1999 – Tim Couch: I won’t waste my time making a joke about how all he’s doing now is sitting on a couch. Maybe
2001 – Michael Vick: He probably won’t put up huge numbers this year whether some team sticks him under center or tries to convert him to wide receiver, but he surely is the most interesting guy to keep an eye on. Almost every single team in the league has come out and said that Vick will not be signing a contract with them, but by my count, the Packers, Chargers and Ravens still haven’t completely ruled him out. I highly doubt the Chargers will take a chance on him. Vick would definitely benefit from playing in a stable football environment in
2002 – David Carr, NYG: Can you believe that Carr is already 30 years old? Drafted by
2003 – Carson Palmer, CIN – Palmer is one of the more risky players to take in a draft this year. Following his rookie season in which he sat and learned behind Jon Kitna, Palmer was nothing but a stud when he was on the field. He threw for no less than 3,800 yards from 2004-2007 and had over 25 touchdowns in each of those years as well. Then last year as owners drafted him in hopes of yet another 4,000-yard season, he suffered an injured elbow and played in just four games. Palmer elected not to have Tommy John surgery performed and simply rested his elbow instead. With
2004 – Eli Manning, NYG – Manning was recently made the richest man in football when he signed a contract extension that will pay him an extra $97 million over the next six years. Manning does have a Super Bowl ring in his trophy case, and I am not going to take that away from him. However, when Plaxico Burress was removed from the lineup in 2008, the world was harshly reminded what kind of quarterback Manning truly is. From the beginning of the season through Week 12 when Burress was on the roster, Manning threw 18 touchdowns to seven interceptions and had a QB rating of 91.6. From Weeks 13-17 and in the divisional round of the playoffs, when Manning was without Burress, he threw only three touchdowns compared to five interceptions and his QB rating was a whopping 68.6. Heading into 2009, the Giants’ leading candidates for the top spots at wide receiver on their depth chart are Domenik Hixon, Steve Smith, Mario Manningham and rookies Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden. Between these five players, there is a combined 104 catches for 1,196 yards and three touchdowns. Those numbers fall short of the production of one elite receiver in one season. Manning will surely struggle in 2009 with his less-than-stellar group of receivers, and if you take him to be your main guy, you are probably going to regret it.
Despite not being first overall picks, Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco proved last year that rookie quarterbacks can actually succeed right out of the gate. Will that prove true in 2009 with Matthew Stafford?
In the next edition of this comprehensive look at first overall quarterbacks, I will examine 49ers QB Alex Smith to see if he can win the training camp battle in San Francisco, analyze Oakland signal caller JaMarcus Russell and determine whether or not he should even be the Raiders’ starter, and of course come to a decision on whether Matthew Stafford can break the trend that recent first overall quarterbacks have created