Draft Hangover

Saturday, Brady Quinn became only the second Notre Dame quarterback in modern history to be taken in the first round of the NFL draft. And he had, by far, the greatest climb from recruit status to draft day status of any his “peer quarterback recruits.” Here are the recruiting rankings from 2003 and 2002 from Scout (not pay info):

2003

1 John David Booty
6-3/200/4.60 Committed to USC
2 Kyle Wright
6-4/200/4.60 Committed to Miami (Fl)
3 Chris Leak
6-0/210/4.60 Committed to Florida
4 JaMarcus Russell
6-5/220/4.70 Committed to LSU
5 Tommy Grady
6-6/210/4.90 Committed to Oklahoma
6 Robert Lane
6-3/225/4.50 Committed to Mississippi
7 Justin Midgett
6-4/200/4.70 Committed to Florida
8 Dennis Dixon
6-4/177/4.50 Committed to Oregon
9 Omarr Conner
6-1/205/4.50 Committed to Mississippi State
10 T.C. Ostrander
6-2/185/4.60 Committed to Stanford
11 Bill Foran
6-3/210/4.53 Committed to Purdue
12 Richard Kovalcheck
6-3/215/4.70 Committed to Arizona
13 Clayton Richard
6-5/228/4.70 Committed to Michigan
14 Brady Quinn
6-4/205/4.65 Committed to Notre Dame

2002


Trent Edwards
6-4/185/4.80 Committed to Stanford
3 Ben Olson
6-5/205/4.65 Committed to BYU
4 Reggie McNeal I
6-2/190/4.40 Committed to Texas A&M
5 Gavin Dickey
6-0/188/4.50 Committed to Florida
6 Marcus Vick
6-0/180/4.50 Committed to Virginia Tech
7 James Banks
6-3/190/4.50 Tennessee, Florida, Michigan, Purdue, Notre Dame
8 Tyler Palko
6-2/215/4.60 Committed to Pittsburgh
9 Isaiah Stanback
6-3/190/4.40 Committed to Washington
10 Brandon Cox
6-2/190/4.80 Committed to Auburn
11 Matt Moore
6-4/190 Committed to UCLA
12 Matt Gutierrez
6-4/210/4.82 Committed to Michigan

And here’s where they went in this year’s draft:

JaMarcus Russell QB LSU 1 1(1) Oakland
Brady Quinn QB NOTRE DAME 1 22(22) Cleveland
Kevin Kolb QB HOUSTON 2 4(36) Philadelphia
John Beck QB BYU 2 8(40) Miami
Drew Stanton QB MICHIGAN STATE 2 11(43) Detroit
Trent Edwards QB STANFORD 3 29(92) Buffalo
Isaiah Stanback QB WASHINGTON 4 4(103) Dallas
Jeff Rowe QB NEVADA 5 14(151) Cincinnati
Troy Smith QB OHIO STATE 5 37(174) Baltimore
Jordan Palmer QB UTEP 6 31(205) Washington
Tyler Thigpen QB COAST CAROLINA 7 7(217) Minnesota

Quinn is one of only two first round quarterback picks this year and ask yourself: who are some of those other guys? Well, they didn’t play in on NBC every week, so many of them are just not known out of their own regions and a lot of them, with good coaching, could have been right with Quinn. Trent Edwards ‘could have, should have’ been a first round pick, but he never got the coaching. Leak was the Parade and USA Today POY.

There was drama on Saturday, but I found it hard to get excited. As I wrote before, Quinn’s legacy won’t be made in the draft, it will be made on the field. The only draft hangover that will follow him five years from now will be that he was a first round pick out of Notre Dame and one of only two first round picks in 2007. The selection at 22 cost him a lot of money, but he also locked up endorsements with Hummer, EAS, Nike, Subway and Sprint before the draft ever happened. He’s also THE story of the draft. That’s the spotlight and while it’s obviously benefited Quinn a great deal, it also magnifies any missteps.

I think there were a few factors working against Quinn this draft. There weren’t many teams looking for a QB this year and the teams that were looking felt there was good QB value in the second and third rounds. Now this is where Quinn’s performance against Ohio State, Michigan, USC and LSU hurt him, rightly or wrongly. If those performances raised any question marks for a team, then it appears the thinking was “we can get close to that with Stanton, Beck or Edwards without paying the high price.” So the teams that wanted a QB were willing to wait and most teams weren’t looking this year. Perception really hurts when you’re dropping 40 million on a quarterback.

Despite the draft drama, Quinn is a huge success story and if he becomes Tom Brady II, none of this will matter a wit. And I applaud Weis for his consistent support. He backs up his promises and fights for his kids, which is exactly what I expected of him.

THE story as far as Notre Dame is concerned is that it now looks like our entire secondary from last year will now be drafted by the NFL and three out of four of our defensive linemen. I believe Wooden and Zibby will both be picks next year as will Laws. So, with Laws, Landri, Abiamiri, Nedu, Richardson, Zibby and Wooden all likely having NFL careers… how did we stink so bad?

Add in the fact that Frome was signed by the Bears and my head itches.

Here’s a rundown of who went where:

Abiamiri, Victor DE 6-5 271 2 57 Philadelphia
Harris, Ryan OT 6-5 299 3 70 Denver
Landri, Derek DT 6-2 277 5 166 Jacksonville
McKnight, Rhema WR 6-2 212
Morton, Bob G 6-3 303
Ndukwe, Nedu SS 6-1 206 7 253 Cincinnati
Quinn, Brady QB 6-3 226 1 22 Cleveland
Richardson, Mike CB 5-11 189 6 202 New England
Samardzija, Jeff WR 6-4 218
Santucci, Dan G 6-3 296 7 230 Cincinnati
Walker, Darius

Walker and Frome signed with da Bears. McKnight with the Saints and Freeman with the Ravens.

BTW, if there’s one big take home from all of this, it’s that high recruiting status has a very low correlation with high draft status.

Most of these top kids won’t make it.

It was amazing to see how many good athletes were slipping out of the draft altogether.

I’m excited for Quinn to be playing in Cleveland and really couldn’t give a damn about Saturday drama. I’ve never been the least bit interested in the Browns, now I’ll be following them closely.

Excuse me while I put on my Nikes, get in my Hummer to go pick up a Subway sandwich before I go quaff my EAS supplements (uh, thought it was EA Sports – I’m in the game.)

~ The Rock

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