Friday, March 29, 2013

The State of Left Handed QB's as we approach the 2013 Draft

A little earlier today I edited my left handed QB post to check for possible 2013 additions to the list, and I then saw a comment posted on the thread asking how the 2013 draft would treat my list.  Crazy timing that I just happen to update on the same day that someone checks the list, so I figured I'd mention that status of lefties in a post here.  First a quick recap of last year's group, then a mention of how the draft and retirements affect this year's numbers.  Finally I'll rank the current lefties chance of seeing playing time from best to worst, just to show how tricky it is for lefties to make it in the game today.

Last year, the total numbers of left handed QB's who had ever played in the NFL was 40, and there were technically seven left handed quarterbacks.  They were Michael Vick (Eagles), Matt Leinart (Raiders), Tim Tebow (Jets), Kellen Moore (Lions), Sean Canfield (Saints), Tyler Palko (free agent), and Mark Brunell (free agent).

This year's draft prospects include 0 left handed QB's, so there will be no new fellows added to the list unless Armanti Edwards switches positions and sees extensive time at QB. The number of active lefties also reduces to seven, with two QB's leaving the ranks and one re-joining. Mark Brunell is basically retired, so he's gone, and Tyler Palko officially took a job outside of the NFL (per his LinkedIn account) so he's no longer listed as active..  The rejoiner is former WVU QB Pat White, who is back around the NFL trying to get signed by a team.  So six active as of today's date.  When I say active though, I don't mean very active, since only a few lefties are even truly rostered.  Here's how the current seven lefties look today:

1. Michael Vick, Eagles
Last year Vick was Philly's starter, but injuries and ineffectiveness ended with Nick Foles seeing a lot of action, and when Vick got the week 17 start due to a Folk injury, many people viewed it as Vick's showcase for QB openings after the season.  Well the season ended and the Eagles fired Andy Reid, but they kept Vick around for better or worse.  The Eagles already had Vick, Foles, and Trent Edwards on the team, and have since brought in former Steelers backup Dennis Dixon and former AFL/UFL QB G.J. Kinne since Chip Kelly became coach.  Odds are great that Vick makes the team and he still has a nice chance to start, but Vick's handle on an Eagles QB job are certainly more tenuous than they were a year or two back.

2. Kellen Moore, Lions
Moore received a lot of fanfare during his college days, but he went undrafted in 2012 anyway.  The Lions quickly scooped him up and kept him on the roster as their third QB behind Matt Stafford and veteran backup Shaun Hill.  Moore will likely see a similar situation this next year unless the Lions sign a different QB to push Stafford/Hill.

3. Tim Tebow, Jets
If you looked up the word polarizing in the dictionary in the year ago, you saw a picture of Tim Tebow.  Those days seem long ago though, as Tebow became one of many players affected by the putrid Jets last year, looking bad when he did play (especially on punt coverage which was a confusing choice to begin with) and looking bad when he didn't play since the Jets coaches didn't even trust him enough to give him the start over Greg McElroy once the Sanchize went down.  This offseason Tebow is surrounded by rumors, from moving teams (the Jaguars are a firm out) to moving leagues, but it's hard to say whether any of those things are really true.  With David Garrard signed, McElroy still rostered, and Sanchez not likely to be cut given his salary, something's got to give, so if Tebow isn't traded he will likely be cut and we'll see if another team (the Patriots have been rumored as a good fit) takes a chance on him,

4. Matt Leinart, FA
Matt Leinart's #4 ranking shows how little lefty QB's affect the current NFL, since only the top three are even rostered.  Leinart spent last season with the Oakland Raiders, playing in two late season games and putting up pretty poor stats.  That said, it's hard to hate on the guy since he didn't start either of those games.  Leinart looked okay in his very brief stint with the Texans in 2011, but he hasn't seen truly meaningful game action since 2007, as he only has 16 games played (with two starts) over the past five seasons.

5. Pat White, FA
Pat White has had a crazy past few years, going from the Dolphins roster in 2009 to being cut, then to playing for the Kansas City Royals minor league team before retiring.  He then signed to play in the UFL but was cut before the season started in 2011.  He sat out all last year but now, possibly due to the success of guys like RG3 and Russell Wilson, White is trying to make NFL rosters once again.  The 49ers and Giants have both already had a look and White projects nicely as a project 3rd QB who can also act as a Russell Wilson or RG3 clone in team practices before games against those teams.  Tough to tell if White could do much more than that, but it's still a skill of value so there's a decent chance he'll see an NFL roster for the first time in 4 years.

6. Sean Canfield, FA
Canfield was cut by the Saints last August, as they elected to go with a two QB system (Drew Brees and Chase Daniel) rather than keeping Canfield.  Brees had a typical season and Daniel didn't see much action, which prompted the Saints to let Daniel go this offseason.  One wonders if they could bring back Canfield as a backup since he presumably knows the Saints offense better than your typical QB, but Canfield could just as easily sit another year out and head the way of an early retirement.

UPDATE: Pat White has since signed with the Redskins as their QB3.  I'd say that puts him at least at #3 on this list, if not #2.  From out of the league to the second or third best lefty in the course of an is the life of a lefty.

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