Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dalton the Worst?

If nothing else, rankings and lists get people talking. John Clayton at ESPN ranks Andy Dalton as the worst starting quarterback in the NFL. From reading the article it appears Clayton is also holding the quarterbacks responsible for those around them. He says of Oakland's Jason Campbell, "too bad he doesn't have an offensive line that can block for him." So in these rankings the quarterback is responsible for those "ole'" blocks that can make said qb look like a fool. Dalton's last place ranking should come as no surprise, unless you happened to be paying attention to the Panthers starting quarterback this preseason. Cam Newton is ranked one spot ahead of Dalton. Newton has shown nothing in the "art of an NFL quarterback" department. Dalton has. But Clayton says Newton's "mechanics functioning in an NFL offense have exceeded expectations." Really? Those expectations must have been very, very low for the top overall pick in the NFL draft. Newton has completed a mere 40% of his passes this preseason. Apparently draft position has something to do with the rankings too, since former top pick Alex Smith is rated 28th on the list. Smith has struggled mightily in the league for six seasons. I would take Dalton's chances of panning out over a guy who has had ample time to get it right, but hasn't, in 54 career games. But there is no question Newton's talent is immense, and upside is a huge factor in these rankings. So is experience. Sam Bradford was 30th as a rookie in last year's preseason rankings by Clayton, but shot up to 14th this preseason. Like I said, rankings get us talking. But when it comes to rookies, those rankings can also be severely flawed.

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