Nick Wagoner Draft Preview: QB ..
Draft Preview: QB
Thursday, April 17, 2008
By Nick Wagoner
Just before the start of the 2007 training camp, the Rams made it clear who their quarterback of the present and future would be. Coming off the best season of his career in 2006, the team rewarded Marc Bulger with a lucrative long term contract meant to keep him in St. Louis for the foreseeable future.
With that move made, there is no doubt who the team’s starter is heading into 2008 and after some offseason shuffling at the backup spots, the Rams enter this year’s NFL Draft with little need for an immediate impact signal caller.
But that doesn’t mean the position will be ignored on April 26-27 when the NFL holds its annual selection process.
The Rams released Gus Frerotte and signed Trent Green as the veteran backup to help install new offensive coordinator Al Saunders’ offense. With Bulger starting and Green in the No. 2 spot, the Rams are likely to look to add a young signal caller late in the draft as a developmental prospect.
Rams coach Scott Linehan has already declared that the team would prefer to carry three quarterbacks instead of two in 2008. Brock Berlin remains on the roster after making one start against the Bengals in 2007.
The Rams had Michigan’s Chad Henne and Delaware’s Joe Flacco in for visits earlier in the week, but those two will likely go in the first day of the draft.
More than likely the Rams will look to add a young quarterback later in the draft, starting around round five. USC’s John David Booty, San Diego’s Josh Johnson, San Diego State’s Kevin O’Connell and LSU’s Matt Flynn are among the possibilities at that point in the draft.
1. Brian Brohm, Louisville
2. Matt Ryan, Boston College
3. Chad Henne, Michigan
4. Joe Flacco, Delaware
5. Erik Ainge, Tennessee
Sleeper: Matt Flynn, LSU
The official site of the St. Louis Rams - Article
Brohm Battles Back
Thursday, April 17, 2008
By Nick Wagoner
It was only a year ago that Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm was touted as not only the best quarterback but also the best player in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Soon after Brohm made the decision to return to the Cardinals for his final season and the 2007 NFL Draft came to an end, draft analysts and wanna be analysts everywhere immediately placed Brohm at the top of the board.
And why not? After all Brohm had posted video game numbers against Big East Conference competition and even had the NFL pedigree following in his brother’s footsteps.
But with the Draft now just more than a week away, Brohm is considered a borderline first round pick at best.
Brohm vows not to let that bother him, but his fall in the eyes of scouts has been a bit of a surprise.
“There is nothing really to be worried about,” Brohm said. “I am just going to go out there and perform. Wherever that puts me in the draft, that puts me. I’m not going to get stressed out about it. I’m just going to go out there and show what I got. If teams like it, they are going to pick me high. If they are not so sure, I’m going to go a little lower.”
Brohm’s dropping stock really had little to do with anything he might have done wrong. Brohm went through much that was unexpected in 2007 and by all accounts held his own in the face of that adversity.
Brohm arrived at Louisville in 2004 and threw 98 passes as a true freshman. He took over the starting job in 2005, throwing for 2,883 yards with 19 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
Brohm’s success in coach Bobby Petrino’s sophisticated passing attack began to draw the attention of scouts then.
But Brohm blew up in 2006 when he threw for 3,049 yards and 16 touchdowns. Of course, Brohm developed a knack for having durability issues as a variety of mishaps cost him snaps and opportunities.
Brohm suffered a season-ending Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury in the 10th game of the 2005 season and a thumb injury cost him almost three games in 2006.
The biggest blow to his career, though, came in the form of Petrino’s departure to the NFL after the 2006 season. Brohm knew Petrino’s offense inside and out and the task of learning under new guidance was sure to hinder his draft prospects.
“I think the system I was in helped me tremendously,” Brohm said. “I played in a NFL system under Coach Petrino. We ran that for three years, switched over to a one-back spread type of attack my last year. But being able to adjust to a new system and being in a pro style system helped me out a lot.”
The questions about whether Brohm could adjust were answered early and repeatedly through the 2007 season. After nearly leading the Cardinals to a national championship game appearance in 2006, it wasn’t Brohm’s statistics that took the hit with the change. It was the team’s record.
Louisville plunged to a 6-6 finish and did not receive a bowl invitation one year after playing in the Orange Bowl. While Brohm took plenty of heat for the record, his numbers didn’t bear out any drop in performance.
Brohm finished his senior season with 4,024 yards passing, 30 touchdowns and a 65.1 percent completion percentage. If anything, Brohm thought his play in the face of adversity would be a selling point entering the draft’s “silly season.”
“We went through a lot of adversity,” Brohm said. “I learned operating a new system and had success. Dealing with those struggles I hadn’t had to deal with before. Going through those struggles, at one point in time whether you like it or not you are going to have a struggling season in the NFL. Learning how to deal with that and dealing with it in the correct way will help me out in the future.”
It didn’t hurt that Brohm had his brother, Jeff Brohm, a former NFL quarterback, there to help him through the tough times. Jeff Brohm is on the Louisville coaching staff and helped coach his brother through the difficult season.
And when Brian needed help in the draft process, he was once again able to lean on his brother.
“He has been great for me,” Brohm said. “He’s a guy that played in the NFL for seven years. He was teaching me NFL things since I was 8, 9 years old. He was my position coach in college. He’s been a great influence on me and it’s been great to have that kind of experience in the family to help out.”
With the NFL Draft rapidly approaching, Brohm has a good idea that his stock isn’t where it once was. NFL personnel continue to question his arm strength, mobility, durability and tendency to wilt in the face of a pass rush.
The teams that like him, though, point to his ability to overcome adversity and learn a new system as well as his accuracy and decision making as reasons to grab him in the first round.
Sure, Brohm would love to have his name called in the first round, but he’s been through enough and seen enough to know how it all works
“I think it’s important as a competitor you want to be the first guy from your position taken and you want to go as high as possible,” Brohm said. “That’s what all competitors want. At the same time, I can’t worry about what other guys are doing; I can’t worry about if they are going to do anything here and what they are going to do. I have to worry about myself and go out there and perform.”
Even if Brohm is, say, the first player taken in the second round instead of first overall, that doesn’t mean he regrets his decision to return even when his stock was the highest.
“I definitely considered it (coming out early),” Brohm said. “There were a lot of factors that played into it but really I just wanted to come back for my senior year and play for the school I love. I feel like I learned a lot from it and I wouldn’t go back and change a thing.”