WATCH THE NFL DRAFT AT 8pm THURSDAY ON ESPN WITH SLING TV
It is a bad time of year to be JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf. It’s become a spring ritual for them to be made fun of on lists of NFL Draft busts and this year, especially, the focus will be on quarterbacks.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will likely select either Florida State’s Jameis Winston or Oregon’s Marcus Mariota to be their TD tosser of the future with the No. 1 pick.
But don’t buy fully into all those lists of draft busts. Of course there are busts. There always will be. Just remember that for every Tim Couch (No. 1 pick, 1999), there’s a Peyton Manning (No. 1 pick, 1998). For every Russell (No. 1 pick, 2007), there’s Matthew Stafford (No. 1 pick, 2009), Cam Newton (No. 1 pick, 2011) or Andrew Luck (No. 1 pick, 2012). John Elway was picked first overall, too.
Good things happen. The draft is about hope for the future, and that’s why fans watch.
Well, most fans. If you root for the Eagles, you boo no matter what. Poor Donavan McNabb. (He went No. 2 in 1999 and certainly had a better career than Couch, who went before him, and Akili Smith, who went right after.)
But because there are questions about whether Winston or Mariota should go first, the pair runs the risk of becoming eternally attached in the minds of fans the way Leaf is always linked to Manning because he was taken No. 2 in ’98. None of that will matter, though, if both Mariota and Winston become stars and the Tennessee Titans, who pick second, will hope that is the case should they take whichever QB falls to them.
The Buccaneers should also take hope in this: six quarterbacks selected with the first pick since 1970 have won a total of 14 Super Bowls: Terry Bradshaw (4), Troy Aikman (3), Jim Plunkett, (2), Elway (2), Eli Manning (2), and Peyton Manning.
At least the Browns don’t seem worried about taking another bust. They understand that, with but a few exceptions, the first round is where you find most franchise quarterbacks and even still it’s a proposition that’s equal to a coin toss: Cleveland fans have “seen their team take four quarterbacks in the first round since returning to the league in 1999. No. 1 overall pick Tim Couch and lower first-round picks Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel have a combined record of 31-69 as NFL starters.”
Quarterbacks, quarterbacks, quarterbacks. Enough with the quarterbacks!
There are other players in this draft, too, right? Players who tackle and are tackled? Players who make these pampered play-callers look good by giving them time to throw and making one-handed, diving catches?
Of course there are. Any quarterback would be thrilled to throw to Alabama’s Amari Cooper or West Virginia’s Kevin White. And there are others. Maybe your team will draft one of them.
Find out Thursday night how bright the future is. Until then, click these links to acquire football knowledge.