- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The position is the most important in the NFL and arguably in all of sports, but picking the right man to quarterback your team isn’t easy.

Consider:

Tom Brady, who led the Patriots to three Super Bowl titles, was a sixth-round draft pick. Brad Johnson, who led the Buccaneers to the 2002 title, was taken three rounds later. Kurt Warner, the hero of the Rams’ surprising run to glory in 1999, wasn’t drafted at all.

High first-round picks Ryan Leaf, Tim Couch, Akili Smith and Cade McNown, on the other hand, were total busts.

Scott Campbell serves as the Redskins’ director of college scouting and back in 1991 helped persuade the Falcons to draft a quarterback named Brett Favre.

Campbell gives his take on what a scout looks for in a quarterback:

“Quarterback has always been the position that has probably more variables to put into the equation than any other. There may be one little piece missing that causes him not to be a player. At other positions, players maybe can overcome something like that if they’re fast enough.

“With quarterbacks, you’re looking at arm strength, touch, release quickness, the quickness of drops and setup, pocket awareness, poise, judgment — is he forcing the ball?

“Completion percentage is very highly valued. Accuracy is important, both short and long. Mobility, avoiding the rush is also important. The guy doesn’t have to be a scrambler like Michael Vick, but he has to be mobile enough to move around and shake guys off.

“The intangibles are very important, too. Peyton Manning is the standard. He’s what you’re looking for in terms of leadership and work ethic. He doesn’t get flustered. He’s highly competitive. He wants to win every snap. People said that Ryan Leaf had a better arm, better physical qualities, but the intangibles derailed him.”

Given all that, what’s the single most important trait for a quarterback in today’s NFL?

“Accuracy,” Campbell said. “If you can’t get the ball to the guy you’re throwing to it will be hard for you to succeed.”

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