DMN: Rick Gosselin's Scouting Combine Report

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    Rick Gosselin's Scouting Combine Report

    Shades of '06: Do you take player with polish or tremendous upside?

    08:32 PM CST on Saturday, March 3, 2007

    The great college quarterbacks tend to travel in pairs to the NFL.

    Vince Young and Matt Leinart arrived together in the NFL as high draft picks in 2006. It was Eli Manning and Phillip Rivers in 2004, David Carr and Joey Harrington in 2002, Tim Couch and Donovan McNabb in 1999, Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf in 1998, and Drew Bledsoe and Rick Mirer in 1993.

    In this draft, it's JaMarcus Russell of LSU and Brady Quinn of Notre Dame.

    Pick right and you can win yourself a Super Bowl, as the Colts did when they chose Manning over Leaf. Choose wrong and you set your franchise back three to five years, as the Cleveland Browns did when they selected Couch with the first overall pick in 1999. McNabb, the second overall pick, has taken the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl. Couch and Leaf are out of the NFL.

    The 2007 draft mirrors 2006. Russell, like Young, is leaving eligibility on the table to turn pro. Quinn, like Leinart, spent four years on a college campus and has thrown more than 1,200 passes.

    Quinn, like Leinart, is expected to be a more polished quarterback right away in the NFL. But Russell, like Young, has immense upside and, with seasoning, could become the better quarterback down the road.

    Young threw 718 passes in his three years at Texas. So he's still learning the NFL passing game. Russell threw 797 passes in his three years at LSU. He, too, will need some time to adjust.

    Quinn threw more than twice as many passes (1,602) as Russell. Leinart threw almost 500 more passes (1,245) than Young. There will be fewer surprises on Sundays for those two quarterbacks.

    The Oakland Raiders have the first overall pick of the 2007 NFL draft. Detroit selects second, Cleveland third and Tampa Bay fourth. All could use a quarterback. Only two can get one.

    The key is choosing the right one.

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