NFL Draft: The Myth of the Sure Thing QB

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Jan 4, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) against the Indianapolis Colts during the 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Tannehill

Andy Dalton

Jake Locker

EJ Manuel

We grouped all these together as recent draft picks for different reasons. Locker retired and was a bust with the Titans. No one thought he was a sure thing and he showed very little, outside physical talent, in college to lead many to believe he could be “The Guy.” There was hope he could develop.

Manuel was overdrafted and has since been replaced by veterans two years in a row. This is what happens, much like Locker, when someone is drafted for their tools over talent. Mariota has shown talent to throw the ball and play the position. Manuel did not show those in college but has the physical tools that many wish Mariota has. Rex Ryan likely will start Matt Cassell and be the second head coach to give up on Manuel.

Tannehill was such an unknown coming out of college. He played receiver for a little while before returning to QB. He was drafted by the Dolphins as they needed a QB and took a chance that he could play well with his former college coach as their OC. The verdict is still out on him but he was not at all considered a “sure thing” coming out.

Finally we end with Andy Dalton because he is the poster child for a QB who is just good enough to keep his team from drafting high but not good enough to get them far in the Playoffs. He is the warning sign for the Browns. The Browns could build a good enough team around their QB that they never draft high enough to get “The Guy” and they are stuck with mediocre play at the most important position.

Next: What Is the Point?