2008 NFL Draft: Day Two Quarterbacks

With the expected depth of talent at the quarterback position for the 2008 NFL Draft, teams that wait until Day Two to pick up a passer could find some real potential stars available. Chris Steuber fills you in...

Identifying a franchise quarterback is the key to a team's success, but finding that signal-caller is not an exact science. Each year there are quarterbacks hyped as being the next big star in the National Football League. Since 1998, there have been eight quarterbacks (1998 - Peyton Manning, 1999 - Tim Couch, 2001 - Michael Vick, 2002 - David Carr, 2003 - Carson Palmer, 2004 - Eli Manning, 2005 - Alex Smith, and 2007 - JaMarcus Russell) selected with the first overall selection in the draft.  And of the eight quarterbacks selected, only Peyton Manning and Palmer are considered to be among the elite in the league.

Sometimes waiting and showing patience is the best way to go when you're selecting your franchise quarterback. As many highly-touted quarterbacks as there are each year, plenty of talent makes its way into the second day of the draft. The New England Patriots stole Tom Brady in 2000 when they selected him in the sixth round. The Saints also found a diamond-in-the-rough that very same year and round, drafting West Virginia standout Marc Bulger. However, the Saints didn't have patience with Bulger and released him during training camp. The Rams picked him up and he's been one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

This year's crop of quarterbacks is deep, skilled, and potentially one of the best in recent memory, especially if some of the outstanding underclassmen declare. Louisville's Brian Brohm, Kentucky's Andre Woodson, and Boston College's Matt Ryan are considered to be the top-three quarterbacks available next April. But with a limited number of teams in need of quarterback, some of the players ranked behind the top three will fall, possibly into Day Two of the draft.

With that said, here's a look at some of the talented quarterbacks a team may cash in on during the second day -- if they have a little patience.

John David Booty (Sr.), USC
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 215

Could Booty fall into Day Two of the draft? There is a high possibility if juniors like Nate Longshore, Chase Holbrook, and Chase Daniels forego their final year of eligibility, but it's likely he'll go on Day One. He's an intelligent quarterback who possesses great poise in the pocket. He goes through his progressions consistently and spreads the ball around to his receivers. He has a strong, accurate arm and can make all the tough throws. He shows confidence throwing the ball vertically and on intermediate routes, placing the ball in receiver's hands with precision. He doesn't have great speed and will take sacks due to his inability to escape the pocket. Booty is a good prospect, but it remains to be seen if he was the benefactor of tremendous talent surrounding him at USC.

Erik Ainge (Sr.), Tennessee
Height: 6-6 | Weight: 220

Ainge is a borderline Day One selection with a great chance to make it into Day Two. He's the one quarterback who will be hurt the most by the talent available in this draft. Ainge has great size, skill, and athleticism. He shows good poise in the pocket and makes good decisions. He throws with an over-the-top delivery displaying a strong arm on short passes and has great accuracy on deep throws. A big concern with Ainge is his durability. He's received his share of bumps and bruises at Tennessee, and during this past offseason he suffered a torn meniscus while weightlifting. If he's healthy, Ainge has a chance to be a quality player at the next level.

Sam Keller (Sr.), Nebraska
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 230

Sam Keller
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Transferring from Arizona State to Nebraska during fall practice in 2006 -- and having to redshirt due to the transfer -- didn't help Keller's draft status much. Keller is a talented player with great size and a strong arm. He has quick feet and is able to make plays out of the pocket. He buys time for receivers, displays a good sense of timing, and rarely has pass catchers waiting on his throws. He has excellent awareness spreading the ball around to different targets and getting everyone involved in the offense. He plays inconsistently at times and tends to force the issue, which results into turnovers. He has the talent to be a day-one selection, but he's still developing his game and becoming a more complete player.

Paul Smith (Sr.), Tulsa
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 193

Smith is a highly intelligent, productive quarterback with a lot of potential. He will get some looks on Day One, but since Tulsa runs a hurry-up, no-huddle offense, NFL executives may look down on the Golden Hurricanes star. He has great poise in the pocket and possesses a strong, accurate arm. He has great awareness and spreads the ball around to all of his receivers. He has quick feet and can make throws on the run. He's elusive enough to take off and pick up yards with his legs. He has a quick release and excellent touch on deep throws. Smith is an intriguing prospect that has a huge upside and will be a starting quarterback in the NFL.

Matt Flynn (Sr.), LSU
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 228

Flynn has a lot of talent, but spending most of his collegiate career backing up JaMarcus Russell didn't allow him the opportunity to showcase his abilities. He has a chance to elevate his stock as the season progresses, but he's still considered to be a fourth- or fifth-round selection. He has a lot of tools that make him an intriguing prospect to NFL teams. He's an athletic, smart quarterback who can buy time for his receivers with his legs and make crucial throws on the run. Flynn has a strong arm and makes good decisions in the pocket. Two areas of concern will be his questionable accuracy and his ball placement that needs improvement.

A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his NFL draft analysis on the web and on the radio since 1999.

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