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this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; A look at the big three QBs Click here to find out more! Phil Simms By Phil Simms Special to NFL.com * Simms: Let's get physical (April 24, 2006) -- Before I get into an evaluation of the big three ...

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Old 04-25-2006, 06:02 PM   #1
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if you cut out the politics you can see who he likes

A look at the big three QBs Click here to find out more!

Phil Simms By Phil Simms
Special to NFL.com

* Simms: Let's get physical

(April 24, 2006) -- Before I get into an evaluation of the big three quarterbacks who are expected to go high in this weekend's NFL Draft, let me just say this: When people ask me about draft prospects -- quarterbacks or otherwise -- I go only by what I judge on film.

I didn't get to meet these guys, work them out in person, see what kind of person they are. I don't get that opportunity. But neither do a lot of people who have such hard, hard opinions on these quarterbacks.

They haven't personally worked them out and talked to them enough to know what they are all about. But they make these assessments that have no grey area whatsoever. I just laugh at this.

That said, I have had a chance to watch the big three quarterbacks on TV a lot. I saw most of the games live on TV for Vince Young and Matt Leinart. Jay Cutler was the odd-man out in terms of exposure, having toiled at Vanderbilt, but I've seen enough of his game tapes in recent weeks.

With that in mind, here are my thumbnail evaluations:

Vince Young's size and ability will make him hard to pass on in the draft.
Vince Young's size and ability will make him hard to pass on in the draft.
He's big, at 6-foot-5, 228 pounds, and he plays really big. When I say that, keep in mind it's the first thought I had about Ben Roethlisberger when he came out two years ago. He has a tremendous base -- his legs, size, just his natural strength. And he's tall. He looks and stands much taller than 6-5, and that will be a plus in the NFL. He's played with and against many great players, so the adjustment to the NFL will not be tremendous (that will be the case for all three of these players).

Young is intriguing. Quarterback guru Jerry Rhome has worked out with him through the offseason and I'm very impressed with how he's done under Rhome's tutelage. Rhome has worked with many great QBs in the NFL.

My idea of a great athlete is a guy who can "mimic" -- when you show him something, he can get a hold of it and learn it and do it right away. And that is very encouraging when you're trying to judge a quarterback.

Young's arm strength is good -- not great by NFL standards, but good. He throws a tight spiral, which is very important. The downside is that you do have to be worried about the Wonderlic test. If you took the simplest offensive system among the 32 NFL teams, it's still extremely complex compared to college offenses. There is a tremendous amount of information in the NFL and quarterbacks do have to know it and it does come in handy. He can't just step out there and make plays. That's just not the way it is.

The fact that he did not play in a conventional pro offense will make it tougher to adjust in the NFL as well, but when you're a good athlete, that can be overcome.

Matt Leinart has developed the skills needed to be a top QB in the NFL.
Matt Leinart has developed the skills needed to be a top QB in the NFL.
In four years at USC, Leinart has learned some of the basics of being an NFL quarterback. Just look at Carson Palmer as an example. Both are good at dropping back, have good foot movement, deal with pressure in the pocket. Leinart's foot movement is better than people give him credit for. He is tall and that's a quality that is very good for a pocket passer. He plays tall.

In Leinart, I see a very good delegator of the football. He finds the open guy pretty well. I would say he has good to very good accuracy underneath. I'm a big arm strength guy, and in the NFL, no matter what kind of quarterback you are, you have to be able to throw the underneath passes. In the championship game, he did that very well against a very good Texas Longhorns defense.

His arm strength, no question, is going to limit some of the things he will do in the NFL. When you draw up plays, there are some things you can't do because of what he does. He's not going to throw 30-yard zingers into tight coverage in the NFL. That would be a downside. I also noticed that he does lose control of the football every once in a while; the ball sails high a little, probably because he doesn't put enough rotation on his passes. This can be a factor in cold weather. Can he learn to improve this? Absolutely. But that would be my concern with him.

The most overrated player in the draft? That's pretty funny.

I was very surprised when I watched Cutler on film for a couple of reasons. I didn't realize how good an athlete he is. He's big, very strong, and has an NFL body, especially for a quarterback.

He plays big and he plays strong. He can move around much better than I thought. He ran some option, ran the football well. He can stand in, and deliver the ball downfield with accuracy and power even when getting hit. His arm strength is exceptional -- tremendous. And what I like so much about his arm strength is that on short passes he gets the ball to his targets quick so they have a chance to run with it. It's not a high-effort throw. He doesn't have to work hard to get the ball somewhere with speed. It's natural.

I've read and heard from some NFL coaches that he tries to use his arm too much -- maybe tries to throw the ball hard when he shouldn't. I didn't notice that, but I did see him try to stick the ball into some tough spots. But I would look at that as a plus. At least a coach has the ability to tell a Jay Cutler to take something off his passes if he needs to.

Cutler probably played in an environment that was most NFL-like for a quarterback. I watched about five Vanderbilt games, and he got hit a lot. He's used to making decisions and throwing from a position that is more like what he'll see in the NFL.

There were a bunch of games that Vanderbilt would not have had a chance to win or stay close if he were not the quarterback. You could say that about Leinart and Young, but I'm not sure USC or Texas would have lost one or two games if their backup quarterbacks were in there. I don't know anything about the backup quarterback at Vanderbilt, but I know Cutler was always the best player on the field in their games.

What's interesting about these three quarterbacks is that we're dealing with three really different styles. For example, Vince Young is certainly capable of being a very good NFL quarterback … but it's a little unique and a little different. As an offensive coach, you're going to put in plays that you never put in before.

Jay Cutler might turn out to be the safest pick of the top three QBs.
Jay Cutler might turn out to be the safest pick of the top three QBs.
I've heard it said that Cutler is the riskiest pick of the three because his name is not as big. I think it's actually the complete opposite.

By NFL standards, the safest pick of the three is Cutler. He's big and strong, has enough mobility and can make all the throws. Whether it's the West Coast, East Coast -- whatever offense he gets drafted into, he's going to be able to adapt to it. I'm not sure you can say that about the other two. There are offenses in the NFL that are not made for Matt Leinart, because they love to throw the ball downfield. That's not what he is going to be great at.

People compare Leinart to Tom Brady, and they like to talk about Brady's "intangibles" and leadership qualities, etc. But in my eyes, the quality that has made Tom Brady great is that he can really, really throw the football well. It's amazing how much smarter you can look as a quarterback if you can throw the ball that well. I don't mind people praising his other qualities, but his ability to "drive" the football, throw tight spirals and give his receivers a chance to run with the football is really the key.

I've watched about seven or eight quarterbacks on tape pretty closely. But in my position, it's just not easy to get enough game film. I'm not paid to do this draft evaluation; I just do it because I'm nosy.

But there was one quarterback I saw, albeit very briefly, who really caught my eye. I saw two throws made by Alabama State quarterback Tavaris Jackson, and I was really impressed. Then I saw a few more throws from him on NFL Network from his workout at the combine, and to say I was intrigued is an understatement. Wow!

It looked big-time. Not just okay or good. What little I saw looked big-time. Then I found out a little bit about him. He started out at Arkansas and transferred to Alabama State because he was going to sit behind Matt Jones and Arkansas wanted him to switch positions. So he was good enough to be recruited by a Division I-A school and he must be a good athlete if they were willing to move him to another position.

Jackson has good size, he's muscular, and has a fluid throwing motion, very fluid. He looked natural. We'll see what happens.


seems to me that in his order it go's cutler, matt, and a distant third is young. pretty much what i have thought. not so much with cutler and matt as so much with young. a big distant third who may amount to nothing

Big Hitter, the Lama.
spkb25 is offline  
Old 04-25-2006, 06:54 PM   #2
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RE: if you cut out the politics you can see who he likes

Nice post. Thats now two former QB's favering Cutler. If we do go QB at two that is whom I would like to see.
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Old 04-25-2006, 06:59 PM   #3
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If we do go QB, it better be b/c Hawk or Brick absolutely have to...

That said, I still take Leinart. Young is gonna take a while and Cutler is a wildcard to me at this point. I may look stupid in the future, but I think he's hype waiting to bust.

(and I'm comfortable with looking stupid inthe future b/c I look stupid in the now)
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