Posted: Thursday January 5, 2006 11:59AM; Updated: Thursday January 5, 2006 12:03PM
Want to argue about the NFL? Let's go ...
Is Young No. 1 With a Bullet?
How can one game utterly change the landscape of the NFL Draft? Less than 24 hours ago, Reggie Bush was the consensus No. 1 and there was some debate over who would be the top QB, Matt Leinart and Vince Young (assuming Young decided to turn pro). And a majority of people favored Leinart.
The first argument I was hit with this morning was that any team that took Bush No. 1 over Young would be crazy. A couple of months ago, the debate was whether Young would be a quarterback or wide receiver -- a ludicrous argument in the first place. Now he's a no-brainer top pick?
Slow down. Let the passion of last night's game subside and let's look at his objectively. Are the Texans going to suddenly change their tune and draft a quarterback just because Young ran roughshod over the Trojans?
Young is magnificent. He's a future Pro Bowler. He's accurate. He can make all the throws. He has the running ability to match Michael Vick. He's a Houston native who would generate incredible excitement for the team. And the Texans probably still aren't going to take him.
If you look at Young's entire season, he's not good enough to make Houston change the course of its franchise and pick a quarterback even though they're heavily invested in David Carr. Bush will still go No. 1. For Houston to take a QB, it would have to be for a 100 percent lock -- a John Elway or Troy Aikman type.
And here’s where I differ from most people this morning: I still think Leinart would be a better fit than Young for several teams. It's amazing Leinart's performance last night could actually hurt his draft status. Forget the arm-strength argument about Leinart. How many times do teams misjudge collegiate quarterbacks because of supposed arm strength? Leinart can make the throws and his pocket presence is amazing.
In the end, the Texans take Bush. The Saints nab Young. And Leinart rejoins Norm Chow with the Titans at No. 3.
I would love to hear everyone's opinion to help sort this out.
-- Andrew Perloff (12:05 p.m.)
Why wouldn't the texans try to trade down with the first pick and get the offensive linemen from either texas or USC? they have a quarteback and could pick up White as a running back later rather than Bush?
-- John , Durham, N.C. (12:18 p.m.)
I think you are right that Bush SHOULD be the #1 pick in the draft. However, after Young's performance in the Rose Bowl, don't you think the pressure on the Texans will be very high to draft Young (assuming he enters his name)? Young would bring a lot of excitement to Houston, create a lot of buzz for the Texans, and possibly be the face of a struggling franchise that is desperate for an image other than David Carr being sacked 100 times a game.
-- Roy , North Dakota. (12:25 p.m.)
I think the Texans should take Vince Young if he comes out because Reggie Bush is a great running back, but thost kind be found in the later rounds (ex. Cincy's Rudy Johnson). All the linebackers in the NFL are fast and Reggie will have problems with not longer being the fastest player on the field every Sunday, but Vince IS THE TRUTH!!! Franchise quarterbacks don't come around everyday, but for once an African-American quarterback doesn't have to worry about being to short, or not a good enough pocket passer. He is the No. 1 rated college passer and he is 6-foot-5. What now???
-- Eric Wiggins , Belleville, Ill. (12:24 p.m.)
When Carmelo Anthony lead Syracuse to the National Title, there was debate about whether or not he should be taken ahead of Lebron James. Carmelo Anthony and Vince Young are superior talents, but players like Lebron James and Reggie Bush dont come around that often.
-- C-Bass , Boston (12:28 p.m.)
Young is the man. What I liked was the patience on his reads, that he saw the blitzes and still produced with patience when his teammates failed to pick them up and his all-business attitude (no showboating). I don't think his running game will hold up in the NFL, but this guy is clearly a patient thinker who can improvise and is accurate. He is also a leader.
-- Brandon , Toronto (12:30 p.m.)
It amamzing how people are already overlooking what a great performance Matt Leinart had last night. In the second half he was amazing and was making key throws all over the field. He had great pocket awarness as his offensive line wasn't giving him the time Vince Young was getting. Leinart is a proven winner who stays extremely cool under pressure. He's no Ken Dorsey -- he is way more talented. Almost 7,000 yards passing, 71 TDs to just 15 picks, 64 percent completion rate the last two seasons. Young is good -- I'm a Buckeyes fan I know first hand, but Leinart has dominated since he began starting at USC. He may not have the arm strength but they said the same thing about Tom Brady he is a winner and he is clutch you cannot teach that.
-- DeShaun , Columbus, Ohio (12:31 p.m.)
As great as Young played yesterday he is not that great -- he wasn't all season. On the other hand, I can't understand USC using Bush so little on the game. On the Young in the NFL topic, it goes a long time since the last running QB won a SB -- that being John Elway, and even he wasn't a scrambler anymore at that stage on his career. Before him it was Steve Young winning only once, being as good as he was. Vick? Nope. McNabb? Cunningham? Zilch. It takes a little bit more. Vince Young may have it but not right now, not for the Texans.
-- Hector Tarango , Chihuahua, Mexico (12:35 p.m.)
I totally agree with your assesment. Bush is still No. 1. If people were comparing Bush to Sayers before the game and people think Bush isn't No. 1 any more, then what does that make Vince Young? Young will go ahead of Leinart because New Orleans needs a marketable player. Young has more potential to be marketable.
-- Erik , North Tonawanda (12:37 p.m.)
I agree with you, but what the Texans should do is take D'Brickshaw Ferguson. If they take Bush and don't address the glaring need at O-Line, they will still be a bad team. If they take a dominant anchor like Ferguson, he will do wonders for the careers of Carr and Dominick Davis. You don't need an elite RB to win, you do need a good offensive line.
-- JRG , St. Louis (12:39 p.m.)
I will be the first to admit that I am not the biggest college football fan, and nowhere near knowledgeable on the entirety of the season and the group of available players, but I did watch last night's game, and as a big NFL fan, it seems like a no-brainer. Vince Young was head and heals above anyone else in that game as far as being ready to compete and star in the NFL. Not taking anything away from the other two, but Young looked like a can't miss super-star.
-- Scott Lacaster , Winnipeg, Manitoba (12:41 p.m.)
You are exactly right about Vince Young. He is great but so was David Carr, you dont invest that much time in a guy just to drop him when another option shows up. If they didn't have Carr it would be a great pick but in there situation you have to take Bush. I don't think it would be smart for the Saints to take him. After years of Aaron Brooks the Saints need to make a statement and get a different style quarterback. To me Lienart will make them an instant playoff contender. I don't think Vince will end up in Tenneesee because they like Volek and have alot of holes to fill. I think he could either go to the Jets or even all the way to the Raiders. I like him in the silver and black!
-- Justin , Hiram, Ga. (12:43 p.m.)
No way. Houston should and will trade the top pick. They need alot more help than 1 RB. They already have quality running backs. They need draft picks to fill a number of postions that do not have quality players.
-- Kelly Cooper , Palmyra, Ind. (12:45 p.m.)
I tend to agree with your comments how the Texans will view their No. 1 pick. I just hope someone who really knows gives this to Vince staight. If you're right on the 'Aints taking him, he should stay in school, get his degree and take his chances on ending up somewhere else after next year. That franchise is a sinkhole with very uncertain future. The focus at the top is not on winning.
-- Mark Mackey , Allen, Texas (12:49 p.m.)
Young's got Vick-like ability running and may be a more accurate passer. He'll put fans in the seats and sell those jerseys. Bush isn't going to deke out NFL LB's by himself, and the O-Line in Houston is certainly suspect. I see Houston keeping the pick for Young or trading down a few spots and someone else (Detroit? Jets?) taking him No. 1.
-- Ben , Millwood, N.Y. (12:50 p.m.)
Young had a great performance, but based on the history of running QBs, it's not in Young's favor. Bush on the other hand has all the tools to be a Barry Sanders type. Bush had a good game, but by his standards it was mediocre. Bush still is the top pick in this year's draft, even though I would trade down.
-- Frank Foster , Riverview, Mich. (12:55 p.m.)
We Saints fans have had it with agile scrambler type QBs. Its time for a pure pocket passer like Leinert. What Leinert did against the Longhorn defense is more impressive than what Young did against USC's Defense in my humble opinion.
-- Marc , Baton Rouge, La. (12:56 p.m.)
Being from New Orleans, I agree the Saints should take a QB, but it should be Leinart for the following reasons. Young is a great QB no doubt about it. However, this is the separation. He is a lot like Michael Vick in that he feels like he has to win the game by himself using his athletic ability. He can get away with it in college, but not at the NFL level. Look how long it has taken Vick. Even now, Vick's stats aren't great and people were annointing him as a savior. Young has played more college games than Vick, but they are similar in that they led their teams in passing and were 1 and 2 in rushing.
-- Pat , Albuquerque, N.M. (12:57 p.m.)
I agree with you completely. Once the dust settles in a few weeks people will remember how spectacular Reggie Bush has been over the past three years. Not to take anything away from Young, he was awesome and it was a big statement, but USC's defense is not that impressive. It was a great game and great performance, but too many people (every person broadcasting last night) are living in the "now" and aren't thinking rationally. Bush Lienart and White we're all equally impressive. If USC wins all the hype is about White.
-- Nate , Minneapolis (12:58 p.m.)
Houston needs to think about this a little harder. Just look at the year Vick and Tomlinson came out. Yeah LT was able to contribute sooner to the team but who became more competative in the playoffs faster? A year later, the falcons were winning playoff games in Lambeau whereas San Diego was still to have a winning season. Not saying I want Vince to go pro yet but I believe the best athelete available should go first and last night proved who the best athelete in college football is.
-- Oscar , Fort Worth, Texas (1:01 p.m.)
Your take on Vince Young is close but not cigars. Vince Young should be looked upon as a Paul Hornung type. He has the strength and speed to be a running back and the ever present ability to throw on the half back option would stress defenses to no end. It could almost make their offense unstoppable. I know this is thinking outside the box and NFL people can't do that but it is what they should do.
-- Herbert C. Kay , Manhattan Beach, Calif. (1:04 p.m.)
Vince Young proved to the nation last night that he is a WINNER. He put the team, the season, the pressure, and all the expectation on his shoulders and DELIVERED. Yes, Leinart was amazing. Yes, Lendale and Reggie were outstanding. But Vincent just WOULD NOT let the Longhorns lose -- something David Carr does not exhibit.
-- Phillip , Houston (1:08 p.m.)
I am astounded at the hype generated by Young's performance last night. Yeah, he ran for about 200 yards on ... well, let's face it, that was an average defense. USC's strength all season has been the offense, but their colleagues on the other side of the ball have been suspect. Yes, Young has advanced as a passer -- but remember, as a freshman he could barely complete a pass...meaning he had a lot of room to improve. That being said, I still don't see his right arm making throws in the NFL. If someone has a chart handy on his passes last night, I would love to see them -- because I don't remember a single downfield connection. At the same time, my confidence in Bush has been shaken. When he faces a fast defense -- and as good as Texas may be, they are far from NFL speed -- Bush will not look so spectacular. What this all means is that Leinart reemerges as the best player in football. Yes, he floated that end-zone pass in the first half, and was intercepted again on a missed call, but the guy fires a bad pass about once a game.
-- Nick Tait , Tulsa, Okla. (1:11 p.m.)
I just hope that Bush or Young doesnt turn into a "Sam Bowie."
-- Wesley , Cary (1:16 p.m.)
You are way off on Leinart. The Pro game will be too fast for him and given his lack of mobility, he will get sacked a lot and throw away a lot of balls. He will be a great back-up for a few years, and maybe he turns into a decent QB, but no All-Pro and not one to turn around the franchise.
-- Andy , Delafield, Wisc. (1:19 p.m.)
Could not agree with you more Andrew. I wake up this morning and there is a poll question on ESPN's Cold Pizza about who should be the 1st pick in the NFL Draft...Bush or Young? Have people lost their minds! Let's not overreact here. Although Vince Young's performance should go down as one for the ages, let's not forget he did this against a very average USC defense. If you take away the bonehead pitch and fumble by Bush, we are probably talking about a USC victory and not speaking about Young's accolades or his potential being a 1st pick as much.
-- Dan , Hermosa Beach, Calif. (1:20 p.m.)
Totaly agree with your column. How does one game change the outlook of an entire seasons worth of work? I think Young will be great ... but not the first pick. Would love to see him fall to my sorry Cardinals at No. 10.
-- Scott , Tempe, Ariz. (1:38 p.m.)
David Carr will never amount to much at the QB position. Leinart will be an average QB in the NFL as he does not have great arm strength and cannot avoid an NFL-level rush. Vince Young will perform better than both Carr and Leinart in the NFL...guaranteed! He simply has better athleticism and abilities.
-- Orrman , White Plains, N.Y. (1:56 p.m.)
Vince even entering the draft right now is a question -- no Longhorn player has left after his junior year since Brown has stepped in as coach. I find it highly unlikely that Vince will do so. That being said, if he does go pro, he will most DEFINITEY NOT be the first pick. People, don't start judging Bush because of last night's performance -- he's the real deal. My prediction: Vince comes back, leads the team to a top ten ranking and a bowl and then leaves. Reggie meanwhile goes to the Texans.
-- Adrian , Dallas (2:01 p.m.)
I love these trumped up questions. There is ZERO chance of Young going #1. ZERO. He has a throwing motion unsuitable for the NFL and that would have to be fixed before he ever became an effective NFL QB. He would go a la Aaron Rodgers to somebody willing to have him sit and work on his mechanics. He will not go to any team looking for him to start right away.
-- Alexander Hoffman , Toronto (2:06 p.m.)
Everyone needs a reality check on one issue. These are people who say Reggie Bush didn't do that well in the game. Take away the boneheaded lateral and Bush has 6.3 yards per carry for 82 yards, 100 yards recieving, and around 300 total yards. Only because this guy is from another planet is this considered "poor". Bush, Leinart and especially Vince Young all showed amazing ability. (Players listed in order of NFL draftability.)
-- Dave , Washington D.C. (2:16 p.m.)
I am sick and tired of people talking about Vince Young's throwing mechanics. Not only was the guy the national high school player of the year his senior year, but he played four quarters of mesmerizing mistake-free football to carry his team to a National Title, and was one of the driving factor's of his teams success all year. Not only that, but he is a locker room leader, shown by his talks with Mack Brown about lightening up and letting players do things like listening to rap music during practices/ in the locker room. The guy has more intangibles than people know what to do with.
-- Griff , Ridgefield, Conn. (2:30 p.m.)
Boy, after reading all of the debate -- I wish I had the unfortunate problem of having to pick between Reggie, Matt, or Vince. They are all remarkable. That was the best clash of Titans to have been or will be seen in a long time.
-- Jim , Dallas (2:41 p.m.)
I think people are not understanding Bush as a player. I don't see him as a RB who pounds the ball through the line and gets 100-plus yards per game. I see him as a player who touches the ball on KO returns, punt returns, misdirection runs and short passes. I was impressed with Vince Young's game last night, but I thought he delivered the ball by aiming it. He might fool me, but I can't see him as a successful QB in the NFL. Leinart will probably be as good as Carson Palmer.
-- T-Risk , Indianapolis (2:44 p.m.)
I am stunned by how many folks are UNDERRATING just how much the effect of Vince Young should have on his draft status. He will be a throwing QB in the NFL. He will scramble when necessary.
-- Dmitri , San Jose, Calif. (2:57 p.m.)
Houston should trade down the No. 1 pick to the 49ers and pick D'Brickashaw Ferguson. Bush doesn't want to play for Houston, won't mind SF, and it would be better off for all concerned. Houston might even get SF to thrown in a late rounder.
-- Didier , Charleston, S.C. (2:57 p.m.)
A team would be insane to pass on Reggie Bush. A player like that comes around once a generation. Young is a talented player, who plays primarily in a spread offense. Let him play in a pro-style offense and then decide in he's worth the No. 1 pick.
-- Nick , Philadelphia (2:57 p.m.)
The bottom line is that the NFL is a business, all about making money, so why wouldn't they draft a home grown product. That is why Vince's tune has been changing over the past few weeks- having the chance to play for the Houston Texans. Revenue would be enormous.
-- Matt Sandoval , Austin, Texas (3:04 p.m.)
Were you just not born when Elway was in college, or were you not paying attention last night?
-- Jim , Athens, Ohio (3:10 p.m.)
Reggie Bush is going to be a bust in the NFL. He's no Barry Sanders. He's no Gayle Sayers. The speed of Texas' D last night kept him in check. An NFL D would do that to him tenfold. Bush reminds me of Peter Warrick. Stunning college player, average in the NFL at best. Vince or Reggie will go #1, but neither of them should.
-- Steve , Huntsville, Ala. (3:16 p.m.)
Reggie Bush is very overrated. He will be an excellent third down back in the NFL but he is not a franchise player. The key to his sucess was speed on the outside. When Texas sat linebackers on the edge, Bush was effectively neutralized as a runner. He will be running out of bounds a lot in the league.
-- Joe , State College, Pa. (3:27 p.m.)
How many times has a "can't miss" QB or RB failed to live up to the hype in the pros? How many times has a first round OG or OT bombed? Texans should trade down and snatch up lineman and/or defense. They need it.
-- Mike, Denver (3:45 p.m.)
It is ludicrous that someone would even think to draft Matt Leinart over Vince Young. Young is a better passer, which is proven by the fact that he was the most efficient passer in the nation. Not only that, but the guy can run like Michael Vick. All this talk about Reggie Bush being a once-in-a generation player may be true, but Vince Young is the truly special player. How many Super Bowls did running backs like Barry Sanders and Gale Sayers (both superior talents to Bush) even go to? It's all about special quarterbacks and defense in the NFL. Bush doesn't have the size for the NFL yet and I'm sure that will be evident next year, but Young already has a body better than most NFL QBs. Vince Young is the pick.
-- Brendan , Chicago (4:04 p.m.)
If I am the Houston Texans I pick Vince Young as the No. 1 overall pick. Trade David Carr for draft picks and through those draft pick draft offensive lineman. This the advice I would give to the next coach of the Texans -- and by the way Jimmy Johnson should be the best coaching candidate if they choose Young. Coach Johnson, I know you said you was not interested in coaching, however I feel you could do wonder in Houston if you can get Vince Young. Be a true Texan and give that team a try.
-- Leroy Williams , Killeen, Texas (4:14 p.m.)
Right now all three of these guys are never-will-be's. They've yet to do anything in professional football, so let's all calm ourselves down with the comparisons to Elway and Barry Sanders. I think all three will be successful in the NFL. Vince Young will have more success right off the bat than Leinart (scrambling is a natural instinct, he'll be able to showcase that ability right away), but in the end I think Leinart will be the better QB and team leader. I see him coming along like Carson Palmer, slowly but surely. He just seems to have natual intangibles and pocket presence. I still can't believe USC didn't put a competent spy on Young -- wait until he gets to the NFL and defensive coordinators game plan around him. If Mike Vick can be shut down, so can Young.
-- Rich P. , Jersey City, N.J. (4:19 p.m.)
Vince Young needs to leave for the NFL right now. Brady Quinn and the Irish will take home the Heisman and BCS next year, so no reason for Young to stay. Reggie looks good in Houston but I would trade the pick for multiple picks and draft Williams from Memphis. They need OL more than just one player, Leinhart would be a good fit for Tennessee and they could trade Volek for a second- or third-round pick.
-- Stephen , Keller, Texas (4:19 p.m.)
Finally. Someone thinking rationally today. I thought the earth was off its axis when I heard that the Texans should take Vince over Bush -- and from the lead writer of the NFL for the Houston Chronicle even! I agree, one game does NOT a franchise decision make. You hear that Casserly?!?!
Thank you for the first objective and informational column on the subject I've read or heard today.
-- Scott Robinson , Austin, Texas (4:22 p.m.)
Do you really think Young will go pro. Without the heisman, he isn't the complete package. If he stays another year, he almost has the heiman locked down and a potential second NC appearance. Money or pride?
-- Jordy , Hiawatha, Kansas (4:27 p.m.)