I picked up some packs of Panini’s Gridiron Football yesterday and while going through the cards I was drawn to a handful of cards that got me to thinking, at what point do we consider a player a draft bust? To limit the query I decided to focus on Quarterbacks for now.
I started looking through some of the players and I was thinking about how they stood in comparison to other players in the same role and some players were obviously successful while others were more of a failure.
So I figured to have some fun and put together a list of players who I feel run the gambit from mega-star QBs to successful QBs to mediocre QBs to bottom of the barrel QBs using Panini's 2012 Gridiron Football cards. Once I started thinking about the post I went looking to find cards from the players that I did not pull from the packs.
There are some players who have proven their worth and would be considered a success on every levels. These are players who have won numerous awards as well as Super Bowls and should be first ballot Hall of Famers. This list includes Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and both Peyton and Eli Manning.
Next we have a group of players who have shown success, both team and individual, but have not taken it to the next level. Tony Romo, Joe Flacco, Michael Vick and Matt Ryan lead the list here. They have each had good and bad seasons but have never broken the barrier of mediocrity. Romo has won only one playoff and has had thrown 5 interceptions in multiple games. Flacco has made it to the AFC Championship game twice in his career but he also has some people questioning his heart. Matt Ryan, like Romo, has had limited success in the playoffs though he has a chance to redeem himself this year.
We may also be able to toss Mark Sanchez in with that group, he had early success making it to the AFC Championship two years in a row (losing both times) but he has suddenly dropped like a rock. He seems to have no confidence, no team support and no heart. Some people may claim he is dropping because of the addition of Tebow to the roster but Sanchez was falling before the trade ever came about. Tebow is another one, where do we rate him? He had success in Denver and a couple of those wins came directly from him and his talent but now he sits in the backup role because he is not a true “QB” but more a utility player not to mention it seems as if Rex Ryan, in his attempt to get fired, has done every thing he can to earn another loss including not using Tebow. Does Tebow rate as a success because his time in Denver? Does he rate a failure because he is not a typical QB and the second stringer? Or, most likely, do we hold judgment until he gets a chance to show what he is capable of doing?
Continuing on from the backup roll, there is a whole collection of Quarterbacks that played themselves right in to a payday based on as little as one game. Beginning with a couple of Vick backups, Schaub earned his way from Vick’s backup in Atlanta to the starting role in Houston and has proven to be worth his paycheck. Kolb on the other hand worked his way from Vick’s backup in Philadelphia in to the backup role in Arizona collecting his bloated paycheck even though he has never earned it in the desert.
Matt Flynn and Matt Cassel are two backups that got a payday after putting up big numbers backing up Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, respectively. Cassel is difficult to rate because he is playing on a down and out Chiefs team, he has shown some flashes of brilliance since landing in Kansas City but more often than not he has just been average. Flynn followed the route taken a year earlier by Kolb, he had one good game in Green Bay and Seattle threw buckets of money in to his lap only to turn around and draft Russell Wilson, who has taken the starter role right out of Flynn’s hands. Either way, Flynn is still making bank while holding a clip board.
The final group is the rookies and second year players. It is too soon to consider them being a bust or a success.
Cam Newton went in to Carolina and put up some record setting numbers. Even at 6-10 people saw Carolina having a fairy tale season, winning 5 more games than expected by most people, add in Newton’s rookie records and all seemed to be moving at the speed of light. Newton’s sophomore season has been less “dazzling” but by no means is he a bust. Christian Ponder is doing a fairly decent job in Minnesota but Jake Locker and Blaine Gabbert are floundering a bit with Gabbert recently losing his starting role to Chad Henne.
Colin Kaepernick is a wild card. Plenty of people felt this guy was the real thing when the 49ers drafted him and now after a couple of good games there are plenty of collectors who are now jumping on board the wagon. You have to wonder if Smith may be on the trading block following the season.
Some of the rookies are starting out pretty well, they may not be winning every game but they have made a difference so the jury is still out on this lot.