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2005 Quarterback Preview
By Michael Struening

Several teams went into the 2004 draft with needs at quarterback and filled them. 17 quarterbacks were drafted, though the majority was taken in the 6th and 7th rounds. Looking at the draft in 2005, the senior talent is not phenomenal. A year ago, we were writing about Arizona State’s Andrew Walter in the same breath as Eli Manning. He went into the season ranked #2 on many boards. His numbers dropped a bit last season, his completion percentage dropped to 52.5% and his ratings dropped 10 points. He didn’t show a lot of the poise he had in his sophomore season. Still, Walter will enter the 2005 season as one of the top senior quarterback in the draft.

Walter may not be the only senior quarterback entering the year with a first round grade, however. David Greene of Georgia and Kyle Orton of Purdue both have the potential to end up there by season’s end. Many services have Orton rated as the top senior signal caller. His stats have been similar in his last two years as a starter, but really opened eyes in a December overtime loss to Ohio State. Greene, like Walter had a better sophomore year. He must continue to keep his interceptions down, while fighting off talented underclassmen D.J. Shockley.

Small school quarterbacks could factor in again this year. Byron Leftwich’s replacement at Marshall, Stan Hill and Akron QB Charlie Frye (who nearly declared after his junior year) are both threats in the pass happy conference. Uconn’s Dan Orlovsky should light up the Big East again, albeit a reconstructed conference. His big play is garnering whispers in scouting circles. Chris Rix has loads of potential, but has yet to put it all together. The same can be said for Matt Jones.

There are some other interesting stories among the seniors, as Louisville Stefan LeFors and Va Tech’s Bryan Randall will both have to fight off talented underclassmen. Josh Fields is projected as a high pick in this years’ major league baseball draft. Jason White could be a front runner to repeat as Headsman Trophy winner, but he’s not a first day prospect.

Underclassmen:
The underclassmen are what will really make up the 2005 quarterback class. Southern California’s Matt Leinart is coming off a sophomore year in which he completed 63.4% of his passes, with 38 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions in his first season as a starter. His numbers were better than those of former #1 draft pick Carson Palmer. Leinart enters the season as the top prospect on many boards, but he will have to deal with a depleted line at Southern Cal. From the same conference, California’s Aaron Rogers made a name for himself after handing Leinart’s team its only loss of the season. The young group of rushing quarterbacks could start making its impact in the draft this season, with Brad Smith, Reggie McNeal, Vincent Young, and Marcus Vick all highly rated, but still raw.

Sleepers:
Bruce Eugene of Grambling is the highest rated quarterback not from a division one school. He’s put up 77 touchdowns over the last two years and could rise up teams draft boards. Timmy Chang of Hawaii is on pace to break the career yardage mark in NCAA history, but coming from a run and shoot offense, he has a lot of work left to go.

Future Years:
The group of underclassmen rushing quarterbacks that don’t déclassé should figure heavily in 2006. LSU’s JaMarcus Russell will add himself to that list once he gains the starting job. Talented Florida quarterback Chris Leak and rival Miami’s Kyle Wright will likely play a role. Talented John David Booty will get his SC shot if Leinart declares early. Kelvin Kolb and Brady Quinn are two other names to keep an eye on.

















©2004
Sideline Scouting Services

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