Flawed quarterbacks pass muster with some

Seven drafted on Day 2, including Miami's Dorsey

Analysis

Nfl Draft

April 28, 2003|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

The debate over the quarterback class of 2003 must wait a few years for resolution, but this much can be said of the early returns: In a performance-based business, Ken Dorsey's 38 wins for the University of Miami did not earn him much respect.

Knocked for lack of arm strength and a wealth of playmakers at Miami, Dorsey tumbled all the way to the seventh round of the NFL draft yesterday. Taken by the San Francisco 49ers with the 241st pick of the two-day draft, he was the 13th and final quarterback selected.

By late afternoon yesterday, Dorsey had begun to accept the idea he might not be drafted.

"When it gets that late, that starts to be a concern," he said. "I'm really not disappointed or upset about where I went. I just feel like now I have something to prove and I want to do that."

Despite his career 38-2 record -- including one national championship -- for Miami, Dorsey lasted 240 picks after Southern California's Carson Palmer went to Cincinnati, 131 after Iowa State's Seneca Wallace went to Seattle and nine after Indiana's Gibran Hamdan went to Washington.

And according to Pro Football Weekly's draft preview, Hamdan is a better baseball prospect than he is a quarterback.

Dorsey's wasn't the only eye-opening quarterback selection in the draft, though. It wasn't even the most stunning of the second day. That distinction went to minor league third baseman Drew Henson, a former Michigan quarterback, who was drafted in the sixth round by the Houston Texans.

Because the Texans already have David Carr as their quarterback and since they also drafted Louisville's Dave Ragone in the third round Saturday, general manager Charley Casserly was not drafting on need. He was, however, drafting on the possibility that Henson might abandon his baseball career and return to football in the near future.

"I think with Drew Henson, it's simple," Casserly said during a television interview yesterday. "If Drew Henson had come out when he was scheduled to [in 2002], he clearly would've been a first-round pick. He might have been a top-five pick.

"We own his rights. He's going to play baseball. Let's see what happens."

It was a shrewd move on Casserly's part. Henson was regarded as a potential franchise quarterback before he left Michigan as a junior in 2001 for a six-year, $17 million contract with the New York Yankees.

But Henson has not had much success in the minors. He went into yesterday hitting .167, striking out once every three at bats, for the Yankees' Triple-A team in Columbus, Ohio. Although he warned NFL teams before the draft that he would not play football, it wasn't surprising that some team would invest a low-round pick.

That it was the Texans was perhaps appropriate. If Henson had come out a year ago, he likely would have been chosen by Houston ahead of Carr as the first pick in that draft.

The Texans will hold Henson's rights until next year's draft. If he decides to give up on baseball before then, they could trade him for a high draft pick. If he doesn't give up baseball, he goes into the draft in 2004 for one final time and after that becomes an NFL free agent.

The second day of the draft was filled with quarterbacks who had some serious flaws. Wallace was the first of seven quarterbacks drafted on the day, but at 5 feet 11, he is fighting the NFL's height stereotype.

Wallace threw more interceptions (27) than touchdowns (26) in 25 starts for the Cyclones, but what made him attractive to Seattle in the fourth round was his 15 rushing touchdowns. In some eyes, he is a slightly smaller version of the Atlanta Falcons' Michael Vick.

Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury went to the New England Patriots in the sixth round. Kingsbury threw for an astounding 5,017 yards and 45 touchdowns last year. But that was in a run-and-shoot style offense in which Kingsbury operated exclusively out of the shotgun formation.

Kingsbury also gets rapped for his arm strength. With the Patriots, he will be a project behind Tom Brady.

Dorsey has been working hard to erase the knock on his arm. He went to Phoenix after the season to work with former NFL quarterback Danny White on his throwing mechanics. He also sought professional help for his diet, and, since the end of the college season, he has gone from 189 pounds to 215.

"I feel like the ball has been coming out a lot better," Dorsey said, "and to be honest, my spiral has gotten a lot tighter because I haven't had to try to overpower a throw."

Dennis Erickson, the 49ers' new coach, refutes the notion that Dorsey has a weak arm. The 49ers brought him in for a private workout before the draft, and Erickson was impressed.

"I guess in the [scouting] combine, he didn't throw it very well," Erickson said. "When we had him out here in our workout, he has plenty of arm. I totally disagree with that. He has plenty of arm strength to get things done."

But Erickson said Dorsey was worthy of a draft pick for reasons beyond the arm.

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