POSITION OVERVIEW: Since the draft of 1999 that yielded five first-round quarterbacks (Tim Couch, Akili Smith, Donovan McNabb, Daunte Culpepper and Cade McNown), the position hasn't been a huge draft bonanza since. Some will argue that quarterbacks are as iffy a high selection as any position — especially the Bengals and Bears, who got little to nothing in return for millions spent on Smith and McNown.
This season, the quarterback is back — with David Carr to go with the first pick of the draft and Joey Harrington expected to follow closely thereafter. Beyond those two, however, there may only be a handful of QBs taken between them and the fifth or sixth round. Once again, there are more question marks than answers surrounding this year's quarterback class.
THE TOP OF THE HEAP
David Carr, Fresno State, 6-3, 220 — Fifth-year senior...two-year backup who redshirted his junior year...WAC Offensive Player of the Year, All-American and Johnny Unitas Award winner in 2001...Finished fifth in Heisman ballot last year...In two years as a starter, completed 524 of 825 passes for 7,028 yards, 65 touchdowns and 19 interceptions, including 42 TD passes in 2001...Prototype size for an NFL QB...Has been compared favorably to Cleveland's Tim Couch...Strong arm and can accurately deliver bomb passes, as well as throw finesse passes with ease...Solidified his future at the Senior Bowl...May have to change his throwing motion, which is too sidearm for the tastes of a lot of scouts...Not much of a scrambling threat. PROJECTION: The first player to go off the board April 20.
Joey Harrington, Oregon, 6-4, 218 — Fifth-year senior who began his college career behind Akili Smith and then played behind A.J. Feeley, who was drafted by the Eagles...Finished fourth in the Heisman balloting as a senior...Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year in 2001...In two years as a full-time starter, he completed 381 of 699 passes for 5,109 yards, 43 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, including just five picks last year...Great size for a QB...Excellent pocket passer who has a quick release...Has 10 fourth-quarter comebacks to his credit...Great leadership qualities...Very coachable...Hurt his chances when he was unable to play at the Senior Bowl after injuring his knee in the East-West Shrine Game...Had a record of 25-3 to end his college career...Doesn't possess a powerful throwing arm...Has had problems with game-in, game-out consistency. PROJECTION: A key player in the first round. Could go as high as No. 3 or 4 to Detroit or Buffalo, could slip to Cincy at No. 10 or tumble all the way to No. 18 and Washington.
THE BEST OF THE REST
Patrick Ramsey, Tulane, 6-2, 229 — Fourth-year senior...Seen as a Brad Johnson type...Track athlete who won medal in the javelin at the Pan Am Games...Played behind Bucs QB Shaun King to start his career...Three-year starter who completed 795 of 1,350 passes for 9,178 yards, 71 touchdowns and 51 interceptions...His INT numbers dropped each of the last three years, but so did his TD numbers...Intelligent player who is a student of the game...Didn't miss a start in three years...Strong throwing arm...Greatly improved his stock at the Senior Bowl...Very strong at reading his receiver rotation and doesn't lock in on primary receiver if he's covered...Has the speed of a glacier...Willing to take a hit — perhaps too often...Didn't run at the Combine. PROJECTION: Was seen as a third-rounder, but his play at the Senior Bowl pushed him into the second round, perhaps very early where Carolina, Detroit or Buffalo may snap him up.
Kurt Kittner, Illinois, 6-2, 220 — Fourth-year senior who started five games as a true freshman...Two-time team MVP who was a second-team All-Big 10 selection last year...Has shown the capacity to play through injuries...In three years as a full-time starter, he completed 596 of 1,067 for 7,678 yards, 65 touchdowns and 26 interceptions...Had as many INTs last year as in the two previous years combined...Led Illinois to a rare Big 10 title in 2001...Isn't as impressive as former Illini QBs Tony Eason and Jeff George, but may be a better leader...Doesn't have a great arm, great size or great speed. PROJECTION: A guy with some limitations, but an impressive game performer who should find a landing spot in the third round.
Rohan Davey, LSU, 6-3, 248 — A huge QB who has been compared to Daunte Culpepper...A fifth-year senior...Only a one-year, full-time starter who played behind Josh Booty at LSU...A long injury history and tore his ACL playing basketball in 2000...Has a big-time arm just like Culpepper...Had a good week at the Senior Bowl...Doesn't throw well on the run...The best runner of the top QBs this year...Tends to gain weight when not playing...Viewed as being a little raw coming into the league. PROJECTION: With the success of Culpepper, he may benefit as being a Daunte clone and, while he won't be an immediate impact player, his size, strength and potential could slide him into the third round.
Josh McCown, Sam Houston State, 6-4, 227 — One of three brothers to be college QBs...One year at Sam Houston after being a two-year starter at SMU...Up and down at SMU, completing 294 of 565 passes for 3,403 yards, 20 touchdowns and 26 interceptions in two years...Rolled over the competition at Division I-AA in 2001, completing 259 of 429 passes for 3,481 yards, 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, as well as rushing for six TDs...Good speed...Strong arm that reminds some of a poor man's Vinny Testaverde...Doesn't have sound throwing mechanics, which has caused him to be very erratic. PROJECTION: After struggling at SMU, he regained NFL interest with a solid senior year vs. lesser competition, but, after showing his skills at the Senior Bowl, he could end up going in the fourth round.
OTHERS TO WATCH
David Garrard, East Carolina, 6-2, 240
J.T. O'Sullivan, Cal-Davis, 6-2, 217
Randy Fassani, Stanford, 6-4, 235
Seth Burford, Cal-Poly, 6-3, 240
Brandon Doman, BYU, 6-1, 205
David Neill, Nevada-Reno, 6-3, 211
Greg Zolman, Vanderbilt, 6-1, 208
Scott Mitchell, Western Washington, 6-2, 204
Zak Kustok, Northwestern, 6-1, 207
Major Applewhite, Texas, 6-0, 210
VU Draft Profiles: QB
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