Before I begin to discuss the subject of this post, I must first try to understand what the expectations are for a rookie quarterback drafted in the second round. I always thought that a quarterback drafted in the second round was considered a "project" quarterback not expected to take the field until after he has been given ample time to learn the playbook, learn how to study film, adjust to the speed of the game on the pro level etc. Some players come along sooner than others, but for the most part the consensus opinion is that second round quarterbacks are not expected to take the field as a rookie (or even second year player in most cases); or so I thought. For some strange reason, the consensus opinion doesn't apply to John Beck who was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 2007 in the second round (#41 overall). After 4 starts as a rookie most people had their opinions formed about John Beck and the majority of those people came to the conclusion that John Beck just plain sucks.
During the airing of the 2007 NFL Draft while giving his analysis on John Beck, ESPN contributer Mel Kiper said something interesting about John Beck "....he has been battle tested, he's 25 years of age, that will work for him and against him maturity wise [it'll be] a couple years before he's ready to play....." The interesting part is when Kiper suggested Beck would probably be ready to play which suggested that Kiper didn't think Beck would be ready to play any sooner than "a couple of years," yet the Dolphins threw him into the fire his rookie season. What did they expect John Beck to do with a less than spectacular recieving corps, a poor offensive line and a coaching staff on the hotseat, take them to the playoffs? The fact of the matter here is Beck was not ready to play which showed in his play during the 4 starts he made that season.
History shows that most rookie quarterbacks (Matt Ryan and Sam Bradford are a few exceptions) are not ready to make a big impact at the position during their rookie seasons. Let's compare the stats of some rookie quarterbacks who started during their rookie season and see how some of their stats through their first 4 starts compare to Beck's (but we also must take into consideration the quality of the offensive lines and recieving corps each guy had to work with):
Mark Sanchez - 2009 season - Offensive Line Quality: Good - Top Recievers: Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, Dustin Keller - Stats thru First 4 Starts: 63/110 (57.3 completion %) , 744 yards, 4 TDs 2 Ints
Matt Stafford - 2009 season - Offensive Line Quality: Poor - Top Recievers: Calvin Johnson, Bryant Johnson, Kevin Smith - Stats Thru First 4 Starts: 79/139 (56.8 completion %), 894 yards, 3 TDs 6 Ints
Josh Freeman - 2009 season - Offensive Line Quality - Below Average - Top Recievers: Kellen Winslow Jr., Antonio Bryant - Stats Thru First 4 starts: 67/121 (55.4 completion %), 777 yards, 7 TDs 5 Ints
After looking at the stats comparisons it should be obvious that Beck was not ready to play. Keep in mind that the guys I compared Beck to are all starters and were first round draft picks. Mel Kiper hit the nail right on the head when he said "it'll be a couple of years before he's ready to play."
I think that it is too early to come to a conclusion about John Beck's skill level and what he is capable of doing having only had 5 NFL starts under his belt (his last being 3 whole years ago). I think the jury is still out on John Beck and only time will tell if he is capable of being a starting NFL quarterback. What do you think?
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