2003 Draft Analysis

Pudge's Notes: Quarterbacks take time to develop and NFL teams know this. But when they select a guy early in the draft (first four rounds), there is usually an assumption that the player should be a starter by his fourth season at the latest. Otherwise you are looking at a potential bust. Especially for first rounders, since they are believed to need to start by their second years if not their first. That was the case with the Jets and Chad Pennington, as many outsiders felt that Pennington was a bust, but Herman Edwards continually denied those, and it seems that he was right. But it was Pennington's third year and seemingly was "too long" for some. Basically I believe quarterbacks take four to seven years to develop fully. That can be too long for some teams, as was the case with Kerry Collins and Trent Dilfer, both of whom led teams to the Super Bowl in 2000, after a point when both weren't considered to be starting-caliber passers. Collins was in his sixth season with his third NFL team when he led the Giants to the Super Bowl against Dilfer's Ravens, which was his second team in his seventh NFL season.



Carson Palmer

6'5" 232 Southern California (4.63) Senior

Pros: Has a great arm and has one of the better deep balls in the class, if not the best. He is a general in the pocket, and commands his troops well. He has mobility to escape the pocket and turn a broken play into a gain.
Cons: Despite his mobility, he will linger in the pocket a bit too long and gets sacked more than he should. The inconsistency in his past is another concern.
NFL Forecast: Palmer has a bright future if he can build off his senior season. He was inconsistent in his entire career until senior year. In his first three seasons, he threw 35 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. But as a senior, he had 32 touchdowns and only 10 picks. It mostly stemmed from coaching changes on the Trojan staff. Palmer has the makings of an excellent quarterback, but his past is a wary question mark.
NFL Comparison: Rob Johnson, Redskins.
Value: Palmer has great ability and would possibly merit the #1 selection. He is truly a Top 3 talent.

Byron Leftwich

6'5" 241 Marshall (5.00) Senior

Pros: Has excellent arm strength and accuracy for a college passer. Is mobile and can make plays with his legs as he's a load to bring down. A tough smart leader that makes good decisions from the pocket.
Cons: Lacks great running ability and speed. Will still make some bad throws from time to time.
NFL Forecast: What impressed me most about Leftwich is his toughness, when he played the final weeks of the season all banged up. He could barely walk and was still on the field. Leftwich is an excellent pro prospect. If he were to start as a rookie, he'd probably struggle a lot. But he should eventually develop into a Pro Bowl quarterback or even better.
NFL Comparison: Daunte Culpepper, Vikings.
Value: Leftwich definitely gets a first round grade. He is a Top-10 pick in this draft. He's not good enough to go #1, but should merit a selection in the Top 5 picks.


Rex Grossman

6'1" 217 Florida (5.15) Junior

Pros: Has good arm strength and throws an accurate ball. Has good mobility, so that he can be tough to bring down in the pocket.
Cons: Will make mistakes and force throws. Some of the decisions he makes, you have to wonder what was going through his mind.
NFL Forecast: Played in Steve Spurrier's offense for two seasons and was great, and less than great after Spurrier left. Spurrier's system cut down on the turnovers. Grossman doesn't follow a promising lineage of Spurrier-coached quarterbacks, most recently seen in Jesse Palmer and Doug Johnson. Grossman is going to be good where they were not, although both Palmer and Johnson may be starting within the next year or two. Plus none of them were as good as Grossman was in college.
NFL Comparison: Brock Huard, Colts.
Value: The big question is will Grossman end the stigma against Gator quarterbacks. He has the ability to do so and would get a second round grade from me. If he stayed for another year, then he could solidify himself as a first round pick.

Dave Ragone

6'4" 249 Louisville (5.04) Senior

Pros: Ragone has good skills. He has a nice arm and makes crisp, accurate throws. He has nice mobility and toughness. Southpaw that refuses to slide.
Cons: He does not have a big league arm that will be able to make many of the deep throws. Ragone will still force passes.
NFL Forecast: He showed his toughness with the beating he took week in and week out as a senior. How long also will it take before he learns to slide when NFL linebackers make him hurt? Ragone, although had a down season, he still showed that he was a star on a bad offensive unit. He had little help. He has the skills to be a solid backup for a year or two as he adjusts, and then he can make an impact.
NFL Comparison: Jay Fiedler, Dolphins.
Value: Before the season, I gave Ragone a late first round grade because he did not show as much ability as Leftwich. But with his down season, he still has that potential, but is really a second round pick.


Chris Simms

6'4" 220 Texas (4.85) Senior

Pros: Southpaw with a cannon attached to his shoulder. Has some mobility so he can avoid capture. Throws a nice sharp pass that is dead-on most times.
Cons: Inconsistency. Simms got the bad wrap through his collegiate career as a "choke-artist." He did not show up in big games. His sidearm throwing style may also need to be tweaked. Knows he has a cannon and will also force some passes.
NFL Forecast: Simms definitely has NFL ability. His arm is great. If he can shake his choking woes, he will be a great NFL player, much like his father. He has the NFL blood, so you have to believe that Simms will become a good player. Has the determination and heart to be a solid pro, which you have to like as an intangible.
NFL Comparison: Kerry Collins, Giants.
Value: Simms would be a first round pick if not for the fact that he underachieved too much. He's as talented as any passer in this class. He's worth a late second or third round pick. He will probably be a better pro quarterback than a college quarterback.

Seneca Wallace

5'11" 196 Iowa State (4.53) Senior

Pros: Has a strong arm and good accuracy to go along with it. The most obvious asset he possesses is his mobility. He as good a runner as any recent prospect, except probably Vick.
Cons: Lacks size, so it will be questionable if he can take the pounding of the NFL. Inconsistent. Will sometimes get happy feet despite he does a good job throwing from the pocket.
NFL Forecast: His lack of size is an instant no-no in NFL circles (ask Joey Hamilton), but Wallace overcomes it because he's a very good passer. He struggled at the end of his senior year, but has looked good in the off-season workouts. His size won't be an issue. He should be a very good starting quarterback in two or three years. Some are projecting him to wide receiver, but he should stick at quarterback until he proves he cannot play the position.
NFL Comparison: Aaron Brooks, Saints.
Value: I gave him a second round grade at the end of last season, but his woes this year have probably dropped him to the third round. He may be worth a late second rounder, but is really a third round guy.


Brian St. Pierre

6'3" 218 Boston College (4.81) Senior

Pros: Has pretty good arm strength and accuracy. Has mobility to make some plays with his feet.
Cons: Lacks great arm strength, and his accuracy is only above average. Will make poor throws from time to time.
NFL Forecast: St. Pierre is a solid NFL prospect. He's the type of player that will serve as a backup for two or three years before he gets a chance to shine in a starting role. And I believe he's going to be a good pro, but probably won't be great. He should be an average to above average starting NFL quarterback.
NFL Comparison: Trent Green, Chiefs.
Value: He does not have huge upside so he will not go on the first day. But he is good enough to merit a fifth round pick.


Jason Gesser

6'1" 205 Washington State (4.85) Senior

Pros: He has good command of the field. His arm strength is adequate and his accuracy is generally good. He has toughness and is an excellent leader.
Cons: Has just adequate arm strength. Inconsistent on some of his throws and will force some passes.
NFL Forecast: Gesser could do well in a West Coast Offense since they de-emphasize the deep ball. He looks like he could be an quality starting quarterback in the NFL. I would not bet that Gesser has too many Pro Bowl seasons, if any. At the same time I would also not be surprised if Gesser never became more than a good backup passer. He's limited physically, and will have to make up for the rest with toughness and smarts.
NFL Comparison: Drew Brees, Chargers.
He has enough skill and upside as a passer to merit a fourth or fifth round selection, but I would give him a sixth round grade.

Ken Dorsey

6'5" 208 Miami FL (4.95) Senior

Pros: Has decent arm strength and mostly is accurate with his throws. Has some mobility. Excellent leader and knows how to win.
Cons: Always been surrounded with great talent. Tall and scrawny frame so it will be questionable if he can take the punishment that will be involved with 16 games in the NFL. Also his accuracy and arm strength are poor.
NFL Forecast: Dorsey could be a fine NFL quarterback, but is not following a quality lineage of guys. You have to go back to Vinny Testaverde before you get a quality Hurricane passer in the pros. And Testaverde was up and down his entire career. His college M.O. will likely follow him in the pros. He will need a certain requirement of surrounding talent before he can win. But once he gets it, he can be a star. If a GM and coach does his end of the bargain, Dorsey will fulfill his and lead his team to a Super Bowl. For sixty minutes on gameday, Dorsey can look All-Pro, but when you evaluate him outside that span you question if he has NFL talent.
NFL Comparison: Tommy Maddox, Steelers.
Value: Dorsey has enough talent via intangibles to be a first day pick. But he has too many concerns to be selected higher than the sixth round.

Brad Banks

5'11" 201 Iowa (4.65) Senior

Pros: He has good arm strength, but his best asset is his athletic ability and mobility.
Cons: Still pretty raw as a pocket passer. Tends to get happy feet. His accuracy and touch needs a lot of work to match up with his arm strength. Lacks size and one must question his durability behind center.
NFL Forecast: Some have talked about possibly moving Banks to another position much like Antwaan Randle-El, Eric Crouch, and Woody Dantzler were last year. I think Banks has enough skill and upside as a passer to get looks there before any premature moves. Banks is going to need time to develop, and some teams may be unwilling to give him the proper time. But if a team is willing to give him two or three years as a third quarterback, then he is an excellent selection. He has played wide receiver in the past.
NFL Comparison: David Garrard, Jaguars.
Value: He has a lot of upside, but is still not worthy of a selection higher than the fifth round. I would give him a sixth round grade. But due to his potential, he could turn into one of the biggest steals of the 2003 Draft.


Kliff Kingsbury

6'4" 213 Texas Tech (4.76) Senior

Pros: Has good mobility and can make plays with his legs. Dissects defenses in the Red Raiders' spread offense.
Cons: Lacks arm strength and is inconsistent on his throws. Shows good accuracy at times but most of his throws lack touch and zip.
NFL Forecast: Kingsbury will have to find the right offense that can use his skills. He probably would do well in a Run N' Shoot offense, but they no longer exist in the NFL and there are few offenses similar to it. I don't see Kingsbury sticking long in the pros, and will probably likely become a star in Canada or the Arena Leagues.
NFL Comparison: Jake Plummer, Broncos.
Value: When he's on, he's pretty good. That alone could merit being a sixth round pick. It would be interesting to see how he adjusts to pro-style offenses. I'd give Kingsbury a seventh round grade.


Brooks Bollinger

6'1" 203 Wisconsin (4.81) Senior

Pros: He possesses a solid arm and has nice accuracy at times. He is a very mobile quarterback that is capable of making plays with his feet and outrunning defenders.
Cons: Lacks consistency as a passer. At times, will make great throws, then a series later he is missing his targets by a mile. Lacks pro size.
NFL Forecast: Bollinger has NFL talent as a quarterback, but just needs to gain some consistency. He's likely to be a player that will need a good summer and could stick as a #3 for a year or two before he can make his move. I also wouldn't be surprised if he heads north and becomes a star in the CFL.
NFL Comparison: Jon Kitna, Bengals.
Value: He is good enough in certain areas to be a seventh round pick, but too much of a project. That's why he gets an undrafted grade.

Nate Hybl

6'3" 220 Oklahoma (4.80) Senior

Pros: A good pocket passer that has some mobility.
Cons: Lacks a big arm and his throws are not very accurate.
NFL Forecast: Hybl was mostly average in his two years as the starter at Oklahoma. He is not as good as most of his teammates, but was capable enough to get a look in the pros. He is nothing special, with his max potential probably being an average backup quarterback. But it's doubtful Hybl will make an impact on the NFL. His future is in one of the lesser leagues.
NFL Comparison: Scott Covington, Rams.
Value: He was good enough in his senior year to get a look by NFL teams as a free agent, when before he could have been totally passed over.

James MacPherson

6'2" 197 Wake Forest (4.75) Senior

Pros: Has a nice strong arm and the mobility to escape the pocket and make plays downfield.
Cons: Accuracy is okay, but could be much better. Decision making is below average. Not comfortable consistently throwing from the pocket.
NFL Forecast: MacPherson is going to have to do some adjusting to the NFL. He does not look comfortable as a pocket passer yet. But MacPherson is a playmaker and he should eventually adjust. I do not really think MacPherson is ever going to be a quality starter, although he does have some of that potential in him. Most likely, he'll end up being a quality reserve and should have a long career.
NFL Comparison: Doug Flutie, Chargers.
Value: Because MacPherson is an unlikely starter, he probably won't go until the late rounds at the earliest. I believe he's physically gifted enough to be drafted, although he's likely looking at being undrafted. I would grade him as an undrafted prospect.

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