YOU CAN study
every pass a college quarterback has thrown and every aspect of his
personality. But in the end, says former Packers general manager Ron Wolf,
choosing a QB comes down to a gut feeling. "I can't tell you specific
things I looked for," says Wolf, who traded for Brett Favre in 1992 and
drafted Matt Hasselbeck in the sixth round in '98, "except to say I wanted
a difference-maker." But there are some objective standards by which NFL
teams measure passers before the draft. Conversations with current and former
NFL quarterbacks, coaches and personnel chiefs established these 10 factors, in
order of importance.
1. ARM STRENGTH
The Redskins overlooked this in drafting Heath Shuler at No. 3 in 1994, as did
the Bears in taking Cade McNown at No. 12 in '99. "Name the last great
quarterback who didn't have a strong arm," says former Giants passer Phil
Simms. "I can't." In this draft, Jay Cutler of Vanderbilt and Kellen
Clemens of Oregon would please Simms.
2. FOOTBALL IQ
"The most important thing we do in evaluating a quarterback," says
Titans coach Jeff Fisher, "is putting him up in front of our staff, firing
questions at him and seeing if he can break down defenses and analyze why he
makes certain decisions." Teams like that Matt Leinart got a head start by
studying NFL game tape last fall while still at USC.
Michael Vick of the Falcons, the No. 1 pick in 2001, remains vexed by what
troubled him at Virginia Tech: a low completion percentage. Vick's rate is
54.1%, about five points below the league average. That's two or three
incompletions a game that stop drives.
4. MOBILITY Good
vision and nimble feet can make up for sheer speed. The Colts' Peyton Manning,
the first pick in 1998, can move in the pocket and avoid rushers well
5. LEADERSHIP Tom
Brady is a regular at the Patriots' off-season workout programs. It's not hard
to get full attendance when this era's Joe Montana leads the way.
6. TOUGHNESS Wolf
figured out Favre when, 31 days after stomach surgery, Favre took the field and
led his college team, Southern Mississippi, to victory.
7. RESUME Says
Saints coach Sean Payton, "I want to see a winner, a competitor, a guy who
plays great from behind, a guy who plays well in big games." Though Cutler
was on a bad Vanderbilt team, coaches believe he raised the play of the
8. MATURITY In '98
the Chargers (drafting second) overlooked such red flags around Ryan Leaf as
his skipping his interview with the Colts (who held the first pick) at the
9. PEDIGREE "I
love a coach's or player's son," says Eagles coach Andy Reid. " Favre,
Hasselbeck, Ty Detmer, Mark Brunell, A.J. Feeley--they've had the competitive
part of the game pounded into them. They're going to know what it takes to