The quarterbacks are annually the most publicized players entering a draft. They represent the lottery of professional sports. Win this gamble, and reap rewards for a decade. Lose, and wait five years to have another chance to right the ship. Unfortunately, drafting a quarterback has proven to be more like the Mega Million than a roll in Chutes and Ladders. For a team on the rise like the Eagles, this is a risk not worth taking.
One of the Eagles’ recent opponents serves as the poster child for bad luck with quarterbacks. The Tennessee Titans lie at a dismal 2-9, with so many issues that the team may first need psychological therapy to reestablish some dignity. In 2011, the Titans selected Jake Locker with their first pick. Locker was expected to be somewhat of a safe selection, having proven he could drop back and pass, as well as take off and run. Locker has unimpressed in his first four seasons, prompting the Titans to put more resources into the position by taking Zach Mettenberger this year. Walter Cherepinsky of WalterFootball.com told Philadelphia Sports Nation that Mettenberger “has a fantastic arm, and he has plenty of upside.” This is often the story with quarterbacks: solid athleticism with flashes of brilliance. Unfortunately, each one has flaws that can or cannot outweigh the strengths. In Mettenberger’s case, the issue was “his decision-making and accuracy. His passes can be really off sometimes, and he tends to hold on to the ball too long.” These are some serious problems, problems that the Titans ultimately overlooked. Mettenberger even tore his ACL in college, another concern that the Titans had to project based on.
The result? A pick that hasn’t proven to become anything just yet. The Titans will likely continue playing him; however, without proper weapons, he will be limited in production. The Titans could have added these weapons in the draft, but instead were stuck trying to add a quarterback for the past few years. Had Tennessee taken a skill player or stout defender in 2011, the team would be that much better here and now.
Even in the most highly-touted quarterback class of 2012, teams were left burned and
bruised. The Washington Redskins just benched Robert Griffin III, symbolizing the end of the organization’s patience with him. After coughing up numerous first and second round picks, Washington now has more holes than a dish sponge. That draft class was supposedly littered with can’t-miss prospects: Griffin, Andrew Luck, who hasn’t blossomed just yet, Kirk Cousins—who has also failed to cure the Redskins’ passing problems, and Russell Wilson, the most successful from his class thus far. All of these players were taken with high or mid-round picks, draft slots that can be spent on difference-makers on both sides of the ball.
In truth, sending a 6th-round pick to Washington and taking a flyer on Griffin wouldn’t be a terrible investment on Howie Roseman to make. With Griffin having proved he can be successful in the NFL, the Eagles may be able to resurrect his confidence and allow him to thrive in a more friendly system. The Redskins may end up cutting him, at which point the Eagles should aggressively try to recruit him and bring him to Philly.
After Mark Sanchez’ impressive performance on Thanksgiving, all hope is not lost with the Eagles’ current quarterbacks. As Howie Roseman looks toward 2015, this option has to be higher on his list than drafting a college passer. With weaknesses in the secondary, the Eagles must proceed with caution if considering trying to draft the next Donovan McNabb.