Much of the major media has written off this year’s quarterbacks beyond the top three prospects, but Bonner deserves due diligence.
Futures: CSU-Pueblo QB Chris Bonner
By Matt Waldman
Due diligence is a vital part of player evaluation. Victor Cruz, Tony Romo, Joe Horn, and Priest Holmes were the beneficiaries of this phrase as applied to scouting. While the transformation from relative anonymity to stardom is sexy reading, there are far more examples of due diligence yielding valuable role players who excel as special teamers, reliable reserves, or heady backups in hard-to-fill positions.
Ask around, and the 250-word blurb/500-word “feature” Internet perspective on quarterback prospects in this year’s draft is that beyond Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, and a vocal niche admiration for Brett Hundley, the class is a collective dud. It’s group-think like this that can make suckers out of us all.
Romo, a star at Division I-AA Eastern Illinois in 2003, was an undrafted free agent among a class that had four first-round picks at the position and six before the fourth round. Although top overall pick Carson Palmer often performed to expectation early on, the rest of the 2003 class was a disappointment, typical of most rookie quarterback crops.
Byron Leftwich, the seventh overall pick, had the grit, the arm strength, and the smarts. He also had the windup of a jack-in-the-box with a sticky tripwire. The methodical bludgeoning of his game transformed him from starter with promise to career backup. During the waning seconds of a close fourth-quarter loss for Jacksonville, fans could sing Pop Goes the Weasel as a cue for the edge rusher’s hit, Leftwich’s sickly contortion, and the ball squirting loose to end the game.
Kyle Boller, the 19th overall pick, could throw a ball through the goal post from midfield on one knee. I can put my palms together in what looks like a gesture of prayer, wiggle them, and make a farting noise. Neither one translates to good quarterback play.