Wexells' Value Board: 2005 NFL Draft QB's

Good, you're sitting down. Now swallow the coffee so you won't spit it out while reading this: <br><br>The Steelers might draft a quarterback in the first round this year.

Matt   Jones of Arkansas is another of those draft prospects the Steelers have specialized in. He projects from quarterback to another position. In the 6-foot-6 Jones's case, that position is wide receiver, or tight end, or some type of hybrid.

Crazy? A projected hybrid in the first round? Well, here are the top possibilities, right now, for the Steelers at pick No. 30. Note the question mark about each:
  1. Heath Miller - Steelers need a tight end, and he's a star, but he hasn't worked out this off-season because of a sports hernia.

  2. Marlin Jackson - cornerback from Michigan bounces back and forth from safety, so he may not be anything more than a "tweener" in the Chad Scott mold.

  3. Justin Tuck - pass rusher from Notre Dame could replace OLB Alonzo Jackson on the depth chart but a torn ACL in 2003 also plagued Tuck in 2004.

  4. Demarcus Ware - pass rusher from Troy has the tools but was stone-walled in the Senior Bowl by tackle Khalif Barnes, another end-of-the-first-round prospect.

  5. Roddy White - wide receiver from UAB, or any of a handful of big, tall, fast wide receivers expected to go early in the second round.

The best option might be five, the offensive playmakers, but if one of those guys, why not Jones? He was a three-year starter as an option quarterback at Arkansas. He was more physical and fast than a passer, so the position change is necessary.

Jones was one of the first players the Steelers interviewed at the Senior Bowl and he went on to have one of the best workout seasons of all prospects.

He's not keen on the move to tight end, but the laid-back Jones is physical enough. And he's 6-6¼, 242 with velvet hands. His little touchdown catch at the end of the Senior Bowl was done with the grace found lacking in Plaxico Burress.

Jones can run. His times at the combine were 4.37 and 4.39 in the 40. Jones also ran the three-cone agility drill in a stunning 6.65 seconds, better than all but two cornerbacks at the combine. His 33 1/2-inch arms were longer than all but three receivers there.

Jones last year set the career SEC rushing record for quarterbacks, and new Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban, formerly of LSU, said Jones "single-handedly won more games than any player in the SEC."

So if the Steelers can't find first-round satisfaction in the prospects falling to them at positions of need, they may as well take another quarterback and switch him to wide receiver, tight end or H-back. It's worked in the past.


Fifth Round - Rasheed Marshall (5-11 5/8, 185, 4.51) of West Virginia is another quarterback who projects to wide receiver. From Pittsburgh's Brashear High School, Marshall has the speed and hands to make the transition. He also has the leadership skills and character the Steelers admire in a prospect. Bill Cowher knows about him. The two had a nice, long talk at the WVU pro day.

Sixth Round - Ryan Fitzpatrick (6-2½, 232, 4.87) of Harvard is strictly a quarterback, although he may project to finding the cure for cancer some day. He's that smart. Fitzpatrick became only the second prospect to ace the Wonderlic test, matching former Harvard punter Pat McInally's score of 50 from 1975. Fitzpatrick also has a strong arm and nifty feet and his stock rose after a fine Hula Bowl performance. The Steelers may not need another quarterback, with Brian St. Pierre, Charlie Batch and Antwaan Randle El around as viable No. 3 options, but Fitzpatrick is one worth considering in the later rounds.

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