shiny happy fan
Join Date: Apr 2004
Here is some banter from some NFL scouts. As usual, opinions vary, but some are not real high on Leinart apparently.
“Alex Smith can really run. Not just average. He can run. He had a 55-yard run. I thought he handed the ball off on one tape. I had to rewind it, and it was Smith. He’s going to test out of this world. Right now, he’s 6-3½, but he has to grow into the body. He has the build to be 225 or more. And that’s fine.”
One general manager who has seen each junior play said Rodgers could be the first pick in the draft. Size — he might measure under 6-foot-2 — could be a liability to evaluators.
“If you rate them as athletes, it goes Smith, Rodgers and Leinart,” he said. “Mentally, rate them Leinart, Rodgers and Smith. That’s kind of a readiness-to-play scale too. We don’t doubt (Smith) will be the best 3-4 years down the road.
“Hands down, Leinart was the best-prepared by his college experience.”
The college scouting director concurred, and said teams who criticize Smith’s arm strength might not be studying him closely enough.
“The thing with (Cal coach Jeff) Tedford, he has those guys so programmed to the system that they look like they always make the right decisions. But if you break down the tape, that’s the only read they have. You know what I mean? The same was true of Trent Dilfer, Joey Harrington.
“You know Leinart can read the field. That was a pro-style offense.
“Alex is up in the air. The offense they run was a lot of misdirection, option stuff. What we loved about Alex is this: If you watch him every week, especially in warm-ups, he carries himself like an NFL quarterback. People are wrong on the arm — he has the arm of an NFL quarterback, throws like an NFL quarterback. You don’t see it on tape, but that’s the offense. Once he works out for people, in-person routine, he’s a slam-dunk.
“Rodgers has the best arm of the three. I’d say Smith is two, Leinart is three. I’m not knocking Leinart for that. He likes to step into it; he’s good enough for the league. But he throws a touch pass too much, likes to drop in on the target. That makes you believe he might not have the strength, but he does.”
One scout who said he has seen Leinart play more than 10 times believes Leinart’s long, exaggerated release will keep him out of the first half of the first round.
“It doesn’t get out fast enough, not for a West Coast offense,” he said. “The three-step-and-out is a problem. Can you fix that? I think so, but he’s had it forever.”
That rap wasn’t a consensus, however.
“The kid is tougher than (nails),” said another college scouting director. “He takes some serious shots. More than the other two, I can say with confidence that he’ll hold up.”
Ah yes, confidence. The QB evaluation game isn’t foolproof. The human element disqualifies science from the equation, and the bottom line is, the only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain.
“These guys are hard to figure out, as you know,” one scout said. “The best grade I ever gave a quarterback was Ryan Leaf, the Washington State kid. That was the best grade. I saw him play live five times. I couldn’t find anything wrong with him.”