Virginia Tech QB Marcus Vick was supposed to be the second coming of his older brother, Atlanta Falcons star QB Michael Vick. He still may be, as Marcus, 21, possesses many of the same qualities that make his elder sibling one of the most dynamic players in the National Football League. However, numerous legal problems have tarnished Marcus Vick's reputation and damaged his draft status. If all Vick wants is to have a comfortable and secure life, he can simply live off the success and wealth of his brother. If he wants to come close to accomplishing what Michael has on the gridiron, Marcus faces a significantly tougher journey to become one of the league's elite players.
When Marcus Vick arrived at Virginia Tech in 2002, he was redshirted in order to work on his fundamentals. The following year he was the backup to QB Bryan Randall, currently with the Atlanta Falcons, but did appear in 11 games and accumulated 475 passing yards, two touchdowns with five interceptions.
The 2004 season saw Vick suspended following a several run-ins with the law earlier in the year. He finally became the Hokies' starting quarterback in 2005 and showed much improvement, completing 61.2 percent of his passes for 2,393 yards, 17 touchdowns with 10 interceptions while also adding six scores on the ground.
Following an incident in the team's bowl game (more on that later), Vick was forced off the team and left with no choice but to declare for the 2006 NFL Draft after his junior year. Will he be drafted and, if so, where? Can he succeed in the NFL, and maybe more importantly, will he succeed?
For as long as Vick plays, he will likely be compared to his brother. However, when evaluating the young quarterback it is difficult, and often pointless, to do so without comparing him to Michael Vick. Both have similar attributes, and the list of comparable athletes at the position is a short one.
Though he is not as fast as his brother, Marcus Vick is one of the most athletic quarterbacks available in the 2006 draft. He is a natural athlete with playmaking ability due in large part to his 4.42 40 speed and agility. He was more accurate than his brother at the same point in their college careers.
Unlike Michael, Marcus is more patient in the pocket and tends to go through his progressions before tucking the ball to scramble. Maybe most importantly, Vick showed a great deal of improvement in 2005, leading Virginia Tech to an 11-2 record including a 35-24 Gator Bowl win over Louisville. He's still young, has plenty of time to develop with a big upside and the physical potential to be an impact player in the league.
On the field, Vick has few major problems, and only one of them is permanent. At just 6-foot-0, Vick lacks ideal height for the quarterback position. However, there are plenty of examples, from 5-foot-10 New England Patriots QB Doug Flutie to Vick's 6-foot-1 brother, who have shown it can be overcome. Despite his pure athletic abilities, he is still raw in some areas and will need work.
While playing well overall, Vick was at times inconsistent and sometimes struggled against top competition, though this can be improved with experience. He would have benefited greatly from another season in college.
The majority of Vick's problems stem from character issues. He is clearly still very immature and forced Virginia Tech to discipline him numerous times for incidents spanning four calendar years.
In 2003, Vick was suspended by head coach Frank Beamer for an undisclosed reason. He was arrested in February 2004 and charged with four misdemeanors; he was convicted on three of them (all counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor) in May the same year. July 3, 2004 saw him charged with reckless driving and possession of marijuana. Three days later he was suspended indefinitely from the football team; less than a month later he pleaded guilty to reckless driving and no contest to possession of marijuana. He was suspended for the 2004 season the very same day. In September 2004 Vick pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Vick was cleared to rejoin the Hokies in January 2005. Following nearly nine incident-free months, he made an obscene gesture to West Virginia fans following a 34-20 October win over the Mountaineers and was forced to apologize a day later.
In December, he was pulled over for speeding and driving with a suspended license. In what would be his last appearance with the Hokies, Vick stomped on the left calf of Louisville All-American DE Elvis Dumervil during the Gator Bowl. This last incident pushed Virginia Tech to its breaking point, and Vick was permanently dismissed from team four days after the game.
It was shortly after declaring for the draft in January of this year that Vick was arrested for allegedly pulling a gun on three teenagers during an altercation in a fast food parking lot. He was later charged with three misdemeanor counts of brandishing a firearm and the case is ongoing.
Vick has only himself to blame for the slide he will take in the draft this April. In the end, he will probably be drafted solely because of his talent and athletic ability by a team with the faint hope that he might turn himself around to seize the opportunity in front of him.
Arguably a first-round talent, you'll likely see Vick go on day two of the draft, possibly in the fifth or sixth round. Despite all his character and maturity issues, he is worthy of the investment of a late-round draft choice simply because of his potential. Vick might benefit from going to a team with a disciplinarian type of head coach, such the New York Giants with Tom Coughlin or the Dallas Cowboys with Bill Parcells.
While it is difficult to predict which teams will draft specific players later in the draft, one interesting possible destination could be the Atlanta Falcons. On the subject, Falcons general manager Rich McKay said recently that the team would not be interviewing any quarterbacks. Then again, the Falcons were the only team in the league that did not interview Virginia Tech CB DeAngelo Hall in 2004, yet they were the team that chose him on draft day. Michael Vick may be the most popular player in the league today and, as far as players go, seems to have a lot of pull in the Falcons organization. It's not unreasonable to believe the Pro Bowl quarterback could persuade the Falcons to use a late-round pick on his younger brother if he's available when Atlanta is on the clock.
This scenario could turn out to be a win-win situation. Barring a trade or his re-signing, the Falcons will likely lose current backup QB Matt Schaub to free agency after this season when his current deal expires, and the team might benefit from having a quarterback similar to Michael Vick should he once again go down with an injury. With the Falcons, Vick would find a team where his already successful older brother can guide him and help him stay out of trouble. That is the key to success for the talented and troubled Vick.
Marcus Vick met with the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers during the NFL Combine. One undisclosed source came away saying he felt Vick did little during his interview to show he has cleaned up his image.
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