Flash Scouting Report: Derek Anderson

With former Cleveland quarterback Derek Anderson in town to meet with Seattle's new staff and see what the fit might be, we turn to Lane Adkins of the Orange and Brown Report, Scout.com's Browns site, to get the goods on just how much Anderson can bring to a new team.

While most NFL fans remember Derek Anderson most vividly from highlight reels during his stellar 2007 campaign, that season represents a very bright spot in what is otherwise a very average career to date. 

Anderson has the physical tools and abilities which represent an eternal temptation for pro scouts and coaches. He's tall, relatively durable and, most importantly, possesses a rocket arm that can hit receivers well down-field, even in the windy and inclement weather he often dealt with in Cleveland. Anderson doesn't suffer from confidence issues. Regardless of how well things have gone on the field, "DA" is roughly the same guy every day. He bounces back quickly. 

While those attributes can be found in some of the NFL's best quarterbacks, Anderson's weaknesses make for a real roller-coaster ride when he's at the helm. Fans would joke as to whether "Good DA" or "Evil DA" would show up in any particular game or quarter. 

But it's a real issue. Anderson's upside is just enough to convince a coach to start him. While his downsides are just enough to get the same coach fired.

Anderson's inability to harness his talent is the tale which he will carry onto another football city. A groove type player if there ever was one, Anderson could play at a level with the best QB's in the game for stretches, only to fall into a mediocrity of erratic play and questionable decisions.

Countering his golden arm, physically, DA's major downside is slow foot-speed. Anderson is a pure pocket quarterback, with next to no escapability if protection breaks down. Anderson also doesn't always display good touch in the short game, with a tendency to fire the ball regardless of the distance he needs to cover. Finally, while Anderson has improved at looking off defenders and going through his progressions, he would be among the bottom half of the league in this department. 

The key reason Anderson will not be a perennial Pro Bowl quarterback, however, has to do with his critically questionable passing judgment. 

Anderson is a truly fearless quarterback - throwing into double and triple coverage repeatedly with supreme confidence in himself and his receivers. He is often successful at firing the ball through a tight area, or putting it only where his guy can get it. Unfortunately, Anderson is almost as often unsuccessful, with a high rate of interceptions and near-misses. 

The 2007 which landed DA in the Pro Bowl allowed Anderson's strengths and weaknesses to be shown in stark relief. With excellent protection from his offensive line, strong receivers who could wrestle the ball away from receivers, and a savvy veteran WR (ex-Seahawk Joe Jurevicius) who could bail DA out of tough situations, Anderson thrived. At the same time, he threw four interceptions in a critical game down the stretch which took the Browns out of the playoffs. 

In 2008, Anderson didn't have Winslow or Jurevicius, and didn't get pass protection like he did the year before, and the Browns highly anticipated season collapsed under a flurry of sacks, interceptions and, eventually, injuries to the team's quarterbacks.

Heading into the 2009 season, Anderson was subjected to an ill-advised quarterback competition with Brady Quinn, which from all appearances set each player back. In the third game of the season, Anderson replaced an ineffective Quinn and held the starting role until benched late in a Browns loss to the Bears.

Being released by the Browns, Anderson lost a two-million dollar bonus due mid-March, as well as 7.5 million dollar salary.

A change of scenery could be what the doctor ordered for Anderson. In five years with the Browns, Anderson was subjected to continued QB controversies, indecision coming from the coaching staff and numerous changes in scheme and personnel.

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