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Saints sidestep mad rush for QB

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; With the first pick in the 2006 NFL draft, with a promise of $25 million should he stay healthy the next two seasons, the New Orleans Saints last month selected Drew Brees, quarterback, Purdue University, by way of the San ...

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Old 04-24-2006, 07:23 AM   #1
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Saints sidestep mad rush for QB

With the first pick in the 2006 NFL draft, with a promise of $25 million should he stay healthy the next two seasons, the New Orleans Saints last month selected Drew Brees, quarterback, Purdue University, by way of the San Diego Chargers.

We'll find out Saturday who the Saints take with their next pick, when some fans figure to have one eye on pro football's beef lottery, another on the leaderboard of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at English Turn Golf & Country Club, checking on where Masters champion Phil Mickelson stands after 36 holes.

Yes, we're headed into some lively post-Katrina days, especially if you toss in the Sunday night appearance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival by baseball zealot Bruce Springsteen.

Just as Katrina reshaped our city, in the past several weeks so have our Saints been reshaped, with a new coach, a new quarterback and what usually comes with such a parlay -- a new dose of optimism.

You drive past the Superdome these days, you see the sign -- Reopening -- 9-24-2006, Go Saints.

You see this and try to picture the scene the day Coach Sean Payton's Saints welcome the Atlanta Falcons for a home game many thought might never come.

In a big way, the decisive, big-money move to bring Brees aboard has taken the fun out of what's going to happen when the bell rings Saturday.

Just as former Saints coach Jim Haslett and quarterback Aaron Brooks were joined at the hip, for better or worse, so now are Payton and Brees, a quarterback who will be asked to live up to an $8 million bonus and $2 million salary in 2006 and another $12 million bonus and $3 million salary in 2007.

It means the 27-year-old Brees, who threw for 80 touchdowns the past four seasons as a starter in San Diego, soon will be measured by Saints fans against the Class of '06: Southern California's Matt Leinart, Texas' Vince Young and Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler, three quarterbacks who will be going, fast, in Round 1.

As the countdown rolls on, teams like the Jets and Titans and Raiders are having all the fun, wondering if, and how, they'll get a shot to pull the trigger.

The Jets last week visited Cutler in Nashville, Tenn., Leinart in Los Angeles, Young in Austin, Texas.

The quarterbacks threw passes, had dinner, answered questions.

It's getting weird out there.

On some lists, Cutler has moved ahead of Leinart and Young.

Do you trade up for a guy who never played on a winning team?

If you like Leinart, do you go for someone whose arm strength has been questioned?

If you like Young, what about someone who throws sidearm, who took most of his college snaps from the shotgun formation?

Go to the flip side and you hear Cutler threw for 59 touchdowns, and threw 167 consecutive passes without an interception, playing for lousy teams. You hear Leinart was a master of the Big Play in three spectacular seasons. You hear Young can beat you two ways, more effectively than a faster, but shorter, Michael Vick.

Consider the Jets. Hit by injuries at a key spot, they are quarterback desperate, in a city where the Giants ride the arm of Eli Manning.

With the fourth pick Saturday, with the Texans, at No. 1, set to take running back Reggie Bush, with Drew Brees already a Saint, do the Jets trade up (with the Saints?) to make sure they land the body they want?

When it comes to Leinart, Young and Cutler, second-guessers will be playing the "who's best?" game for years.

It was like that in 1998, but that year you heard only two names: Tennessee's Peyton Manning and Washington State's Ryan Leaf.

Looking back, after what happened, how could anyone think Leaf would make a better NFL quarterback than Manning?

One guy goes on to live up to a glittering résumé, the other turns into a disaster, a classic head case who wound up costing a head coach and a general manager their jobs.

Jim Mora, who championed Manning's cause as coach of the Colts, will tell you, though it seems like an easy call now, it was a virtual dead heat going into the draft.

"Ryan Leaf had everything you looked for in a pro quarterback, everything," Mora said. "Why he was such a bust still baffles me. Goes to prove what an inexact science drafting can be, despite all the work involved, especially when you're dealing with what you consider the elite. Ryan Leaf proved there are no slam dunks."

So how much of a slam dunk is Drew Brees?

Brees has proved he can play, and play well, in the NFL.

In his case, it's a question of how well he comes back from surgery on his throwing shoulder.

For long-suffering Who Dats, any current litany of the Saints would begin with a prayer for Drew Brees' shoulder and continue with another prayer for Deuce McAllister's legs, and, once he has a chance to assess his defense, a prayer for Sean Payton's sanity.

Keep one thing in mind: Between faith and charity, there's hope.

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Old 04-24-2006, 07:24 AM   #2
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RE: Saints sidestep mad rush for QB

Saints' pick should be spent on top quarterback

John Mackovic
Special to The Desert Sun
April 22, 2006

"With the first pick in the 2006 NFL draft, Houston selects Reggie Bush ... New Orleans is on the clock." For the following fifteen minutes, the Saints will endure a lifetime's worth of possibilities and what if's. Now, I have a question for you. What would you do with the next pick? All the experts say that Vince Young and Matt Leinart are the two best prospects after Bush and expected to go 2-3.
Let's disregard trading the pick and moving down in the draft and consider only the merits of the two players. Their head-to-head battle in the Rose Bowl only served to draw them closer in comparison. Then came the NFL Combine and they began to separate, finally personal workouts and visits to various teams have reunited them. For sure they will be linked to one another for a long time.

Tale of the tape

As always, start with the physical makeup of each. Young measures 6'5", 233 lbs. and runs like a gazelle while Leinart stands 6'5", 225 lbs. and does not resemble a gazelle. If you want the traditional drop back professional quarterback, Matt would likely get the nod while those with the modern approach to the game would prefer the mobile Young and his play-making abilities.
Just for fun, try to remember the last time a mobile, playmaker quarterback led his team to a Super Bowl victory.

Pro quarterbacks must be passers and these two are record setters in every sense of the word. Their NCAA statistics for passing efficiency show Vince ended his year with a 163.9 rating and Leinart's was 157.7 - much too close to call.

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