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Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

SI.com has put together this interesting collection of quotes from when JaMarcus Russell was drafted three years ago. Props to Pete Prisco, Merril Hoge, and, to some extent, Peter King, for seeing that there was serious risk that went along with the possibility of reward.

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52 comments, Last at 12 May 2010, 12:50pm

1 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

Yay! Beautiful post. I'm no Al Davis fan, but it's irritating the number of people who were saying this was Al being moronic Al, when the pick was hugely and widely praised at the time.

2 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

That, was, awesome! I would love to see a piece like this every year right before the draft with quotes detailing the hits and misses from 3-4 years ago. Just a way to ensure everyone takes the so called experts' "analysis" with a very large grain of salt.

My favorite:

"Three years from now you could be looking at a guy that's certainly one of the elite top five quarterbacks in this league. ...You're talking about a 2-3 year period once he's under center. Look out because the skill level that he has is certainly John Elway-like."

Mel "My hit rate is less than a weatherman's" Kiper

3 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

I noticed that Lane Kiffin's endorsement was decidedly
lukewarm, especially considering he was going to be
Russell's coach.

4 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

Most of what we're reading is the product of him being a big guy and throwing a football through a goalpost from the 50 yard line on his knees. All of this praise about his footwork and smarts can be simplified to: Man, what an arm!

Whatever your opinion of them, I think you have to take what both Jon Gruden and Rod Marinelli said with a grain of salt. They were both coaching teams with top 5 picks, and even though it was no secret that they both liked Calvin Johnson you're supposed to praise every top prospect to hide your intentions.

Funny how Lane Kiffin didn't seem nearly as enthusiastic about his top pick as the talking heads.

18 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

Most of what we're reading is the product of him being a big guy and throwing a football through a goalpost from the 50 yard line on his knees. All of this praise about his footwork and smarts can be simplified to: Man, what an arm!

I'm pretty sure Kyle Boller is the only QB to be specifically cited for that particular "skill". Not that others can't or haven't done it, but he's the one who people talked about in those ridiculous terms.

35 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

I can pretty specifically remember it being said about Russell in the lead up to the draft. A google search kind of confirms it. I haven't looked hard enough to find any well-known talking heads citing it, but you can see fans bring it up while discussing his arm strength (though it seems I was off by one knee).

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=jamarcus+russell+throw+through+the+goal+posts+from+his+knees

5 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

He did go to about the worst possible team for a lazy guy with serious work ethic problems. Things could have wound up quite different if he had gone to a team with some stability that would actually hold its players accountable

6 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

I'd say Kudos to Mayock for identifying that the big risk there was work ethic. I.e, nobody knew if he had one or not, but clearly Mayock sensed some doubt.

8 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

Has any QB wowed them at the combine, then gone on to have a good career? Game conditions are so different from a combine workout that it doesn't seem like they would tell you a whole lot about how a QB would actually perform in an NFL game. The other QB I remember who greatly improved his stock in the combine was Jeff George, who had a legitimate career but was never all that good.

30 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

I think is point is "has any QB dramatically increased their stock by their combine workout from where they stood at the end of their last college season and gone on to justify that in their pro career?" Everyone expects that guys who were hot properties in January will carry that over to the combine, but the guys who were just OK and then "OMFG, look at that arm!!!" in Indy - any winners there?

32 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

I don't know if there are any that shot up just from the combine, but there have been lots of QBs who have dramatically changed their stock between the end of the college season and the draft, and some of them have gone on to good careers.

Phillip Rivers, IIRC, was initially given a low 1st round/early 2nd round grade at the end of the college season, but by the time the draft came around was being talked about as a top 10 pick. Which is the reason I was very skeptical of him--I don't like guys who rise that much when the games are over...

9 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

I'd also like to see the reverse of this piece - if it exists. Something like a compilation of all of the people who were down on Peyton Manning or Phillip Rivers, for instance.

22 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

I can address some of the Manning stuff from (fading) memory. Everbody knew he was very good and would be so on the next level, so it all boiled down to comparison between him and Leaf (poor Leaf, and I don't say that often). So when they found flaws with PM it was the usual nits they have to pick to have something, but not much. He was not as mobile as his father was one complaint/observation. The biggest slam IIRC was "limited upside potential" because some thought he hit his ceiling in college. He was regarded as the most NFL-ready QB, but might not have much upside, as opposed to Leaf who had more tools and more potential... sigh. Will they never learn?

SI was writing articles praising PM back in HS. (Yes, it was somewhat of a "family passing the torch" piece....)

Other guys I'd like to see lambasted: Walter Jones, Ray Lewis, Asomugha, Urlacher, Jason Taylor... there have to be at least a handful of 4+ pro-bowl guys who were not thought so highly of on draft day. Brady comes to mind. Moss? Reggie Wayne? He was drafted late 1st round after a teammate WR Santana Moss. Since I'm living in a Colts world, Dallas Clark, despite winning the Mackey Award, was clearly one of the BPA when picked but apparently not a position of need for a lot oteams. I wonder what the pundits said....

I know Romo is having a nice little career to himself--was he UDFA or late round? I'd love to know what was said about that signing. Pretty sure nobody trumpeted Dallas's QB of the future.

45 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

Not sure why.

My thoughts, and it seemed like most of his detractors had the same school of thought, were that if he failed, it would be due to his perceived self-destructive tendencies.

I don't recall too many people saying "this guy can't play."

47 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

I recall omments questioning taking an SEC receiver that high, and that his route running was so elementary in Florida's offense that it was an excessive risk taking him that high.

Now, I highly suspect that if Tavarasage Rosenjackfelson had been taking the snaps for the Vikings, many of those doubters would now be patting themselves on the back, which just suggests that a huge part of rookie performance is team context.

52 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

Or just that a huge part of any players performance is team context. We might think of Phillip Rivers just a little differently if instead of throwing to V-Jax, Gates, Floyd, LT, Chambers, Sproles, etc. his top offensive weapons for most of his career had been Frank Gore and uh.... Arnaz Battle and Brandon Lloyd. Oh, and he'd have the Niners LOL-line protecting him too.

28 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

I'm far from a professional analyst but I am a Chargers fan and I thought Phillip Rivers was more of a 2nd round pick than where he was actually chosen. And I didn't think his chances of success were anywhere near as good as the chance that Brees would develop. Not that I was confident of Brees either even though I did like him. My evaluation of Rivers was based mostly on the fact that I saw him play many times in college and while he was extremely successful he also had and has the ugliest throwing motion I have ever seen and I didn't think there was much chance it would translate well to the NFL. I was clearly very wrong about that.

29 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

Yes, I find it rather amazing that Rivers is as successful as he is despite his horrid mechanics. For someone who's listed at 6'5", his throwing motion gives him the release point of someone 6'0" (not much of an upgrade over Brees in that regard) and he still drops back like a wounded ostrich (can't claim credit for that last comment but it's too accurate).

20 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

"I'd also like to see the reverse of this piece - if it exists. Something like a compilation of all of the people who were down on Peyton Manning or Phillip Rivers, for instance."

There are a few retroactively hilarious comments from experts explaining why Leaf was the superior choice to Peyton Manning. Kiper, who's about as accurate as my scarily inept local weatherman, was naturally among those who thought Leaf was the far wiser choice.

I can actually understand why people thought Ryan Leaf was the better athlete, but what baffles me is how none of that ridiculously thorough scouting they do uncovered what a weirdly tempermental, immature douche he was.

24 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

So here is the big question, would Quinn have fared any better? If any other QB is a better fit in OAK, it is clearly Ben Rapistberger. Just win, baby!

Yes, I took a swing at the softball...and now I am doing the k-dance.

27 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

http://www.nfl.com/draft/story?id=09000d5d80025288&template=without-video&confirm=true I remember carruci nailing the post draft summary as well.

37 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

The sad thing is that it wasn't even the Sugar Bowl... it was his pro day. It's widely accepted that Russell staged the single greatest pro day in the history of professional football scouting. People were saying things like "I didn't really like him, but after his pro day I would trade a king's ransom to get him" without realizing just how absurd such a concept was.

38 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

I'm not sure if it's entirely fair to categorize Russell as a guy who's stock skyrocketed during the combine/Pro-Day process.

Here was Scott Wright's mock draft on January 18th, 2007. It has Russell going #1 overall:

http://web.archive.org/web/20070123230718/www.nfldraftcountdown.com/sub/mockdraft.html

The guy that year who definitely saw his stock go through the ceiling during pre-draft workouts was Patrick Willis.

50 Re: Remembering the JaMarcus Russell Hype

The video linked on my name is in Spanish, with Portuguese subtitles. Sorry for those that don't understand it. The point is how journalists switch their opinion after the result as if what they have said before simply never happened. For those that can't understand is just completely hilarious.