I have said many times predicting future success of a pro QB is the hardest thing to do in any major pro sports.
The other positions in football are fairly easy. I grew up in Tennessee in the 1970s and 1980s. My father took me to many Tennessee Vols games. My guy was No. 28. His name was Willie Gault. My 5-year-oldish mind could easily spot this dude was going to be big time in the sport. Gault went on to an above average career helping the Bears win a title in 1986. Gault also became a productive bobsledder.
My father, who was a Virginia Tech alum and where I also went to school, took me to a Hokies game in the mid 1980s. My father told me to watch this guy named Bruce Smith. And it was easy to predict he would be special in the pros. And he simply became probably the 2nd best defensive lineman ever behind Reggie White, who also went to Tennessee. I was lucky my 2 favorite college teams had 2 of the best D-linemen ever.
When I was a sportswriter in Arizona before coming to SoCal, I saw a young RB named Terrell Suggs in high school put up 400 rushing yards in 1 game. I thought he would at least be a good college RB but became a borderline HOFer with Baltimore as a D-Lineman. I got to see Karl Malone as an unknown rookie with Utah. I could go on and on.
QB? I have not been so lucky to view great young quarterbacks.
Matt Leinart was the closest. I covered a high school game where Leinart almost singlehandedly stopped Concord De La Salle's unbelievable win streak where they made a movie about it. Leinart then went to USC to form one of the best college football dynasties of the early 2000s. My father and I personally watched Leinart beat a very good Va Tech team at FedEx Field in 2004. I was there when USC and Leinart almost won a 3rd national title but Vince Young stopped them at the Rose Bowl in 2005.
I was kind of SHOCKED when Leinart did not have at least a productive NFL career. This article tries to explain it. Leinart seemed to have the work ethic and intangibles to be great. But maybe it had something to do with being a lefty. I have said many times that is why I would not want Tua as my longterm QB. You have to draft in reverse on the O-Line where your best O-Lineman is now the right tackle. However, there have been great lefty QBs like Steve Young, Boomer Esiason, and Kenny Stabler.
The Washington franchise has never really had an elite Hall of Fame caliber QB after the 1980s. But so what? Joe Gibbs won 3 titles (and should have won a 4th) with slightly above average QBs who elevated in their title season (Joe Theismann, Doug Williams, Mark Rypien).
Really, they have only had 3 slightly above average QBs since Rypien left in Gus Frerotte, Brad Johnson, and Kirk Cousins. Frerotte was a lucky late round pick drafted the same year as huge QB bust Heath Shuler. I covered Johnson as a sportswriter when he was with Washington but he was acquired via trade. Cousins was a lucky late round hit drafted the same year as RGIII.
RGIII was easily the most talented QB probably they have ever drafted. But it was kind of easy to tell his body type and running style was doomed for injury. It takes too much draft capital to draft a super talented QB like RGIII. RGIII could not adapt after his elite running ability was gone.
So knowing this, the WFT needs to acquire a proven above average QB even if they are old and only for 1-2 seasons. They apparently tried to acquire Stafford last. Stafford rightly chose the LA Rams because of an elite head coach in McVay. But Stafford is kind of prone to injury.
My guy the WTF should eye is Matt Ryan.
I saw Matt Ryan destroy the ACC when he was at Boston College. Ryan is a former MVP who really should have won a title if Kyle Shanahan was not conservative late in their Super Bowl shot. And the GOAT Brady stole their hearts. Also, Ryan almost never gets hurt. My fall back would be someone like Derek Carr but he gets hurt a lot.
Taylor Heinicke has quickly become probably the best backup QB in the league closely followed by Gardiner Minshew and Tyler Huntley. Teddy Bridgewater was the best backup for years but he probably is more of a bridge starting QB like Tyrod Taylor. So I don't care if Heinicke is THE guy moving forward. The WFT needs to keep him on the roster.
Covid and the added 17th game has shown you will need 2 (probably 3) good starting QBs on the roster. The WFT actually has 2 good backup QBs on the roster in Heinicke and Kyle Allen. They have the perfect No. 3 emergency QB in Logan Thomas if healthy. So they have plenty of good backup QBs if the starter goes down. But in reality, Ryan has shown he almost never gets hurt.
The WFT should have an elite defense for the next 2-3 seasons barring injury. Chase Young should come back healthy to build on his great rookie year. Chase obviously has elite ability. But I am not sure he grasps pass rushing technique like other great D-Lineman like Aaron Donald or J.J. Watt in his prime. Jonathan Allen is in his prime and elite right now. Great organizations recognize windows to win a title.
The offense obviously is holding this team back. Fitztragic or Fitzmagic would not have made this offense elite even if healthy. Scary Terry if healthy is on his way to the Hall just like probably Brandon Scherff.
For my money, McLaurin and Cooper Kupp are the best young WRs in the league headed to the Hall. There are other WRs more talented young WRs like D.K. Metcalf and Chase Claypool. But look what Cupp has done with an elite QB like Stafford and not Jared Gofful. He has put up video game numbers.
McLaurin has put up numbers with not even a starting level QB. If he had someone like Cousins or Stafford, McLaurin would put up Antonio Brown prime numbers like 1500 receiving yards and 10-12 TDs. What separates McLaurin and Kupp are more intangibles like route running, grit, blocking, and work ethic. Cee Dee Lamb and Amare Cooper may be just as talented as Scary Terry. But they look better because Dak is above average.
The good news is the rest of the NFC Least can't really get the QB position right. Dak was a late round lucky gift like Cousins or Frerotte. Dallas wet the bed once he went down last season. McCarthy is not good enough to win without an above average QB like Dak or Aaron Rodgers.
The Giants are horrible about getting good QBs. I knew Daniel Jones would only be at best a B or B- QB. At Duke, Jones once lost to my Hokies scoring only 3 points. Eli Manning really was only elite in the clutch in his 2 lucky Super Bowl titles. ShEli was not a very good regular season QB like his brother Peyton. Eli was just a little more clutch than Peyton.
Philadelphia actually is pretty good at acquiring good QBs. Philly probably has been the best NFC Least organization this century. They drafted Donovan McNabb when everybody wanted Ricky Williams. McNabb made them pretty good in the 2000s and almost won a Super Bowl. Carson Wentz was a pretty good draft pick but prone to injury. And they won with a good game manager in Nick Foles. And now, Jalen Hurts and Minshew seem pretty good but they are not elite. Dallas has the most talented roster. But only Dak and Micah Parsons scare me. Philly drafts better so really they should only be the main competition the next 2-3 seasons.
How can we know any QB coming out will be any good? I thought Leinart would be good. In this year's draft, I liked Trevor Lawrence, Trey Lance, and Kyle Trask. And it turned out the actual best QBs in reality have been Mac Jones and Davis Mills. Who knew?
This year's QBs do not look very good. I have seen many games with Kenny Pickett and Sam Howell watching the ACC. I have watched Malik Willis lead Liberty over my Hokies. I also personally saw Cincy's Desmond Ridder in a bowl game. None really stood out. I will do an evaluation before the draft. But if I had to draft today, I would take Howell based on grit and intangibles. I would say Ridder and Willis have the most upside but prone to injury. But who knows?
We KNOW good veteran QBs can play like Ryan or Carr. The WFT could get those guys on the fairly cheap. I suggest trading Da'Ron Payne straight up. Payne seems like kind of a hothead knucklehead starting something with Allen on the sidelines against Dallas. Sounds like Payne can't handle defeat well.
Everybody is pining for elite future HOF QBs like Rodgers and Russell Wilson?
First, Russell will never play for a bum owner like Danny. Second, Wilson is prone to injury later in his career. Rodgers is also more of a talented knucklehead QB. Rodgers will underachieve in his legacy if he only gets to 1 Super Bowl. Green Bay MUST at least get to the NFC Eas title game this season. A prime Brady would have easily won 1 or 2 titles with this Green Bay roster.
Acquiring Ryan or Carr would cost MUCH less.
Get it done Washington.
Oh and Danny, pick a name already.
We know you are a racist POS and apparently a bush league letch who likes to ogle attractive female employees. But you at least had the foresight to change the racist name. Way too much mental energy has been expended debating a new name. Danny should have changed kept the logo and changed the name.
The actual Native American logo was not racist. It was an actual homage to Native Americans picked in the 1950s. Native Americans have tried to tell you the logo was OK it was just the name. The Atlanta Braves and Florida State Seminoles with their annoying Tomahawk chants is more racist.
Looks like the name will either be the Red Wolves or Commanders. Fine, just pick one and keep it pushing. It sounds better than Wizards or Bullets. Like Nike says, Just Do it.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!