2010 NFL Preview: The Five Most Mobile Pocket Passers
You may or may not be surprised to learn that the man pictured here is not on this list.
Had I made this list in 2006, he would be. But not now.
Michael Vick wasn't the first quarterback to master the art of movement in the pocket, and he certainly won't be the last. The art of extending a play and making something out of nothing is an endearing aspect of the modern day quarterback. Not every gunslinger has this ability.
Let's take a look at the most mobile quarterbacks heading into the 2010 season.
5. Donovan McNabb—"The Runner"
Though he has become slower in his old age and has evolved into a better pocket passer as time has gone by, McNabb is still one of the league's best at extending plays in the pocket.
Not only does he have great pocket presence, but he still has the speed to hurt defenses with his feet when he sees an opening. This is an underrated trait in today's NFL.
Whether or not McNabb goes on to win a Super Bowl, I think he should be given his due and deserves a shot at the Hall when he decides to retire.
4. Jay Cutler—"The Young Gun"
In Denver, Cutler mastered the art of rolling out of the pocket and making plays down the field by distracting defenses with his movement.
His big time arm has always been his best trait, but right behind that I think you have to consider his mobility a close second.
Cutler was tested last year by playing behind a porous offensive line. But if he can get a few extra seconds of protection, he has the potential to make big plays like he did in Denver.
3. Brett Favre—"The Silver Fox"
The old man's still got it, by golly.
If I had to pick someone I would compare young Mr. Cutler to, it's this man.
Favre may force throws when under pressure, but he extends plays deceptively well.
It's not speed that allows him to duck and dodge defenders, it's his years of experience and an unrivaled toughness.
He took a beating in the NFC Championship Game, but when you look at all the mistakes the Vikings made in that game they wouldn't even of had a chance of winning without the wily old vet.
When he comes back this year, we'll see if the wear and tear has truly gotten to him yet. If it hasn't, expect more late game heroics like the pass to Greg Lewis in the 49ers' game. Favre is just that good at extending plays.
2. Tony Romo—"The Pretty Boy"
Call him what you want.
Choke artist. Overrated. Distracted.
As a Giants fan, I hate this guy. But there is one thing I can't deny: Romo makes plays.
Defenders close in from all sides and it always looks like Romo is about to get crushed. Then suddenly, all the big guys are on the ground and Romo is rolling to his left, looking down field.
There's his target, still working to get open. A linebacker breaks coverage to try and take Romo down.
Big mistake—a 20-yard completion to Jason Witten and a first down.
Romo's deceptive boyishness hides how quick and agile he is in the pocket. The Vikings made an example of him in the divisional round, but personally I never count him out on any play. He's just that good at eluding the pressure.
1. Ben Roethlisberger—"The Extender"
I know, I know. The nickname is funny given his current run-ins with the law.
Honestly though, there's no quarterback I'd rather have on my team when its 4th and 12 with just over a minute left, and you need a big play.
Big Ben always seems to make something out of nothing. He has it all: The elusiveness to step up and out of the way of a swarming defender, the strength to break free even when a 300 pound lineman is trying to drag him down, and the arm to make any throw from any angle anywhere on the field.
I don't care what my personal feeling is on this guy, he is the most mobile quarterback in the league and extends plays better than anyone else. The Steelers will need this guy big time if they hope to return to the playoffs in 2010.
I hope my G-Men aren't squaring off against him in the Super Bowl.