Does Booty Have the Arm Strength?

One of the criticisms of Vikings fifth-round pick John David Booty is that some analysts don't believe he has the arm strength to become a starting quarterback in the NFL. See what NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell, an avid football film buff, had to say about it, along with draft-weekend comments from Booty, Brad Childress and Rick Spielman.

Vikings fans who believe that fifth-round draft pick John David Booty is the immediate answer to the Purple's sometimes questionable quarterbacking situation most likely will be disappointed, according to Greg Cosell, senior producer at NFL Films.

Cosell, who examined copious amounts of coaches' tapes on all the top prospects for the 2008 draft, says Booty possesses an "average arm" and "no special attributes" as a passer.

"I don't think he can be a true starting quarterback in the NFL who you can win with," Cosell says. "He was drafted in the fifth round for a reason."

Cosell admits there have been some great quarterbacks, such as Tom Brady, drafted in late rounds like Booty, but he would be surprised if the USC product made a splash in the NFL.

"People from the outside looking at Booty see a proficient and successful quarterback at a big-time program at USC," Cosell says. "From watching the tape, he was a system quarterback whose limitations where overcome because USC had very good talent.

"It was evident to me that he doesn't see the field well. They were camouflaging that with the type of offense they ran. They used a lot of play-action, which limits the quarterback's progressions and makes it an either-or read. And they did it with bootleg action and designed movement which also simplified reads."

The Vikings, however, seemed to like Booty's field presence, as well as his accuracy and big-game performances.

"We felt he was very accurate and does a lot of the throws that we need to see on our offense. We got to know him pretty well down at the Senior Bowl," vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman said after drafting Booty.

Vikings coach Brad Childress said Booty has the ability to throw on the run as well.

"He is very, very good both to his left and to his right with moving throws," Childress said. "With breaking the pocket and throwing those bootlegs and nakeds, that's probably one of the better things he did in his college career."

To have a shot at NFL success, Cosell says Booty definitely would have to improve his arm strength, which the analyst believes can happen after players come into the league, pointing to Brady and Peyton Manning as examples. And Cosell believes the rookie would have to advance his mental approach to the game, to the point where he can process the entire field.

As of now, Cosell views Booty as a quarterback who would be counted on not to make mistakes or any big plays, more of a game manager rather than a difference-maker under center. "You can hide a quarterback in college," Cosell says, "but you can't do that in the NFL."

For his part, Booty defended himself against the critics who said he doesn't have a strong arm.

"I just think it's not true because that was not really part of our offense. It has nothing to do with me or (Matt) Leinart or any of those guys. If you really go back and watch, our offense isn't built on throwing a deep ball. We have never really had the true burner, go-get-it guy," Booty said after being drafted. "They are all kind of big like Mike Williams, big, use their body, Steve Smith, a possession guy. We never had those real burners, so for us that was never part of our offense and I think that is a little bit of why I get knocked for that. At my Pro Day, that was really something I tried to emphasize on was showing that I could do that and I had a pretty good day with it. So hopefully they saw that I could if I need to but when in the game do you throw the ball 70 yards?"

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