Draft series: Quarterback

The first part of the draft series, as it relates to the Pittsburgh Steelers, is quarterback. And since the Steelers have little need at the position, it serves as a chance for writer Jim Wexell to poke some fun and get in a good warm-up.

Brady Quinn could turn out to be the next Tom Brady and JaMarcus Russell could turn out to be the next Doug Williams and no one in Pittsburgh will care.

The Steelers have their own franchise quarterback and their fans have little interest in whether Quinn or Russell is picked first, last or in between.

Sure, Steelers fans are interested in which quarterback will be drafted by the Cleveland Browns, but they also figure a quarterback picked by that cursed (re-)franchise would blow out his arm at the first minicamp.

The big draft question at this position seems to be which college prospect is the No. 3 quarterback. The illogical interest in this query parallels the neverending camp soap opera involving the Steelers' No. 3 quarterback, but here are the prospects and their drawbacks:

1.) Drew Stanton and his Michigan State team finished 1-8 and 1-6 the last two seasons.

2.) Trent Edwards missed half of last season with a broken foot and was coached by Walt Harris at Stanford.

3.) John Beck throws a beautiful ball but, after completing all of his religious requirements at BYU, will be a 54-year-old rookie.

4.) Kevin Kolb is Jeff Garcia without the herky-jerky movements, but being compared to Jeff Garcia is just plain quirky-quirky.

And, again, Steelers fans shout out a big Who Cares for this second tier of college quarterbacks as well.

What the Steelers need, since Brian St. Pierre has run out of practice-squad eligibility, is a No. 3 developmental prospect, and they shouldn't even need to draft one because there are some big, strong-armed quarterbacks who weren't invited to the combine.

Let's look first at the only quarterback invited for a visit to the Steelers' South Side offices: Tyler Palko.

It's believed Palko was given a courtesy visit by those who admire the next-door neighbor's distinguished career at Pitt, but Palko might also deserve a chance to compete against St. Pierre in training camp and he may not cost the Steelers a draft pick.

Palko was destined for the fifth or sixth round early last season, but as the year went on he appeared to lose what little arm strength he possessed. At the Senior Bowl, Palko dropped from three-quarters to almost side-armed and followed it up with a lackluster performance at the combine.

On the positive side, Palko is a coach's son, bright as they come, and a mentally and physically tough leader. He has decent mobility and could make it with a West Coast offense, or perhaps as a developmental prospect in his hometown.

The Steelers have shown interest in two other quarterbacks this draft season, but have not brought Isaiah Stanback or Josh Swogger in for a visit.

If healthy, could Stanback be Slash revisited? (Photo: Getty Images)

Stanback (6-2½, 216) was a first-day prospect until suffering a Lisfranc (foot) injury late last season. If healthy, the Washington quarterback is one of the better all-around athletes in the draft and could find a niche as a Slash-type player. In fact, Pro Football Weekly called Stanback "a luxury pick who looks destined for the Steelers." If healthy, that could be the case.

Swogger is a 6-4½, 237-pounder from Montana who transferred from Washington State before the 2006 season. The Steelers worked him out and he displayed a strong arm and a passion for the game and could be had as a free agent after the draft.

A quarterback who came on strong last season and who's flying under the radar is Oregon State's Matt Moore. A transfer from UCLA and a former Major League Baseball draft pick, Moore is 6-3½, 193 and he showed significant improvement as a senior. He capped off the season with a brilliant performance in the Sun Bowl, in which he rallied Oregon State to a 39-38 win over Missouri by completing 31 of 54 for 356 yards and four touchdowns. His interception broke a school-record streak of 182 passes without being picked off. Even though he's expected to be a late-round pick or even a free agent, Moore is big enough, mobile and smart enough to make an NFL roster.

Steelers' value board: MATT MOORE, Oregon State, QB, seventh round.


Steel City Insider Top Stories

\r\n\r\n\r\nBrady Quinn could turn out to be the next Tom Brady and JaMarcus Russell could turn out to be the next Doug Williams and no one in Pittsburgh will care. \r\n\r\n

The Steelers have their own franchise quarterback and their fans have little interest in whether Quinn or Russell is picked first, last or in between. \r\n\r\n

Sure, Steelers fans are interested in which quarterback will be drafted by the Cleveland Browns, but they also figure a quarterback picked by that cursed (re-)franchise would blow out his arm at the first minicamp. \r\n\r\n

The big draft question at this position seems to be which college prospect is the No. 3 quarterback. The illogical interest in this query parallels the neverending camp soap opera involving the Steelers' No. 3 quarterback, but here are the prospects and their drawbacks:

\r\n\r\n1.) Drew Stanton and his Michigan State team finished 1-8 and 1-6 the last two seasons.

\r\n\r\n2.) Trent Edwards missed half of last season with a broken foot and was coached by Walt Harris at Stanford.

\r\n\r\n3.) John Beck throws a beautiful ball but, after completing all of his religious requirements at BYU, will be a 54-year-old rookie.

\r\n\r\n4.) Kevin Kolb is Jeff Garcia without the herky-jerky movements, but being compared to Jeff Garcia is just plain quirky-quirky.

\r\n\r\n

And, again, Steelers fans shout out a big Who Cares for this second tier of college quarterbacks as well. \r\n\r\n

What the Steelers need, since Brian St. Pierre has run out of practice-squad eligibility, is a No. 3 developmental prospect, and they shouldn't even need to draft one because there are some big, strong-armed quarterbacks who weren't invited to the combine. \r\n\r\n

Let's look first at the only quarterback invited for a visit to the Steelers' South Side offices: Tyler Palko. \r\n\r\n

It's believed Palko was given a courtesy visit by those who admire the next-door neighbor's distinguished career at Pitt, but Palko might also deserve a chance to compete against St. Pierre in training camp and he may not cost the Steelers a draft pick. \r\n\r\n

Palko was destined for the fifth or sixth round early last season, but as the year went on he appeared to lose what little arm strength he possessed. At the Senior Bowl, Palko dropped from three-quarters to almost side-armed and followed it up with a lackluster performance at the combine. \r\n\r\n

On the positive side, Palko is a coach's son, bright as they come, and a mentally and physically tough leader. He has decent mobility and could make it with a West Coast offense, or perhaps as a developmental prospect in his hometown. \r\n\r\n

The Steelers have shown interest in two other quarterbacks this draft season, but have not brought Isaiah Stanback or Josh Swogger in for a visit. \r\n\r\n

\r\n
If healthy, could Stanback be Slash revisited? (Photo: Getty Images)
\r\n\r\n\r\n

Stanback (6-2½, 216) was a first-day prospect until suffering a Lisfranc (foot) injury late last season. If healthy, the Washington quarterback is one of the better all-around athletes in the draft and could find a niche as a Slash-type player. In fact, Pro Football Weekly called Stanback \"a luxury pick who looks destined for the Steelers.\" If healthy, that could be the case. \r\n\r\n

Swogger is a 6-4½, 237-pounder from Montana who transferred from Washington State before the 2006 season. The Steelers worked him out and he displayed a strong arm and a passion for the game and could be had as a free agent after the draft. \r\n\r\n

A quarterback who came on strong last season and who's flying under the radar is Oregon State's Matt Moore. A transfer from UCLA and a former Major League Baseball draft pick, Moore is 6-3½, 193 and he showed significant improvement as a senior. He capped off the season with a brilliant performance in the Sun Bowl, in which he rallied Oregon State to a 39-38 win over Missouri by completing 31 of 54 for 356 yards and four touchdowns. His interception broke a school-record streak of 182 passes without being picked off. Even though he's expected to be a late-round pick or even a free agent, Moore is big enough, mobile and smart enough to make an NFL roster. \r\n\r\n

Steelers' value board: MATT MOORE, Oregon State, QB, seventh round.","skipOnMobile":true,"skipOnMobileReason":"UnsupportedHtmlTable","unsupportedMarkup":"LackingResponsiveTableClass","media":[],"dateOverride":"2007-04-17T14:41:00","authorOverride":"Jim Wexell","role":"SteelCityInsider.com","isPremium":true,"isHotNews":false,"isRumor":false,"syndicationFlag":true,"isClassified":true,"hotNamesLinked":true,"storyImage":"[MEDIA:423287]","mainImage":{"url":"[MEDIA:423287]"},"thumbnailImage":"[THUMBNAIL:423287]","heroImage":{},"authorImage":"","tags":[{"id":"Draft","name":"Draft"},{"id":"10016","name":"Washington - Football"},{"id":"572","name":"Oregon State"},{"id":"577","name":"Washington"},{"id":"10006","name":"Oregon State - Football"},{"id":"182","name":"Pittsburgh 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