Make The Right Decision Andrew Luck

Andrew Luck will be the first overall pick if he decides to leave Stanford for the NFL

The great Winston Churchill once said “those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Andrew Luck may be majoring in architectural design but hopefully he knows his history as well because he will soon be making a decision that will shape his entire life.

The Carolina Panthers are a team in need of some quarterback help and have also locked up the first overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft. It has been speculated and now seems to be a virtual lock that the Panthers will make Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck the number one overall pick.

However, all of this depends on the upcoming decision of Andrew Luck.

At the Orange Bowl on Monday, Andrew Luck finished off his junior season leading 4th seeded Stanford in a 40-12 rout of the Virginia Tech Hokies. As if there was any doubt to who the best quarterback prospect in the country is, Luck confirmed it with a very solid performance throwing for 287 yards and 4 touchdowns.

The question still remains though of whether Andrew Luck will forgo his senior season and declare for the upcoming draft. He still has not given any indication of his decision and it is even being reported that Luck and Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh could be a package deal according to ESPN.

In recent years we have seen a few examples of quarterbacks who have declined the lure of the NFL to play another year of College ball despite being touted as high first round picks and possibly being the 1st overall.

If Andrew Luck and his Stanford brain have any sense then it should be an easy decision for him to enter the 2011 NFL draft.

We have already seen the demise of former Arizona Cardinal Draft pick Matt Leinart who won the Heisman and a national championship in his junior 2004 season at USC. He was surely going to be the number one pick in the draft if he had left after his junior year but Pete Carroll convinced him to stay for another year.

He had a very good senior season, just not quite as good as his previous year. He lost in the national championship game to Vince Young and finished 3rd in Heisman voting but more questions started to arise about Leinart’s ability, or lack thereof, to be a pro quarterback. He fell all the way to the 10th overall pick and the rest, well the rest is history.

Number two historic failure comes from Washington Huskies quarterback Jake Locker. Like Luck, Locker was almost undoubtedly destined to be the picked 1st overall last year, but he decided to stay at Washington to work on his game and win a bowl game for the Huskies.

Locker got his bowl game victory for Washington but his season was a disaster, in relative terms, marked by a terrible 4 for 20 passing performance against Nebraska on September 18th. In the Huskies’ Holiday Bowl re-match versus Nebraska they were victorious in spite of another Locker stinker in which he looked to be down on confidence. Locker has now seen his draft stock fall farther than anyone could have imagined and will be lucky to be picked sometime in the middle of the first round.

Both Leinart and Locker have lost millions and millions of dollars because of their decision to stay in College. They had their chance to secure themselves financially for life barring a Dennis Rodman or Antoine Walker type bankruptcy yet they still chose to play amateur ball.

Sure, another year of college gives you the opportunity to work on your game but that’s about it. However, there is still no assurance that your game will improve with another year at school anyways.

When you have a chance to be a very high first round pick the decision to stay for another year entails so many dangers that it seems unfathomable for anyone to make that decision.

Sam Bradford missed most of his final College season after he decided not to declare for the 2009 draft

The most obvious of risks comes from a decline in the level of your play, which is exactly what we have seen happen to dumb and dumber. Also, as most people know, football is a physical game and the chance of injury is not small. Sam Bradford may have had a successful NFL rookie season, but his decision to forgo the 2009 NFL draft almost cost him his dream. He injured his shoulder in his first game back that forced him to miss most of his final College season and forced the Rams to seriously consider defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh instead of Bradford.

The possibility of a career ending injury in football is apparent with each and every play more so than any other sport. To put financial security and the dream of professional football on the line is absolutely absurd.

Take a look at Mark Sanchez who is starting at quarterback and has reached the playoffs in his only two NFL seasons for none other than the New York Jets. Pete Carroll and his selfish agenda once again tried to convince another USC quarterback to stay for his senior season. However, unlike Leinart, Sanchez made the right decision and was drafted 5th overall in 2009.

For being the 5th overall pick Sanchez was awarded a $50 million contract with a whopping $28 million of that guaranteed. I’ll let you Imagine what life for the Sanchize would be like now if he hadn’t made the decision to declare for the draft.

The Carolina Panthers are a team that is far from contending for a playoff spot but how many team’s with the number one overall pick are?

It has been rumoured that Luck would not be too happy with his destination being Carolina, but he should remember that there were not many people who thought St. Louis would be a great destination, at least initially, for Sam Bradford. The Rams were a win away from a hosting a playoff game.

Maybe Andrew Luck doesn’t declare for the draft and doesn’t suffer the fate of Matt Leinart and Jake Locker. Maybe he is still the consensus number one overall choice next year. Maybe it won’t matter at all for him if he decides to play out his college career.

If I were Andrew Luck I would not leave my life up to a bunch of maybes.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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Don’t Worry Carolina, You Are Not Alone

Jimmy Clausen has not had the best season in Carolina

Last night’s matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers pushed the Carolina Panthers one game closer to receiving the not so coveted first overall pick of the 2011 draft. The Panthers have struggled mightily this season at quarterback, trying Matt Moore and rookie Jimmy Clausen who have both been unable to secure the starting job. Although the two quarterbacks are both young and probably would benefit from some much needed experience and mentoring, the opportunity to draft a true franchise quarterback may be too good to pass up.

However, Carolina is certainly not the only team that has had to put up with quarterbacking issues this season. This year has shown us that there are a ridiculous amount of teams that could benefit from picking up a quarterback in the offseason one way or another.

By my count there are possibly twelve teams that could be making a switch behind center. There are a number of quarterbacks in the 2011 draft class who could be viable options for the large number of teams qualifying for the category of quarterback issues. The bigger names include Andrew Luck, Ryan Mallett, Jake Locker and maybe even Cam Newton or Terrell Pryor could be prospective long-term options for certain teams.

Without further ado here is my ordering of the 12 teams who could be looking for a change at quarterback in the coming off-season.

12. Tennessee Titans. The public feud between Titans owner Bud Adams and head coach Jeff Fisher caused by the situation at quarterback has created a large amount of uncertainty amongst the organization and team. Last season, after the Titans 0-6 start under Kerry Collins, Bud Adams forced Fisher to institute Vince Young as quarterback and the Titans ended up finishing at 8-8 seemingly solidifying the starting position for Young. However, a second public meltdown from Vince Young making it well-known that the Fisher-Young relationship was declining fast made the quarterbacking situation a more up-front issue for the Titans. Adams’ insistence that Young start and Fisher’s insistence that Young is not a franchise quarterback is a flashing bright neon sign that the Titans QB situation needs to change altogether from the Collins-Young controversy. Despite the fact that both have proven that they can win games in the NFL, Collins’ age and Young’s immaturity likely establish that neither will lead the Titans to the promised land.

11. Denver Broncos. Even though Orton missed a game last week due to injury he is still 5th amongst quarterbacks in total passing yards this season. Tim Tebow was drafted in the first round last year and had a solid first NFL start last weekend. However, the Broncos are 3-11, have fired their head coach and may also be in need of change. Kyle Orton, like in Chicago, does not look to be the guy in Denver and who knows how Tim Tebow can perform in the NFL on a weekly basis.

10. Oakland Raiders. Another one of those QB carousels is in Oakland where anointed starter Jason Campbell has been fighting with Bruce Gradkowski for the starting job all season. I may have been wrong about Clausen, but Jason Campbell is still only playing mediocre as the Raiders are succeeding because of their vaunted running game. This team could use a legitimate quarterback because Campbell and Gradkowski sure aren’t it.

Ryan Fitzpatrick has played admirably but will it be enough to keep the starting job?

9. Buffalo Bills. Ryan Fitzpatrick has shown flashes of what the Bills need at quarterback but there is no way that the Harvard alum is the long-term answer in Buffalo. It is very possible that the Bills try to address this need, but if they are unable to Fitzpatrick can weather the storm in Buffalo for another season.

8. Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks still have veteran Matt Hasselbeck but he is clearly way past his heyday. The Seahawks have struggled tremendously on offence at times this season while flourishing in small doses. They may be the most bi-polar team in the NFL while their deficiencies are masked somewhat by the terrible NFC West. In all likelihood Charlie Whitehurst is not a true NFL starter. The Seahawks foolishly traded for him in the off-season and the jury is still out on him. With Hasselbeck possibly being gone at the end of the season and no one actually knowing how good Whitehurst can be, it would appear that the Seahawks should do something to try to address their need at quarterback.

7. Cincinnati Bengals. Even though the Bengals made the playoffs in 2009, the play of Carson Palmer was not the reason why. Coming into the 2010 season there was much promise surrounding the Bengals and thought that they could be a real contender if their star quarterback could return, at least somewhat, to his previous MVP form. Palmer has not delivered though as he has put up a quarterback rating of 78.7 and a touchdown to interception ratio that is close to even. This has caused the Bengals to currently be sitting at 3-11 on the season. Analysts have mentioned Palmer’s deteriorating arm strength as a potential cause to his fall as a quarterback and if this is the case, combined with his deteriorating play, then the Cincinnati front office needs to look elsewhere for their future.

6. Washington Redskins. I’m not sure too much needs to be said about this situation. With the new Shannahan regime in place, Donovan Mcnabb, who not too long ago signed an oddly structured contract, has already been benched twice in favour of Rex Grossman. Seriously?

5. Minnesota Vikings. Okay, Brett Favre didn’t work out, they sold a 3rd round pick for a few weeks of Randy Moss and Tavaris Jackson is injured so there is still no read on his ability to lead the Vikings into the future. Things are pretty crazy in Minny right now and I cannot believe that Jackson has any shot at being the long-term solution there. Joe Webb anyone?

Troy and Alex Smith have been less than stellar this season in San Francisco

4. San Francisco 49ers. Mike Singletary pronouncing Alex Smith as the 49ers quarterback of the future hasn’t helped the situation in San Fran as the 49ers got off to a 0-5 start and experimented with former Heisman winner Troy Smith at quarterback before reverting back and forth again between the two. The former number 1 pick has not lived up to expectations, is evidently not going to be the starter the coming years and it’s high time the 49ers give up on him and move in a different direction.

3. Carolina Panthers. The Panthers may have the worst record but they still have two young quarterbacks who have not been put in situations where most young NFL quarterback would be able to succeed. Like most 2-11 teams, quarterbacking is not the only personnel issue that Carolina needs to focus on. With that being said, a franchise quarterback wouldn’t be a bad place to start.

2. Arizona Cardinals. I was really surprised to see Matt Leinart cut at the start of the season. I realize that he has immaturity and work ethic issues, but it seems to me that they should have at least given him an opportunity to be the starter. Something didn’t stick into Leinart’s brain and maybe he wasn’t meant to be an NFL quarterback, but leaving Derek Anderson and John Skelton as your guys has proved to be disastrous. Needless to say, but the Cardinals could use some help behind center especially because of the fact that they are wasting arguably the best receiver in the NFL.

1. Miami Dolphins. I have put the Dolphins at the number 1 spot on my list largely because with better play at the QB spot they could actually be playing some meaningful games right now. At 7-7 they are very mediocre, but that has a lot to do with Chad Henne’s poor play as he has taken a couple of steps back as a player, while their inability to throw the ball consistently has caused their rushing game to suffer. The Dolphins could be a playoff contender with a legitimate quarterback and with some very good pieces in place right now I think they would be better served changing course towards a Chad Henne-less direction.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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