Vince Young, QB, Texas Longhorns
by Carland B. Whitaker
on February 1, 2006 @ 16:00:00
The University of Texas' Rose Bowl victory, by a score of 41-38, over the University of Southern California (USC) for the 2005 NCAA National Championship, may have spawned more speculation about the upcoming NFL draft than, perhaps, in any year in the past.
That game featured two Heisman Trophy winners on a team that practically all football pundits conceded would handily win the national title, and a Heisman Trophy runner-up who stood out as the "Lone Ranger" on his team.
Following the game, QB Vince Young (Texas) received so many accolades that sportswriters literally ran out of superlatives with which to label him. It was as though, in spite of the press he had received prior to that game, the nation finally believed Young just might be the real deal.
After serious thought, discussion, and, by his admission, prayer, Young declared that he would seek employment in the NFL for the 2006 season. Why not? It is probably impossible for his value to be any higher than it became after the Rose Bowl win.
Table: Vince Young - Passing Statistics (2003-05)
His 2005 resume includes: runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award (nation's top player), Cingular/ABC Sports Player of the Year, Davey O'Brien Trophy (nation's top quarterback), American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team (for work with charitable organizations/community service efforts), consensus first-team All-America and (unanimously) Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year.
Table: Vince Young - Rushing Statistics (2003-05)
Young has good size, a strong, accurate arm, good footwork, great foot speed and tremendous athletic ability. In addition, he has phenomenal leadership ability, poise beyond his years and is well-grounded as a person.
His negatives include his release point which tends to be sidearm and may cause throws to be batted down at the line and tends to affect the accuracy of some of his throws. As with many talented young quarterbacks, he also tends to force passes when there is an easier target available and may leave the pocket a bit prematurely.
On balance, Young is considered to be one of the nation's top quarterbacks. His speed and agility would make him the second most feared running quarterback in the NFL; his arm strength will allow him to make the throws he needs to. He'll more than likely need to change his release point, but the NFL coaching staff will fix that.
One thing seems certain. Young has a rare talent and, in spite of doubt along with criticism, has proven himself repeatedly at every level of competition. It's a good bet he will succeed in the NFL.
The consensus is that Young will be drafted third, after the two University of Southern California athletes. Currently, if they don't trade it away, the first pick belongs to the Houston Texans, who are expected to pick RB Reggie Bush by most accounts.
In that scenario, Young would likely be picked by the Tennessee Titans, who draft third. Titans QB Steve McNair is Young's hero as well as mentor, which would be a great fit for the rookie and, in the (not very) long run, for the Titans as well.
Throwing one last wrench into this scenario, one source KFFL spoke with close to the situation noted the Texans may not draft Bush, if owner Bob McNair has his way. Houston general manager Charley Casserly wants to select Bush, but McNair is enamored with Young. Texans QB David Carr is due a healthy $8 million roster bonus this spring, which will be the telltale tip of the hand as to who the team drafts. If Carr is picked up, barring trade, look for Bush to be the first pick and watch Young slide to No. 3 overall.
If past history is any indication, wherever he goes in the draft, he will quickly surpass all expectation.
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About Carland B. Whitaker
Carland Whitaker, a graduate journalist, is a fierce competitor of fantasy football. A former high school football coach, he brings a unique "old school" philosophy and passion for the game. Carland has been a KFFL contributor since 2004.
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