Thursday, October 28, 2010



Whether the front offices of the NFL will change their draft strategy of the future may well be predicated on this particular season, a season that has brought an unseemly amount of game-changing injuries.  It's not simply a matter of the concussion issue that's being addressed rather abruptly by the NFL, but it's the number of injuries requiring extending stays on the NFL injury report, particularly to the quarterbacks.  All this is happening while the NFL CBA is being worked on and the League is proposing an 18-game season.

As of Monday night, here was the list of NFL quarterbacks that had already missed time this season, were still on the sideline recovering from injury or were hurt this past weekend.

David Garrard
Trent Edwards
Matt Stafford
Brett Favre
Alex Smith
Aaron Rodgers
Bruce Gradkowski
Vince Young
Jay Cutler
Michael Vick
Kevin Kolb
Dennis Dixon
Tony Romo
Jake Delhomme
Seneca Wallace
Shaun Hill

It's a dizzying list, especially when you consider that most teams have played only six games. 

This past weekend Tony Romo and Alex Smith joined the ranks of quarterbacks with shoulder issues resulting directly from a single player taking them down.  Romo suffered a broken left collarbone in the second quarter of Monday night's game, and Alex Smith joined ranks of the San Francisco wounded when he was sacked by defensive end Charles Johnson in the thrid quarter of his game Sunday.

The situation in Jacksonville reached such a crisis level that 38-year-old Todd Bouman, who hadn't started a NFL game since 2006, found himself under center for the Jaguars.  All things considered, his performance wasn't so terrible, but I think it's safe to assume Jack Del Rio wouldn't wish the position he found himself in entering Sunday's game on anyone.

This week in London, former OSU standout Troy Smith will don the San Francisco gold and red as the starter for the 49ers against Denver.

Nevertheless, the era of drafting two viable starting quarterbacks is upon us.  The difference in any team's season will often now rely on how deep they are at the quarterback position.  Exhibit A is the Pittsburgh Steelers, who can thank their lucky stars that they had a talented defense and running back to take the presure away from the rather pedestrian play of Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch.  Ask the Detroit Lions, who, had their defense improved just a bit more, might be able to turn to now-injured Shaun Hill and thank him for keeping a season afloat.  Nevertheless, Detroit did and still does remain competitive. 

Are there any Dallas fans left with an ounce of hope now that their comeback chances sit squarely on the shoulders of Jon Kitna?  With Kitna, Dallas has at least a capable quarterback who has proven he can play at the NFL level.  However, we know that he overestimates his strong arm too often and is liable for at least one horrible game-changing decision per contest.

The Baltimore Ravens fans can relax, because behind Joe Flacco is Marc Bulger, a proven starter in the NFL.  Most teams should be enviable of the Philadelphia Eagles, who could have found their season in a dumpster but instead have found themselves a contender because of the Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb.

Most teams aren't so lucky.

What this means for college quarterbacks of the future is more opportunities.  No longer is the number one quarterback emerging from college going to be the only asset.  Or the number two, three, four or five -- quarterbacks that are mobile, can stay healthy, has good downfield vision, and owns even a decent arm will be coveted even more.

From the fantasy perspective, your drafting is going to have to take into account that odds say your quarterback won't make it through the season unscathed.  The drafting of a second quality quarterback may well save your fantasy season as well.

The days of one quarterback leading your team through an entire season are dwindling.  It is time for everyone to take notice.