Well, another NFL draft is in the books.
It occurs to me that we’re about to see an interesting experiment unfold in the next few years with regard to the fate of quarterbacks coming out of college pro-style offenses vs. college spread option quarterbacks. This year we saw two junior quarterbacks picked in the top five, including a kid in Mark Sanchez who only had fifteen collegiate starts under his belt. What they had in common was that both played in pro-style offenses at Georgia and Southern Cal.
It’ll be worth watching to see how the three high profile quarterbacks in next year’s draft – Bradford, McCoy and Tebow – fare. And, of course, how they develop over time in the pros in comparison to Stafford and Sanchez.
But the other issue here is whether the NFL finds itself over time adapting more elements of collegiate offenses to better utilize the quarterback draft pool. Chris Brown (of course) has some thoughts about that.
… College coaches’ jobs are to win football games and succeed in college, not to run an offense the pro guys like. And, while some scouts might chafe at having to evaluate a guy who stands in the gun all the time with four or five wide, Kubiak at least recognizes that it is their job to succeed with whatever colleges are being produced. But all this — and the whole article — assumes an answer to Chase Daniel’s question:
“I’ve been telling some coaches I think that’s the way the game’s going,” Daniel said.
Is Daniel right? Or are these pro guys right? The best you get is Jim Zorn saying, “But they also find the whole game is not played that way at this level. It’s just not.” “It’s just not,” of course, is not an argument (it’s just not). But let’s assume that he is right that the all-spread (and this article is about the pass-first spread, not just the spread-to-run) is inappropriate for the pros: why? Is it the speed? The specialization of talent?
Chris doesn’t have an answer to that, and neither do I.
And that’s why I’ll be interested in following the NFL career of Pat White. The Wildcat offense is the trendy offensive development of the moment in the pros and it will certainly be intriguing to see White given a shot to run it in Miami. But the real question for me is whether he’s limited to running a exotic scheme for a few snaps a game, or whether he’s given the opportunity to develop into something more – either by becoming a full-blown NFL quarterback in the traditional sense, or as a result of Miami, or some other team, making a leap and embracing the spread as its primary offensive scheme.
Because if this experiment – and that’s pretty much what it is at this stage – succeeds and Pat White, or someone with a similar skills package, becomes part of the status quo at the next level, that’s going to make it easier for a college coach to sell himself and the kids he’s looking at for his program that the spread attack isn’t merely a way to win on the college level, but something that his players can immerse themselves in without giving up their dreams of playing on Sundays.
And that’s going to have a significant effect on the college game’s approach to the recruiting and development of offensive talent. We’ll see where this goes.