Saturday, April 24, 2010

For McCoy, third round a charm

Pop quiz, hotshot: What does Colt McCoy, the newest member of the Cleveland Browns, have in common with Hall of Fame quarterbacks Joe Montana, Dan Fouts and Fran Tarkenton?

If you said that all were selected in the third round of the NFL Draft, you get a gold star. And after much consternation and hand-wringing in the McCoy camp after the former Texas QB fell to the 85th overall pick, he's clearly sitting among very good company.

It could well turn out that Cleveland is the ideal place for McCoy; he will get a chance to compete for the starting job with free agent Jake Delhomme -- whose skills declined last season with the Panthers -- and former Seahawks backup Seneca Wallace. Considering the new Browns president is famed quarterback taskmaster Mike Holmgren -- who presided over the careers of Brett Favre and Matt Hasselbeck -- that's even better.

There have been a host of successful quarterbacks in NFL history who fell to the third round. Leading the list are Hall of Famers Montana (49ers, 1979), Fouts (Chargers, 1973) and Tarkenton (Vikings, 1961). Others in the club include Matt Schaub (Falcons, 2004), Neil O'Donnell (Steelers, 1990), Jeff Hostetler (Giants, 1984), Danny White (Cowboys, 1974), Ken Anderson (Bengals, 1971), John Hadl (Chargers, 1962) and Don Meredith (Cowboys, 1960).

Not too shabby.

"We love his leadership. We love his track record," Holmgren told the Associated Press. "He runs well. He's intelligent. He's fiery. He's everything you look for in the position."

"I told (Holmgren and Browns coach Eric Mangini) I can't wait to be a Cleveland Brown and that we're going to win a lot of games," McCoy said. "Cleveland has a little orange in their jerseys just like UT.

"It's a perfect fit."


After the fourth overall pick of the Draft Thursday night, there is now an alternate following line to the above, with apologies to Louis Gossett, Jr., who uttered something very close to that in "Officer and a Gentleman."

Consider that when the Redskins selected OT Trent Williams of Oklahoma with the No. 4 overall selection, it marked the first time in NFL Draft history -- which spans 75 years -- that three players from the same college were taken in the first four picks in the Draft. That, after the Rams took QB Sam Bradford No. 1 overall and the Bucs made DT Gerald McCoy their man at No. 3 overall.

Kudos to the Sooners, who can now boast something no other school can. There had been two instances when a college had three players selected with the top five picks of the NFL Draft; it happened in 1967 (the first NFL-AFL joint draft), when Michigan State's Bubba Smith (1st, by the Colts), Clint Jones (2nd), by the Vikings) and George Webster (5th, by the Oilers ) were selected. Before that, you have to go all the way back to 1946, when Notre Dame's Boley Dancewicz (1st, by the Boston Yanks), Johnny Lujack (4th, by the Bears) and George Connor (5th, by the Giants) were tabbed.

Michigan State's impact in the 1967 Draft was even greater, given the fact Gene Washington was selected by the Vikings at No. 8, which means the Spartans accounted for four of the first eight picks.

There have been two other occasions when players from the same school were taken in the first two picks of the Draft; in 2000, Penn State's Courtney Brown (1st, by the Browns), and LaVar Arrington (2nd, by the Redskins) were selected, in 1984, Nebraska's Irving Fryar (No. 1, by the Patriots) and Dean Steinkuhler (No. 2, by the Oilers) were tabbed.

The 2010 Draft order is significant for another reason; when Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh was taken by the Lions with the No, 2 overall pick, it marked only the second time in Draft history that four players from the same conference -- in this case the Big 12 -- went in the first four selections.

The only time that had ever happened was in 1945, when the opening four picks were all players from SEC schools -- Charley Trippi (Georgia), Paul Duhart (Florida), Joe Renfroe (Tulane, which left the SEC in 1966) and Eddie Prokop (Georgia Tech).

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