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Rating the Young QBs
Peter King
October 10, 2005
Quarterback-mining continues to be the NFL's most inexact science. Of the 11 passers drafted in the first round in 2002, '03 and '04, only three have emerged as their teams' unquestioned long-term quarterbacks (four, if you count the ascending Eli Manning). Here is SI's assessment of 15 prominent QBs from the '02 to '04 drafts.
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October 10, 2005

Rating The Young Qbs

Quarterback-mining continues to be the NFL's most inexact science. Of the 11 passers drafted in the first round in 2002, '03 and '04, only three have emerged as their teams' unquestioned long-term quarterbacks (four, if you count the ascending Eli Manning). Here is SI's assessment of 15 prominent QBs from the '02 to '04 drafts.

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HIT IT BIG

Player, Team, Draft Year (Round); College

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh, 2004 (1); Miami ( Ohio) His 15--1 record as a starter is the best by any QB to begin a career. But can he can play great in big games?

Byron Leftwich, Jacksonville, 2003 (1); Marshall Already the clear-cut leader of a rising team. Fearless in the pocket, but the Jags better find a way to keep him from getting beat up.

Carson Palmer, Cincinnati, 2003 (1); USC A touch of Troy Aikman (71.8% completion rate this year) with the long-ball ability of Dan Fouts. We could be seeing a very special player.

HAS HAD SOME SUCCESS

David Carr, Houston, 2002 (1); Fresno State Still a franchise-type quarterback with a terrific arm, but he seems to be regressing. Career touchdowns: 35; interceptions: 45.

Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants, 2004 (1); Mississippi Cucumber cool. Last six games (14 touchdowns, five interceptions, 230 yards per game) show he's becoming a force to be reckoned with.

ON THE BUBBLE

Joey Harrington, Detroit, 2002 (1); Oregon Just not made for coach Steve Mariucci's precision offense. He's never completed more than 56% of his throws in any of his four seasons.

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