2009 NFL Draft Preview: Quarterbacks
by Russ Bliss

There’s a clear top 3 in the 2009 NFL Draft class at the QB position, with another 3 who could surprise. Every year I look at the QB position with an eye more toward dynasty style fantasy football leagues since rarely is there a guy who comes in and provides the instant impact and fantasy football help in his rookie season. Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco surprised in 2008, but both were much better NFL QB’s than fantasy QB’s as they threw a combined 30 TD’s. Both showed great promise for the future, but neither propelled fantasy owners to their championships. And none of the QB’s in the 2009 NFL Draft class is likely to either. But they could in time, and that’s the way to look at them.

1) Matthew Stafford, Georgia. Stafford has great natural talent and a big time arm. At 6’2”, 225 lbs, he possesses good size and shows poise in the pocket. Stafford can make every throw required in the NFL and puts a lot of zip on his passes. An excellent leader who sees the field well from the pocket and senses the rush, the big knock on Stafford is that he can get erratic and fall into funks when things aren’t clicking for him right away. Stafford is going to be hard for the Lions pass up with the 1st overall pick.

2) Mark Sanchez, USC. Sanchez is a lot like Stafford in that he has great natural ability at the position and knows how to command a huddle. He’s also built similarly at 6’2”, 227 lbs. Great arm strength and reads defenses as well as any QB in this class recognizing blitzes and going thru his progressions. Not a running threat, but handles pressure well and is elusive in the pocket. Stepped up in big games in college and thrives in the spotlight. The biggest concerns with Sanchez are that he has only been a starter for 1 season and he was surrounded by great talent in college. Did the supporting cast make him look better than he really is? That’s the big question. But there’s no denying the instincts and athleticism are there for him to succeed.

3) Josh Freeman, Kansas State. At 6’6”, 248 lbs, Freeman is reminiscent of Joe Flacco (see last years 2008 NFL Quarterback write up I did) because of his stature and strong arm. Freeman puts velocity on all of his passes and is tough to bring down in the pocket. Needs to show more touch on his passes and also needs to get better reading defenses. Not much of a running threat, but shows some scrambling ability. Accuracy is good, but could be better. His size and arm strength will likely get him drafted in round 1 and with time and patient coaching, he could develop into a solid NFL and fantasy football QB.

4) Nate Davis, Ball State. Prolific passer with over 7,000 yards and 56 TD’s in the last 2 seasons, Davis has a strong arm, good accuracy, and excellent scrambling abilities. Played in a spread offense so stats are inflated some. Has touch on his throws and displays good leadership capabilities along with toughness having played thru injuries and illnesses. At 6’1”, 215 lbs, Davis lacks the ideal size wanted at QB, and some say his hands are small, but he has a lot of abilities teams like and could find himself drafted on day one.

5) Rhett Bomar, Sam Houston State. Loves competition and carries a chip on his shoulders. Bomar has the size (6’2”, 225 lbs) and arm to be successful in the NFL. Unfortunately, Bomar lacks tact and rubs his teammates the wrong way sometimes. He also needs to work on looking off receivers and reading defenses. But with coaching and some attitude adjustments Bomar could be a mid-round NFL steal and a potential future fantasy football sleeper in dynasty leagues.

6) Stephen McGee, Texas A&M. Smart and tough, McGee is challenged by going from working in an option style offense in college to a pro offense. But he has the size, arm, and accuracy to be desired and is a willing learner.

Others to keep an eye on: Pat White, West Virginia. Will likely be the 4th QB taken in the draft but at only 6’0”, 190 lbs, it’s expected he will make the transition to being a WR as he is a tremendous athlete. Graham Harrell, Texas Tech. Outstanding production in college running a shotgun style offense but there are doubts he can be as effective under center in the pros. Brian Hoyer, Michigan State. Good size and skills, but inconsistent and not as strong an arm as preferred. John Parker Wilson, Alabama. Good production and a heady leader, but lacks size and arm strength.

Stay tuned as my other articles around the 2009 NFL Fantasy Football Season will soon be underway exceeding my way early picks!