Kolb takes first steps on road to draft
By JOHN McCLAIN
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle
The door to quarterback Kevin Kolb's college career closed after Houston lost to South Carolina at the Liberty Bowl. Now the door to the NFL has opened, and he took his first step Tuesday.
Kolb, who is rated as a second-round pick by most scouts,
began his workouts with Jerry Rhome, the longtime NFL quarterback, quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator who prepared Vince Young for the 2006 draft.
Kolb's goal is to improve under Rhome's guidance and impress the scouts so much that he catapults into the first round of the April draft.
The second phase and the most important one of the evaluation process has started now that Kolb's college career has ended. Kolb is determined to show the scouts at the Senior Bowl, the Indianapolis combine and Houston's pro day that he has the size, arm, intelligence, heart and skills to become a No. 1 pick.
That's why Kolb was working out with Rhome on a gorgeous afternoon at the Carl Lewis Field on the UH campus. With Rhome barking instructions to Kolb, he threw an array of perfect passes to receivers Byron Ely and Vincent Marshall. Between throws, Rhome talked to Kolb about his mechanics, specifically about the significance of footwork.
"People just don't realize how important a quarterback's feet are," Rhome said later.
All about the feet
If Kolb needs convincing, he should talk to David Carr. Texans coach Gary Kubiak talked so much about Carr's feet this season he sounded like a shoe salesman.
"This is critical for me, and I'm taking it very seriously," Kolb said, sweat trickling down the side of his face. "My goal is to be comfortable with all my throws. I don't want any surprises at the Senior Bowl or the combine."
As long as Kolb has Rhome working with him, there won't be any surprises. That's why Rhome was hired by Kolb's agents, Jeff Nalley and Vann McElroy. Standing on the sideline with Cougars coach Art Briles, they watched Kolb make one perfect throw after another on this cool, clear afternoon.
Rhome has worked with quarterbacks represented by Nalley and McElroy, but none had Kolb's arm, talent and potential.
"Jerry's got a lot of experience playing quarterback and working with quarterbacks, and, man, does he have a lot of stories," Kolb said. "He said he's going to be real tough on me, and that's what I want. But he's also very patient, too."
Rhome, who was Steve McNair's first coach with the Oilers, was extremely patient last year when he tutored Young. When NFL scouts and coaches went to Austin for the Longhorns' pro day, Young put on a magnificent performance that was orchestrated by Rhome.
"I take a lot of pride in what Vince has done," Rhome said. "He worked so hard to prepare for the draft, and I'm so proud of him.
"As everyone knows, Vince's greatest strength is his ability to rise to the occasion. We've seen it time and time again at every level. I see that same characteristic in Kevin."
Young was the third pick in the draft. He was 8-5 as a starter for the Titans. He finds out today if he was voted NFL offensive rookie of the year.
Kolb has to wait until April to find out who will draft him and in what round. Until then, he's willing to do whatever it takes to elevate his performance and realize his dream of playing in the NFL.
"Kevin has been well-coached," Rhome said. "He's smart. He's a producer. He's got good mobility, a strong arm and a quick release. He's very accurate, too."
So the process has begun. Tuesday was the first of many workouts Kolb will have with Rhome. They'll spend so much time in film sessions that Kolb will feel as if he's preparing for another game with the Cougars.
"One of the things that impresses me about Kevin is that he's got a good feel for what it takes to move up to the next level," Rhome said. "I like that. I love working with young quarterbacks. And I'm really fired up about working with Kevin."