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Drafting QBs early has been risky proposition

By DARRELL FRY, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 14, 2002


As the debate rages over who is the best quarterback in the draft, Fresno State's David Carr or Oregon's Joey Harrington, consider something. During the 1990s, there were 20 quarterbacks drafted in the first round, but, arguably, only six (Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, Daunte Culpepper, Peyton Manning, Steve McNair and Drew Bledsoe) can be considered successful.

As the debate rages over who is the best quarterback in the draft, Fresno State's David Carr or Oregon's Joey Harrington, consider something. During the 1990s, there were 20 quarterbacks drafted in the first round, but, arguably, only six (Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, Daunte Culpepper, Peyton Manning, Steve McNair and Drew Bledsoe) can be considered successful.

Fans of Trent Dilfer, Kerry Collins and Jeff George can argue otherwise.

"They are always going to be 50-50," Colts coach Tony Dungy said of first-round quarterbacks.

"Half of them make it big, and half of them don't."

Here's more bad news for whomever drafts Carr (the Texans) and Harrington.

Of the 57 quarterbacks taken in the first round (including the supplemental draft), only four (Terry Bradshaw in 1970 by the Steelers, Phil Simms in '79 by the Giants, Jim McMahon in '82 by the Bears and Troy Aikman in '89 by the Cowboys) have led the team that drafted them to a Super Bowl title.

That's about a 7 percent success rate.

AS THE TROTTER TURNS: The Jeremiah Trotter saga in Philadelphia is like a soap opera.

Trotter, the team's defensive MVP last season and an unrestricted free agent, is one of the best linebackers in the league and wants to be paid like it. That means Ray Lewis money (about $6-million a season).

Unhappy with the Eagles' reluctance to pay him Lewis money, Trotter, with his pastor at his side, supposedly barged into team president Joe Banner's office recently and demanded a meeting.

The next day, he and the pastor had a heated meeting with coach Andy Reid, who told Trotter in so many words that he's no Lewis.

"Andy said, "If I sign you for all this money, I've got to cut some guys,"' Trotter said. "I didn't say (he should do it)."

No, Trotter didn't. He just kept demanding the $6-million.

Right now, his most likely destination is Houston.

DID YOU KNOW?: Harrington was an altar boy at Drew Bledsoe's wedding.

Harrington's family is friends with the family of Bledsoe's wife.

DO YOU WANT TO ARGUE WITH HIM?: Who's the best defensive tackle in the draft? Many analysts say Tennessee's Albert Haynesworth.

But North Carolina's Ryan Simms begs to differ, and he has a message for any team that disagrees.

"I feel I'm the best defensive tackle out there," he said. "If a team wants to pass on me, they'll pay for it next year."

LIGHTS, CAMERA, CARTER?: Former Vikings receiver Cris Carter isn't sitting around waiting for a team to sign him.

Since talks with the Rams and Dolphins fell through, Carter has been hunting for television jobs.

He interviewed with HBO's Inside the NFL and reportedly is talking with Fox Sports.

NOT GOING FAR: Former Bucs punter Mark Royals officially signed with Miami on Saturday. He will compete with Matt Turk.

SAY BYE-BYE: Former Bucs defensive end Chidi Ahanotu, who reached the Super Bowl with the Rams this past season, likely will be on the move again.

The Rams aren't making much of an effort to re-sign him, meaning he probably will play for his third team in as many seasons.

LONG WAIT: Like the Bucs, Miami doesn't have a pick in the first two rounds.

It traded its first-round pick to New Orleans for running back Ricky Williams in March and its second-round pick to Philadelphia during last year's draft to move up to pick linebacker Morlon Greenwood.

-- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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