Accuracy, arm strength, poise in the pocket, manipulation of the pocket, intelligence, work ethic, and leadership are all points of emphasis that scouts, general managers, and coaches use to evaluate the quarterbacks that they are looking to possibly draft. This is nothing new to me or you, but I was thinking about something recently concerning today's NFL quarterbacks that I thought I would share with my CSR friends. All of the quarterbacks listed below in group 1 have one thing in common as does group 2. Can you guess what that is? Before you join me after the jump, think about it for a moment, and then see if you got it right.
|Group 1||Group 2|
|Cam Newton||Blaine Gabbert|
|Peyton Manning||Sam Bradford|
|Eli Manning||Colt McCoy|
|Matt Flynn||Vince Young|
|Matthew Stafford||Josh Freeman|
|Jay Cutler||Graham Harrell|
If you guessed that Group 1 was only comprised of quarterbacks from the SEC, you would be right. Likewise, if you guessed that group 2 was only comprised of quarterbacks from the Big 12, you would be right again.
You may have an idea of where I'm going with this, but let me explain.
You probably quickly noticed that the SEC contains quarterbacks that have all enjoyed varying degrees of success at the NFL level, while the quarterbacks from the Big 12 have mostly struggled at the NFL level. Both Groups contain quarterbacks who still have something to prove, however, the group that overwhelmingly has more to prove is group 2(Big 12). Group 2 has some time to improve their current standing, but I'm not quite sure that they will ever overtake the superior status of Group 1(SEC).
The simple overriding fact of the matter is this: Quarterbacks from the SEC have a much better chance of experiencing success in the NFL than their counterparts in the Big 12. Why is this? The answer is quite simple. Facing an SEC defense is the closest that a quarterback will come to facing an NFL defense. The quarterbacks from the Big 12 usually find that the task of converting from a college quarterback to a professional one is quite a monumental task because of the weak defenses they face in the Big 12. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule from both sides of this equation, and the variables that decide which are successful and which are not, are many. Perhaps, work ethic is the great equalizer in all of this. For example, Jemarcus Russell will go down as one of the all-time busts because he didn't have the fire in his belly. He was quite satisfied with an above-average college career and the millions he acquired from his rookie contract.
Hurney was probably well ahead of the curve on this(and maybe many or you were as well), and it certainly must have made the decision to draft Cam a little bit easier. So, the next time you see a quarterback rip through the Big 12 and another through the SEC, keep their respective conference's defenses in mind. As fortune would have it, we probably won't have to worry about such evaluations for the Panthers over the next decade or so, and we owe our owner, gm, and coach all the credit in the world for taking a chance on Cam. Ultimately, Cam gets the most credit of all for setting out to prove every damning critic wrong and breaking multiple NFL records in the process. We can only hope that Cam continues to chop as much wood as he can during the summer so he has enough to feed the fire that burns within him all winter long.