Are Tim Tebow, Matt Leinart, Vince Young, and Brady Quinn NFL Draft busts? An NFL Draft bust is a player who was highly regarded in college, picked in the first round of the NFL Draft, but then failed to reach their potential in the NFL.
Consider Matt Leinart, who was just cut by the Buffalo Bills after being out of football as a free agent for months. Matt Leinart, a two time National Champion at USC and Heisman Trophy Winner, was the 10th pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, going behind Vince Young, who was the 3rd pick going to the Tennessee Titans, and Leinart was selected by the Arizona Cardinals.
Leinart came into the Arizona Cardinals situation with a chance to be the starter and beat back the veteran Kurt Warner but he did not do that. Then, when Warner retired, Leinart was beaten out by another veteran Derek Anderson for the starting job there. Eventually, Leinart was sent away and to the Houston Texans, then failing to catch on there, he went to The Oakland Raiders, but never got a chance to contribute primarily due to Carson Palmer’s hold on the starting job, and then the eventual change of the Raiders regime. Then, Matt went to Buffalo, signed in reaction to the Bills temporary loss of the services of star rookie QB EJ Manuel.
Vince Young had a set of good years with the Tennessee Titans, even leading them to the playoffs in 2010. But a series of off-season problems curbed his career with the Titans, and he was sent off to the Philadelphia Eagles, where he played backup to Michael Vick. Then Vince went to the Buffalo Bills, but failed to catch on their after a promising start in 2012. Then, he tried the Green Bay Packwrs, but was cut this week.
Tim Tebow was another highly-prized college star quarterback, who led The Florida Gators to National Championships, and was drafted as the 25th pick in the 1st round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. Like Young, Tebow guided the Broncos to a playoff appearance in his second year, and after single-handedly digging the team out of a string of early season losses and to a seven-game win streak.
But 2012 saw the arrival of Peyton Manning, and Tebow was sent to The New York Jets. There, Tebow was never given the starting job, and didn’t seem to try and beat out Mark Sanchez, the starter. It’s as if he was content to be a backup. Eventually, he was released, and went to the New England Patriots.
At New England, he showed a new throwing motion, but failed to really take command of the Pats offense when given the chance. Tebow was released this week, as was Brady Quinn.
Brady Quinn was taken in the 2007 NFL Draft as the tenth pick, and by the Cleveland Browns. He lasted two seasons there, failing to catch on and eventually beat the same person who would later work to ruin Matt Leinart’s career, Derek Anderson, in 2009. But injuries took hold, and in 2010, Quinn was traded to the Denver Broncos. The trouble is, Quinn was there with Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton, never saw action, and after Tebow’s amazing 2011, was let go. He went to rejoin Romeo Crennel in Kansas City, but lasted one year, and when Crennel was sacked, Quinn was released and went to try the Seattle Seahawks. At Seattle, Quinn lost a battle with Tavares Jackson for the backup role to Russell Wilson and was released this week.
Are Tim Tebow, Matt Leinart, Vince Young, and Brady Quinn NFL Draft Busts?
The answer is a complex yes, overall. I think Tim Tebow, at 26, and a student of the read-option, still has a chance to contribute with the right organization. But what’s happened to all of the quarterbacks is they are the last of a breed of QBs that aren’t of a generation where high school football schemes weren’t as advanced as they were in the NFL. They’re all, for the most part, pre-Facebook quarterbacks – that is, the new breed of QBs are from a new sharing of information on schemes and players and health via social media. Thus, we have a lot more talented quarterbacks trained at younger ages and ready for college and the NFL earlier than ever. All of these men, Tim Tebow, Matt Leinart, Vince Young, and Brady Quinn, are going to find it harder to make NFL teams because the younger QBs are being picked in the lower rounds.
Still, anything can happen. I, for one, continue to believe that Matt Leinart needs a coaching staff to form a set of plays around what he does best – something never done in the NFL for him. But given that there are so many young guns coming to the NFL, that scenario is more a dream than a reality. And Brady Quinn would be a great fit in Andy Reid’s system at Kansas City, should anything happen to open up a spot for him.