QB class of ’07 endures tough times
It’s been a brutal week for the 2007 quarterback draft class. JaMarcus Russell, the first overall pick that year, has been benched in favor of Bruce Gradkowski in Oakland. Third-round pick Trent Edwards’ career in Buffalo looks to becoming to an unproductive end. And first-rounder Brady Quinn continues to struggle in Cleveland. Not exactly what their franchises had in mind when they drafted those players.
Today, let’s take a look at the ‘07 quarterback class and see which QBs have made the most of their time in the NFL and which have not.
Kevin Kolb: Philadelphia Eagles, second-round, 36th overall
Kolb’s career got off to a rocky start as many in Philadelphia questioned his ability to mature into a capable starting quarterback after brief appearances in 2008. But after starter Donovan McNabb went down earlier this season, Kolb stepped in and performed brilliantly in two starts. He threw for a combined 718 yards to go along with four touchdown passes and gaudy 96.9 quarterback rating. Sure, he was only 1-1, but he looked efficient enough to warrant his second-round draft selection and may end up being the only quarterback from the ‘07 draft class starting in the NFL in the coming years.
Tyler Thigpen: Minnesota Vikings, seventh round, 217th overall
I know I might be grasping at straws with this one, but when you look over the rest of the 2007 quarterback class, there really isn’t much else to work with. Thigpen is currently a backup in Miami, and I don’t see him taking over the starting job any time soon playing behind Chad Henne. However, Thigpen has proved in the past that he’s capable of leading an NFL offense and has the skill set to eventually fight for a starting role elsewhere. In 2008, he started 11 games for the Kansas City Chiefs, completing 54.8 percent of his passes and throwing for an average of 213 yards per start. He also tossed 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, and if anything, he looks like one of the best quarterback values to come out of the 2007 class.
John Beck: Miami Dolphins, second round, 40th overall
Beck was the fourth quarterback chosen in the draft and started four games as a rookie. His performances, however, were abysmal. He averaged 106 yards through the air and threw no touchdown passes and three interceptions as a starter. He was quickly relegated to the bench in 2008, working as the team’s third-string quarterback, and was eventually released in 2009. He signed with the Baltimore Ravens in May, reuniting with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who served as the Dolphins’ head coach in 2007, and is currently third on the Ravens’ depth chart.
Trent Edwards: Buffalo Bills, third round, 92nd overall
The Trent Edwards era at least got off to a good in Buffalo. As a rookie, Edwards played in 10 games, leading the Bills to a 5-5 record and looking like a guy who had the makings of a potential franchise quarterback. But after a 5-1 start in 2008, Edwards finished the year 2-6, throwing eight interceptions over that span compared to six touchdown. Now, because of his inability to get the ball down the field and into the hands of playmaking wideouts Lee Evans and Terrell Owens, Edwards has been benched in favor of backup Ryan Fitzpatrick. Edwards is 2-5 as the Bills starting quarterback this season and again has more interceptions (seven) than touchdown passes (six). In his defense, this situation isn’t entirely his fault, and some blame should fall on the shoulders of the Bills scouting department for thinking a weaker-armed quarterback could be successful throwing the football through the cold and wind of Buffalo in December. If given an opportunity elsewhere – preferably in a warmer climate – I think Edwards has the talent to produce as a team’s starting quarterback, but it looks like he’s worn out his welcome in Buffalo.
Brady Quinn: Cleveland Browns, first round, 22nd overall
The Brady Quinn experiment looks to be all but over as the former Notre Dame signal caller hasn’t shown the ability to be consistently accurate with the football or make plays down the field in the pass game. Quinn has a career completion percentage of only 52.2 percent and has thrown more than twice as many interceptions (seven) as touchdown passes (three) during his first three seasons in Cleveland. Quinn has started only seven games in his short tenure as a Brown, but during that time, he has averaged only 145 passing yards per game and has thrown for over 200 yards only twice. At this stage, Quinn doesn’t look capable of throwing the ball down the field and manufacturing big plays in the pass game and will likely force the Browns to select another quarterback in the first round of next year’s draft.
Words can’t even explain…
JaMarcus Russell: Oakland Raiders, first round, first overall
It looks as though former Raiders coach Lane Kiffin knew exactly what he was doing bringing Russell along slowly and trying to prepare the rookie quarterback for the NFL. And to be honest, after a 2008 season that concluded with wins against Houston and Tampa Bay, there looked to be some hope that Russell might develop into the franchise QB everyone imagined. But things have gone terribly wrong since then, as Russell has not only failed to improve on his performances from last season, he looks as through he’s taken steps backward. The 6-6, 260-pounder is completing just 46.8 percent of his passes and has averaged a mere 118 yards per game. Russell looks slow to decipher information, lacks awareness in the pocket and struggles tremendously with his accuracy. Worse, the Raiders have more than $60 million wrapped up in a player now heading to the bench in favor of journeyman Bruce Gradkowski. Russell looks nowhere near ready from a maturity standpoint to lead an NFL offense, and it will be interesting to see how patient the Raiders front office is waiting on its investment to develop while the team keeps losing.
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