The calls for Kyle Boller have quieted here in St. Louis. Unquestionably, Ram fans would like to see someone other than Marc Bulger under center next season. But the guy that’s going to lead them to the Promised Land doesn’t appear to be on hand (unless lightning strikes twice and Keith Null IS the next Kurt Warner.
With the Rams being on the way to a top 5 pick in the draft for a third straight year, it would seem logical to expend this one on a quarterback. That is, if there were a transcendent quarterback available. Having watched them in college, do you really compare Tim Tebow, Jimmy Claussen and Jake Locker to Peyton Manning, Eli Manning or Troy Aikman? I don’t. In fact, I would be concerned that we’re looking at the likes of Joey Harrington (Claussen), Byron Leftwich (Tebow), or Alex Smith (Locker). Ohbytheway, Sam Bradford would be Tim Couch.
Nope, I don’t take a QB with my first rounder if I’m the Rams. I’m going to scour available young veterans, and draft one later.
Here are the names I’d call about, in order. Brady Quinn, Kevin Kolb, Matt Leinart, Vince Young and Dennis Dixon.
After throwing 95 touchdown passes in leading Notre Dame to a 29-17 record in college, Quinn has started just six games and thrown 171 passes in the NFL. He’s had two head coaches and two offensive coordinators in the NFL, and still has a tremendous amount of room to grow.
Kolb likely won’t be available, but he’s shown in brief stints with Philadelphia that he can move an NFL offense. His familiarity with Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmer and his system are a plus, too.
Leinart likely wouldn’t be traded here by a division foe. He does know how to win, as we saw at USC, and he is an accurate thrower. People in Arizona say that he’s calmed down and learned how to approach the position by watching Kurt Warner. One day, Leinart will be a solid NFL quarterback.
Young is a conundrum. Titans owner Bud Adams loves him, and is making Jeff Fisher start him this weekend. In 2007, he led the Titans to a 10-6 record and the playoffs, but was benched after two starts in ’08. He completed 62% of his passes in ’07, too, although he threw only nine TD passes and had 17 interceptions. Would I give up a fifth rounder for him? Sure.
Dixon was a terrific winner at Oregon, and has worked under Bruce Arians and Ben Roethlisberger with the Steelers. In his senior year with the Ducks, the dual threat passed for 20 TD’s and four interceptions, while hitting on almost 68% of his throws.
All five of these players have learned how to take a snap from center (a big problem for rookies coming from spread offenses), they all know what it takes to prepare in the NFL, and they all, at different levels, have been around winning. Would I rather spend a fourth or fifth rounder on these guys, without a huge signing bonus, than pick the next Jamarcus Russell or Alex Smith?