On last night’s NFL Network episode of Total Access, Redskins linebacker London Fletcher sat in on discussion about the proverbial ‘can’t-miss’ status of certain prospects coming out of the college ranks.
In this year’s Draft, as with many years, the discussion this year is centered around quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Luck has been referred to by many as the top-rated prospect in years, or perhaps ever. Griffin3 is far from an also-ran, and has drawn comparisons to every mobile quarterback from Michael Vick to Steve Young.
But with every story of college excellence translating to the pros (see children of Archie Manning, Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan), there are horror stories and prospects who failed miserably (see Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, Tim Couch, Heath Shuler, JaMarcus Russell, etc.).
The total access discussion focused specifically on Luck, and was kicked off by Matt Millen, who can speak from his time in Detroit: ‘can’t-misses’ can miss. Giants’ offensive guard David Diehl agreed, citing the tools that a quarterback has at his disposal.
Fletcher agreed with the panel, having seen many a hot-shot quarterbacks come and go. Here was his 59 cents on the topic (via NFL.com)
Yes [Luck] can miss, and I agree with these two guys here. It’s hard to say that a guy is a can’t-miss quarterback, especially when you look at all of the guys since 2001 that are busts–a JaMarcus Russell comes to mind.
If Andrew Luck goes to the Indianapolis Colts, who is he gonna throw the football to?…Who is gonna block for him?
But when you look at a guy like Andrew Luck, the things that you like about him is his leadership, his poise, his athleticism. You look at his Combine workout and he’s almost as athletic as Cam Newton.
I like him. But a can’t-miss? No, I can’t go with that.
That’s a pretty succinct explanation that illustrates the difference between pre-Draft hype and post-Draft success. When a player is said to be a can’t-miss prospect, it usually means that he has the physical tools and the mental attributes to succeed in the NFL.
That doesn’t factor in any of the pieces around him, or the situations that he will be thrust into. Especially at a cerebral position like quarterback, there are no guarantees that a player will find his stride.
No matter how the Redskins choose to proceed at the quarterback position–or any position–there are no prospects capable of providing a guarantee. If it were any other way, football would be predictable and boring.