Despite being a success at Notre Dame, Brady Quinn never became the star of the Cleveland Browns that many expected him to be.
For lack of a better word, Brady Quinn was a bust. He was a big ol’ bust too. He’s one of the three quarterbacks that the Browns took at no. 22 overall in more recent years, having been drafted in 2007. Brandon Weeden would be picked at no. 22 in 2012, with Johnny Manziel being picked up at no. 22 in 2014. Like all three men, Quinn was the subject of a draft trade, which saw the Browns give up their 2008 first-round pick for him.
All three men were busts, but Quinn was arguably the most surprising to be one. Manziel came in with too much ego and Weeden was taken when he was 28 years old, and many didn’t see how he’d get much better at that point. Quinn, however, was young, a great athlete, and a proven winner at Notre Dame.
ESPN writer Adam Rittenberg really thought Quinn would be a star in the NFL, despite his career college competition percentage being at 58%, which he never brings up.
"Ivan mentioned Notre Dame’s Brady Quinn among the 2006 quarterbacks who didn’t pan out, and he’s the one who immediately comes to mind. I covered Quinn’s entire career, especially the 2005 and 2006 seasons, when he passed for 7,345 yards and 69 touchdowns for the Irish. Charlie Weis had just coached Tom Brady to three Super Bowl championships and developed Quinn into a two-time All-America selection, a Heisman Trophy finalist and the Maxwell Award winner in 2006. Quinn looked like the perfect NFL prospect, playing in the perfect system to prepare him for the next level and with the perfect coach in Weis. Maybe the slight drop in his play in 2006 should have been an indicator. Maybe his career goes differently if he goes somewhere other than Cleveland first. There are actually a few players from those Notre Dame-USC games in 2005-06 who I thought would do way better in the NFL: Quinn, USC quarterback Matt Leinart, USC wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett, Notre Dame tight end Anthony Fasano."
Most good college quarterbacks throw in the high 60% range, while first-round college prospects could have a completion percentage of 70%. Baker Mayfield (twice), Russell Wilson, and Tua Tagovailoa all had seasons where they completed 70% of their passes while in college. The accuracy of a quarterback is a good barometer no matter the level they play at.
Quinn had two seasons of low 60%. What was expected of him to do in the NFL when he wasn’t that accurate in college? Say what you will about Mayfield’s struggles, that was mostly due to an ineffective offense scheme because he was brilliant in his rookie season. Wilson is a future Hall of Famer in part to his accuracy and Tagovailoa is a top ten draft pick this year and that’s with a hip injury that could’ve been career-ending.
To ever think Quinn was going to be a star is a bit hilarious in hindsight, especially if your only metric is touchdowns to interceptions. That’s like saying Ricky Davis was really good cus almost had a triple-double once.
Quinn had a goofy release, his stance was pretty static and he was so jacked he couldn’t bring his shoulders around on passes as he should’ve been able to. He looked like he was hurling the ball like a rock, not throwing it in a tight spiral. He looked lost in the playbook and he showed early that he didn’t have a strong enough arm to beat out Derek Anderson, let alone become an NFL Pro Bowler.
These were all issues on his college tape but hey, it just goes to show you that sometimes draft “experts” would rather have hype around a decent player at a big-time school than actually grade them out fairly. Admittedly, I was a fan of the pick when it happened but hey, I was 20 years old and didn’t understand football as I do now.
What’s Rittenberg’s excuse?