Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage might have the simplest reason.
|JaMarcus Russell says he can throw a football 83 yards -- maybe even 84. (AP)|
Russell has emerged as the top quarterback with two months left until the draft. Word of warning to him: That leaves plenty of time for the crown to change ownership again.
In an informal poll of a handful of NFL personnel men, coaches and scouts, it appears Russell is the odds-on choice to be the No. 1 quarterback. That, in turn, could mean being the No. 1 pick overall by the Oakland Raiders.
The tattoo on his left arm might sum up the situation best. It reads: The Chosen One.
It is a rise that mystifies some, including this writer. Russell was a solid-but-inconsistent starter the past two seasons at LSU. As a junior last season, the word was he would likely be a late first- or second-round pick if he entered the draft.
Notre Dame's Quinn was The Chosen One. For most of last season, he was considered to be the top quarterback, playing for the high-profile Fighting Irish in Charlie Weis' pro-style offense.
One big bowl game changed that. When Russell's team was matched against Quinn's team in the Sugar Bowl, it was Russell who put on a show. He threw for 332 yards, two touchdowns and showed off his cannon arm.
While Russell excelled that night, Quinn didn't. He was 15-for-35 for 148 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Which QB would you draft first?
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Quinn, though, was at a major disadvantage. He wasn't facing his own defense.
"Notre Dame's defense was really bad last season," one AFC scout said. "It was a lot easier for Russell. But it's dangerous to put so much on one game or a couple of games. It reminds me of what happened with Akili Smith when he came out. He came on strong his senior season and then went in the first round. We know what happened to him."
Smith was a 1999 first-round draft bust for the Cincinnati Bengals. The excitement of his big arm covered up the fact that he wasn't adept at all the other things needed to be a successful quarterback.