SI Vault
Peter King
December 04, 2000
InterchangeableThe Broncos have replaced their fallen players without missing a step
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December 04, 2000

The Nfl

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Breaking the Passer Mold
The Numbers Don't Compute

Through Sunday five of the nine quarterbacks who had a passer rating of at least 90 had been picked in the third round or later. Two weren't even drafted—top-rated Kurt Warner (111.6) of the Rams and No. 4 Jeff Garcia (98.7) of the 49ers. How can we explain that?

"Fifteen years ago there were 28 teams, and if a quarterback didn't make one of those teams, with the exception of an occasional guy going to Canada, that was the end of his opportunity to play or develop," says Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore. "Now there are 31 NFL teams [going on 32], there's NFL Europe, there's the Arena league.

It used to be, when we cut a quarterback, he'd go to grad school. Now there are about 40 more opportunities for 80 more guys, two for [each of those extra teams]. The more people working, the more chances teams have of finding a diamond in the rough."

A quarterback also had to be 6' 4" with a strong arm and decent mobility to get a real chance. But Garcia is only 6' 1" and doesn't have a cannon. Warner and the Broncos' Brian Griese, rated second at 102.8, are about as mobile as a right guard. "There's no blueprint for the perfect quarterback," says Seahawks signal-caller Brock Huard. "You're not guaranteed success by getting drafted high, and you're not eliminated by getting drafted low or not getting drafted at all." Adds Miami offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, "It's almost an advantage to get drafted in a middle round. Mid-round guys can learn without the pressure of playing."

The End Zone

In the last two years Lomas Brown, Orlando Brown and James Brown have played tackle for the Browns. At practice James Brown blocks defensive end Courtney Brown. As they walk through the Browns' facility and past the office of security chief Sam Brown, James Brown and Courtney Brown can reminisce about Browns founder Paul Brown and Hall of Famer Jim Brown, two of the 17 men named Brown who have played for or coached the Browns.

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