What Makes a Quarterback Great?

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Greatness, a commonly used term to describe the uncommon. It’s a gift to be amidst it, but is it a gift to be great? If it was, then the prototypical quarterback would always be great. Akili Smith and Ryan Leaf would be Hall of Famers in this sport that we love. Tom Brady would be selling insurance and it wouldn’t matter how great Johnny Unitas was, he was drafted too late and didn’t fit the prototype so it wouldn’t matter.

No, greatness is determined by a willingness to succeed. Greatness is seen in situations when someone excels in situations where all odds are stacked against them. A 4th-string quarterback in his rookie year. Was anyone really supposed to believe that Brady had a chance? Brady did. He understood all odds were against him, because he wanted greatness and to achieve greatness a certain level of understanding must be reached. All odds are against you. Brady and others have done well in “crunch” time or any other time where it seems that all odds are against them, because they understood this. They understood that all odds were always against them, regardless of draft position or God-given talents. This doesn’t make them perfect by any means, it just gives them a great understanding.

So, when you look at quarterback or any other position in the draft and you want to find out who the best player is. Remember Brady, but also remember Peyton Manning, who was drafted 1st overall. Greatness can be found at any point in the draft.

Don’t listen to what other people have decided is the best. Use it as a rough chart and then make your own. Scouting is an inexact science and no one can get it perfect, just look at Indianapolis Colts front office big wig, Bill Polian. He is continually one of the best in the business. He drafted Hall of Famer QB Jim Kelly for the Buffalo Bills. He drafted future Hall of Famer QB Peyton Manning for the Colts. He also messes up more than you’d realize. Bill Belicheck, the man who drafted Brady, didn’t get him to the 6th. That means he scouted Brady wrong.

If Brady was known to be what he would become, then Brady would’ve been drafted 1st overall in the 2000 draft.

They say that you never really know what kind of quarterback they will be until the lights are on. This means you don’t know until they play “under the lights”. That’s when they are really, really tested. Test a man and see how he responds. See if he seeks to be better than everyone around him. Is he infectious? Does he make others better? See if he has the mind for the game. Does he remember the plays? Does he spot weaknesses in the defense? See if he has the arm for the game. Can he make all the throws? See if he’s disciplined. Will he party the night before the game? Will he put the team first, or himself? Does he work on known flaws in order to fix every aspect of his game? Is he embarassed by his failures? Is it personal?

So, What Predicts Greatness? The heart predicts greatness, not the skill-set.  A combination is needed to succeed in the NFL.

Do any of the 2011 draft-eligible quarterbacks have this?

Cameron Newton, Auburn

Blaine Gabbert, Missouri

Jake Locker, Washington

Andy Dalton, TCU

Ricky Stanzi, Iowa

Colin Kaepernick, Nevada

Ryan Mallett, Arkansas

Christian Ponder, Florida State

Do they have it? Does someone in the 6th round? We’re about to find out.

-Brandon Clark

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