Sports Outside the Beltway

Alabama QB Brodie Croyle to Kansas City in 3rd

Brodie Croyle was drafted in the 3rd round yesterday by the Kansas City Chiefs, the 85th pick of the 2006 draft.

Alabama had not had a quarterback in the National Football League since Jay Barker washed out in 1999. Jon Soloman of the Birmingham News notes that it wasn’t always that way:

The names read like the opening chapter of a book on great NFL quarterbacks. But first, they belonged to the University of Alabama. Bart Starr. Joe Namath. Ken Stabler. Throw in three more with at least eight NFL seasons (Scott Hunter, Jeff Rutledge, Richard Todd) and one short-timer (Steve Sloan), and Alabama produced seven NFL quarterbacks between 1956 and 1979.

The Crimson Tide has yielded only three since 1980 – and none played in a regular-season game. When Brodie Croyle gets drafted this weekend, he figures to become Alabama’s first NFL quarterback since Jay Barker in 1996.

In a separate piece written before the draft, Soloman assesses Croyle’s prospects:

Facing the difficult task of predicting NFL quarterback success stories, scouts use the body types of current players as a guide. Two names pop up for University of Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle, due to their skinny frames: Trent Green and Billy Volek. Green went from being an eighth-round pick in the Canadian Football League to his current 13-year NFL career with two Pro Bowls. Volek was not drafted and has played six years as a backup.

Croyle said he hopes merely to get drafted sometime during the first day Saturday, which is three rounds. “If you’re not a top-15 pick, you’ve got to go prove yourself anyway,” he said. Croyle is projected as a second- to fourth-round pick. Once Matt Leinart, Vince Young and Jay Cutler are gone, Croyle could be the next quarterback selected.

Croyle’s detractors don’t like his injury history, lack of speed and slender frame, which the NFL lists at 6-foot-3 and 204 pounds. His supporters love his composure, quick release, accuracy, deceptive arm strength and knowledge. “Some guys look good on the team bus,” said Mike Detillier, a Louisiana-based draft analyst for the M&D Report. “This guy looks good out on the football field. I think he’s a heck of a player.”

Croyle worked out for the Jets, Ravens, Patriots and Chiefs, and visited the Chargers and Buccaneers. Ideally, Croyle prefers a team with a veteran starting quarterback he could learn from for a couple years. “I’ve always been a Cowboys fan,” Croyle said before explaining, in his laid-back drawl, the unusual reason why. “I was always a Cowboy growing up and thought it was pretty cool they were called the Cowboys.” analyst Gil Brandt, the former architect of the Cowboys, believes Croyle will be an NFL quarterback. “He’s a quality, quality player, the kind of guy you want on your team,” Brandt said. “My only concern is, does he stay healthy?”

It’s interesting that Croyle is being compared to Trent Green and now has the chance to be tutured by him.

As an Alabama alumnus and fan, I hope he does well, although I share Brandt’s concern about Broyle’s ability to stay healthy in such a brutal game. I’d have liked to have seen him go to the Cowboys, who I’ve been rooting for since before I lived in Alabama, but the team already has two young quarterback propects, Tony Romo and Drew Henson, who are likely at least as good a prospect as Croyle.

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