View Full Version : Nice article on 2nd tier QB's in the draft....

WaxOn WaxOff
02-26-2006, 12:11 PM
Sorry if this has been posted.....

Whitehurst, Croyle appeal to Dolphins

Miami might draft a rookie quarterback


If all the pre-NFL Draft rhetoric is to believed, the Miami Dolphins won't have a chance to select any of the top three college quarterbacks by the time their pick at No. 16 rolls around.

So, if they can't draft Matt Leinart of Southern Cal, Vince Young from Texas or the hottest name in the group -- Jay Cutler of Vanderbilt, whom can they get?

"I'm firmly a Cutler guy, for the record," NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock said. "I've said since October he's the best quarterback in the draft. I don't think he'll be there at 16.

"The next level of quarterback, really, are two guys. That's Charlie Whitehurst from Clemson and Brodie Croyle from Alabama."

Whitehurst and Croyle have been at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis this weekend, along with roughly 328 other college players, hoping to impress coaches and general managers at the NFL combine.

Whitehurst, 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, is the son of former Green Bay Packers quarterback David Whitehurst. He threw for 2,474 yards with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as a senior for Clemson.

Shoulder pain bothered Whitehurst for most of the 2005 season, and he had arthroscopic surgery performed in early December. He returned in time to throw for 196 yards and run for a touchdown in Clemson's victory against Colorado in the Champs Sports Bowl. But he admittedly wasn't throwing the ball at full strength.

He had a decent week at the Senior Bowl and showed up at last month's Capital One All-Star Challenge at Dolphins Stadium, where he said he wouldn't mind making Miami his next home.

Whitehurst had a brief conversation with Dolphins coach Nick Saban at the Senior Bowl. But that basically was a meet-and-greet deal, a far cry from the interviews during the combine.

"I think he's a no-nonsense guy," Whitehurst said of Saban. "I haven't been around him a lot, but I would say that's the belief about him. He gets down to business."

If Whitehurst wants to show teams his arm is sound, Croyle will want to allay any questions whether his right knee will hold up. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Alabama quarterback tore that knee's ACL during his junior season and also injured his knee during high school.

Still, he had a solid senior season, throwing for 2,499 yards with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions. He left the Crimson Tide as the school's all-time leader in six categories, including attempts (869), completions (488), yards (6,382) and touchdowns (41).

"Obviously, as you say, there's the top three guys that probably go in the top three picks," Croyle said at the All-Star Challenge. "There's a lot of quarterbacks to be taken after that. Hey, I'm happy to be here. A year ago today, I was still recovering from a knee injury and wondering if I'd have this opportunity. I'm loving every minute of it."

Picking between the two, if that's what the Dolphins do, may be a matter of which style of quarterback they prefer.

"They're two different animals," Mayock said. "You want to like Charlie Whitehurst. He's big, prototype, looks great, great throwing motion and a big arm. The problem with him is the inconsistent productivity, the decision-making.

"I really like the kid. He's got as much ability as just about any quarterback in the draft. But people are questioning his decision-making."

Still, Mayock said, if a staff believes it can coach Whitehurst to make better decisions, that team could have a real steal on its hands.

"If his shoulder checks out, which I think it will, he's intriguing in the second or third round," Mayock said. "I think he's got a lot of upside, and if you believe in your coaching staff and your ability to get this kid on the right path, he's a really talented kid."

Croyle has a thinner build than Whitehurst. He throws the short and intermediate balls well. He actually won the distance-throwing competition at the All-Star Challenge for whatever that's worth.

He was MVP of Alabama's victory against Texas Tech in the 2006 Cotton Bowl and had a pretty good week at the Senior Bowl, where he showed he was more athletic than Mayock originally thought.

"He's more a manage-the-game kind quarterback -- make decisions, don't lose games," Mayock said. "And he's got a big injury history."

Dolphins coach Nick Saban has said all along he would like to bring in a young quarterback to develop. Still, it will be interesting to see what he will do this offseason with veteran quarterbacks such as Drew Brees, Daunte Culpepper, Steve McNair and Josh McCown all possibly being available on the free-agent market.

Miami would be expected to make a serious run at Brees, if he becomes available. However, even if Miami does pick up another quarterback through free agency, the Dolphins still might draft one.

Mayock believes Barrick Nealy of Texas State and Tavares Jackson of Alabama State are intriguing late-round prospects who would need plenty of time to develop.

There also is a chance, if the Dolphins don't bring in a big-name veteran to pair with Gus Frerotte, Saban will try to trade up in the draft to grab Cutler. That scenario seems less likely now, given that Miami's best bargaining chip -- running back Ricky Williams -- is facing a possible one-year suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

Speaking with reporters earlier this month, and before news broke of Williams' failed test, Saban seemed less inclined to make a trade because of what he would have to give up. Last year's draft produced three starters in running back Ronnie Brown, linebacker Channing Crowder and cornerback Travis Daniels, plus reserve defensive end Matt Roth.

"It's very important philosophically that you build your team through the draft, and keep your draft picks and know that you're having four or five players each year that are impacting your team," Saban said.

"It keeps a balance on your team age-wise. It keeps a balance on your team from a salary-cap standpoint. If you look at a lot of the teams that have success, you see that's basically how their teams have been kind of built."

Contact Kotala at 242-3692 or ckotala@flatoday.net

02-26-2006, 12:44 PM
I don't think you're allowed to post entire articles. Thank you though.

Adam First
02-26-2006, 12:45 PM
Miami might? We NEED to...unless Brees wants to stick around for 10 years ;)

02-26-2006, 12:57 PM
unless Brees wants to stick around for 10 years ;)

Hey I wouldnt mind brees staying around for 10 years

02-26-2006, 01:11 PM
Thank you...very nice read