And with the first pick in the 2009 NFL Draft the Detroit Lions set Matthew Stafford up to fail.
The New York Jets did the same thing four picks later with Mark Sanchez.
Josh Freeman, whom the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded up two spots to take at 17, is already a bust the way some people are talking.
When you roll the dice with a quarterback in the first round, when you make him the first overall pick and hand him $41.7 million before Mel Kiper says one word on Saturday or you trade up to grab him, when you call him the “franchise,” you better hope he’s the next Peyton Manning and not another Ryan Leaf or Joey Harrington or Akili Smith.
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“When you look back at all the first-round quarterbacks, you’re either a boom or a bust,” Freeman said Monday during his meet-the-press presser at One Buc Place.
Bucs general manager Mark Dominik and head coach Raheem Morris hope Freeman is a boom or things will really go boom around here.
The resumes of first-round quarterbacks are not very good. But that is the nature of the draft. The worst teams get the top picks, and the worst teams are usually looking for a quarterback to change the direction of the franchise.
If the NFL Draft has a flaw, other than way too much Chris Berman, it is the almost unattainable expectations placed on quarterbacks picked by bad teams. While well-compensated, quarterbacks don’t have the luxury of developing like players at other positions. They have to be real good, real quick. Boom, as the newly retired John Madden would say. And boom in a good way, or they are a bust.
Vinny Testaverde, whom the Bucs made the No. 1 pick in the 1987 draft, is largely considered a bust because he never won in Tampa Bay. But what if he were drafted by another team, one with more talent and not coached by Ray Perkins? Testaverde did have a long, successful career. Maybe he would have gotten off to a better start somewhere else.
The Lions were 0-16 last year. They need help everywhere.
Stafford may very well be everything the Lions think he is, but unless they get him an offensive line, he will have the potential kicked out of him just as it was kicked out of David Carr.
Sanchez may very well be what the Jets need, but he has to beat two opponents each week — the team the Jets are playing and the Giants.
Freeman? He has to prove why he was a better pick than a franchise linebacker or defensive end.
If not, goodbye Morris.
I’m rooting for these guys.
I’d like to see Stafford turn the Lions into winners. What a great story that would be. Plus, he’s already talking about pumping some of his $41.7 million back into the community.
I’d like to see Sanchez win with the Jets, because that will drive the Giants fans in my family nuts.
I’d like to see Freeman do well here, because I like a little offense with my defense. Call me crazy, but I like to see a quarterback win a game every now and then.
Will they do it? Sadly, history says probably not.