Joe Santoro: Monday-morning quarterbacking the draft
April 26, 2018
We could be looking at one of the greatest quarterback drafts in NFL history with Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen and Mason Rudolph heading the class this year. But it could also be one of the biggest quarterbacks bust drafts in NFL history. Nobody is quite sure. But one thing will always be certain in the NFL. Bad teams, more often than not, desperately need quarterbacks. That's why a lot of bad quarterbacks will continue to get opportunities in the NFL. And a lot of good offensive and defensive linemen, linebackers, wide receivers, tight ends and defensive backs, won't ever get those same opportunities. It's the same with pitchers in baseball and centers and point guards in basketball. They'll always get more chances to succeed even after repeated failures.
The best NFL draft for quarterbacks? The 1983 draft class with Dan Marino, John Elway and Jim Kelly, always gets a lot of credit for being one of the greatest for quarterbacks. But don't forget 1971 and 1973. In 1971, Jim Plunkett, Archie Manning, Dan Pastorini, Ken Anderson and Joe Theismann entered the NFL and two years later Bert Jones, Ron Jaworski, Joe Ferguson, Dan Fouts and Don Strock were drafted. This year's draft seems to be similar to 2011, when Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, Andy Dalton, Blaine Gabbert, T.J. Yates, Greg McElroy, Christian Ponder and Tyrod Taylor were drafted. In other words, a mix of good and awful.
The worst draft for quarterbacks? That's a long list. Just six quarterbacks were taken in 1996 with the best being Tony Banks, Bobby Hoying and Danny Kanell. The following year (1997) just nine were picked, headed by Jim Druckenmiller, Jake Plummer and Danny Wuerffel. The 2007 draft produced just JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn, Kevin Kolb and Drew Stanton (and the Wolf Pack's Jeff Rowe). A lot of head coaches and general managers lost their jobs because of those drafts.
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Northern Nevada has also been in the spotlight quite often down through the years when it comes to quarterbacks in the NFL draft. The Wolf Pack's Bill Mackrides was the first quarterback taken in the 1947 draft and the Pack's Stan Heath was the first taken in 1949. Heath was the fifth pick in the first around and was picked ahead of future NFL greats Norm Van Brocklin and George Blanda. Glenn Carano of Wooster High was the third quarterback taken in 1977 (out of UNLV) and the Pack's Kaepernick was taken in the second round as the sixth quarterback picked. The Wolf Pack's Rowe was the fifth quarterback taken in 2007 while the Pack's John Dutton was the sixth in 1998. The Wolf Pack's Ty Gangi might be the next Northern Nevada quarterback picked in 2019.
The Wolf Pack men's basketball team has been getting a ton of respect since its journey to the Sweet 16 in March. The Pack is listed by almost every so-called "way-too-early" 2018-19 rankings as one of the Top 10 teams in all of college basketball. But the Wolf Pack also might be underrated. The Pack got even better and deeper this week by signing former Old Dominion and George Mason player Trey Porter. Porter, who will play this coming season as a senior, is 6-foot-10 and can rebound, block shots and shoot. He averaged 13.2 points and 6.2 rebounds a game last year for Old Dominion.
How can a Wolf Pack team ranked in the Top 10 possibly be underrated? Well, it just might be happening right now. If the Wolf Pack was in the Pac-12, SEC, Big Ten, Big East or any conference ESPN pays attention to, it would likely be in the Top 5 heading into next season. The teams ranked ahead of them (such as Kansas, Villanova, North Carolina, Virginia, Duke and Kentucky) are there on reputation and will undergo a ton of turnover this offseason. The Pack returns almost everybody (namely Cody and Caleb Martin, Lindsey Drew, Jordan Caroline and Josh Hall) and will be bolstered by five new players (Porter, Tre'Shawn Thurman, Corey Henson, Nisre Zouzoua and Jazz Johnson) who could all see significant playing time.
Three years ago the goal for the Wolf Pack men's basketball team was to compile a winning record. Two years ago the goals were to win the Mountain West and get to the NCAA tournament. Last year the goal was to win a NCAA tournament game. All of those goals were achieved and then some. This year the goal should be to win the national championship.
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