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Scouting a quarterback isn't brain science, at least not in the way some make it out to be. How can a scout pick successful quarterbacks over an extended period of time? Stick to your guns. I feel I've been accurate in picking quarterbacks over the last 10 years by not letting the talking heads alter my opinion.
No Peyton Manning. No JaMarcus Russell. Surprised?
Manning entered the NFL draft in 1997, four years before I started working in the draft industry. While I was a fan of the draft back then, it wouldn't be fair to say I scouted any classes earlier than 2001.
How about JaMarcus Russell? I was not sold on Russell, at all. I had Brady Quinn ranked higher than Russell during the run up to the 2007 draft. That's one decision I'm glad I stuck with.
You'll notice with Andrew Luck and Matt Ryan that I like quarterbacks who can move in the pocket and also play well under pressure. Ryan established his coolness at Boston College in numerous comeback wins. Luck shows his own poise under pressure at Stanford.
The key component for a quarterback, though, is accuracy. If a quarterback can't get it done here, he's not going to rank on my board. This is lesson learned after 2006, obviously, since Vince Young grades out No. 8 overall.
Notably missing: Michael Vick and Eli Manning. I wasn't high on either player, and both have gone on to success in the NFL.