Draft Postion Preview: Quarterbacks

HoustonTexans.com will examine each position leading up to the NFL Draft. Today, we take a look at quarterback.

After the Texans named Matt Schaub their starting quarterback shortly after trading for him at the end of March, they took themselves out of the market for a quarterback in the draft.

Will the Texans use a late round pick to snag a quarterback for the future? Anything is possible, but with four signal callers already on the roster heading in the draft, it seems unlikely.

If there was ever a year to be stocked at quarterback this may be it as the quarterback class of 2007 offers few stone cold locks for success in the NFL. As usual there are a couple of quarterbacks that have separated themselves from the pack and will likely be selected somewhere in the top-10 picks on April 28.

The Crème of the Crop

JaMarcus Russell (6-5, 255), Brady Quinn (6-3, 224)

Russell has been rumored to be the first overall selection to Oakland. The former LSU Tiger is big and strong and has performed well in some big games, most recently against Quinn's Notre Dame team in the Sugar Bowl.

Russell can throw the ball over 80 yards with ease and even at 255 pounds, is more mobile than some people think. His 40-yard dash time (4.75) isn't spectacular, but when you consider the size and bulk of Russell, it's certainly better than average.

Russell's best trait may be his ability to throw with accuracy on the run and also his ability to shed defenders in the pocket while still looking downfield.

Like most young quarterbacks, Russell's decision making has been questioned by some scouts but with 28 touchdown tosses against just eight interceptions last season, it won't be enough to scare any team away.

The Raiders have yet to address their quarterback situation so Russell being selected with the first pick seems like a good bet. However, the Raiders could become enamored with former Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson leaving Russell looking for another suitor.

No player has seen his stock rise and fall more over the past three months than Quinn. Heading into his senior season at Notre Dame, Quinn was considered a Heisman Trophy frontrunner last fall as well as the favorite to be the number one overall pick in the draft following the season.

He's already missed out on the Heisman and while the Raiders may look to a quarterback first, it likely won't be Quinn. The Lions and Browns have been rumored to have interest in the 6-3, 224-pound quarterback, but where Quinn ends up is one of the more intriguing storylines of this year's draft.

His pedigree is unquestioned. Groomed by former New England offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, Quinn is ready for an NFL playbook. The knock on him is that he often plays his worst against his best competition.

Some have attributed that to a lack of talent around him in South Bend, while others point to the fact that Quinn appears to press in big games. However, one thing that everyone seems to agree on is his work ethic. Based on that, Quinn is likely a safer selection, but has less of an upside than Russell leaving him to fall somewhere behind Russell in first 10 selections.

The Best of the Rest

Drew Stanton (6-2, 226), Troy Smith (6-0, 222), Kevin Kolb (6-2, 220), Trent Edwards (6-3, 223), John Beck (6-1, 215), Jordan Palmer (6-5, 229)

Of the above group Stanton appears to be the most NFL ready. He had an up and down career at Michigan State, but possesses the size and arm strength that is necessary to compete at the next level.

Some believe Stanton may go as early as the end of round one, but depending on team needs he should be available in the second round.

Smith is an intriguing prospect simply because of his leadership skills and his ability to rise to the occasion. Forgetting for a moment about Ohio State's abysmal showing in the BCS Championship Game, Smith typically performed his best under the most difficult of circumstances.

However, his size is certainly a concern and after clocking a 4.72 at his pro day in the 40, his speed may not be as special as it appeared at times during Ohio State's Big Ten schedule. Ultimately, his height will drop him into the third round or possibly even make him a Day 2 selection.

Houston's own Kevin Kolb had a terrible workout at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Many have said that Kolb is just a product of the Couger offensive system, while others say that Kolb merely has to be schooled in the ways of a conventional drop back passer.

No one disputes Kolb's athleticism, but when teams consider how much coaching he needs, they may shy away leaving Kolb to be selected on Day 2.

Edwards is a player that has shot up some draft boards over the past month. Billed as this year's Jay Cutler, Edwards was highly recruited coming out of high school, but struggled at times at Stanford due to a lack of talent around him.

A team could get very lucky if they choose to select Edwards or they may end up with nothing more than a scout team player. That alone will likely force Edwards to the second day.

John Beck impressed scouts at the East West Shrine game and is an extremely polished passer. However he lacks elite arm strength and at age 25 (he went on a church mission prior to enrolling at BYU), his age may be enough to scare teams away.

Palmer is the younger brother of Carson and could pass as his twin. Jordan seems to have some of the same tools as his older brother. However, he does lack elite athleticism and has had some durability issues while at UTEP.

Based on his name alone, it's unlikely Palmer slips out of round five.

Quarterback is typically the most talked about position and therefore, many end up going higher in the draft than their talent would indicate otherwise.

Over the past six drafts, an average of three quarterbacks have been taken in the first round more than any other position.

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