Guest Blogger: Comparing the teams with a rookie QB

By Glen Peer…

Now that it is official that the Seahawks will draft no higher than pick #21 and with the top 20 picks set in stone – the draft discussion can really heat up. My belief is that the Seahawks greatest need is at QB and believe Seattle should do whatever it takes to get the guy they think best fits their system to lead this team for the next 8+ years. I also believe that if that QB does not present itself this year at our pick, it will not be completely devastating to wait. A great example of that would be the Jets who traded way up to land Mark Sanchez after their roster was established with a great line, and the leagues top defense.

If the future QB comes this year in the draft, outside of Andrew Luck who the Seahawks have zero chance of landing, I’m not sure if there is a QB talented enough to effect the entire offensive unit like Sam Bradford did this year. I wanted to look at what the rosters of recent rookie starters looked like when they started.

We have all seen the tremendous starts of Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, & Sam Bradford careers. Mark Sanchez has taken his rookie lumps but has a 22-13 record as a starter, and taken the Jets to the AFC Championship game. Josh Freeman statistically had the worst rookie season and only started 10 games after sitting the first 6, but in his 2nd season has been spectacular boasting the best numbers of the five. These quarterbacks have proven that rookie QB’s can give teams a chance to win, but in my opinion all five of those teams have much more talented rosters around them than this current Seahawks roster. Below are some details on each situation:

Matt Ryan (QB Rating – Rookie year 87.7, Career 86.9) – Michael Turner, Roddy White, & Tony Gonzalez at the skill positions. An effective offensive line that allowed Turner to rush for 1699 yards and 17 TDS, & the team in total rushed for 2,443 yards at 4.4 yards a carry. In total the offense ranked 10th in points scored, and 6th yards in the league, and the defense ranked 11th in points allowed and 24 in yards allowed for the 2008 season. Matt Ryan was a big part of this offense, but in a game manager type of role not the focal point of the offense.

Joe Flacco (QB Rating – Rookie year 80.3, Career 87.9) – Didn’t have the same level of offensive talent at the skill positions in year one (Leron Mclain, Derrick Mason, and Todd Heap…Ray Rice was not much of a factor as a rookie) but the Ravens defense ranked 3rd in points allowed, and 2nd in yards allowed. Since his first season the Ravens have upgraded with the emergence of Ray Rice in the backfield, Michael Oher and Jared Gaither on the offensive line, and Anquan Boldin at the WR position. The heart of this team remains its defense which year in year out ranks in the top 10 in overall defense. Flacco was much of a game manager in his first season starting not a game changer. Even after 3 seasons Flacco has shown the ability to lead this offense and is continuing to grow in the system.

Sam Bradford (QB Rating – Rookie/Career 76.5) – Certainly did a lot in one year without very many offensive weapons. Steven Jackson is no doubt their best player, and it was apparent that Bradford essentially made his WRs/TEs better simply by being their. Danny Amendola, Danario Alexander, Mark Clayton, Michael Hoomanawanui, & Daniel Fells are some of the guys he had to throw to throughout the season. I think they have a much more talented offensive line with top young tackles, Roger Saffold and Jason Smith. Their defense has a young pass rushing DE in Chris Long that lead the Rams to 7th in sacks in the NFL with 43. Overall the Rams defense ranked 19th in total defense. In my opinion Sam Bradford, the #1 overall pick, did a lot to make the players around him better and narrowly missed the playoffs with an away loss to the Seahawks in week 17 similar to how most feel Luck will do when he arrives in the NFL. Bradford, in my opinion, is the only 1st round QB to carry his team of this group.

Mark Sanchez (QB Rating – Rookie year 63.8, Career 70.2) – Sanchez has not put up the numbers that other 4 quarterbacks on my list have, he ranks last in quarterback rating of the 5 at 70.2 which included 63.8 in his rookie year. However, he was surrounded with the NFL’s best rushing attack in 2009 in Thomas Jones, and Shonne Greene behind a top offensive line (D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Alan Faneca, Damien Woody, Brandon Moore, and Nick Mangold) and the top rated defense in 2009. Ultimately the 2009 Jets were led to the AFC championship game by the Defense, and Rushing Attack. Sanchez was not asked to do too much in his rookie year outside of manage the game. In his second year the numbers still are not that great but he has been clutch late in games pulling out wins, and taking the team back to the playoffs.

Josh Freeman (QB Rating – Rookie year (10 gms) 59.8, Career 82.2, his 16 gm total for 2010 was 95.9) Freeman maybe the closet model to the current Seahawks situation. Freeman’s rookie year was anything but spectacular, but as we move to the draft most people will remember him based on his 2nd season. Freeman sat the first 6 weeks of his rookie year before taking over with 10 games to go in 2009. His 2009 team did not boast any talent at the skill positions. Outside of Kellen Winslow at TE their were not too many threats; RBs Cadillac Williams, Earnest Grahm, Derrick Ward, WRs Antonio Bryant, Michael Clayton, Maurice Stovall. However, in Raheem Morris’s second year he brought Arrelious Benn, & (a ROY the year candidate) Mike Williams at WR, and found a hard running undrafted free agent running back off the Titans practice squad in LeGarrette Blount who lead all rookies in rushing. Morris also selected 2 defensive tackles (Gerald McCoy & Brian Price) with his 1st to picks to bolster their defensive line which helped bring the Bucs defense from 27 in both points & yards allowed to 9th in points allowed, and 17th in yards allowed. Freeman in his first full year as a starter has also been as exceptional as Bradford and in my opinion may have the brightest future of any QB on this list.

I decided to throw Matt Stafford in as well since he was taken 1st overall in the 2009 draft. Although injuries have kept Stafford out of more games than he has played.

Matt Stafford (QB Rating – Career 10 games 67.1 – did not record a complete game in 2010) Stafford was named the starter prior to his rookie year and was lost for the season after suffering a dislocated shoulder. Then again in 2010 he injured his shoulder and did not record a complete game. The Lions have certainly overhauled their skill position with Jahvid Best, Brandon Pettigrew, & Calvin Johnson but have not done much work to their offensive line. I think there is little doubt the Lions are heading in the right direction winning their final 4 games this season. Glimpses of Stafford have been promising but he will need to be better protected going forward after suffering his 2nd season ending shoulder injury. Detroit gave up 52 sacks in 2008 (2nd most), 43 in 2009 (8th most), and 27 in 2010 (6th least). Detroit’s defensive unit ranked dead last Stafford’s rookie year in points allowed & yards allowed, and improved in 2010 to 19th/21st respectively.

I think it is evident that the Falcons, Ravens, Jets had significantly more talented rosters when they started rookies and the Rams and Bucs were well on their way to upgrading their team. Seattle ranked last in rushing this season, and 6th worst in yards allowed & 12th in points allowed on defense.

As I stated above if a top flight QB does not present itself or the front office does not like any of the options available when the Seahawks are on the clock (see Jimmy Clausen) I don’t think the team will be set back by drafting in any area of need (CB, OL, DL, WR). Pete Carroll & John Schneider have shown they are willing to take risks (Mike Williams, Leon Washington), and make moves (Chris Clemons, Raheem Brock) to upgrade this roster and I expect that to continue through this next off season so this roster should look completely different than it does today. I would hate to see a rookie QB come in and be stamped a bust and compared to other 1st round rookies of recent drafts before given an appropriate shot to grow with the Seahawks…which are far from a finished product even with this playoff berth.


  1. Meat

    I like your point, and I have to agree. I have been saying and thinking the same thing all year, and I was not on the same bus a lot of people got on once Hassle had two 300 yard games this year. It seemed after those games many people thought he was still the future of the Hawks for another 3 or more years. At 21st pick there is no way, NOooo way Seattle will be able to pick up a Good future QB. The only way is if they trade up and get a higher pick, but I don’t see that happening. I am hoping Luck, Mallet, and Gab stay for a Senior year and then perhaps next year the Hawks may have more Luck in the Draft. 🙂 Luck mentioned earlier he didn’t want to go to carolina, perhaps the coaching situation at Stanford remains the same and he decides to stay. You mentioned some needs other than QB. A CB is next on top of the list in my opinion. That position needs an upgrade, bad. Way too many completed passes and yardage gained due to this positions issues. I have to include a DE- Hawks need someone who can get in and get more sacks, last time I checked Hawks is near the bottom in Sacks…Not good. The other positions are obvious, OL, DL-those are easy to see, but they also need a HUGE playmaker at WR and RB. The RB we have are good, and the OL not opening up lanes does not help their stats, but I cannot help to think what a Ingram could bring to the Hawks at that position. Get another tall and quick WR on the opposite side of Williams, and then there is something going..

  2. Nick Andron

    Hi Glen – great post and nice write up. I think it’s worth noting that John Schneider likely had a hand in drafting both Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn (no guarantee he’s elite, but he doesn’t look like a bust, either). Although the Seahawks likely don’t have the draft capital to get a franchise QB this year, I’m trusting that Schneider will make the right decision this off season.

    Meaning that – if the Seahawks don’t draft a quarterback this year, it likely means that Schneider was not convinced any of the quarterbacks available were worth attaining (attaining could mean trading up, etc).

    • plyka

      Just out of curiosity, shnieder was involved in the whitehurst trade as well, so if you’re already looking beyond whitehurst, it means that you don’t see him as the future. In which case why do you believe his next qb selection will be so good?

      • Matt

        I think Schneider was put into a terrible situation regarding the QB position. He HAD to do something because Hass had been hurt and playing poor. They probably didn’t like anyone in the draft, so they took a flier on a more seasoned guy who might be able to handle playing over a mid round QB in year one. Sure CW hasn’t turned into much, but I firmly believe they felt that they HAD to do something with the QB situation.

  3. ChavaC

    I think we really need to do everything we can to get a future franchise QB this draft. If that means giving up picks this/next year then so be it, because this team isn’t going anywhere without a guy the offense can hinge on. You can argue there there are several holes, and truthfully I wouldn’t be crushed to get a CB/DL, but the entire team has lived and died on Matt’s play this year.

    If you take a QB in the first, you can’t really expect him to contribute above replacement value until year 2, even if he’s a top 5 day 1 starter. Putting off QB this year (again) would mean 2013 until this team was a legitimate playoff contender (as opposed to a 7-9 NFC West joke). That’s two more years of Whitehurst’s 2 yard passes… no thank you.

    • diehard82

      Hasselbeck = 59.9% completion percent, 6.76 yd/attempt, 12 td, 17 Int, 29 sacks, 6 fumbles. In summary, TERRIBLE.

      NFL avg = 61.08%, 7.12 yd/attempt, 21 td, 13 Int

      Whitehurst against the Rams = 61.1% and 5.33 yd/attempt, 1 td, 0 Int. Not spectacular, but at least he gives us a chance to win. No turnovers = a chance.

      I think you can throw out the rest of Whitehursts play as he entered each game without all the first team snaps during the week leading up to the start.

      Clearly, anyone who has written CW off already is not giving him the same chance that every other QB gets. We need to see a full season of starts before coming to any conclusions. Therefore, I wholeheartedly agree with adding more talent around him and giving him 2012 vs. reaching for a QB and writing him off.

      BPA is the Best Policy. I’m hoping for a RB wth speed like Noel Devine, a true #1 WR to stretch the field like Julio Jones, a big physical ILB to provide competition for Lofa for playing time, a left guard with attitude to pair with Okung like Orlando Franklin, and a big, physical CB who can press and disrupt routes before they get started like Jimmy Smith.

      • ChavaC

        Any quarterback in the league could have played the safe and simplified game Whitehurst had against the Rams, Hasselbeck included. That’s not going to fly against good teams. If we were a strong defensive team with a good running game it might make sense, but we’re not nearly that kind of team and can’t afford to mask his poor accuracy and decision making in the long run. On the whole he is a 5 year veteran who has had 3 games and change without any real flashes of being anything more than a backup. Maybe he turns it up against the Saints and surprises everyone, but I’m not holding my breath.

        • plyka

          Thats just not true. Hass could never play anything like Charlie did un the rams game. Not even close.

        • Matt

          I’m not sure what Hasselbeck you are referring to. Outside of a few games, he’s been terrible for 3 years. That includes not being able to manage a game without mistakes.

          I get that many Hawk fans can’t take the blinders off in regards to Hass, but its clear to anyone not emotionally invested that Hass has consistently been a poor QB for 3 years. Might as well give CW a chance because Hass has proven he is NOT the future.

    • Matt

      I agree that “waiting til next year” is the reason why mediocre teams stay mediocre. Gotta be aggressive and gotta take a chance at some point.

      • Alex

        I agree that QB is the most important position and that we gotta do what needs to be done to get a franchise QB. That said, if one feels that there are no serious potential franchise QBs, it’s better off actually upgrading an area of the team. For us, CB is the 2nd biggest need and this draft happens to be the deepest and most talented in the CB position. Why not take advantage of it? I would be more than happy with Peterson, Jenkins, or Smith. Peterson looks unlikely, Smith could rise after the Combine or potentially be overlooked, and Jenkins is a very realistic possibility at 21.

        It’s true that you should pick a QB if you feel like he’ll get it done, but it’s also the position that you have to be BY FAR the most careful with. Just “choosing” or taking a risky chance of a QB could set your team back for 4-5 years or at best keep it at Status Quo. There isn’t nearly the risk with selecting OTs or CBs.
        The truth is, selecting QBs in the draft is a dual edged sword since if you select a 1st round QB, you’re usually both emotionally and financially invested in that player for at least 3 years if not 5 years because you’re just waiting and waiting for that maturity issue, that accuracy issue, that character issue, that work ethic issue to work itself out. In some cases, it doesn’t such as Jamarcus Russell. Naturally, if you hit it right, you could be on the cusp of a playoff game after winning one game last year (Bradford). However, the point is that a mis-selection can mess up this team and if the QB is going to keep a franchise grounded for at least 3 years, you mind as well dump that QB to another team so that the Seahawks can get the heads up.

        For the record, the only QBs worth picking are Gabbert and Locker. Gabbert is an obvious pick if he’s at 21. Locker is also a solid pick at 21 considering the need>BPA. For both, you know they need to learn two years, but their respective issues are very fixable. As for Locker, the main reason I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt is primarily because of the injury. That said, Gabbert and Locker might not be there are 21. If not, then there’s only CB , DT (another deep position), or OG (Pouncey might be worth it).



        • Glen

          I agree with a lot of what you outlined Alex. The wild card this year is going to be the CBA. No rookie contracts are going to be completed until its worked out and many of the talking heads believe it will be effective once signed (ie in place this year opposed to after the 2012 draft). If that’s the case, and (for example sake) Andy Dalton is sitting at 21 and it could potentially only cost $8 mil guaranteed opposed to the $20 mil that Tebow got late 1st rd last year. With the amount of $ that is invested in these unproved players has really been whats hurts franchise. They have so much money invested you can’t just cut the cord, teams try to do whatever they can to make their investment work.

          If players will be “cheaper” then that will allow teams to take more risks with less consequences. However, unless the CBA is signed prior to the draft teams won’t know.

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