The consensus sees and talks about the name brands, some deserve the talk, but most don’t. We don’t see eye to eye with the consensus in any way, shape, or form — after Sam Bradford that is. We weren’t entirely sure how to break this down for easy reading so bear with us if this seems like we’re jumping around a bit, we’re sure you’ll tunnel vision into your favorite hot button issues anyway. Enjoy, or hate, whatever, just read.
Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
Marty says – I, like many, was higher on Bradford last year than this year. However, the kid has all the tools, and has the makeup to be an elite NFL QB. While he may not possess an absolute cannon for an arm, Bradford has above average arm strength. Couple this with fantastic decision making, and you’re off to a good start. Let’s put it this way, in 890 attempts, the kid only threw 16 interceptions in his career at Oklahoma. While he’s not going to torch anyone with his legs, he certainly has some mobility. My only questions with him are whether or not he can continually perform under pressure, and whether or not he can throw much on the run. The shoulder is also of huge concern, but the fact that he’s being mentioned at the top of most boards-even with this concern, should tell you enough about how people look at this guy. I can see the Rams making a push for him, and it’s certainly a possibility. I know that some of you may feel that Oar’s comparison to Manning may be a bit over the top. I can tell you that his accuracy is somewhere in the same vicinity.
Oar says – If his shoulder checks out he will be among the league’s elite within 4 years. The most important items when evaluating a QB are accuracy, decision making, and leadership. Bradford embodies all of these attributes, and then some. He’s a classic pocket passer with pinpoint accuracy and elite production that has good size and adequate arm strength to make all of the necessary throws. Outside of durability concerns, the only area of his game that may need some maturing is his ability to perform under heavy duress, the results were inconsistent when he was in school but given his mental attitude toward the game there is good reason to believe he can overcome this issue. It seems outlandish to make such a comparison, but there really hasn’t been a prospect like Bradford since Peyton Manning.
We say – the best QB in the draft, and if healthy the best prospect in the draft, a franchise QB that any team void of one would be foolish to pass up
Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame
Marty says – Some days, I think this kid can be a superstar. Others, he may be an absolute bust. I like him more than most do, but am still very skeptical. Recently I’ve seen him very high on some mocks, and much lower on others. He does appear to have it all. Strong arm, quick release, quick decision making. Claussen aslso has good size, decent speed, and he seems to have all the intangibles to play at a high level against NFL opponents. Problem is, this does not sit right with me as it just seems ‘too perfect’ to be true. Some things that I’ve read talk about his personality as coming off ‘abrasive’. Is there a cockiness about him? Sure sounds like it. But that’s certainly a quality I want in my franchise QB. But if he has an ‘abrasive’ personality-that’s not someone I want running my huddle. This is another way in which I feel Oar’s comparison to Cutler is apt. Listen, I’ve watched Claussen often-and he’s good, very good. But he never showed me that he could be a franchise QB. Was it the mediocrity of the team at Notre Dame? Maybe. Was it his decision making at times? Possibly? Charlie Weis’ fault? Sure, why not. Was it the fact that I despise Notre Dame? Very probable. But even when he was throwing for 300+ and 3 TD against my favorite Wolverines, he did not wow me. Even against my hometown Huskies when he threw for 329+ and 2 TD, he did not amaze me. I think this kid is boon or bust and there isn’t an in between.
Oar says – He reminds me too much of Cutler, in both good ways and bad ways…but more bad than good. He has all of the physical tools to succeed in the NFL but there are two huge problems with his game, and I think betting on them being fixed is more than just wishful thinking. He has horrible leadership abilities, and his decision making (especially when things are not going well) has a tendency to be horrendous. Don’t get me wrong, no QB is perfect, but there have been too many times in-game in which Clausen has made an awful decision that impacts the outcome of the game and often times it happens right when things are starting to go wrong around him. I am not going to pretend to be a shrink and diagnose the root cause of the problem, but having watched way too much Irish football for my liking I have seen it enough to say his incidents are not isolated. There’s good reason why Notre Dame fans are happy to see him gone, and that’s not something you usually see in a top QB prospect. I’d rather wait a round or 2 and draft LeFevour.
We say – He will be an early round 1 pick, and we think that’s a mistake. He grades out in round 2 on our boards…and not in the top 2 QB’s available either. #2 is up next…
The Dan LeFevour love fest
Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan
Marty says – Dynasty league owners-pay attention here. For whatever reason, MAC QBs have performed fairly well at the NFL level. LeFevour could be the next. Big frame with a strong arm, my only concern here is his ability to run an NFL offense. He won’t fly off the boards-nor will he wow at the combine. I’m a bit worried about his release, as it seems a bit slow and labored at times. Will it be something that will cause teams to pass on him? Absolutely. Should it terrify teams? No. LeFevour does too many things well to completely abandon him. I won’t lie, this mechanical flaws scare me a bit but there are just too many things about him to like. First and foremost, he’s a competitor. The guy oozes leadership on the field, and the competitive drive is certainly there. He’s accurate, and has an above average arm. To be completely honest, to me he draws a lot of comparisons to another QB that came out of a different Michigan school of higher learning. Tall, strong, with a good but not great arm. Not overly mobile. Good, not great arm strength. Good decision making and an accurate passer that performs well in tough situations. I’m not sure if he has a supermodel wife like the other guy, but the other intangibles are there. I’m not saying he’ll be that guy. I’m just saying that in my opinion, there are a lot of parallels to their game post-college. I like Oar’s reference to Rodgers, but I just don’t see the same mobility in LeFevour. Either way, he’s #2 on my board, but likely won’t be drafted ahead of the #3 guy.
Oar says – Again, the three things necessary to be an NFL starter – accuracy, decision making, and leadership – LeFevour checks out…and then some. Watching him operate on the field I
see a young Aaron Rodgers, right down to how he manages his teammates on the field and his demeanor off the field. He is still a bit raw as he never played QB before his Sr year of high school, queue the comparisons to another MAC QB currently (succeeding) in the league, but he’s far more polished than one would think after only playing QB for the last 5 years. Rather than bore you with the good, I will point out the one red flag I’ve detected, his release. It is not consistent, what I don’t know is whether that’s really a bad thing, or not. In most cases it’s a quick ‘yes,’ but his seems to be a special case. His release point depends on what sort of window the defense gives him, he’ll alter it and find the best way to get the ball to his target. This works against lesser competition, very well, but will it continue to work at the next level? That’s my hang up. If it’ll work I have zero doubts that if given a true opportunity he will be a front line starter for the next decade wherever he ends up, if it doesn’t…we’ll see. Regardless, outside of Bradford, he’s the only other good bet in this QB draft class to make it in this league.
We say – for those looking for a QB and not in the running for Bradford, this guy is your target, especially when he falls beyond round 2. Oar says Minnesota and Arizona, Marty says San Francisco.
The Name Brands (that we don’t like)
This tier is full of guys you have surely heard of that we do not think should be drafted.
Colt McCoy, Texas
Marty says – A little smallish to be an NFL QB, McCoy is going to go a lot lower in the draft than people originally think. I’ve always questioned his arm strength a bit, and I don’t think that he has the arm strength to make up for his hesitation in the pocket. Is he a product of the Texas system? No. The kid can play, and is a leader. Just don’t go expecting great things out of him if your NFL team picks him up. Remember, Chris Simms was a pretty good QB at Texas as well. Overall, he may go higher than he should, but I don’t see him making a huge impact. For me, the hesitation and difficulty to read defenses remind me a bit of Mark Sanchez last year, who definitely struggled reading defenses. You Jets fans saw that early in the season as well. McCoy is Sanchez minus the strong arm.
Oar says – No sense just repeating everything Marty wrote, the Sanchez comp to McCoy’s inability to read defenses hits the nail on the head. McCoy’s version of dissecting a defense consisted of 1) go to first read 2) if first read is covered, run and a) find Shipley, b) keep running, or c) check down. His inability to stretch the field with his arm only compounds things, he isn’t going to be able to withstand the pounding on that frame, he can’t fire the ball on a line into a tight window, and his deep ball is non-existent. He might be a backup, but even that might be a stretch. I don’t think he should be drafted, but if I were in charge of a team he’d be on the top of the ‘to call list’ of undrafted free agents.
We say – Don’t bother until after the draft is done.
Tony Pike, Cincinnati
Marty says – Pike’s another guy here who’s stock will probably drop significantly after the Senior Bowl. I had reservations about his arm strength going into this process, and from everything that I’ve seen, he’s showing exactly that. Pike is very tall, and makes some very good decisions with the football. The problem here is, he may not have the arm strength to get it where it needs to be at the NFL level. I have a hard time believing that anyone here would draft Pike as a starting QB prospect.
Oar says – Has the build and the physical tools to play QB in the pros, a team that hasn’t done their homework on Pike might think they got a steal in round 2. They would be wrong. Pike crumbles under pressure, does not trust his reads when pressed, and struggles to regain his composure once it is lost. This was on full display at both the Sugar Bowl and Senior Bowl. He wasn’t put in many situations before January 1 that tested his bounce back ability and it showed, once pressed he completely folded up curling into the fetal position in the corner waiting for the beating to stop. That’s not what a good QB does. He’ll get drafted, and quite possibly way too high and he won’t do anything in the NFL.
We say – Don’t bother, even after the draft is done
Tim Tebow, Florida
Marty says – Time to get going on this one. As much as this has been debated, the draft is finally coming for Timmy. He’s a great story, a great leader and a great collegiate football player. But too many things stick out in regards to this guy. First, the offense he’s played in at Florida. It hasn’t helped him prepare for an NFL offense at the same position. He won’t be taking every snap in the shotgun, and from the talks at the Senior Bowl practices, he was failing early and often with the C/QB exchange. His stride is way too long, he takes too much time with his decisions, and his arm is not up to NFL standards. He’ll be worth a shot as a project, because he’s everything you’d love to have as a leader. I hope he makes it in the NFL, but I’m not sure I see it.
Oar says – Too many flaws in his game, great head and if he’s open to learning a new position he could have a future but he’s too great of a project at QB for an NFL team to take on. The wind up, taking snaps from center, his release point, the positioning of the ball pre-throw, accuracy, his inability to throw to one side of the field, and the list goes on. There’s too much work to do and for what gain? I hate writing it because, even though the media has made him an easy target for haters, I’m rooting for him but if he’s going into the NFL trying to be a QB he has no shot. I wouldn’t consider drafting him unless he was open to switching to TE.
We say – Until either of us reads that he is considering a position change we do not want him on either of our home teams’ draft boards.