Start him or sit him? Pt. 2

Alright, you know the deal: We are looking at whether there’s a big difference in starting a QB from day one or grooming him into the starting job. So, lets get into it.



11) Steve McNair: 3rd pick by the Houston Oilers in the 1995 Draft.

What was the deal? The Oilers were in transition, on and off the field. There was talk that the team was trying to move and the days of Warren Moon were gone. McNair was the first step in the Oilers rebuilding process.

What did he do during his rookie year? McNair was the distant 3rd QB when the season started. The Oilers elected to go slowly with him because he came from a small Division 1-AA college, where he primarily worked out of shotgun. He did start two games, throwing for 3 touchdowns and two interceptions, but he wouldn’t be a full-time starter until year three.

Legacy: This was definitely a case of less is more. It took McNair a few years to get into his groove, but he was a keeper for the Titans. He guided them to a Super Bowl and became one of the best QBs in the league.

Final result: Not a bust



12) Kerry Collins: 5th pick by the Carolina Panthers in the 1995 Draft.

What does Kerry look like? Doesn’t he look like Steve Buscemi?

What was the deal? The Panthers were an expansion team and team president, Bill Polian, decided that he needed to start with the QB. Collins was their guy.

What happened during his rookie year? Collins didn’t start off the back, as he was deemed the 3rd QB on the roster behind Jack Trudeau and Frank Reich. However, the Panthers got off to a sluggish start and started Collins in week 5. Overall, the Panthers had a expansion year for the ages, as they went 7-9. Collins had a record of 7-6 as the starter and threw 14 touchdowns passes.

Legacy: Yes, Collins is still kicking it in the NFL and it always seems like every 3-4 years, he has some sort of resurgence for his career. However, that wasn’t the case in Carolina. After guiding the Panthers to the NFC Championship in his 2nd year, Collins regressed. During his 3rd year, Collins threw for just 11 touchdown passes and an eye-popping 21 interceptions. During his 4th year, he quit. Yes, he went into Dom Capers office (head coach) and told him he that didn’t have the heart to continue playing. Capers had no choice but to cut Kerry. Sure, Collins career has been OK, but in the eyes of panthers fans, he’s a bust..and I agree with them. As for whether he worked for his starting job, I don’t really think it’s the case. ,because he got the job after week 5 and had the gig up until he got cut.

Final result: Bust



13) Jim Druckenmiller: 26th pick by the San Francisco 49ers in the 1997 Draft.

What was the deal: Steve Young was approaching the end of his career with the 49ers and the team needed to find the heir apparent. So, they called for a guy who has the most letters in a last name since One Man Gang (Wrestler).

What happened during his rookie year? Druckenmiller started one game for an injured Steve Young and actually guided them to victory. I mean, he did suck during this game, completing 10 of 28 passes for 102 yards and three interceptions. But, hey, at least he got a start and a win. Unfortunately, that would be his last start..ever!!

Legacy: Wow. This guy really sucked. I mean, he started one NFL game for his career and was out of the league after his 3rd year. I mean, isn’t the 3rd year suppose to be your coming out party as a QB? Yeah, this guy couldn’t even get in the line to get in the party.

Final result: BUST


14) Peyton Manning: 1st pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1998 Draft.

What was the deal: Bill Polian had just taken over the Colts, and like he did in Carolina, he wanted a franchise QB. The Colts were a disaster, finishing 3-13 the previous year. However, they were about to get their hands on arguably the best QB of our generation.

What happened during his rookie year? Manning is the key argument in wanting a QB to start from day one. Since day one, he’s never missed a game. He’s stated that being the starter from day 1 as a rookie, really helped him out and didn’t think that waiting on the bench would have done him any good. During his rookie year, Manning threw for 26 touchdowns and 28 interceptions (Which is still an NFL record).

Legacy: Yeah, I’d give away my next 10 number 1 draft picks for this guy. He’s still writing his legacy.

Final result: Not a bust


15) Ryan Leaf: 2nd pick by the San Diego Chargers in the 1998 Draft.

What was the deal: The Chargers were dismal the year before and everyone knew they wanted a QB. It was just a question of whether it would be Leaf or Manning. Of course, #18 went to Indy, which left them picking Leaf. The rest was history..as in WWII type of history. It was a disaster.

What happened during his rookie year? Like Manning, Leaf was given the starting job right out of training camp. If you can believe it, he actually beat the Bills in his first ever start, but other then that, he was hot garbage. For the season, Leaf threw for only two touchdowns and 15 interceptions. At one point, he was benched after 8 weeks and had multiple meltdowns with the local media. In other words: He sucked.

Legacy: Can you say poster boy for NFL Draft busts?

Final result: Playboy Mansion type bust.



16) Tim Couch: 1st pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 1999 Draft.

Who does Tim Couch look like? Gotta go with Woody Harrelson from “White Man Can’t Jump.”

What was the deal: The Browns were coming back into the league and took a page out of the Carolina Panthers playbook from 1995.

What happened during his rookie year? Couch wasn’t the starter out of training camp, but it only took one game for the heir apparent to, um..I guess Bernie Kosar, to take over the reigns. As a starter, Couch didn’t play too bad as a rookie, throwing for 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Now the Browns were terrible, going 2-14, but, hey, they are an expansion team.

Legacy: Couch spent four more uneventful years as the starter for Cleveland. He ran into injuries, inconsistent play and a number of Browns fans booing his ass. Hell, I think he even cried after a game because he got booed so badly. Hmmm..sounds like Tim Connolly complaining about the fans dissing him.

Final result: Bust



17) Donovan McNabb: 2nd pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1999 Draft.

What was the deal: It seems like whenever a new coach takes over a team, QB is the first position that they like to deal with. Andy Reid was going into his first season and decided to draft the Syracuse product, which was met with a large chorus of boos from the Philly faithful, because of all things, they were pissed off that the team didn’t select Ricky Williams. Seriously? Philly fans have to be the stupidest fans on the planet. 

What happened during his rookie year: Like Couch, #5 wasn’t the starter out of training camp, as that job description went to Doug Peterson (WHO?!). McNabb didn’t start his first regular season game until week 10, but before that, Reid had put his QB in during mop up duties or whenever his team needed a spark. For the season, McNabb struggled, completing less than 50% of his passes. The Eagles struggled, going 5-11. However, McNabb and the Eagles broke out the following year, earning a playoff spot.

Legacy: Of the 1999 draft class, McNabb definitely made out like a bandit. Yes, he’s always cause some sort of controversy with T.O. and some of the stupidest fans this side of Mars, but he was a keeper.

Final result: Not a bust.



18) Akili Smith: 3rd pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1999 Draft.

What was the deal: Ah, yes. The pitiful Bengals were in the mists of drafting another bum. Hey, it’s the Bengals. The team that always seemed to draft in the top 10.

What happened during his rookie year? Smith would have been the opening day starter, but he held out of training camp due to a contract dispute and didn’t get his first start until week 5. Smith’s holdout definitely effected his play, as he couldn’t fully grasp the Bengals playbook…or it may have been because the Bengals had no clue what they were doing in designing plays. Anyways, Smith sucked during his first year; starting 4 games and throwing for just two touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He was also sacked 19 times.

Legacy: Yeah, instead of having a poster boy of busts, lets just have a Wheaties box full of busts. I think Smith gets on there. He only started 17 NFL games and had just 5 touchdowns. Just awful.

Final result: Bust.


19) Daunte Culpepper: 11th pick by the Minnesota Vikings in 1999 draft.

What was the deal: The Vikings had just gone 15-1 and had arguably one of the best offenses in the history of the NFL (Set the league record for points scored). The Vikings had just traded Brad Johnson to the Redskins for  the 11th pick. The Vikings surprised a lot of people by going with Culpepper, but it made sense since their starting QB, Randall Cunningham, was old as hell.

What happened during his rookie year? Nothing, zip, zilch. He passed for as many yards as I did. Didn’t play. He sat and carried the clipboard.

Legacy: When he wasn’t battling injuries, Daunte Culpepper was an awesome talent. He was spectacular during his 2nd season, throwing for 33 touchdowns. For the next 5 seasons, Culpepper averaged 26 touchdowns a season and was on his way to being one of the best players in the league. Then, disaster struck. In 2005, the Vikings struggled on and off the field, as the team went through turmoil due to the “Loveboat” saga and couldn’t find their offense. Culpepper’s season ended when he suffered a devastating knee injury, for which he never recovered from. He was then traded to the Dolphins, where he did nothing. After his stint with Miami, he went on to play for the Raiders, Lions and some UFL team. Yeah, it’s kind of a sad story how injuries really screwed up Culpepper because he was that good. He was the Bo Jackson of QBs when you consider the injury factor.

Final result: Eh…this is a tough one, I’m going to say no bust. I mean, he did give the Vikings 5 great years and I sure as hell would take that. However, I could understand if you don’t feel the same way.



20) Cade McNown: 12th pick by the Chicago Bears in the 1999 draft.

What was the deal: Um, yeah, if your headcoach is Dick Jauron, you know that nothing good is going to come out of your draft class. Skeletor had taken over for Dave Wanndstedt and he wanted a QB. The Bears had just waived Erik Krammer and the only other QB they had on their roster was Shane Matthews (Damn, another Bills connection).

What happened his rookie year: Jauron decided that SM should be the starter, but would institute McNown for 1 or 2 series a game. Yeah..that went over like a fart in church. The experiment only lasted until week 6 (Are you that surprised that it took Jauron that long to figure out that Matthews sucked?) when McNown would get the start. For the season, McNown struggled, as he threw for 8 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Legacy: By 2001, attitude seemed to be McCown’s biggest issue. Some compared his arrogance to Jim McMahon, except that he played like absolute garbage. Garbage and cockiness doesn’t mix. McCown was traded for a 6th round pick only two years into his career and he was out of the NFL by 2002.

Final result: Bust

Final tallies:

1) 10 QBs picked, 6 were busts (could have been 7 with Daunte),

2) 9 of the 10 QBs started at least one game during their rookie season.

3) Only two QBs started on opening day (Manning and Leaf).

Overall, this is a little bit harder to figure out if you’re only looking at playing time. McNair and Culpepper didn’t do much of anything during their rookie years, but ended up playing well during their 2nd seasons. Guys like Leaf and Couch started from day 1 and were out of the league within 5 years. However, the guys who seemed to dip their feet into the water during their rookie years (Playing 3-6 games), were busts.  Yes…I’m confused, too. Bottom line: The 90’s sucked when it came to drafting a QB in the 1st round. Overall, 20 QBs were chosen in the 90’s and 15 of them were busts.  Hell, I could have put Daunte as the 16th bust of the group. Damn, I hope your NFL team was able to find a franchise QB in the 80’s.


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The Lord of Buffalo Wins