Wednesday, 3 January 2007

JaMarcus Russell is my #1 QB Prospect

OK, I'm convinced.

This is not based on the numbers from the Sugar Bowl... because it was pretty obvious to me and to most people that LSU was the far superior team and had the far superior defense. Actually, Lou Holtz was pretty much the only guy I saw that actually thought Notre Dame was going to win, and he was quite biased.

Coming into the game I thought Brady Quinn was the best QB prospect, then Brian Brohm, then JaMarcus Russell (this is all assuming that Brohm and Russell enter the draft, which is far from a foregone conclusion). I had watched Russell play and basically knew his game, but with all the Russell talk, I paid more attention to him specifically, as well as obviously watching and paying close attention to the game. So why do I love JaMarcus Russell's game? Let me count the ways:

- Saying that he has a rocket arm does not even do him justice. On his first long pass, he just basically flipped it, seemingly with no effort, 55 yards down the field, and the pass was right on the money. On his last TD pass, if I recall, he threw is probably at least 60-65 yards, and that was with him being flushed out of the pocket and on the move as he threw it. I'm not even sure I'd be exaggerating if I said that JaMarcus Russell can throw the ball farther than anyone in the world. What a show.

- Brady Quinn is not exactly a sitting duck (I've actually been very impressed with his ability to scramble and make some things happen), but Russell is definitely more mobile. Russell had a 21-yard run on a QB draw this game, and also ran in a TD near the goal line. He's not a great running QB, but he can definitely make things happen. And at 6'6'', 260 pounds, he's a load to take down.

- Along with the size as an asset when running, it's great when seeing over the line. Blitzes seemed to be less effective against him, because he could see right over the defense with his 6'6'' frame. Also, he seemed to have excellent pocket presence, knowing when to step up to get more room to throw the ball.

- He's a very accurate thrower. Did you realize he was a 68% passer this year? And it's not like this is just against cupcakes... here are some of the completion numbers against his toughest opponents:

Auburn - 20/35, 57%
Florida - 24/41, 58%
Arkansas - 14/22, 64%
Alabama - 18/21, 86%
Tennessee - 24/36, 67%

All of this while averaging over 9 yards per attempt... so it's not like these were all dumpoff passes. That Auburn game where he went 20/35 was his worst day of the season as far as completion% goes. Not bad.

Add it all up, and I've seen the light on JaMarcus Russell, which is why he's my #1 QB prospect. Nothing against Brady Quinn or Brian Brohm, two guys who I think will be very solid NFL QBs, but neither of them is the complete package that JaMarcus Russell is.