Jeff Pearlman

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Quarterbacks, quarterbacks, quarterbacks …

A fascinating few weeks ahead for three classes of NFL quarterbacks. Who will emerge? Who will vanish? Who will make pizza on the OWN network with Gayle King?

My thoughts …

2005 Draft

Alex Smith—The first pick, out of Utah, was horrific for six seasons, but so were his teammates, his coaches, his franchise. With the stability of Jim Harbaugh, Smith has emerged as, well, good. Will he one day reach Canton? No shot. Can he win a Super Bowl? Absolutely. Who he’ll be compared to in 10 years: Neil O’Donnell

Aaron Rodgers—The 24th pick (right after someone named Fabian Washington) is, at this moment, the best quarterback in the league. Who he’ll be compared to in 10 years: Troy Aikman

2006 Draft

Vince Young—The third overall selection (and first quarterback) might fill in for Michael Vick this week, who’s suffering from broken ribs. Young, in my opinion, is the worst kind of NFL quarterback—undisiciplined, scattered, thinks he’s much better than he actually is. I’d be shocked—shocked!—if he’s a starter somewhere in 2012. More likely—he’s out of the league. A bum. Who he’ll be compared to in 10 years: Kelly Stouffer

Matt Leinart—The 10th pick, by the Cardinals, has barely had a career. Upon being drafted he appeared on a magazine cover beneath the words: CAN MATT LEINART SAVE THE NFL? Answer: A big no. This Sunday, however, he’ll be handed the keys to the Texans offense. It’s his show for the rest of the season. Can he produce? My guess … yes. But in limited doses. Who he’ll be compared to in 10 years: David Carr

Jay Cutler—The 11th pick, by Denver, is a gritty competitor with a strong arm. He also happens to be vastly overrated. When he arrived in Chicago, people boasted of a “franchise quarterback.” Uh … no. Cutler is merely good. Who he’ll be compared to in 10 years: Richard Todd

2009 Draft

Matthew Stafford—The No. 1 pick was having a banner season … until last week. Still think he’ll top a top-shelf NFL quarterback. But he could use a second wide receiver. Who he’ll be compared to in 10 years: Neil Lomax

Mark Sanchez—The No. 5 pick brought excitement to the Big Apple. Now, however, I think we’re all a tad fed off. Sanchez is OK … sorta good … nice in flashes. But I don’t know anyone who thinks he’s going to be a star. Or even Eli Manning. Who he’ll be compared to in 10 years: Eric Hipple

Josh Freeman—Tampa Bay used the 17th overall pick on Freeman, and he had an awesome second season. This year, however, he’d been awfully Doug Williams, circa 1980. The jury is out. Who he’ll be compared to in 10 years: Steve DeBerg

  • Marty

    Rodgers’ most logical comparison=Steve Young just as Tom Brady’s comparison is Joe Montana. Both were SF 49er fans growing up in the Bay Area. Similars are errie. Rodgers can run like Young and was a backup for a couple years behind a great QB (although Favre is overrated as hell in ways that Montana isn’t) like Young did.

    Aaron Rodgers is playing the QB position better than we’ve ever seen this season. Pains me to say this as a Pats fan, but it’s basically 2007 Tom Brady where you know they’re going to score with ease…but with the added bonus that Rodgers can run (and has more weapons). Thing is, Rodgers + Brady might have the 2 best backups in the league in Matt Flynn + Brian Hoyer. They can be plugged right in and there’s not much decline in production.

  • Ryan

    Jeff, I’m interested in knowing why you think Rodgers=Aikman. I understand passing offenses are much more productive now than in the early-to-mid 90′s, but in three and a half seasons as a starter, Rodgers has 15,000 yards, 114 TD, and 34 INT. For his career, Aikman had 165 TD in 12 seasons.

    Aikman’s career highs: 69% comp, 3445 yards, 23 TD
    Rodger’s career average: 65% comp, 3800 yards, 29 TD

    I’d put Rodgers closer to Manning, myself.

  • Drew

    Any chance for Steve DeBerg to be brought up in conversation makes the Super Tecmo Chiefs fan in me light up. Oh how I miss the sound of defenders bouncing off of Christian Okoye.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life