Unlike the position of running back and wide receiver, it is hard to expect too much from a quarterback during their rookie campaigns. They often sit on the sidelines longer than the other skill positions and usually seem to have a larger learning curve as they get familiar with not only the speed of the game, but mastering the playbook and the ability to read defenses as well. Still, there are a handful of rookie signal callers that you will want to keep your eyes on.
FOUR TO WATCH
1 (3). Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan, Boston College
The Michael Vick scandal put a black eye on the Falcons' season and the team's image. Now, they finally close the book on the Vick Era by making Ryan the thrid overall selection in April's draft. Ryan is smart enough to learn the system quickly and his talent is good enough and the competition at the postion is bad enough that there is a real possibility that he could start in Week 1. Still, despite some talent on offense with Roddy White coming off a breakout campaign and the off-season of the highly coveted running back Michael Turner, Ryan is facing an uphill battle and should still be avoided in re-draft leagues. The long-term outlook is a bit brighter and with him likely to be the first on the list to take over the reigns of the offense he should be the first QB taken in rookie drafts.
1 (18). Batlimore Ravens: Joe Flacco, Delaware
The 6-foot-7 Flacco has a great arm and decent speed for his size, but I still can't figure out why the Ravens traded all the way up to No. 18 overall to get him. I guess when you have Kyle Boller and Troy Smith holding down the fort, you go after the guy you want because you are going to need him. There's no doubt that Flacco could get involved early on this year, but with a whole new coaching system being put in place, a team that is getting older, and Kyle Boller standing is in way, I don't expect much from Flacco in 2008. Like Ryan, he is appealing in dynasty and keeper leagues where you can afford to stash a guy away for a year or two.
2 (56). Green Bay Packers: Brian Brohm, Louisville
The pick of Brohm is nice value here as I think he could end of being the best of the class at the position, but I do find it interesting that the Packers went there. Aaron Rodgers will finally get his chance in Green Bay with Brett Favre having retired. However, this pick clearly signifies that Rodgers may be on the short leash. I still recommend playing the wait-and-see approach with Brohm though. His long-term outlook is cloudy at this point.
2 (57). Miami Dolphins: Chad Henne, Michigan
Henne is going to have every opportunity to grab the starting job in Miami this summer. He was forced to battle through injuries during his senior season at Michigan, but his performance of the team's upset of Florida in the bowl game shows us that he is operating at 100%. I don't believe his style fits Parcells' philosophy, but he is major upgrade over last year's second round pick John Beck, who will also be in the mix. He gets the slight edge over Brohm on my board, but still should be No. 3 in the pecking order of fantasy rankings.
OTHER QUARTERBACKS DRAFTED
3 (94). New England Patriots: Kevin O'Connell, San Diego State
5 (137). Minnesota Vikings: John David Booty, USC
5 (156). Pittsburgh Steelers: Dennis Dixon, Oregon
5 (160). Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Johnson, San Diego
5 (162). Tennessee Titans: Eric Ainge, Tennessee
6 (186). Washington Redskins: Colt Brennan, Hawaii
6 (198). New York Giants: Andre Woodson, Kentucky
7 (209). Green Bay Packers: Matt Flynn, LSU
7 (223). Houston Texans: Alex Brink, Washington St.
Podcast: Fantasy Playbook (mp3)