Young, Cutler, Leinart: The Wild Ride for All Three Quarterbacks

Zack Pearson@Zack_PearsonCorrespondent IJuly 4, 2010

With all the hype leading up to the 2006 NFL Draft, the focus was on Vince Young and Matt Leinart. Which one is better? Which one will have the better career?

Well the answer so far is neither.

That's because Jay Cutler flew under the radar.

To this date, Cutler has had the best career of the three quarterbacks.

Young who was expected to be selected in the first two picks, fell a tad bit to third overall, but was picked first out of the trio.

Young had a successful college career that included a BCS National Championship, where his Texas Longhorns defeated Leinart's USC Trojans.

Leinart, not surprising many, fell to 10th where the Arizona Cardinals, in need of a quarterback, took the young college star.

Leinart had a very good college career, including winning the Heisman trophy.

Cutler, who was selected 11th overall by the Denver Broncos, didn't have a great college career.

Cutler never played with the talent in college that Young and Leinart were fortunate to have.

But he did start all four years and had his best season as a senior. He completed 59 percent of his passes and threw 21 touchdowns, with just nine interceptions.

Going into the 2006 season, Young had the most expectations out of the three; a muti-skilled quarterback who can not only throw, but use his feet as a weapon.

Leinart played well his rookie season. He set a rookie record for most passing yards with 405 against the Minnesota Vikings. But it would be all downhill from there.

In 2007, all three quarterbacks were starters for their teams. Leinart was the starter for the Cardinals, a young team ready to make a run at the NFC West division title.

But Leinart wouldn't last long. He was hurt on October 10, 2007. He suffered a fractured left collarbone and was lost for the remainder of the year.

Leinart never really recovered. He was benched in the 2008 season, where Kurt Warner took over and lead the Cardinals to the Super Bowl. In 2009, Warner was the starter, but announced that he was retiring.

Leinart is now expected to compete for the starting job heading into this season.

It's a big time for Leinart, whose career hangs on this season in my opinion. Can Leinart overcome the odds and turn himself into a successful quarterback?

The number three overall pick, Young, has certainly produced a better career than Leinart.

After a Pro-Bowl rookie season, Young had a very productive 2007 season. Facing a few injuries, Young still managed to lead the Titans to the playoffs.

Of the three quarterbacks, Young is still the only one to lead his team to the playoffs.

Young faced some issues in 2008, which caused him to lose his starting spot to Kerry Collins. The Titans would go on to the playoffs that year, but it wasn't Young who led them.

In 2009, Young started off the season No. 2 on the Titans' depth chart behind Kerry Collins. After Collins struggled and the Titans fell to 0-6, coach Jeff Fisher made the switch to Young. Young went on to win eight of the remaining 10 games, only to fall short of a playoff spot.

Young will look to 2010 to get himself and the Titans in the right direction.

A successful season from Young this year will certainly help his career.

Now we look at the gun-slinging Jay Cutler, who has seemed to have been through it all, from being a starter in his second season in Denver to being traded for a few number one picks.

Cutler produced a terrific season in 2008 for the Broncos, but a dispute with new head coach Josh McDaniels lead to Cutler's departure from Denver and his arrival in Chicago.

Cutler has had the chance to start off fresh in Chicago. From day one he has been an icon on the Bears.

It's up to him to live up to the expectations.

Cutler didn't have a good 2009 season at all. He threw 27 touchdowns, but had 26 interceptions.

The Bears finished in third place, and the expectations were gone.

All three quarterbacks have had roller coaster careers.

A playoff appearance, a few Pro-Bowls, some off-the-field issues, and a trade has surrounded the three. But all of that comes along with being a NFL superstar.

Cutler has had the better on-field career of the three so far, and the future is the brightest for the 11th overall pick in 2006.

A highly talented draft class from 2006, the quarterbacks will have to produce big in 2010.

Otherwise they might start hearing whispers of "bust" in the same sentence as their names.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.