trust me, nobody was more thrilled than I was when I heard Jason was traded from Washington. God be with me when I say this, but I believe Jason will become a great player and succeed in...OAKLAND!
Whew, that was harder than I thought. I believe Oakland will be second in the division this year and if Philip Rivers goes down, I give them the AFC West title!
Yeah that's right... I said it.
Vince Young- 3rd overall pick of 2006 NFL Draft
Personally, my favorite quarterback on this entire list is Vince Young. I have also defended this guy more than I should have to. I have never lost faith in Vince Young.
No matter what happened, and when he was injured in Tennessee and the “fans” applauded that, I wanted to punch each and every one of them right in the face.
No player has ever made me literally jump out of my seat more than Vince when he starts moving. You never know what to expect.
Up to week seven, I was screaming at my TV every time I turned on ESPN and NFL Network, “START VINCE YOUNG!”
Apparently, someone was listening and Vince started week seven and won. As a matter of fact, they won eight of their last 10 games, including the absolute mind boggling thriller against the Arizona Cardinals in which Vince lead a 98 yard drive for a touchdown.
Vince Young brings a fantastic set of attributes to the game. While he might not be that quarterback that throws for 400 yards a game, he is a winner. Vince has the arm strength to get the ball down field, and the obvious mobility to shake a defender, make another one miss, and burn everyone else on his way to the endzone. He practically demands the defense to be running with at least one QB spy. One thing that Vince excels at is throwing on the run. He is crazy accurate when throwing on the run, and I would honestly try and use Vince in some Wildcat formations this coming year.
Yes I do believe in curses and after winning rookie of the year, Vince Young was put on the cover of Madden 2008 and suffered for it. With the emergence of Chris Johnson as the best running back in the game now, the sky is the limit. Vince Young desperately needs another play maker outside of him though. When Vince finally gets that go to receiver, he will resemble Randal Cunningham. I don't pick the Titans winning the AFC South this year, I see Vince excelling for his best statistical year.
Matt Leinart- 10th overall pick of 2006 NFL Draft
My Lord... you have absolutely no idea how hard it is to find a picture of Matt Leinart playing football like he is paid $50 million to do.
I for one actually like Matt Leinart, for what reason, I have no idea. I hate USC, and I'm not a Cards fan. I think this is more pity than anything. He got replaced by Kurt Warner, who at the time looked like his career was completely over.
I honestly believe that Leinart has some serious potential, but he is yet to do anything with it. He simply refuses to try.
I think that he has no excuse for his lack of production. He plays on a solid team with a good defense, a great head coach, and arguably the greatest wide out in NFL today. Up until this season, he has also had Anquan Boldin. I mean how hard is it to say “Larry, run deep and I'll throw it up.”
2010 is Leinart's last chance with the Cardinals. Derek Anderson was signed for some competition and if Leinart gets benched, you will never see him wearing Cardinal red ever again.
Jay Cutler- 11th overall pick of 2006 NFL Draft
He would be so much better if maybe he just shut his mouth every now and then. If you ever see Jay Cutler, one of three things are happening.
One, he is yelling at a player on the other team. Two, he is sitting on the sideline looking emo, or three, throwing an interception. This is something that he did 26 times in his first season as a Bear. I absolutely laughed hysterically when he was traded and people said that the Bears could win the NFC.
Cutler was drafted by Mike Shanahan's Denver Broncos, and in his three seasons there, showed some major skill. He showed stunning arm strength and a fearless nature that only Brett Favre could rival. But his bad attitude caught up with him and finally the Broncos decided they had enough and shipped him off to Chicago for two first round picks, a third, and Kyle Orton.
Jay Cutler is not a terrible quarterback, but he is totally irresponsible with the ball. He just starts firing the ball into coverage and hopes for the best. The lack of offensive play makers and his lack of leadership or maturity is going to slow him no matter how long he plays. Cutler needs to learn how to grow up and make smart choices.
JaMarcus Russell- 1st overall pick of 2007 NFL Draft
The single biggest bust in NFL history, and if you disagree, you are simply wrong.
Sometimes you just need to tap out and admit you screwed up even if that means setting your franchise back at LEAST five years.
I have always been weary of drafting a quarterback 1st overall for the fact that it is a big time investment, and your entire team and franchise is at the mercy of that one player.
It's true. The Indianapolis Colts did the exact same thing in 1998 when they drafted Peyton Manning with the first overall pick. The big difference is that Peyton is an impeccable leader. He is a natural born leader and is willing to do whatever it takes to win and always puts the team ahead of himself.
J-Marc, however, is a selfish player who doesn't strive or seem to even want to be better. He refuses to put the time and effort in that is needed to become a successful quarterback, and all he was doing in Oakland was dragging down the franchise.
He cost the Oakland Raiders many games and just didn't seem to care. I would make a joke about how fat he is, but sadly he's not even worth the time and effort to formulate the insult.
In 2008, a lot of people were high on the Raiders, including me. But here is what J-Marc gave us: three touchdowns next to 11 interceptions and he was sacked 33 times.
Here are his career stats. Three seasons: 4,083 yards passing, 18 touchdowns, 23 interceptions, lost 15 fumbles, and was sacked 70 times.
Well, that's a good use of $32 million guaranteed. Guess there's no need to get any better when you already got the money in your account, huh J-Marc?
Brady Quinn- 22nd overall pick of 2007 NFL Draft
A friend once told me, “People always talk about J-Marc being a bust, has everyone seemed to forget about Brady Quinn?” He raised an excellent point. A big time bust that everyone seemed to forget.
On draft day 2007, the Browns looked like they had hit the jackpot. They scored the best offensive tackle that this league will see for the next 10 years in Joe Thomas and a highly touted Notre Dame quarterback in Brady Quinn.
It seemed like good fortune would finally fall upon Cleveland. Brady didn't start a single game for the Browns as a rookie because of the breakout season by Derek Anderson, but when inserted into the starting lineup, he failed to show any sense of promise the Browns fans wanted.
Possibly a lack of some serious play makers effected him, but the great quarterbacks are the ones who can win and produce without superior weapons like Donovan McNabb and Tom Brady have done for their entire career.
I lobbied a lot for the Browns to put Brady Quinn into the lineup, and it's safe to say he disappointed me massively.
He passed for eight touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2009, but the funniest part is that half of those touchdowns were against the Detroit Lions. Brady played in 10 games and didn't even break 100 yards passing in five of them.
On March 14th, 2010, Quinn was traded to the Denver Broncos, and will fighting for the starting job against Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow.
Matt Ryan- 3rd overall pick of 2008 NFL Draft
Ryan possibly went into the most difficult situation out of every one of these quarterbacks. He took over for a team that had just had their star player arrested for dog fighting and also had a coward of a head coach bailing on them.
A lot of people believed that the Falcons would be the worst team in the league that year, but they proved everyone wrong on their way to a 11-5 before losing to the Arizona Cardinals in the playoffs.
I remember I watched the Falcons season opener of the 2008 season against the Detroit Lions and after I got comfortable, I turned up the volume as Matt Ryan got under center, and I said out loud “Ok Ryan, lets see what you got!”
First pass of his career, 62 yard touchdown. Ryan then showed countless flashes of brilliance, throwing accurate passes left and right and leading his team.
Ryan suffered a bit of a sophomore slump coming up 84 yards short of 3,000, but threw 22 touchdowns and missed two games due to turf toe.
Look for the Falcons to come back strong this year and potentially dethrone the Saints as NFC South Champions.
Joe Flacco- 18th overall pick of 2008 NFL Draft
In Flacco's rookie year, he posted up respectable stats, 2,971 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions.
He became only the eighth rookie quarterback to start a playoff game. In his sophomore year, Joe crushed his rookie season stats by passing for 3,613 yards, 21 touchdowns, and only 12 interceptions when he led his Ravens to the playoffs with a 9-7 record crushing the Patriots, but losing to the Colts one week later.
This has been a great offseason for the Ravens, and I think that the Ravens will win the Super Bowl this year. This offseason the Ravens acquired disgruntled wide out Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth to assist Flacco and the Ravens this year. Look for Flacco to make even bigger strides, and I mean like 4,000 yards passing, 30 touchdowns good.
If Flacco can preform better or as well as he did his sophomore season, look for the Ravens to be 12-4 or better and in the Super Bowl holding the Lombardi Trophy as the clock hits triple zeros.
Matt Stafford- 1st overall pick of 2009 NFL Draft
Matt Stafford played a heck of a lot better than I assumed he would play as a rookie. I even thought he threw seven more interceptions (20) than touchdowns (13), he still proved he could play well with no play makers outside of Calvin Johnson.
Stafford endeared himself to me, the Lion, and entire NFL fan base when he played the Cleveland Browns and despite separating his shoulder played on the last play of the game and threw a bullet to the back of the endzone to win the game. In that game against the Browns, Stafford threw for five touchdowns and 422 passing yards, which are both records for a rookie.
But on December 24th, Matt Stafford was placed on injured reserve. Merry Christmas to you Matty boy.
The Lions have had a tremendous offseason, getting Nnamdomkung Suh, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Nate Burelson, and Javid Best. Nate Burelson will massively help out Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson as well. Johnson will get open a lot more, and that in turn means more touchdowns for Stafford and Calvin.
Mark Sanchez- 5th overall pick of 2009 NFL Draft
The New York Jets knew that they needed to get that franchise quarterback, that could lead them to glory, and they will get that with Mark Sanchez. The New York Jets, originally held the 17th overall selection but decided that they could not pass up on Sanchez and traded up to the 5th overall pick, and before you knew it, Sanchez was wearing his Jet green proudly.
Before the season started there was some uncertainty. There was a little bit of a quarterback competition between Sanchez and Kellen Clemens but inevitably, Sanchez was named the starter on August 26th and started his first NFL game against the Houston Texans.
Sanchez won his first three games and became the first rookie quarterback to start and win the first three games to a season. But this couldn't last for long as Sanchez was stomped by the eventual Super Bowl Champion, New Orleans Saints, a game in which he threw three interceptions and fumbled once.
Sanchez preformed well in a majority of his games, but never threw for more than two touchdowns and his week six loss to the Buffalo Bills could possibly be his worst game as a pro for his entire career, 10 of 29 for zero touchdowns and five interceptions.
However, the Jets and Sanchez never gave up hope. They fought their way to a 9-7 record and absolutely stomped the AFC North Champion Cincinnati Bengals in the last week of the regular season as well as the playoffs and defeated the AFC West Champion San Diego Chargers before losing to the Indianapolis Colts.
The New York Jets, on paper, look like the strongest team heading into the 2010 season. They have one of the best defenses we have seen in many years, headed by the best shutdown corner in the game in Darrelle Revis and with the new off season additions of LaDanian Tomlinson, Santonio Holmes, and Antonio Cromartie, the Jets look ready to fight.
But if they lose in the postseason or miss the playoffs all together, look for a lot of the blame to fall Mark Sanchez.
Josh Freeman- 17th overall pick of 2009 NFL Draft
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were one of the worst teams in the NFL last season, finishing 3-13, and there were a lot of factors that contributed.
An aging defense, lack of offensive and defensive play makers, an inexperience head coach, and a lackluster wide receiving core outside of Kellen Winslow.
Josh Freeman actually threw the fewest interceptions among rookie quarterbacks (18), but also the fewest touchdowns (10).
On November 8th, 2009, Freeman started his first game in the horrid orange jerseys of the Buccaneers against the highly favored Green Bay Packers, and he won the game. While he started 10 games, Freeman only won three, but had pretty decent numbers in all the games, even the losses.
Freeman may not have greatest stats, but a lot of that can be placed on the receiving core and lackluster defense. Freeman was always on the field because the defense simply could not stop anyone.
The Buccaneers ranked 27th in the league with points allowed and dead last in the league for rush defense.
When Freeman took the field, he was throwing to a receiving core that ranked second among all teams with on target drops. Kellen Winslow was the sole weapon that Freeman had, and he couldn't even get the ball off half the time. Fortunately, there is still hope for the future.
Freeman was a good player in a relatively terrible situation last year, but Buccaneer fans and myself included think that this year will be different.
The biggest reason for this is the fact that the Bucs had one of the stronger drafts in recent memories. Now that the defense is getting beefed up and the wide out core is being rebuilt, look for Freeman to perform better than his rookie year. It still won't be spectacular, but I'm expecting about 22 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
Sam Bradford- 1st overall pick of 2010 NFL Draft
“Sam Bradford becoming the first overall pick is nothing more than a product of the media.” -David Arreola (a fellow correspondent on this website).
As much as I like Bradford, I believe that this will ultimately become a mistake, and the Rams franchise and fans will suffer for many more seasons to come.
St. Louis, this is your franchise for the next few years, for better or for worse. You already passed on Matt Ryan, Mark Sanchez, and Joe Flacco. You better hope this works or you will be in the top five for draft picks for about the next seven seasons.
Bradford goes into possibly the hardest situation anyone could imagine. No defense, no offensive line, no defense, no anything.
For Sam Bradford to succeed, he will need a lot of help from St. Louis's lone superstar, Steven Jackson.
I really hope that Sam Bradford turns out to be a Ben Roethlisberger type of rookie, but sadly I see him as more of an Alex Smith. The only chance that Bradford has of actually becoming a true star in this league is if he stays healthy and some surprise players step up and make a difference.
All I can say is, good luck Sam. You are going to need it.
Tim Tebow- 25th overall pick of 2010 NFL Draft
I am a well established critic of Tim Tebow, but personal bias aside, I believe that he landed into a relatively good situation.
The biggest advantage that Tebow has working for him is his integrity and will. Arguably the greatest leader in NCAA history, he looks to bring his personal fire and strength into the game.
One thing is certain, at the very least, Tebow will give his heart and soul to the game to get better. Another advantage is the division in which he plays.
Tebow will be playing the weakest division in football, and while he may not be starting, he will see the field and will probably get mop up duty. Don't expect Tebow to start week one, but I wouldn't be surprised if we say him taking the field as the starter in week six.
But even with all the attributes that Tebow possesses, he will be effected by two glaring issues, an aging offensive line and a lack of any substantial threat at wide receiver or at any position.
During his career at Florida, Tebow was surrounded by play makers left and right (Percy Harvin, Aaron Hernandez, Chris Rainey, Jeff Demps, Louis Murphy, etc.), and during the 2009 Gator season, was backed by one of the greatest defenses that anyone has ever seen.
That is the biggest criticism I have of Tebow. Nobody has seen him play without superstars to his left and right. As I have mentioned before, the greatest quarterbacks are the ones that can succeed without weapons like a Donovan McNabb or Tom Brady, but the single worst thing Denver could have done this season was trading Brandon Marshall and they did it.
Tebow really could have flourished a lot in his rookie season if Marshall was still wearing Bronco blue, but that sadly will not be the case. Broncos hope Demaryius Thomas, a rookie who they drafted three spots ahead of Tebow, will become a legitimate downfield threat. Look for these two to become best friends as they both make the tough transition to the pros.
Tebow won't get rushed into the starting line up, and that is a great thing. His will and faith will guide him through his NFL career, but that won't mean anything if he spends most of his time on the ground or on the bench.