A Tale of Three USC Quarterbacks

Preston ParkerCorrespondent IDecember 26, 2008

Say you're a quarterback given the chance to be the 10th overall pick in the draft. You're paid $6.75 million for six years, and that's not even mentioning how much bonus guaranteed money you receive. You're able to step in, learn a bit from a great veteran quarterback, and then step in when you're ready.

But what is this? You have a little too much fun partying. You're benched in favor of that crazy old guy who has taken what was supposed to be your team to the playoffs and is in the MVP mix.

Let's spin this around a bit now: You're put into a situation where you are the top quarterback prospect in your class. The team drafting first overall is hankering for a face to their franchise. You head into the organization and sign on for seven years and $49 million.

You start off great, putting up fantastic numbers with a potent receiving duo. But soon, you're out for a few weeks with an injury. After you recover, you still get shoved to the wayside, even though you think you can play.

All the while, your team can't compile more than five wins and becomes the first team, along with the Philadelphia Eagles, to tie since 2002.

One last scenario. You backup both the aforementioned quarterbacks. You're even roommates with the latter and Troy Polamalu. But despite the success those two found, you never did so.

You were lucky to be drafted, and even so, that didn't happen until 230th overall. You wait three years for a chance, and even then, it comes at the price of your mentor, the greatest quarterback of all time, in many opinions.

You come into your first game and lead your team to a win. And another. And another. And another! Soon enough, you're slinging the ball better than Brett Favre, scrambling better than Vince Young, and winning more than Tom Brady.

All right, these may be stretches, but without a doubt you're finding success. And now, it's become a pick between you or your injured counterpart.

If you're aren't the pick, you aren't worried. You've moved up to be a valued free agent that could help countless different teams. In a year where the draft doesn't carry many franchise quarterbacks, you've become even more valued. You waited your turn and now you've found success.

For those of you who could not tell, those little blurbs were on Matt Leinart, Carson Palmer, and Matt Cassel respectively. Now the choice is up to you. What would you choose? Matt Leinart seemed to have it made, but now his backup, Matt Cassel, is starting whereas he is not. Neither is 2001 Heisman recipient Carson Palmer.

It just goes to show you, it doesn't whether you're the first, 10th, or the 230th pick, as long as you're a good football player, there'll always be a place for you in the NFL.