Wide Receiver or Cornerback? It’s the question that most NFL scouts debate when attempting to categorize an ahtletically gifted collegiate quarterback with the size, speed, and strength to play multiple positions. They look at the successes of Antwaan Randle El and Ronald Curry at the pro level–both former college qb’s. They see Matt Jones from Arkansas as well as Brad Smith from Missouri get moved to wide receiver in recent years as well. The “experts” even believe that it is the destiny for Pat White, West Virginia’s talented multi-faceted and successful quarterback who is anxiously awaiting his name to be called during tomorrow’s NFL draft.
If it is hard to grasp, all you have to do is look at recent Husky quarterback Isaiah Stanback, a speedy and strong athlete with a rocket arm, who got drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and was immediately switched to Wide Receiver.
“I’m just looking to play”, Stanback told DallasCowboys.com in a recent interview. “That’s all. I want to play and contribute and help the team win.”
Most college quarterbacks do just that: accept a different position to fit in the NFL’s proverbial box, a move to keep their pro-football career going forward. And then there are the exceptions, such as former Nebraska quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch, who always fought for his right to play quarterback and decided to quit when his dream to play qb at the highest level wasn’t embraced by any of the NFL franchises.
As the spread-option becomes a favorite offensive system for many schools, athletic quarterbacks will become the norm and if the NFL continues to embrace their position switching philosophy, you will see a lot of great wide receivers that can throw the ball……and some quarterbacks who start only because of the NFL’s tunnel vision tradition of looking for the next greatest drop back passer.
Guys like Jake Locker and Tim Tebow will make an effort to buck recent history and be successful pro quarterbacks in the coming years. Ian Peterson of the BleacherReport.com poses the question about Locker’s NFL future in his article posted today. Peterson highlights his observation of Locker’s improvement with accuracy, arguably his biggest goal other than learning the new offensive philosophies, and states that he believes with the right guidance Locker has a good chance to make it to the NFL as a quarterback.
Eventually, NFL teams will realize that having a quarterback with mobility and speed is the future of the game, and the teams that find the best ways to utlize their talents will have the most sucess. And although it is an exciting thought to watch Jake on Sundays, do remember he is only a mid-Sophomore game experience wise. Before the NFL becomes a realistic discussion, Husky nation will get to watch him develop for the next 2 years on Saturdays–an opportunity to witness the progression of a player with a bright future.