- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 3, 2005

The NFL has not been kind to the quarterback class of 2002.

All three quarterbacks picked in the first round of that draft — David Carr (first overall pick) of the Texans, Joey Harrington (third) of the Lions and Patrick Ramsey (32nd) of the Redskins — have been disappointments. Harrington and Ramsey have each been benched this season in favor of 35-year-old veterans, and Carr has been sacked a league-worst 37 times during his team’s 1-6 start.

“I was obviously very disappointed. I guess I wasn’t surprised,” said Harrington, who had a dreadful 55.6 passer rating before losing his job to veteran Jeff Garcia, a favorite of coach Steve Mariucci.

Carr, Harrington and Ramsey have a combined 40-83 record, and Ramsey is the only one of the trio with more touchdown passes than interceptions. Their poor production looks even worse because younger quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Byron Leftwich (class of 2003) and Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning (class of 2004) are playing so well.

“It’s a very important pick, especially when you’re drafting in the top 10,” Falcons general manager Rich McKay said. “The contracts have a draconian effect if they don’t pan out. And unlike, say a defensive back, you’re trying to build the image of your franchise with that pick.”

The Class of 2001 includes Michael Vick. Chad Pennington was a first-rounder in 2000. Donovan McNabb and Daunte Culpepper came out in 1999. Peyton Manning is the pride of 1998. The only other first round in the last nine drafts that didn’t produce a solid quarterback came in 1997 when the 49ers whiffed on Jim Druckenmiller at No. 26.

“It’s a tough position to get right,” said Andy Reid, who in his first major decision as coach of the Eagles eschewed running back Ricky Williams, the fan favorite, to take McNabb second overall in 1999. “You’re fortunate if you hit it right. There’s no real art to it, I don’t think.”

Favre rolls on — His team is having easily the worst season of his 14 seasons as its quarterback. His top receiver and ace running back are done for the season. But Brett Favre will start his 233rd consecutive game for the Packers on Sunday.

Only offensive linemen Bruce Matthews (243) and Mick Tingelhoff (258) and defensive lineman Jim Marshall (288) have longer starting streaks in NFL history.

Favre’s streak is even more amazing when compared to the status of the rest of the NFC North’s quarterbacks. The season of Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper was ended by a devastating knee injury last week. Favre’s three counterparts have combined for just nine consecutive starts, seven by Bears rookie Kyle Orton and two by Garcia.

Vanden who? — Many wondered just that when the usually cap-strapped Titans made defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch their only free agent signee of the last three offseasons — even with a 1-year, $450,000 contract.

After missing all of 2003 with a torn left ACL — he also missed all but three games as a rookie with a torn right ACL — Vanden Bosch didn’t have a sack as a backup for the Cardinals last season and had just five in his career.

But the 26-year-old Vanden Bosch, the Cardinals’ second-rounder in 2001, is now tied for the NFL lead with eight.

“I wasn’t the player last year that I am now, but I knew I was on my way back,” Vanden Bosch said. “I panicked a little bit. This league isn’t really known for giving guys second chances and waiting around for guys to get healthy … but I wasn’t going to quit. That’s not who I am.”

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