I think most people would have a good case for arguing he's a bust as a passer right now. However, as everyone is preaching this year, he's never going to be a full-blow-in-the-pocket-passer that we all dream of him being, unless he makes huge, unforseen strides.
I agree with that. Cunningham didn't become what most consider to be a reliable pocket passer until his 13th year in the league, after two major knee injuries and well after he was a capable of being a true running threat (it had been 5 years since his last 300+ yard season). He had good seasons throwing the football before that point, but he was still considered a running QB.
It's hard to gauge where Vick's career will wind up and be seen in retrospect. These are just stabs in the dark, but here are the more probable paths I forsee:
1. Vick continues to develop as a passer here in Atlanta, and quiets most of his critics, although he'll porbably never silence all of them. He may/may not be considered a good passer, but a reliable one.
2. Vick suffers an injury in the not too distant future. A backup in Atlanta steps up beautifully in his absence (maybe Schaub, maybe someone else). Vick loses favor in Atlanta, is benched and eventually moves on to another city. There he will probably be a pseudo-backup/starter, where he continues to develop. At some point several years down the road, he gets his chance to shine again and has a resurrection-like season or end to his career (most similar to Cunningham's path.)
3. At some point in the not too distant future, whether due to poor performance or injury, Vick is cast out of Atlanta and spends the rest of his career as a backup, where in retrospect people will consider him one of the all-time busts, mostly because he never lived up to the lofty expectations placed upon him.
But in truth, if Vick ever does have that seaosn where he looks like the passer that people envisioned, I don't expect it to be as a Falcon.
The vast majority of Falcon fans will continue to support Vick as long as he wins football games. And that seems the case with Mora & Co. I think McKay would rather have a more reliable passer, but he can't justify replacing Vick until he stops winning 60-70% of his games. If the Falcons struggle for a year or two and Vick looks like he has lost that magic, I think you'll see McKay rather quick to pull the reins from his hands.
If it comes to that, I don't know when. But I don't for a moment expect Vick to be winning at the same rate several years down the line if he's not throwing the football better. Defenses are going to evolve and find it easier down the road to stop him.
There are going to be those observers that believe every #1 pick that is not as prolific as Peyton Manning is going to be a bust. These are the same guys that are lumping Vick and Carr as potential busts already, and jumping hard and fast on the Carson Palmer bandwagon.
There are those that are going to feel that despite his passing deficiency, the measure of Mike Vick will be if he can win a Super Bowl. If he can do that, then they say he did what he needed to do. I think this crowd is going to be the largest of observers.
And then there's going to be a minority of observers, who I believ will mostly be composed of Falcon fans that feel that if Vick won the majority of his games at the end of the career, he is not a bust.
I think if Vick truly wants to shake the critics, he has to set passing records or win a Super Bowl, and there's no other way around it.