When you talk about pure passers in this draft, the first name to come up should be Byron Leftwich. Leftwich sat behind current Jets QB Chad Pennington for one year and moved into the starting position after Pennington headed to the NFL. Many people were worried that Marshall’s prolific passing attack would fall flat on it’s face with Leftwich at the controls, due to lack of experience. Leftwich responded with 3,579-yards passing and 22 TD’s with only 10 interceptions. Not bad for a first year starter. The next year was even better as Byron threw for 4700-yards and 42 touchdowns with only nine interceptions. He also completed over 65% of his passes. Leftwich has been named the MAC player of the year the past two seasons. The comparisons to Daunte Culpepper of the Vikings are not that accurate in my opinion because Leftwich is a much better passer while Culpepper is a much better runner. Standing 6’6” tall and weighing in at 240-250lbs, Leftwich has great size for the position. He knows how big he is and uses his large frame well. He will stand in the pocket and take the big hit in order to complete the pass. While not being that mobile, he is very hard to bring down. He is a somewhat emotional guy, but not over the top. He is a very good leader because he doesn’t let bad situations rattle him. The only concern about Leftwich is his ability to play in an NFL system. He played in a system where he took most of the snaps from center out of the shotgun. Like I said earlier, he is not that mobile and his “heavy feet” could be a concern at the NFL level.
2002 Honors and Awards
Heisman Trophy Candidate
Davey O’Brien Award Candidate
Sammy Baugh Award Candidate
Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Candidate
Walter Camp Player of the Year Candidate
2002 Team Captain
2002 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year
2002 Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year
2002 Mid-American Conference All-MAC 1st Team selection
In my opinion, Leftwich will be drafted somewhere in the top 10 and most likely in the top 5 unless Chicago goes for a quarterback in free agency. Leftwich is the second highest rated quarterback in this draft behind Carson Palmer.
Redskin’s head coach Steve Spurrier had this to say about Leftwich.
"Byron is a big time quarterback who will obviously go down in the Marshall record books as one of the best. I think his talents will enable him to be a very effective NFL quarterback in the future."
How does Byron Leftwich fit into our fantasy plans for 2003?
Byron Leftwich will obviously be a high first round pick in the NFL Draft this April. He will most likely be chosen in the top five selections with an outside chance to be the first overall selection. Currently, he is rehabbing an injury, so his combine workouts will be looked at closely. He will most likely start his rookie season, so he has instant fantasy value. He is such a great, natural passer; he will have instant impact ability for an NFL team and your fantasy team. He is a Dynasty League special. Who may be interested in Byron come draft day?
Chicago Bears- The Bears went from the top of the NFC to the near bottom in one season. Most of the problem was the offensive line and quarterback position. Chris Chandler and Jim Miller are not the answer in the windy city and Leftwich would fit in well with Marty Booker, Dez White and David Terrell. Since the Bears have the number four pick, Leftwich will be available for the taking. The Bears may look to the FA market for their signal caller, but they could also grab Byron and solidify the position for the next 10-years.
Arizona Cardinals- Jake Plummer is out and the Cardinals will be looking for a quarterback. Since the Cardinals pick at number six in the first round, Leftwich could easily slide to them without a trade up. This would be an ideal situation for Leftwich considering the mammoth offensive line in Arizona. Leftwich would get the opportunity to throw to one of the NFL’s best receivers in David Boston as well. As long as Arizona coaches to the youngsters strength, which is passing the ball, he could flourish where others have failed in the desert.
Carolina Panthers- The Panthers are on the rise and are rebuilding with a group of solid young talent. Leftwich would be a welcome addition to the Panthers who have gone to battle with Rodney Peete and Chris Weinke the past two years. The Panthers could grab a receiver in the second round to compliment Leftwich in the rebuilding phase of the Panthers for the next two-three years.
What are the positives and negatives of Byron Leftwich?
Positives- Mechanically sound, very strong-arm, not afraid to take a hit. Has great size and strength. Very quick release. Tough.
Negatives- Some scouts feel his footwork need lots of help. He has “heavy feet” and cannot scramble like some people think. Like Donovan McNabb, he is not very accurate on the short, touch passes. He is more accurate throwing down field. He needs to release the ball sooner on timing patters so the receivers are not waiting for the ball out of their breaks.
Bottom line- I feel Byron Leftwich will be a very productive quarterback at the next level. All of his shortcomings are very coachable. He will have to work on his footwork and get used to the speed of the NFL. He will not be able to threat the ball into places like he did at Marshall. He will be a starter from day one most likely. He may sit behind somebody for a few weeks, ala Joey Harrington, but will assume the starting job quickly. Once the NFL sees this kid play, people will be making comparison to him, rather than the other way around. If I had to compare this kid to anyone, I would say Daunte Culpepper in size only, but I would have to say he is a cross between Culpepper and Warren Moon.
Fantasy value- Leftwich has huge Dynasty League value. He may even have some rookie value in case your other starters go down with injuries or become ineffective. Leftwich should be an early round selection in Dynasty Leagues but a free agent selection in re-draft leagues. This kid has all the potential in the world and he will get his chance to showcase his talents this fall.
This kid rocks, coming from the pennington stable, it bodes well for his future success. I agree with you, he would be great for the bears. And he sure couldnt be any worse for the cards than plummer is/was.
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The Cincy Enquirer stated today that Da Bungles are eyeing both Leftwich and Palmer...Funny thing is, last year i think, Leftwich was on a radio sports talk show and had mentioned something to the fact that he doesn't want the bungles pickin him as no.1....as of today's article, leftwich is stating that he never said such a thing and would be "honored" to be da bungles no.1 pick!!
a) "honored" is definitely not the word i would use....
b) the reporter got with that particular radio station and dug up the interview....in it, leftwich is clearly sayin that he does not want to go to cincy...
c) da bungles are still lookin at this guy!! i still think that them takin a qb with the first pick is ridiculous!! Smith would feel about 2 inches tall if that happened!! he's still there and hasn't done squat but move down the depth chart!!! and it's not like da bungles have been a rookie QB factory!! if anything, they take the rooks and ruin em before their career takes off...I think they should trade off the pick and stockpile some def players...but i guess that seems a bit too logical...ah well...to each his own....
We all know the Bengals won't take Leftwich, because he's the best Qb in that draft and you wouldn't want to actually take the best player, now would you? Curses Mike Brown, you've ruined my favorite team for the last 12 years. I hope your father rises from the dead and strangles you.
If the Bengals took a qb w/ their first pick, I'd have to feel way more comfortable with Palmer. I think Leftwich is much more of a risk, considering injuries and style. I hope we get a taker to trade for the 1st pick so that we can maybe adress the Defense, but if the Bengals end up having to make the 1st overall pick, I'd say it would have to be Palmer.
I'm hoping with Lewis at the helm in Cincy, that he can talk some sense into Brown, and they actually draft what they need - because I don't think they are too far away from an 8-8 season. I've heard them over and over again, saying they would probably take Palmer, but Lewis has repeatedly said, that he would not take a QB with the first pick - I guess we'll have to wait and see.
I hope Leftwich makes it to me in one of my dynasty leagues, but don't really see him making it past the first round (and I don't really want to pick him up too early).