Draft Day Target: QB Philip Rivers

One of the more controversial prospects in this year's NFL draft is N.C. State quarterback Philip Rivers. With an unorthodox throwing motion, but the uncanny ability to win the big game, Rivers is a primetime target of many teams- including the Dallas Cowboys.

QB Philip Rivers
6-5, 236, 4.8
N.C. State University
Projected Draft Position: 2nd Round

Philip Rivers.

The name itself causes so called "draft experts" from around the country to question everything about their pre-draft analysis and predictions.

It almost goes without saying that Rivers, holder of virtually every ACC passing record imaginable, and starter of 51 consecutive games, is the unquestioned wildcard at quarterback in this April's NFL Draft.

His unorthodox throwing motion, which reminds some scouts of former Cleveland Browns (and Cowboys) star Bernie Kosar, makes football fundamentalists quiver in their boots.

At the same time, some are suggesting that he could a Pro-Bowler in disguise. And a quick look at his career at N.C. State would certainly suggest that "Pro Bowl" potential is there.

For his career spanning 51 games, Rivers completed 1790-of-1137 (63.5%) passes for 13,983 yards, 98 touchdowns and just 37 interceptions.

For his career spanning 51 games, Rivers completed 1790-of-1137 (63.5%) passes for 13,983 yards, 98 touchdowns and just 37 interceptions.
He passed for more yards at the collegiate level than any other player in the history outside of one person. He set ACC and NCAA records for starts by a quarterback with 51, and he was named the MVP in each of his four postseason games. (which were all wins)

In short, Rivers carried his team when it was overmatched by superior talent. He performed at his highest level with the game on the line and was the primary reason the Wolfpack upset Florida State two out of his last three years in Raleigh.

"He's a tremendous leader and great winner on the college level," notes NFL Draft Expert Tony Pauline. "He's a patient passer who buys time in the pocket, scans the field and goes through receiver progressions. He's always in total control, exuding confidence and he leads receivers nicely and puts the pass in front of targets."

The consensus around Valley Ranch these days is that Quincy Carter did enough in 2003 to keep himself in the mix in 2004.

And it's becoming clear that the organization isn't going to make any monumental draft day trades that would the team in position to grab the services of an Eli Manning or Ben Roethlisberger in the early stages of the first round.

So where does that leave the Cowboys at quarterback next season? One of two distinct scenarios is seemingly coming to the forefront as we head into the month of February.

One, the Cowboys will bring in a veteran signal caller to serve as Quincy's back up in case things get ugly again offensively in 2004. Or two, Bill Parcells and company will draft a quarterback like Philip Rivers in either the first or second round in April.

In addition, scouts from several organizations, including the Cowboys focused on Rivers throughout the week of practice leading up the Senior Bowl. One scout from Valley Ranch joked with a member of the Giants organization on the practice fields, "not to steal Rivers away in round two."

Interestingly enough, momentum for Rivers being selected in the first round is building after his performance in the Senior Bowl this past weekend. One of the biggest stages for a prospect before the NFL draft, Rivers completed 12-of-19 passes for 213 yards for 2 touchdowns and no interceptions.

However, at this point in the game it's almost too easy to forecast his stock falling after the combines in Indianapolis in February, which would make him a prime pick in the 2nd round. And, if Rivers is in fact available in the 2nd round, he may be a very attractive target for the Dallas Cowboys.

We will continue to keep you updated on the progress and development of Philip Rivers up through the NFL combines in February.

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