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Arms Race: Top Young QB


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Arms race: Top young QB distinction offers fierce competition

NFL.com

Published: May 31, 2011 at 05:33 p.m.

Updated: May 31, 2011 at 07:42 p.m.

Liked: 9 | Comments: 379

Over the past three seasons, several young quarterbacks have established themselves as young stars in the making. For this debate, we included Matt Ryan, Mark Sanchez, Joe Flacco, Josh Freeman and Sam Bradford. With that, we asked our experts: Which quarterback with three or fewer years of experience would you pick to start a franchise with?

Bucky Brooks NFL.com

Leader on and off the field

Each of the guys on the list is worthy of being considered as a franchise quarterback. However, I would choose Matt Ryan as my team leader. He has the game and intangibles to thrive as the leader of any franchise. I love the way that he has been an integral part of the Falcons' revival following the Michael Vick saga. Ryan's maturity and leadership have been on display since he stepped into the huddle as a rookie, and the team has won at a high level under his direction. I doubt many others would have been able to handle such a tough situation with the grace and elegance that Ryan has showed.

On the field, he has all of the physical attributes that you look for in a quarterback. He has a strong arm and flashes the accuracy to make the requisite throws. He combines those skills with excellent instincts, awareness and football intelligence. His steady development is a byproduct of his work ethic, which also sets the tone for his teammates.

Vic Carucci NFL.com

This is Sam's club

Each of the candidates could be capable of being a top-notch franchise quarterback. Ryan is the most accomplished, but Freeman has demonstrated that he might very well have the most overall physical talent of the group. Nevertheless, my pick is Sam Bradford. It isn't just his talent, which is immense, or his tremendous football intelligence and instincts. It's because Bradford managed to make all of his assets work to his and the Rams' advantage as a rookie.

Elliot Harrison NFL.com

Bradford is the real deal

Believe it or not, I'd take Sam Bradford. Yes, even over Ryan. While the latter gets so much credit, the fact is the Falcons haven't won anything with him yet. But unlike say, Tony Romo, Ryan doesn't get criticized at all for the lack of playoff success. That said, I think Ryan is the best player of the group now, but Bradford has the potential to be the very best down the road. What he was able to accomplish with a bunch of wide receivers most fans had never heard of and tight ends whose names you can't spell or pronounce was phenomenal. Steven Jackson's back is hardly ever healthy, either. Basically, Bradford did a lot by himself, and didn't whine. There's no one that covers the league that isn't impressed with the guy, and for good reason. Arm strength, maturity, leadership ... he has the right amounts of all of it.

Pat Kirwan NFL.com

Favoring the Falcons' young passer

If you asked me to pick a quarterback based on his first year of play in the NFL, it would have been Sam Bradford. The Rams felt so comfortable with him that they let him throw the ball 590 times. Compare that to Ben Roethlisberger's rookie season of 295 throws, Mark Sanchez's 364 attempts or Matt Ryan's 434 passes. But for a QB with three years of experience or fewer, I will take Ryan. Ryan has increased his touchdown passes in each of his three seasons, already has thrown for 10,061 yards, averaged 22 TD passes a season and is a fantastic leader. Josh Freeman is another guy to keep an eye on this upcoming season.

Charles Davis NFL Network

Freeman has it all

With all due respect to the young arms (and heads) that have playoff notches on their belts and plenty of talent (Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez and Matt Ryan), I'm picking Josh Freeman. I got to see him up close last year, and he has it all ... mind, body, arm, mobility, toughness, leadership and poise. All he's lacking is a trip to the playoffs, and that could come in 2011.

Steve Wyche NFL.com

Thrives under pressure

Matt Ryan and Mark Sanchez have been to the playoffs and Josh Freeman is definitely a rising star, but it's hard not to look at Sam Bradford. What Bradford did last season in St. Louis, with so few weapons, it's easy to think this guy is going to be great for a long time. Even so, I'd still have to go with Ryan. Ok, he hasn't won a playoff game. However, he's won games with clutch drives and big plays to get his team to the playoffs. More than his ability and poise, what sets him apart is how his teammates follow him. They play hard for him at all times and respect how he leads. While Bradford has the same type of impact, Ryan just seems to have more of the intangibles that will work over a sustained period.

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I'm not going to pretend I saw a lot of Sam Bradford last year, but he seems to be massively over-hyped to me. Did he throw downfield at all? He hit 60% of his passes for a < 6 ypa? I don't know, man. I didn't expect Sanchez to top anyone's list here, but if he hit 60% of the throws he's asked to complete, his ypa would be up in the mid-7's.

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I'm not going to pretend I saw a lot of Sam Bradford last year, but he seems to be massively over-hyped to me. Did he throw downfield at all? He hit 60% of his passes for a < 6 ypa? I don't know, man. I didn't expect Sanchez to top anyone's list here, but if he hit 60% of the throws he's asked to complete, his ypa would be up in the mid-7's.

I agree with this.

Sanchez's main problem is his accuracy. I saw a breakdown of the length of the passes he has missed, and strangely enough a lot of the missed throws are short throws that should be completed automatically.

I'm thinking/hoping that it is nerves, and emotion that he has displayed in the past. IMO one of the reasons he seems to start games slow until he settles in.

If this is the case, I think it is something he will overcome with maturity and confidence.

I have no problem with any of the picks, but I really feel Sanchez hasn't displayed what he is capable of yet.

Sanchez gets that completion % over 60% he is right at the top of the list IMO

Edited by flgreen
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If my aunt had a dick, she'd be my uncle.

Or just a really odd aunt...

But I hear you. Just saying that Mark was good for 6.7/6.5 ypa with a completion rate of 53%. Hitting 60% of his passes for < 6 ypa sounds like the guy isn't throwing the football beyond the line of scrimmage very often.

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I'm not going to pretend I saw a lot of Sam Bradford last year, but he seems to be massively over-hyped to me. Did he throw downfield at all? He hit 60% of his passes for a < 6 ypa? I don't know, man. I didn't expect Sanchez to top anyone's list here, but if he hit 60% of the throws he's asked to complete, his ypa would be up in the mid-7's.

They had awful WRs there. They would have made Sanchez' original group of Cotchery and Stuckey look like having Randy Moss and Chris Carter out there. Its one of the reasons why I think they will make a hard push for Edwards once the lockout lifts. In the bit I saw of Bradford last year (mainly via the Red Zone channel) you saw alot of similarities between he and Mark in that you kind of see someone who is a real gamer especially late in games. Thats doesnt mean hes going to be great but its one of those things that is encouraging for him and I could see why alot of people like him for it.

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I'm not going to pretend I saw a lot of Sam Bradford last year, but he seems to be massively over-hyped to me. Did he throw downfield at all? He hit 60% of his passes for a < 6 ypa? I don't know, man. I didn't expect Sanchez to top anyone's list here, but if he hit 60% of the throws he's asked to complete, his ypa would be up in the mid-7's.

I was definitely impressed with Bradford's performance last year, under the circumstances, but think it's because of those circumstances it's gotten a little crazy. He's not by any means destined for super-stardom. The fact is that he played on a really sh*tty team and, for a rookie, put up a decent enough statline, which basically means more TDs than INTs and a good completion percentage. If I'm a Rams fan, I'm very happy with how he performed, but just like our own little buddy, he's got plenty of room for improvement still.

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Or just a really odd aunt...

But I hear you. Just saying that Mark was good for 6.7/6.5 ypa with a completion rate of 53%. Hitting 60% of his passes for < 6 ypa sounds like the guy isn't throwing the football beyond the line of scrimmage very often.

+1. I don't pay any attention to quarterback completion percentage. A lot of what they call "passes" nowadays aren't really passes-they're long handoffs. A quarterback who throws the ball to his wide receivers downfield more often is going to have a lower completion percentage, but he just might do a better job moving his team.

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I think even to have a comparison list at this point is well, pointless. They are all too young to compare. In five years we will have all the answers. All of them can play. All of them are in very different situations. Let's see who has the most hardware in five years, that will be the biggest judge of all.

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I appreciate all the opinions they brought to the table. I dunno, I have a ton of confidence in Sanchez. That wasn't always the case but I feel like he's really beginning to understand the game at the pro level. his stats aren't up there with a lot of these guys, but he's going to be a great player.

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I'm happy they pretend not to recognize that Mark is a good quarterback. The only thing that matters, the ONLY thing as a quarterback is wins and losses. The fact is Mark keeps winning.

Keep your what ifs and your has the potentials. Those guys are entertaining, we all want the Lombardi

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