The biggest weakness die panelists saw was ball location: Rarely did they see Simms throw a pass that his receiver caught in perfect stride. "Most every throw is a little off," said Coryell, watching the 2001 debacle against Oklahoma, in which Simms was intercepted four times. "Look at that—on the guy's rear so he has to come back for it. Not good." Walsh called Simms "sort of a Ken Stabler-type thrower. He looks big enough, like he'd have a better arm. He looks strictly like a touch passer and throws sort of a passive ball." But Esiason and Walsh noted how much weight was on this kid's shoulders. Not only is he the son of former Super Bowl champion quarterback Phil Simms, but Chris was also USA Today's 1998 National Offensive Player of the Year as a high school senior and was expected to lead Texas to a national title. Esiason reviewed a play against Oklahoma in which Simms threw an interception, then got leveled by a vicious block far from the ball. "There was not a more marked man in college football," Esiason said, "and I think Chris handled it beautifully on and off the field."
He'll probably go high in the second round. Though Simms has good mechanics and moves comfortably in die pocket, the panel thought he was not well coached at Texas. "I'd handle Chris the way the Jets handled Chad Pennington," Esiason said of New York's letting Pennington watch and learn for two years. "Both are smart, gutty kids. Chris needs to settle down in a good teaching environment." No one knows what to make of Simms's handful of god-awful performances in big games-no touchdown passes, 12 interceptions and an 0-4 record against teams ranked in the Top 10—but it's certainly not comforting.
The bet here is that these five quarterbacks will be among the top 40 draft picks, which would make this the third time in the past 20 years that at least five passers were selected that high. Last week Boiler was rattling off a list of what he believes are his assets: attitude, arm strength, mechanics and competitiveness. "And," he added, "football's all I have. I don't have a wife. I don't have a girlfriend. I'm married to football."
It's a risky relationship, indeed, for a quarterback entering the NFL draft.