Will 2008 Be A Legendary Year For Quarterbacks?

It's a question worth asking, I think.

USA Today posits that the success of our boy Matt Ryan and the Ravens' Joe Flacco is putting a lot of pressure on general managers leaguewide, several of whom are in trouble if their hot shot quarterback prospects don't work out. There's a few probably coming out next year, guys like Colt McCoy out of Texas and Matt Stafford out of Georgia, who are going to be awful tempting for teams like the Detroit Lions or the St. Louis Rams to take a shot on. It probably won't work out so well for them, though.

Sometimes life hands you freshly squeezed lemonade and tells you to sit down and relax. Thomas Dimitroff surely liked Matt Ryan, but nobody outside of Ryan's immediate family would've told you he would take off so spectacularly. After some early season struggles, Flacco is rapidly improving and has the Ravens positioned for the playoffs as well. These guys aren't just clearing their projections, they're pole vaulting over them.

What's really scary about the class of 2008 is that we haven't even seen some other intriguing picks get any snaps yet. Chad Henne has all the tools necessary to be a quality starter in the NFL and will likely get a shot at the starting job in the next season or two with the Dolphins, while Brian Brohm could be a quality NFL backup at worst for the Packers. Even the Patriots have a quality backup candidate in Kevin O'Connell, who probably has more going for him from a physicality standpoint than any quarterback New England has had recently (yes, even you, Tom Brady). Heck, the Vikings could do worse than fifth round pick John David Booty next year.

Naturally, not all of these guys will turn out to be anything special. Still, if Henne takes the path I expect from him and does reasonably well, you could have three quarterbacks performing at a very high level coming out of the same draft. The last draft with that kind of bounty was 2004, when teams selected Eli Manning, Phil Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger, and you have to go back quite a bit further to find another draft that turned up more than two guys with any lasting impact.

If injuries don't derail any careers, I see great things coming from this class. As a fan of quality quarterbacking that doesn't involve Gus Frerotte, I hope I'm right.

But beware, GMs, lest ye find the low-hanging fruit of high round quarterbacks is not so kind to you in 2009.

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