At least one will become great. At least one will bomb.
So it goes for the young QB class of the 2004 season.
This season could mark the changing of the guard at the quarterback position. You have the #1 overall pick, Eli Manning, possibly starting over former MVP Kurt Warner for the New York Football Giants. Last year’s #1 overall pick, Carson Palmer, will be starting for the Cincinnati Bengals despite not taking a snap last year. Phillip Rivers should take away Drew Brees job in San Diego. Ben Rothlesberger is waiting in Tommy Maddox’s shadow. If Bledsoe has a bad start….Losman could get a shot. Quincy Carter is a few bad decisions away from backing up Drew Henson in Dallas. AJ Feeley, who’s only started in a few games 2 years ago….is the starter in Miami. Rex Grossman played well in the final 3 games of last season….so he’ll get to start in his second season in Chicago.
Not to mention youngsters Joey Harrington, Byron Leftwich, David Carr, Kyle Boller, Chad Pennington, Michael Vick, Kyle Boller, Patrick Ramsey and Tim Rattay. Heck, Jake Delhomme went from NFLEurope to the Panthers bench to almost Super Bowl MVP.
Really, there isn’t too many senior citizens heading up NFL clubs this year. I mentioned Bledsoe earlier. You got Brett Favre in Green Bay….but who knows how long he’ll stick around. Brad Johnson may be on his last starting shot in Tampa with Brian Greise as his backup and Ryan Simms as the future.
There are still some excellent quarterbacks in their prime. Peyton Manning, Steve McNair, Donovan McNabb, Daunte Culpepper and Tom Brady to name some.
Just take a gander of the QB’s taken in the 1st round since 1998. Peyton Manning, Daunte Culpepper, Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb have panned out greatly. There are failures with Tim Couch, Cade McNown, Akili Smith and, of course, Ryan Leaf. The jury is still out on Chad Pennington, Byron Leftwich, Carson Palmer, Joey Harrington, David Carr, Rex Grossman, Quincy Carter and Patrick Ramsey.
Yeah…it is a crap shoot. But what makes it even more of a tough gig is the fact that coaches are under so much fire to (a) develop these young, expensive, talents and (b) win while doing that. These owners have seen NFLEurope guys like Brad Johnson, Kurt Warner and Jake Delhomme get to the Super Bowl 4 times and grab 2 rings.. They’ve seen a 6th round pick, Tom Brady, win two Super Bowls. So leashes become shorter and hooks come quicker. Just look in Cincinnati where John Kitna got the Bengals sooo close to winning their division…..yet gets benched so their #1 overall pick gets to play. I mean, what coach has outstanding job security?? Billichek…yes. Parcells…well, Jones did fire Jimmy Johnson after winning two Super Bowls. Possibly Gibbs and Vermeil for their past deeds and popularity among their fanbases. John Fox has bought himself a few more years in Charlotte. Aside from that…everyone’s head is on the block. So they will do anything to get their team that spark to win. Including throwing a rookie into the fire.
Welcome to the NFL, guys….now get in there and get us to the Super Bowl.