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Oct. 19, 2005

Posted: Wednesday October 19, 2005 1:26PM; Updated: Wednesday October 19, 2005 1:26PM
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Want to argue about the NFL? Let's go ...

Which team most needs Leinart?

Harry How/Getty Images

If we assume Brady Quinn stays at Notre Dame and ignore Reggie Bush for argument's sake, USC QB Matt Leinart will be the first clear-cut No. 1 pick in several years. With the Texans or the 49ers front-runners to get the top pick, we could be headed for an open-bidding trade situation, like we had with Michael Vick and San Diego in 2001.

So which franchise is most likely to pursue Leinart in April? I'll rank 'em, then you let me know what you think:

1. Baltimore Ravens: No team has a bleaker future at QB than the Ravens. If they don't upgrade soon, coach Brian Billick is going to lose his offensive-guru status.
2. Cleveland Browns: Don't even say third-round pick Charlie Frye is waiting in the wings.
3. Detroit Lions: The Joey Harrington situation is already over. He's only in there because they have no other options. Backup Jeff Garcia is 35.
4. Oakland Raiders: Kerry Collins is locked into in a long-term deal, but this is Al Davis' team, so that's somewhat irrelevant. Davis loves big-name guys and Collins isn't working right now.
5. New Orleans Saints: Nothing against Aaron Brooks, but he's taking this franchise nowhere. He signed a hefty contract extension in 2002, but the Saints may have to suck it up and start looking for an alternative now.
6. Arizona Cardinals: All of a sudden Josh McCown is a potential QB of the future. He wouldn't be if Leinart was available.
7. Dolphins:- Good thing the weather's getting colder so the 'Fins can start losing and get into better position to get a QB.
8. Buccaneers: Chris Simms is a free agent at the end of the year, so he better impress the Bucs this season or they'll look elsewhere. Tampa Bay, however, may not have a high enough pick to trade up for Leinart.
9. Jets: Tragically, they still have cash tied up in Chad Pennington, so Bush might be a better option if they somehow find a way to move up in the draft.
10. Texans: They have to decide by the end of the season if they're going to honor the rest of David Carr's contract. They've already invested so much in the former No. 1 overall pick, they may feel obligated to do so. But they have to know they'd be better off with Leinart.

Honorable Mention - Bills (J.P. Losman is a disaster), Bears (they're tied up with Rex Grossman and kind of like Kyle Orton), Chiefs (Trent Green is 35), Cowboys, Titans (would be higher, but committed to Billy Volek through '08) and Packers (Aaron Rodgers is already comfortable losing out to Leinart

-- Andrew Perloff (1:30 p.m.)

I don't agree with your stance on Carr. He's showed a lot of promise in years leading up to this, with a new coaching staff I think he bounces back.
-- Ben Roth , cedar falls, IA (1:34 p.m.)

I don't think David Carr is the problem and I don't think Matt would be the answer. Until they fix that offensive line, Peyton Manning wouldn't help this team. That is the real issue to address in the offseason.
-- Frank, Houston (1:38 p.m.)

The Detroit Lions have yet to draft a quarterback that is able to lead there franchise ... now I love Joey Harrington as a quarterback but everyone in Detroit has given up on him. But what would make them think that drafting a QB would save them? If anything I think the Lions should go after Drew Brees or Philip Rivers ... whichever one San Diego lets go. And do you think Joey has a good chance to start anywhere else? Wouldn't the Jets or Raiders suit him better?
-- Tyler Walzak, London, Ontario (1:40 p.m.)

The 'Aints need Leinart to bolster their team on the field and off of it. I agree that the Ravens need him maybe the most on the field, but the egos on defence would try to bury him.
-- David Holmes, Los Angeles (1:48 p.m.)

You forgot the biggest sucker for a big name, Jerry Jones. Nobody can really believe that either Drew (Blesdoe or Henson) passes as any kind of long term solution.
-- Ben Burkhardt, Akron, N.Y (1:50 p.m.)

Losman is not a disaster, the coaching staff is. If they would give him enough reps he might improve. Eli Manning sucked at the beginning of last year!
-- Joe, Buffalo (1:50 p.m.)

How can you completely ignore Charlie Frye for the Browns. They invested a third round pick in Frye and he played well in the preseason. When the Browns have so many other needs (LT, DL, LBs) why would they invest in another QB. If they had the No. 1 pick, they would either trade it or pick the LT Ferguson from Virigina or the best DL/LB (Hawk from OSU).
-- Ben Williamson, Fairfield, Conn. (1:57 p.m.)

Vince Young is coming out in this year's draft. I think he would be taken before Leinart. And I agree that the ravens would have the most to gain from trading up for either player. But Houston would be insane if they passed on Reggie Bush.
-- Chris, Austin, Texas (2:01 p.m.)

I find it surprising that the texans are even in your top 10. David Carr is a fairly talented quarterback who has been consistently fed like a lamb to the slaughter by the texans offensive line. Texans have far more pressing needs than quarter back to get the franchise off the ground. Personally, I think the ideal fit for the player would be the browns. Crennel, Edwards, Winslow and Leinhart could finally make the Browns a formidable force.
-- Gregor, Glasgow, Scotland (2:03 p.m.)

Doesn't Green Bay need to know at some point this season if Rodgers can play? This is a 4-12, 5-11 team. If Favre survives behind that makeshift O-line, Pack needs to know by Feb. 1 if he is coming back in 2006. If he decides to retire, and you haven't seen Rodgers with live bullets, you have to go after Leinart -- a true franchise QB.
-- MJ, Baltimore (2:11 p.m.)

You have the Raiders at No. 4, but what about Andrew Walter? Is he not worthy?
-- Freddy, San Diego (2:12 p.m.)

With the money the 49ers have tied up in Alex Smith, is it prohibitive to draft and sign Leinart? I know there's no need for two No. 1 QBs, but wasting years with Smith as a bad QB would be pointless when a better QB is available.
-- George, Somerville, Mass. (2:14 p.m.)

That's why picking at No. 1 is so tricky. The wrong guy can handcuff your franchise. Maybe that's why the Niners couldn't trade the pick that turned into Smith before the draft.
-- AP (3:47 p.m.)

My dream situation would be for the Vikings to lose the rest of their games. That way they can fire Tice, hire Pete Carroll, and he would get his guy in the first pick, Leinart.
-- Gregg, Minneapolis (2:20 p.m.)

I think Baltimore most definitely needs Leinart. Boller is a "system" quarterback and thats how he was successful at California. David Carr is still a good young QB but he has been on his butt more than Peg Bundy. Address the offensive line issues and Carr will put up numbers. Anyways, do think Leinart will still go higher than Vince Young if he comes out?
-- Justin, Pittsburgh (2:22 p.m.)

Having suffered through Kyle Boller, Scott Mitchell, Anthony Wright, Stoney Case, Elvis Grbac, etc., I couldn't agree with you more about how much the Ravens need Leinart. With Mark Clayton, Derrick Mason, and Todd Heap, Leinart could make an immediate impact.
-- Doug, Baltimore (2:23 p.m.)

Leinart is WAY too Hollywood to wind up in Cleveland or New Orleans or Arizona etc. Out of that list, Miami and NY are the best bets. Don't underestimate the pull of a No. 1 pick -- look at Eli ...
-- Rich, Jersey City, New Jersey (2:26 p.m.)

How can you say that Losman is a disaster when he's only played in FOUR regular season games? Doesn't he deserve a bit more playing time before you make a judgement call like that?
-- Zach, Farmington, New York (2:28 p.m.)

Hey, don't blame me for the way the world is. With the financial structure of the league, teams can't nurture highly paid young QBs for long. I've watched a lot of Losman and I really don't see it. In the same system, Holcomb has looked 100 times better.
-- AP (3:48 p.m.)

I'm not sold on Leinart. He's steady, but his balls kind of sail on him and I question his ability to escape a NFL pass rush. I'm not so sure long term if a guy like Vince Young, Brady Quinn, Jay Cutler or Brodie Croyle may be a better prospect.
-- Chris, Smyrna, Tenn. (2:29 p.m.)

You forgot the sadsack Vikings. Right now their situation is in shambles even with Danute Culpepper at quarterback. I honestly think he has lost his will to win in the NFL. I don't think the new Vikings coach will keep him around for another 8-8 season, but would rather suffer a rebuilding year with Leinart at QB. Let's face it, the Vikings will have the first pick in the draft and their closest competition will not lose enough games to get the top pick.
-- Jessy Scholl , Mandan, N.D. (2:30 p.m.)

The Bucs didn't hesitate to sign Gruden at any cost so I can't see why they wouldn't figure out a way to get Leinart. He's perfect for Gruden, both love to work and are extremely intelligent. Simms and Rattay are great backups and who knows if Griese will play again. Go Bucs!
-- Jim Corey , Palm Springs, Calif. (2:38 p.m.)

I will say Charlie Frye is waiting in the wings. Why not? What did they say about Big Ben at Pittsburgh? Frye has some talent. Just because from a smaller school does not mean anything. Look at other greats in the past.
-- Peter Birch,Stamford, Conn. (2:40 p.m.)

Redskins, Redskins, Redskins. Right now, they are working with an old man at QB, have a proven lost cause in Ramsey, and are sitting on Jason Campbell at third string. All this talk of Jerry Jones and Al Davis going for the big names, let us not forget that Danny has always gone for the names.
-- Chris Smith , Newport, Ky. (2:47 p.m.)

Can you imagine if the 'Skins spent another first-round pick on a quarterback? Every NFL columnist in the country would have a field day.
-- AP (3:50 p.m.)

Anybody that thinks Pete Carrol is going back to the NFL is NUTS. He was an average NFL coach, and now he is living in Utopia. He is great at the recruiting game, and an OK teacher of the game. To be honest, how hard is it to recruit a 18-year-old to move to Southern Cali? College football is all about recruiting, the NFL is wear you have to really know how to COACH. The Vikings should Take Reggie Bush, (If they get the No. 1 pick).
-- Nick , Minnesota (2:51 p.m.)

This is one of the easiest questions, Browns! They havent had a decent QB since Kosar. Ravens don't need him, they've proven that their D can win a championsship. Why would Green Bay draft another QB in the first round back to back, they obviously have plans for Rodgers. Carr isn't the problem, the coaching and OL is in Houston. Give Losman another chance. Pennington isn't done and Grossman can be great if he stayed healthy. BROWNS need Leinart the most.
-- GB , Salem, Mass. (2:54 p.m.)

Unlike certain people in NY, we like our A-Rod in Green Bay. Don't even think of dropping Leinhardt in Titletown, even if we lose the the awful Vikings in Sunday.
-- Jim Servi , Green Bay (2:58 p.m.)

I've watched this kid several times the last couple of years, and I think any team that trades up is getting a sucker deal. He's a college hero / pro bust in the making. He doesn't sell play action, he stares down his first option, and his arm past twenty yards is suspect. I'm sure the media will pump this story for all it's worth, but I don't see anyone trading up.
-- Stan , Phoenix (3:01 p.m.)

What difference does it make? Leinart will be a bust anyway. The guy could have been the No. 1 pick in the draft last year but instead of doing that, he chose to hang out at the beach for another year and take ballroom dancing at USC. Translation: he didn't feel like dealing with the pressure of the NFL yet. Not a guy I would want leading my NFL team.
-- Joe , Moorestown, N.J. (3:01 p.m.)

I would have to say that K.C. would have to move up on the list. With Green being done probably after '06, we need another franchise QB. We wouldn't even last one year with backup Collins at the helm.
-- T.J. , Kansas City, Mo. (3:11 p.m.)

Vince Young will not go before Matt Leinart. Pros were drooling over Leinart last year and with that clutch 4th-and-9 60-yard pass to set up the win at Notre Dame, he will definitely be the first QB selected. Houston will pass him up because I think David Carr is promising, with Domanick Davis in the backfield, they probably wont take Bush either. They will probably shoot for an upgrade on the offensive line which seems to be their trouble area and Matt Leinart will probably fall to Cleveland or Detroit.
-- Sean , Jacksonville, Fla. (3:12 p.m.)

Saints owner Tom Benson should accept the fact that he made a grevious error in signing Aaron Brooks to a hefty long-term contract and do all he can to ensure Matt Leinhart lands ends up in a Saints uniform. Brooks has all the physical ability in the world and the decision making capabilities of a nervous freshman playing his first college game.
-- Mike Brown , Regina, Saskatchewan (3:16 p.m.)

Brian Billick has offensive-guru status? Since when? He hasn't had that status since he arrived in Baltimore.
-- Mike , Arlington, Va. (3:19 p.m.)

Oops, I was trying to be sarcastic with my comment on Billick being an offensive guru. I thought that theory was officially debunked a couple of years ago.
-- AP (3:52 p.m.)

Houston would be insane not trade that pick and get as much in return as possible. Also, Carr is neither here nor there at 8 million dollars when you have no o-line. It's time to rebuild completely, no Carr or Leinhart can change that.
-- DJ , Austin, Texas (3:22 p.m.)

I think everyone here is missing one important point. Instead of arguing which team should trade up for Leinart, I for one don't think he would be any team's savior. He plays well around a team that looks like an NFL team compared to most college teams and he is made to look GREAT by Reggie Bush. No NFL GM in their right mind should trade up for him and pay him millions only to see him fail in the NFL.
-- Bill Panteleakos , Boston (3:24 p.m.)

Matt Leinart is a warrior, much in the style, mentality, guts, low-key and homey, aw-shucks kind of a guy personality of Brett Favre and the Packers. Green Bay will do what it takes to get Matt to Green Bay and replace Bart. Plus, Matt is really not a big city guy. I think he will have more success, as a person and a player, at a place like GB.
-- David , Stoneboro, Pa. (3:26 p.m.)

I see Leinart ending up with the Cards. They look like they will have another high pick, and this guy could be a GREAT fit for them. As far as Dallas goes, don't count on seeing a new, young QB brought in until after Parcells's contract is up in 2007.
-- Anthoyn , Las Vegas (3:28 p.m.)

The Lions need a new quarterback badly, but not as badly as they need new management. Now that Matt Millen has an extended contract, I expect to see my beloved Lions sinking with Harrington at the helm for a few more years.
-- Jeff , Jacksonville, Fla. (3:29 p.m.)

While I would love to see Leinart go to Detroit, I have to believe he would pull an Eli and refuse to come here. Wouldn't blame the guy if he did, who the hell would want that job? Detroit fans are brutal and the QB position is a rough one to fill in this town. I wouldn't like to see talent like his wasted on a team like Detroit. Cleveland seems like the No. 1 choice for me, then the saints. I could see Leinart to Horn/Stallworth working out well.
-- Brian , Detroit (3:29 p.m.)

Where are the Denver Broncos on this list? I am a die hard Bronco fan but we will never and I repeat never win the Bowl unless Jake Plummer is replaced with the likes of a Matt Leinart.
-- Troy , Denver (3:31 p.m.)

Just about every young QB gets the same knock if they don't come out and put up huge numbers in their first game, even if there is no "O" talent around them. You can take the reincarnation of all the greatest QB's in the history of the game and with no O-line and WRs he's a dead man walking (a running game would help too).
-- Eric , Jonestown, Pa. (3:31 p.m.)

I think the Browns learned their lesson on taking a QB 1st. Give that guy Frye a chance, its not like they have anything to lose. Frye can throw to Winslow and Edwards next year and work on that o-line and defense instead. Go Bears.
-- Mike , Naugatuck, Conn. (3:34 p.m.)

I've never seen a better or more impressive college game than Notre Dame v. USC on Saturday and Leinert was indeed amazing in the last quarter. That pass on 4th and 9 was cold-blooded. However, throughout the game, there didn't seem to be much zip on the ball. He's a winner and a great college QB, but does he have the arm strength to be a franchise savior? I'm not convinced.
-- John Clark , Denver (3:36 p.m.)

You're sadly mistaken if you think Vince Young will be taken before Matt Leinert. VY is a major project. He can't read defenses and can only throw 30% of the required passes of an NFL caliber QB. He may be the best player in college football, but that won't translate to the NFL. So lets give him the Heisman, pat him on the back and send him packing to be another Heisman winner that's an NFL bust.
-- Tim , Austin, Texas (3:53 p.m.)

Seems to me that the status of Brees/Rivers will be settled before the draft and will impact one of the teams above. Any take on which one goes and where? That will certainly impact bidding/trading up for the No. 1 draft pick. Assuming Brees stays, I think Rivers would prefer the Bucs or Detroit. Of course the Raiders will do everything they can to overbid everyone.
-- Rob , Corning, N.Y. (3:58 p.m.)

While everyone is blindly heaping praise on Matt leinart as the the next unstoppable superstar, it's dead wrong. Back when Steve Spurrier came out of college to coach the pro's there was this insane mindset that he would win the next 10 Super Bowl's in a row. The hype became the reality. Leinart owes a great deal of his success to the unbelievable amount of talent he is surrounded with. Since the NCAA football teams don't have a salary cap, teams that pay the most get the best talent, and USC has loads of talent stockpiled. So if you strip this down to Leinarts talent and talent alone without the pro like team around him, how good is he really. He is very very slow. He makes Drew Bledsoe look like Micheal Vick. He has a decent arm, not a great one, and he looks like he will struggle with his weight to a degree. Can someone so incredibly slow survive in the NFL as a QB, and would Leinart even be being talked about if he was the the only guy who could make it happen.
-- Randy Hanson , Tyler, Texas (4:07 p.m.)

I can't see Romeo Crennel going with a QB with such a high pick and so many holes to fill in Cleveland.
-- Andrew , Cleveland (4:12 p.m.)

I think the Raiders really need Leinart. A California QB would be great to have. This team keeps passing on QB's and bringing in guys that can't get teh job done (Gannon being the exception that proves the rule). How many decent QB's did Tim Brown play with? Gannon, that's it, in all that time! Are they going to waste Moss and Porter, now, too? Al, I love you, but wake up and get Leinart!
-- Chris Flood , Toronto (4:20 p.m.)