(Bumped from the fanposts)
No matter what happens to Vince Young in this offseason, there will come a time where this team will need a new captain to guide this ship through the AFC's stormy waters. No matter what, we will need "The One" to achieve ultimate victory.
So what do we look for in a player like that? What are the red flags and what are the positives one tries to identify when it comes to picking the ideal guy to lead a team to glory?
The common misconception surrounding a franchise quarterback is that he is simply the best player on the team. By that logic, the best player on the worst team in the league is a "franchise player". The franchise player should be a player that a team can build it's foreseeable future around.
The definition of a franchise QB entails several key traits:
Leadership: the position of QB has always been about being the leader of the troops. He absolutely must be able to come back from a bad pick, game, or season and be able to keep everyone in his huddle thinking that they have a very really shot to win said game or finish said season with a deep playoff run.
Should a quarterback fail to lead his team the way he has to, the team suffers chemistry problems, the level of play goes down, the energy just isn't the same. We all know this to be true. This season was a disaster because the leadership broke down. None of the players who stepped in behind center were able to direct a game.
Honestly, this one seems pretty self explanatory; if you can't lead the offense, who do you expect to do it?
Poise: both in the pocket and between plays. It's a lot like leadership; you need to keep your head in the game so that your teammates can just worry about doing what they need to be doing so that it can be done at the highest level.
Best Example: Mike Vick. Think about how many distractions come with playing in a city like that with the past that he's had. Vick has done a brilliant job of staying cool and keeping himself out of the negative press.
No poise has similar consequences as no leadership. If the team doesn't trust you, they can't do their job trying to compensate.
Skill and Prowess: it's pretty straightforward; a good quarterback needs a good arm, pinpoint accuracy, and good footwork, among other things obviously. Physical tools are a major teller about how well a quarterback will adjust to the NFL There are always exceptions to the rule, Pennington with his lame duck arm, Cutler with those questionable throws, you get the idea.
Best Example: Mike Vick again. His passing is greatly improved and we've seen what he can do on the run. He's the most complete quarterback in terms of physical tools I've seen in a long time.
Without the physical aspect of the game, you get a carbon copy of Chad Pennington at best. He's not a slouch, he is in fact the career leader in completion percentage, but he threw tons and tons of these short little high percentage routes which really limited his game.
Toughness: the Steve McNair syndrome. If you can gain respect from your teammates, you can get them to go above and beyond for your cause. Someone who can lead by example and play though pain instantly earns respect. And yes, it's something earned, not given.
Best Example: while he's no longer in the league, Steve McNair is the toughest quarterback to play the game in ages.
Without toughness, you get what Vince Young gave us and that would be one big headache. I'm all for a second chance, but he's got to earn it by playing through some pain every once in awhile.
There are other characteristics one must posses in order to thrive in the NFL, but in the interest of time, space, and being redundant, I'll leave it at that.
Here's the main point; the notion that waiting until later than the second round is absurd. Name me 5 starting quarterbacks in the NFL that you could build a franchise around that were drafted in the third round or later. You can't do it.
My list of true franchise QB's looks like this: Rothlisberger, Flacco, Brees, Manning, Brady, Rivers, Vick, Rodgers, Bradford, maybe you can throw Stafford on there, and Ryan. All of the guys I put up there were drafted in the first 33 picks with the exception of Brady. Six of them were selected with a top five pick, four went number one overall. The other two selected in the first round, Flacco and Rothlisberger, were picked at number 18 and 11 respectively. Brees went with the first pick of the second round. Brady is an enigma. It's been more or less proven that any QB worth anything can succeed in Belicheck's system given Cassell's successes and Brady's earth-shattering 2007 season.
Hear me out friends, if we really are just going to blow this up and start over, our top ten selection must be used on a quarterback.