Die Football-Welt redet zur Zeit nur über Newton, Locker, Mallett und Gabbert; wer der beste ist und wer wohl der erfolgreichste NFL-QB werden wird. Ich bin bei allen sehr skeptisch, aber vorher weiß man das einfach nicht. (Zum Übergang von Quarterbacks vom College zur NFL immer noch und wieder lesenswert Malcolm Gladwell und zur Korrelation Draft-Position/NFL-Erfolg von QBs Brian Burke)

Für jeden Peyton Manning gibt es (mindestens) einen Ryan Leaf und für jeden JaMarcus Russell gibt es einen Bill Roethlisberger. Ist Belichick ein Genie, weil er Tom Brady in der 6. Runde gedraftet hat? Ein paar Jahre später hat er Kevin O´Connell in der dritten Runde gezogen, der war dann nicht mal gut genug, um länger als ein Jahr im Kader zu bleiben. In seiner Zeit als HC der Pats hat Belly sechs QBs gedraftet und dabei zweimal den Hauptpreis gezogen, Brady und Cassell. (2010 kam noch Zac Robinson in der 7ten Runde, der PFR Draft Querier reicht leider nur bis 2009.)

Wie auch immer, keiner weiß wirklich, wie man es mit absoluter Wahrscheinlichkeit richtig macht. Aber ein schlechter Anfang ist immer, sich in Schockstarre wiederzufinden, nur weil ein College-QB einen großartigen Körper hat; in Worten: 1) unglaubliche physische Attribute (groß plus kräftig gebaut), 2)einen unglaublichen starken Arm oder 3) starke Scramble-Fähigkeiten, weil so wendig und/oder schnell. Passend dazu hab ich gerade in der hervorragenden Bill-Walsh-Biographie von David Harris folgendes zur Draft 1979 gelesen. Situation: Walshs erste Draft als Head Coach der 49ers, er will einen QB draften:

„[…] The leading candidate seemed to be Steve Dils, who had led the nation in passing for Bill [Walsh] at Stanford, had the advantage of knowing the Walsh offense already, and would likely still be available during the third round, but Bill was convinced that Dils would never amount to more than an NFL backup and was reluctant to settle for that. There was, however, another prospect who no one with the Niners had yet worked out, a quarterback from Notre Dame named Joe Montana. The Niners´ new scouting director, Tony Razzano, had Montana ranked as the best quarterback in the entire draft but none of his scouts agreed. Montana´s career at Notre Dame had been inconsistent, fluctuating from starting to third string and back again, but Razzano sensed intangibles that were very special. ‚Joe has a feel‘, he explained, ‚a second sense. He knows where everybody is around him. It´s an uncanny ability. There were question marks, but somehow I just knew.‘

The more standard take on Montana was that he was a risky pick, at least as high as the third round. He did not fit the standard model for quarterbacks at the time – big, rugged, with a bazooka for a throwing arm. Joe was six feet two, 185 pounds, and fragil-looking, with skinny legs. There were also a lot of doubts about his arm and his ability to deliever the ball deep downfield.Every franchise Bill [Walsh] talked to about him thought Montana would go no higher than the fifth round at best. Walsh, however, was no particular fan of the standard model for quarterbacks. He thought most scouts had little idea of what made a quarterback successful and placed far too much value on arm strenght and physical stature. He remembered the 1971 draft [da war Walsh Offensive Coordinator der Cincinnati Bengals], when all three quarterbacks taken in the first round – Jim Plunkett, Dan Pastorini, and Archie Manning – had met the standard model and the Bengals had picked Kenny Anderson in the third round who, though deficient in all the scouting categories, ended up outperforming them all. Walsh had seen Montana play only once, for a brief interval on television in the airport during the hours after his Stanford team had won the Bluebonnet Bowl over Georgia, when Montana was in the final stages of leading Notre Dame to an incredible win – coming back from a three-touchdown deficit with a quarter to go in the freezing rain against Houston in the Cotton Bowl, That alone made him an intriguing possibility.

During the third week of April, with draft day just over the horizon, Sam Wyche [der QB-Coach der 49ers] was dispatched to check Montana out at the same time he gave the once-over to James Owens. Joe [Montana] was staying with his girlfriend down in Manhattan Beach in Southern California and Owens was at ULCA. Walsh wanted to know if Owens could catch the ball, so Sam called Joe and asked him to come over and throw passes to him. Owens turned out to be a decent receiver to go along with his burning speed but Montana really caught Wyche´s eye. ‚He was nifty and quick‘, Sam remembered, ‚and he had a kind of charisma in his presence that was special, even though he was otherwise a quiet kind of guy when he wasn´t on the field, something of a hippyish kid.‘ When Wyche returned to the Bay Area he told Bill that he´d better take a look at this guy Montana. He just might be the one.

A week before draft, Bill and Sam flew back to Los Angeles and repeated the workout of the week before. Owen again got passing grades as a receiver but Montana was the star of the afternoon. ‚You could see his ability right away‘, Walsh later explained. ‚It´s so important that a quarterback be able to get back quickly and set up, and then be able to improvise if the play breaks down. I sensed just watching Joe in that workout that he´d be able to do that in time. He had such quick feet, Joe Namath kind of feet, just super quick. People said he didn´t have a strong arm but he threw the ball fine. He was quick, agile, and fluid in his movements, almost like a ballet dancer. I was really excited by his potential.‘ On their flight back to San Francisco, Walsh told Wyche that his mind was made up. He´d pick Owens in the second round and Montana in the third.“