Joe Santoro: Nobody in the NFL knows how to draft a quarterback | NevadaAppeal.com
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Joe Santoro: Nobody in the NFL knows how to draft a quarterback

By Joe Santoro For the Nevada Appeal
In this still image from video, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow appears in The Plains, Ohio, during the NFL draft April 23. Burrow was the top pick in the draft.
NFL via AP

A dozen quarterbacks were selected in the 2011 NFL draft, including Nevada Wolf Pack senior Colin Kaepernick in the second round by the San Francisco 49ers. Auburn’s Cam Newton went No. 1 overall to the Carolina Pathers followed by Washington’s Jake Locker, Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert and Florida State’s Christian Ponder in the first round. TCU’s Andy Dalton went one pick ahead of Kaepernick in the second round. Now that the Cincinnati Bengals have released Dalton, there is now just one surviving quarterback of the 12 drafted in 2011 that still has a job in the NFL. That is none other than Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor, who is currently on the Los Angeles Chargers’ roster. Taylor was picked in the sixth round in 2011 by the Baltimore Ravens after the Chicago Bears took Idaho’s Nathan Enderle in the fifth round, the Houston Texans picked North Carolina’s T.J. Yates and the Kansas City Chiefs took Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi in the fifth round and the New England Patriots picked Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett in the third round. All you need to do is study the 2011 draft to figure out once and for all that nobody, not even Bill Belichick and the Patriots, has any real clue about how to draft a quarterback.

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Who has been the best quarterback to come out of the 2011 draft? Dalton leads the 2011 class in NFL wins (70), games (133), starts (133), touchdowns (204) and yards (31,594). Newton is right behind him in wins (68), games (125), starts (124), touchdowns (182) and yards (29,041). Newton and Kaepernick are the only 2011 draftees to lead a team to a Super Bowl (both lost). And Dalton (70-61-2), Newton (68-55-1) and, yes, Taylor (23-21-1) are the only ones with winning NFL records as starters. The choice here for the best of 2011 would have to be Newton, followed by Kaepernick (getting to a Super Bowl is important), Dalton and Taylor. All the rest from 2011 were NFL busts.

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There were 13 quarterbacks picked in the draft last week. Four of them (Utah State’s Jordan Love, Oregon’s Justin Herbert, Hawaii’s Cole McDonald, Oregon State’s Jake Luton) faced the Wolf Pack during their college careers. The four combined to play five games against the Pack (McDonald played the Pack twice) and complete 99-of-159 passes (62 percent) for 1,334 yards, 14 touchdowns and two interceptions. The Pack, by the way, played two (Gabbert, Enderle) members of the 2011 draft class a total of six times (Enderle met the Pack four times). Gabbert and Enderle combined to complete 86-of-160 passes for 1,372 yards, 12 touchdowns and one interception against Nevada. That’s 26 touchdowns allowed and just three picks in 11 meetings with six NFL draft picks in 2011, 2020 combined. Seems like NFL scouts might be watching too much Pack film, at least when the Pack defense is on the field.

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No Wolf Pack player, as expected, was picked in the NFL draft last week. Boise State had three players picked and has now placed at least one player in the last 11 NFL drafts. Offensive lineman Austin Corbett (second round, 2018) is the only Pack player to get drafted in the last six drafts. Chris Ault has not coached the Pack for the last seven seasons. Draw your own conclusions.

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The Mountain West did very well in the NFL draft. The conference had 10 players picked, led by Boise State (three). Wyoming, which might have had the most physical defense in the conference last year, saw two of its linebackers drafted (Logan Wilson and Cassh Maluia). The Tennessee Titans might have gotten a steal by getting Hawaii’s McDonald in the seventh round. McDonald looks like a Ryan Tannehill (the Titans’ current starter) clone. The Mountain West doesn’t attract large crowds to its stadiums and gets little or no respect and attention from the national media. But NFL scouts are well aware of the amount of talent in the league year after year.

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The Wolf Pack announced this week that ticket prices for the six home football games at Mackay Stadium have been slightly reduced. Is this really the right time to try to sell tickets to the public to events that likely won’t even be played? The chances of there being even one game at Mackay Stadium this season, let alone six, are pretty slim. We can’t even go sit in a McDonald’s at the current time. And even if all of the games are played, whether in the fall or next winter or in 2022, heading to a stadium with tens of thousands of other fans is not something to make an already nervous public feel safe right now. Our colleges and universities need to figure out a way to get their students back on campus and in classrooms before they worry about selling us tickets to phantom football games.

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Can you even imagine college football or men’s basketball games played without fans in the stadiums and arenas? What about games played while students are still at home? Is it fair to the athletes to make them practice and play games on campuses that are not even deemed safe for students? The only reason the NCAA would allow games to be played without fans is for the television revenue. And if that happens, if we have college games in empty stadiums just so cable TV can have some programming and coaches can still be paid, the money-grabbing ugliness of college sports would be right there out in the open exposed for everyone to see. That can’t happen.