Quarterback class may not have an immediate starter

The past three NFL drafts have produced several first-round quarterbacks who became immediate starters, including men like Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, and Sam Bradford.  In 2011, there simply may not be a game-ready guy.

Where is that one impact, immediate starter?” an AFC personnel exec recently told Tom Pelissero of 1500espn.com.  “That’s what NFL teams are trying to figure out.  There may not be right now a walk-in-the-door, first-day starting quarterback that’s in the draft.”

Pelissero explains that two of the top quarterbacks — Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert — played in spread offenses at college, making it harder to determine whether they’ll quickly be able to pick up a pro-style offense right away.  Ryan Mallett played in an offense more suited to the pro game, but he is being dogged by concerns regarding leadership and off-field concerns.  Jake Locker, once presumed to be the darling of the 2011 class, has sputtered.

It means that teams will have to spend extra time with their sleeves rolled up, pouring over film and other information.  And it means that teams needing a quarterback now will have to be even more careful.

“We will probably emphasize, from whether we go to set up private workouts with these guys to everything else that we normally do, you want to make sure you do everything you possibly can to make the right decision,” Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman told Pelissero.

“If that’s going out and meeting with a kid’s family, if that’s going out there and working with a kid individually, if that’s spending a day with a kid on the board, doing a lot of things.  And I think when we do go out this spring and work these guys out — because you’re not going to be able to get all those questions answered in a 15-minute interview at the combine — you’re going to have to do a lot more than that.”

The only good news for teams at the top of the draft is that the financial risk could be lower, if a rookie wage scale is adopted for 2011.  If a new CBA isn’t worked out by April 28, however, teams may have no idea as to what the rules will be for paying the players picked at the top of the draft.

And the process remains hardly a science, and far from perfect.  Pelissero suggests that this could be the first year since 2000 during which no quarterback is taken in the first three picks.  That’s the draft that unexpectedly produced in pick No. 199 a future first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback who should have been the first overall pick, and whose name is used every year at this time in an effort to keep us interested in the late rounds of the draft.

20 responses to “Quarterback class may not have an immediate starter

  1. Ha, Don’t tell Cam Newton he isn’t ready to start. He is already an icon and working on the HOF already….in his mind!

  2. With the exception of Gabbert, who’s a maybe, none of these top guys will pan out.

    Cam Newton is Vince Young.
    Stafford is Dan McGwire.
    Locker is Alex Smith.

    Gabbert is Jake Plummer

  3. Cam Newton=Vince Young.
    Compare them to some of the recent drafts like Bradford and Stafford, who were immediate starters. I don’t see one there.

    If I was a team in need of a quarterback, I would make a trade offer to the Packers for Matt Flynn, who is young, schooled, and itching to start. He almost pulled the upset of the year against New England and would be around almost as long as anyone in this year’s “class”.

  4. Gabbert’s a day-one starter…he’ll probably struggle a lot in his first year, but the NFL has been spoiled lately with a lot of NFL-ready rookie QBs (Ryan, Sanchez, Freeman, Roethlisberger), people forget that it usually takes at least one bad year for a QB to adjust

  5. Breaking News and shocking information in this piece. Thank you for informing us!

    Did anybody actually think one of these QBs was an immediate starter before this article?

  6. Whichever QB falls to the Redskins at #10 will be starting at some point this season. McNabb will gone and Rex Grossman stinks.

  7. Whichever QB falls to the Redskins at #10 will be starting at some point this season. McNabb will be gone and Rex Grossman stinks.

  8. coopsxx says:
    Feb 23, 2011 7:47 AM
    You might wan’t to remember Josh Freeman.
    – 25 touchdowns
    – 6 interceptions

    Josh didn’t start day 1 but he should have.

  9. I hope that Colin Kaepernick makes it in the NFL.

    His name is fun to say.

    Speaking of fun names to say, it will be nice to have twice as many Pounceys in the league next year.

  10. “The past three NFL drafts have produced several first-round quarterbacks who became immediate starters, including men like Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, and Sam Bradford. ”

    You forgot Jimmy Clausen…. Or maybe you didn’t, really.

  11. If Gabbert was capable of being an NFL starter in year 1m he’d showcase his skills at the combine.

    If I was a GM, their would be no greater red flag to me than a QB who refuses to THROW at the combine. Especially one who had a TD/INT ratio of 2:1 in a non pro system. Especially that funk they run at Missouri.

  12. This QB class is bad, really bad. Not one comes close to Sam Bradford, Matt Stafford or Matt Ryan. Not one of these guys can come in right now and take over a bottom feeder team like Bradford did this past year, and Newton is already acting like Vince Young which is just a joke and Gabbert only threw for 15 TD’s in a 99% shotgun system that threw the ball more than 90% of the time. He played in every game yet averaged 1 TD a game in a system that always threw? C’mon man. I feel bad for the teams that will select a QB this April. Kevin Kolb is better than every single QB in this draft.

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