The QB Class of 2005 … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

It will not be remembered in the same breath as possibly the greatest quarterback draft in NFL history, the 1983 group that included Hall of Famers John Elway, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly.

But the quarterback draft class of 2005 is a remarkable collection of stories about the trials and tribulations of surviving at football’s most difficult position. Two of the 14 members of that class will be the starters Sunday when Alex Smith (1st-choice) leads his San Francisco team into Arrowhead Stadium to face Matt Cassel (230th-pick) and the Chiefs.

Almost half of the class has been in the news in the last three weeks as the NFL season has started. Smith, Aaron Rodgers, Kyle Orton and Matt Cassel began the season as starting quarterbacks for their teams. So was Jason Campbell, but after two games he’s lost the job. It Derek Anderson who was picked to start for Arizona instead of Matt Leinart and in Buffalo this week Ryan Fitzpatrick is the new starter, replacing Trent Edwards.

Of the 14 quarterbacks selected nine are still in the league and six will start this weekend. Five of the 14 are out of the league and four never played a game.

There was not a quarterback thought of more highly in that draft that Smith as he was coming out of Utah. Few quarterbacks were through less of than Cassel, who had never started a game during his college career at Southern Cal.

Both of them are in similar positions going into Sunday’s game – they are the starters, with firm backing of the head coach, who must improve on a weekly basis if they hope to keep their job. Neither one could be said to be cemented into the first-team spot. In the class of ’05, only Rodgers has that status with the Packers. Seven of those still in the league are with teams other than the ones that drafted them.

First, here’s the quarterback draft class of 2005 and their numbers:

# Quarterback Team

G/S

Att.

Cmp.

Yrds

TD

Int

Rating

1 Alex Smith San Francisco

45/42

1,249

709

7,529

38

47

69.0

24 Aaron Rodgers Green Bay

41/34

1,196

764

9,244

63

23

97.1

25 Jason Campbell Washington

54/54

1,689

1,032

11,127

56

40

81.6

67 Charlie Frye Cleveland

26/23

677

419

4,154

17

29

69.7

69 Andrew Walter Oakland

15/9

333

174

1,919

3

16

52.6

85 David Greene Seattle

0/0

           
106 Kyle Orton Chicago

51/50

1,522

887

9,723

54

40

78.1

121 Stefan LeFors Carolina

0/0

           
145 Dan Orlovsky Detroit

12/7

272

150

1,679

8

8

71.3

152 Adrian McPherson New Orleans

0/0

           
213 Derek Anderson Baltimore

41/36

1,181

626

7,5541

47

47

69.5

229 James Kilian Chiefs

0/0

           
230 Matt Cassel New England

47/32

1,098

646

7,114

40

31

78.5

249 Ryan Fitzpatrick St. Louis

29/23

734

424

4,104

21

27

67.7

 

Each one of those drafted quarterbacks has a different story to tell about their journey. None have had a smooth ride:

  • Smith – missed one the season with an injury and has had five different offensive coordinators in the six seasons he’s been in the league, keeping the scheme only from last year to this one with the retention of Jimmy Raye was their coordinator.
  • Rodgers – had to wait for Brett Favre to retire the first time before he got a starting shot. That came in the 2008 season, after he’d spent three years doing mop-up work.
  • Campbell – got a chance in Washington but when Mike Shanahan came in this year, he traded for Donovan McNabb and Campbell was traded to Oakland.
  • Frye – started one week in Cleveland during the ’07 season when he beat out Anderson and Brady Quinn for the starting job. But after a poor showing in the opener, he was replaced by Anderson and traded a few days later to Seattle. He was No. 3 with the Seahawks and was traded the next week to Seattle as the Browns decided to go with Anderson. He’s currently on the Raiders injured-reserve list with a wrist injury.
  • Walter – bounced through the mess of the Raiders and never got a real chance to be the starter. He was released in July 2009 and then spent a few weeks with the Patriots before he was released. He’s out of the league.
  • Greene – spent a few years with the Seahawks as the No. 3 or practice squad QB. He also spent a brief period of time with the Chiefs. He’s out of the league.
  • Orton – was slated for duty behind Rex Grossman as a rookie with the Bears. But Grossman went down in the pre-season with an injury and Orton was rushed into the starting job and ended up opening 15 games, where Chicago went 10-5 and made the playoffs. The next year he was third string behind Grossman and Brian Griese. He was back in the starting job in 2008 and then was traded to the Broncos in the Jay Cutler deal.
  • Lefor – spent two years with the Panthers before he was released. Since then he’s been in Canada, playing with Edmonton and Winnipeg.
  • Orlovsky – In the 2006-07 seasons he did not step on the field for the lowly Lions. He left as an unrestricted free agent in 2009, signing with the Texans.
  • McPherson – In the 2006 McPherson was hit by a golf cart driven by the Tennessee Titans mascot during half-time of pre-season game and suffered a knee injury. The Saints cut him and he sued the Titans. But his time has been spent in Arena Football and now in the Canadian Football League.
  • Anderson – was drafted by the Ravens who released him in September 2005 with the idea of putting him on the practice squad. However, Cleveland claimed him and in two years he was the Browns starter, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl that season as an injury replacement. Cleveland released him back in March and he signed a week later with the Cardinals.
  • Kilian – turned out to be nothing more than a training camp arm for the Chiefs. He was the same with the Falcons and Colts, and then got tastes in the Arena League and Canada.
  • Cassel – you know his story.
  • Fitzpatrick – spent two seasons with the Rams then was traded to the Bengals for a seventh-round pick. He finished up the ’08 season in Cincinnati as the starter for the injured Carson Palmer. He signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Bills in 2009.

Cassel now has 32 career starts, or the equivalent of two full NFL seasons. His third season as the starter begins on Sunday against the Niners. So just where is he in the developmental process? Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis was quick to say in training camp that he was brought in to “fix the quarterback.” So how is the fix going? Weis says Cassel is doing a good job developing into a manager of the game and the team.

“I think that’s the most important job that a quarterback has is when they get in the huddle, everyone needs to know that he knows what he’s doing, and that he can manage the game,” Weis said. “I think that every game, every week, I just see him getting better and better at that.

“He’s really an extension of the coaching staff. I think that every day he gets closer and closer to thinking along with Todd and thinking along with me on how things are going. I think that the more and more the quarterback is thinking like you the better things are going to end up turning.”

WELCOME TO THE NFL, KENDRICK LEWIS

Last Sunday in Cleveland, rookie FS Kendrick Lewis laid a big hit on Browns TE Evan Moore.

Eventually Moore left the game and was found to have a concussion. He’s unlikely to play in the Browns game on Sunday. Lewis found the NFL’s hand in his wallet, as he was fined $5,000 for the hit. He was penalized on the play for unnecessary roughness.

The league review said his helmet-to-helmet hit was unnecessary roughness on a defenseless receiver.

BOBBY BELL’S NUMBER TO BE RETIRED A MINNESOTA

Next Saturday, the University of Minnesota will retire the No. 78 jersey of Bobby Bell during its game with Northwestern.

Bell becomes the fifth player with his number retired for the Gophers, joining Bronko Nagurski, Bruce Smith, Paul Giel and Sandy Stephens. His name and number will go up on the façade of the upper deck in Minnesota’s new on-campus field, TCF Bank Stadium.

“For me, to come from North Carolina playing six-man football and come to Minnesota and become … I just can’t explain it to you,” Bell said. “That’s history. Once you go up there … that’s something they can’t take away from you. It’s always going to be there.”

Bell came out of Shelby, N.C. and segregation kept him out of southern colleges. But Gophers coach Murray Warmath offered him a scholarship and he wound up becoming a two-time All-America at tackle and won the 1962 Outland Trophy, given the nation’s top interior lineman following the 1962 season. He won the Big Ten Most Valuable Player award and finished third in the Heisman voting in 1961. Bell led the Gophers to a 22-6-1 record during his three years there, which included a national championship in 1960 and 1962 Rose Bowl victory.

He was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL and the Chiefs in the AFL and eventually signed a deal with Lamar Hunt and then went on to a Hall of Fame career and his status as the greatest player in franchise history.

NFL PERSONNEL FILE FOR FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24

  • BRONCOS – declared RB Knowshon Moreno out of Sunday’s game because of a hamstring injury.
  • COWBOYS – signed TE Scott Chandler from their practice squad; released injured FB Deon Anderson with an injury settlement.
  • DOLPHINS – claimed OT Patrick Brown off waivers from the Jets.
  • RAVENS – signed injured draft choice LB Sergio Kindle, who was placed on the reserve-non-football injury list due to a skull fracture.
  • REDSKINS – released WR/KR Brandon Banks; signed RB Ryan Torian from their practice squad.

5 Responses to “The QB Class of 2005 … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • September 25, 2010  - Brandon says:

    I miss the old days when hitting a defenseless receiver made the top 10 plays of the day and Chris Berman would yell “Bam!” as we watched the receiver wriggle on the ground in severe pain.

    ah… the good old days.


  • September 25, 2010  - Edward says:

    Agreed. This defense less receiver rule is terrible. I can understand helment to helment but you should be able to clobber the receiver once ball is makes contact with the player.


  • September 25, 2010  - el cid says:

    Unfortunately, owners have invested big bucks in pro athletes. Follow the green, winning is not important, it how is my investment growing. How about skirts on QBs?


  • September 25, 2010  - Blake says:

    Question for you: How different would Matt Cassel be if KC took him instead of Kilian? Cassel would have learned behind Trent Green and not Tom Brady, he would have learned from Dick Vermeil and Al Saunders and not Bill Belichick and Charlie Weis.
    Kinda fun to think about


  • September 25, 2010  - Rick says:

    .
    Man, I really hope Cassel works out. But more and more I’m thinking he looks like a backup being paid starters money. Thus far his QB rating on the year is 55.8. Ugh.




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