QBs at a glance

April 11, 1999|By Ken Murray

Tim Couch, Kentucky

Height, weight: 6-4, 225

Green lights: Best all-around quarterback in his class. Big, physical player with exceptional athleticism. Prototypical pocket passer with good field vision.

Red flags: Doesn't have the strongest arm on the deep out pattern, but it's good enough. There is some debate whether he made Hal Mumme's system work or the system made him.

Flashback: Went 12-13 in two-plus years as a starter. Completed 72 percent for 4,275 yards, 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in modified West Coast offense last season. Three-year totals were 74 TDs, 35 picks and 8,435 yards.

How he'll adapt to NFL: Arm strength won't be a problem, even in tricky wind off Lake Erie in Cleveland. Won't perform as well as Peyton Manning did at the end of last year, but will be better than Ryan Leaf.

What they're saying: "Couch is a phenomenal athlete," said Baltimore draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. "He led the state of Kentucky in scoring in [high school] basketball. He has great feet, great movement, at 225 pounds."

Donovan McNabb, Syracuse

Height, weight: 6-2, 220

Green lights: Great ability as a playmaker. Improvisational skills can be spectacular. Very strong arm with outstanding mobility. Best athlete of the group.

Red flags: Not a drop-back passer at Syracuse, where he ran a sprint-option scheme. As a result, needs work on technique. Streaky.

Flashback: Went 35-14 as a four-year starter at Syracuse, with 8,389 yards, 77 TD passes and 26 interceptions. Threw for 22 TDs and only five picks last year.

How he'll adapt to NFL: After an incubation period, could become one of the game's most exciting young players. Needs the right team.

What they're saying: "Watching tape of him last year, at times they were giving him three-four checks coming out of the huddle," said Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid. "But his mind is rapid-fire. He's like an auctioneer back there."

Akili Smith, Oregon

Height, weight: 6-3, 220

Green lights: Big-time arm with tight spiral. Extremely athletic, can make big plays with his feet. More mobile than Couch with a more lively arm.

Red flags: Made 19 starts in two years at Oregon (13-6) as JuCo transfer with one big season. Needs to improve foot mechanics. Had two legal scrapes his junior year, including a DUI charge.

Flashback: Passed for 3,763 yards, 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 1998. Ranked first in the nation in yards per attempt, second in passer efficiency. Played three years of minor-league baseball.

How he'll adapt to NFL: This is raw talent, but there is terrific upside if he goes to a team that has time to develop him.

What they're saying: "Nobody has come as far as he has," said John Wooten, the Ravens' assistant director for college and pro personnel.

Daunte Culpepper, Central Florida

Height, weight: 6-4, 247

Green lights: Strong arm with a soft touch. Very accurate passer; his 73.6 completion percentage last season broke Steve Young's NCAA single-season record. Good field vision. Pocket passer with good mobility, quick feet and great size.

Red flags: Played against a lot of second-tier Division I teams. Threw four interceptions in a loss to Auburn. Some worry about weight, that he may become too bulky to play quarterback.

Flashback: Started every game except one (for a curfew violation) in four years and went 25-18. One of only three college quarterbacks to throw for 10,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in a career, joining Steve McNair and Doug Nussmeier. Threw 84 touchdowns and 42 interceptions in 44 games.

How he'll adapt to NFL: Has the ability to become a very solid pro. Is considered more advanced than McNair, who played at Alcorn State.

What they're saying: "In the right situation, he'll be very successful a lot quicker than people think he might," said Culpepper's college coach, former NFL quarterback Mike Kruczek.

Cade McNown, UCLA

Height, weight: 6-1, 213

Green lights: Savvy quarterback who reads defenses well. Moves well in the pocket with a good feel for the pass rush. Excellent leader.

Red flags: Just a shade over 6 feet and throws sidearm. Mechanics aren't great, his arm isn't real strong. Can be streaky.

Flashback: Won 20 of his last 22 starts and was MVP in Senior Bowl last January. Threw for 10,708 career yards with 68 TDs and 41 interceptions.

How he'll adapt to NFL: If he winds up with the right team (San Francisco?) in a West Coast offense, he can have a good career. A left-hander, he reminds some of Mark Brunell.

What they're saying: "If I had to play a game tomorrow, the guy I'd want is McNown," said New Orleans general manager Bill Kuharich. "He seems to be mature beyond his years."

Brock Huard, Washington

Height, weight: 6-5, 230

Green lights: Good mobility for a big man with a quick release.

Red flags: Showed faulty mechanics last season, throwing off his back foot. Accuracy lacking on the deep ball. Nagged by injuries.

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