Re: Why do some great college QBs fail in the NFL?
Guys taken in the first round have a higher percentage of panning out in part because their teams are going to give them a lot longer leash. Keenum got 8 games. Yates got about the same. You think the Texans would give up on a first round drafted QB after 8 games? Hell no. Even with the new rookie wage scale, teams aren't going to walk away from that money as easily as they will a later round draft pick. That's fine, but it does call into question the value of development. Again with the Brady example, he wouldn't be what he is today without his unique set of circumstances. Stick him in Cleveland and he probably never develops. Put Tim Couch in New England and he might have turned out differently. Brees didn't look like the guy he is now his first few season either. Development matters. Or, if you want to go back in time a bit, Steve Young is a good example. Looked great in college and in the USFL, but not in TB. SF grabs him off the scrap heap and now he's a HOFer.
So really it boils down to a valuation of risk vs. reward and philosophy. IMNSHO, if you see a guy like Elway, Manning, Marino, etc., you grab him in the first round. If you're looking at guys like Geno Smith, Jake Locker, Ryan Tannehill, Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton, Alex Smith, or probably any one of this year's crop, you take a flier a bit later and try to develop them. It sucks, but it beats spending four years trying to figure out if David Carr really is the problem, or if it's coaching, scheme, O-Line, etc. To me, that purgatory is worse than drafting the next Jamarcus Russell. At least then you'd know to cut bait sooner. But that goes back to the money. If you spent even just $20M on a first round QB, you're not letting him go before year three at the earliest, more likely year four or five.
That's the rest of AJ's good years. We got the #1 pick on the wrong year, folks. Doesn't mean we can't get lucky, but it's more likely that they're going to have to draft a guy that is either a developmental project, or one that is polished now but probably doesn't have elite potential.
A real MVP contributes in all phases of the game.