Dave's Sports Views

Analysis, humor and opinion on the sports world

Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Education of Vince Young

On January 4, Vince Young was on top of the world. The Longhorns quarterback had just led his team to a 41-38 upset of USC to win the Rose Bowl and the national championship. He had put the team on his back on the final two drives, scoring the winning touchdown on 4th-and-goal from the Trojans' 8.

Throughout the game, his play screamed Future NFL Star. When he made the decision to turn pro, most -- though not all -- football folks thought he had made the right decision.

Not even three months later, Vince Young has been picked apart more than a medical student's cadaver. First came the naysayers who said he didn't have a fundamental throwing motion for the NFL, that he was the product of a system that allowed him to read plays from a shotgun formation rather than as a classic NFL dropback passer.

Things spiraled further when his scores on the Wonderlic test were revealed, that he had been rumored to get a six on his first try before retaking and scoring a 15.

Yesterday came his first NFL workout, in which he ran a 4.58 in the 40-yard dash. If you're scoring at home, Young's time was the third best among draft-eligible quarterbacks who played college football in Texas. (Reggie McNeal of A&M ran a 4.35 and Barrick Nealy of Texas State ran a 4.57.)

Though several in attendance praised Young's skills, one unnamed scout told ESPN's Chris Mortensen that while Young's workout was "fairly impressive," his 40 time was slower than anticipated, the conditions for the workout were indoors and that Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler, the current darling of the scouts, was much more impressive in his workouts.

Welcome to the NFL, Vince. The level of scrutiny leading up to the draft is by far the greatest of any sport. If the draft was made on January 4, the wave of momentum might have made Young the No. 1 pick. A couple of weeks later, most agreed that the Houston Texans would prefer Reggie Bush, but that Young was likely going second or third to New Orleans or Tennessee, with the other taking USC quarterback Matt Leinart.

Now with Leinart's clear status as the top quarterback, and Cutler's meteoric rise, not to mention all the free agent movement, Young is being talked about as a Top 10 pick, or maybe lower.

So the question of the day is: Did Young make the right decision to enter the draft?


This process that he's enduring is an indoctrination into the culture of the NFL. With high pay comes high stakes. Scouts, whose jobs depend on placing million-dollar bets correctly, will analyze everything from your bench press to the whether you look them in the eye. But it wouldn't be any different next year, if Young had the benefit of another year in college.

He didn't have anything left to prove as a college football player. He still must prove he has the skills and the intangibles to lead an NFL team. He has 37 more days to do so. They will be the longest 37 days of his life.



Blogger mrgn said...

Great post, Dave, lots of insight.

Young will be a good, possibly great, NFL quarterback but Jay Culter.. have you seen photos of that guy? The guy could block for himself.

1:30 PM  

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