Tag:Daunte Culpepper
Posted on: March 5, 2011 12:21 pm
 

Poll of NFL sources finds gulf of opinion on QBs

Since the Combine ended Tuesday, I've been polling league sources on their rankings of the quarterbacks. I spoken or texted with seven sources (ranging from area scouts to front office executives) as of Saturday morning and have some interesting results.

In six of the seven cases, Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert were the top two rated quarterbacks. Four teams had Auburn's Newton as the top passer. Three had Gabbert. All three of the Gabbert fans noted, however, that his March 17 Pro Day would significantly impact their grade on him.

Interestingly enough, the same four teams that rated Newton No. 1 had Arkansas' Ryan Mallett ranked as the third QB -- with one exception. One of these clubs had the rankings had Mallett as the No. 2 passer behind Netwon. This source is obviously less concerned about the so-called character questions of these two SEC stars than other teams.

The wildcard of the QB rankings was Washington's Jake Locker. Three teams had Locker as the 3rd rated quarterback. The other four teams rated Locker 4th (two teams), 6th and 7th, respectively in this year's QB class.

The other QBs jumping ahead of Locker for these clubs were Florida State's Christian Ponder, TCU's Andy Dalton and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick.

Given the choice between "sure," "likely," and "unlikely" five of the seven sources thought it was "likely" that all seven of the quarterbacks made the first three rounds.

To put that in perspective, seven quarterbacks being drafted in the first three rounds has happened only twice in the past 40 years (excluding the USFL.CFL-impacted Supplemental Draft in 1984).

Teams are certainly hoping that this year's group will enjoy more NFL success than the past two classes that sent this many highly-graded quarterbacks to the pros. The 1999 class featured huge busts in Tim Couch, Akili Smith and Cade McNown, among others. Donovan McNabb and, to a lesser extent, Daunte Culpepper were the success stories of the class. With the exception of Jay Cutler (and to a lesser extent Vince Young, Tarvaris Jackson) the 2006 class has yet to establish itself, either.

Posted on: September 7, 2009 1:59 pm
 

Starting Stafford a huge gamble for the Lions

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz announced after practice today that #1 overall pick Matthew Stafford will be the starter over veteran Duante Culpepper for Week One against the Saints.

Schwartz, like the head coach of any team that used a first round pick on a quarterback, is in a tough spot. The financial commitment made to Stafford forces the team to consider using him, even if he isn't necessarily ready. This isn't to say that Stafford isn't. He is as physically talented as any quarterback I've scouted in the 10+ years I've been doing this. His mental toughness and poise consistently impressed me throughout his collegiate career and in the workouts leading up to the draft.

I believe, however, that the greatest single reason why there continue to be so many first round busts at quarterback is that too many rookies are thrown into the fire. I do not believe the success from Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco last season are reason enough to believe that rookie quarterbacks are suddenly more ready for the rigors of an NFL season. Atlanta and Baltimore had the luxury of strong running games and defenses to foster development of a young passer. Detroit hasn't yet shown either. The New York Jets, on the other hand, do have these factors working in the favor of Mark Sanchez. Should the Jets capitalize on their talent and the enthusiasm Rex Ryan has brought to the franchise by winning early with Sanchez, the pressure will only increase on Stafford to duplicate the success. Some will question if Sanchez shouldn't then have been the #1 pick rather than Stafford.

I believe Stafford has the tools to be a successful NFL quarterback -- someday perhaps even a Pro Bowl quarterback. And I certainly understand the impulse to start him now and allow him to develop a relationship with Calvin Johnson and the rest of the starting Lions.

But for a quarterback who completed 54.5% of his passes over the preseason with a touchdown to interception ratio of 1-4 over four preseason games, it might be too soon. 

And starting any rookie quarterback too soon is a huge gamble.   
Posted on: August 23, 2009 1:48 pm
 

Rookie Impressions -- Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay

Prior to Mark Sanchez's stunning Pro-Day performance, Kansas State junior Josh Freeman was viewed by many scouts as a better, safer prospect. Blessed with rare size and a strong arm, Freeman had earned comparisons throughout his career to other big-bodied, big-armed quarterbacks like Daunte Culpepper, Byron Leftwich and JaMarcus Russell. Freeman showed off that big arm and flashed some athleticism when visiting the Jacksonville Jaguars Saturday night.

Freeman was the team's starting quarterback out of half-time, playing the majority of the 3rd quarter against the Jaguars second and third team defense. He finished 3 of 5 for 47 yards and led Tampa to a touchdown in his initial drive. The touchdown, which came with Tampa leading 17-14, came via Freeman's legs. Taking the snap and making his progressions, Freeman sensed backside pressure. He stepped up and slid left out of pocket and recognized that the Jaguars' defense had flooded right, opening up an avenue. Freeman only showed average speed and balance when rumbling for the 28 yard score, but read the defense and his blocks accurately on the play.


Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay #5
Developing footwork from under center. Gains good depth, but still appears a bit unsure of his steps. Threw at least one pass without his feet set. Struggled, at times, with high throws downfield and to the flat as a result.
Best passes came on timing routes.
Hit undrafted free agent Mario Urrutia on his two most impressive passes of the night -- a deep out and a quick slant -- placing the ball accurately and swiftly on each. Good zip for the intermediate areas. Seemed meek in the huddle, but flashed good poise in the pocket, consistently stepping up as he felt it collapsing. Developing comfort and coaches' trust to audible. Went to check down options and seemed relatively comfortable reading the defense for his experience. 
 
 
 
 
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