In the wake of the BCS National Championship, it is easy to look at how exciting college football is. Part of the excitement around college football comes from dual threat quarterbacks. Of recent, the dual threat quarterback has been something that many NFL teams have toyed with, the Tennessee Titans included, with moderate success. What we have found out is that you need to actually be a good quarterback before you can succeed as a dual threat quarterback.
For example, let’s take a look at Deshaun Watson of the National Champion Clemson Tigers. He rushed 21 times and threw for 420 yards in the championship game. Any scout’s mouth would water at the sight of that, but at the end of the day those numbers just do not transfer to the NFL. Watson will definitely be a first round pick, but unfortunately his career may go the route of many dual threat quarterbacks, such as Vince Young, Johnny Manziel, and Tim Tebow, just to name a few.
The Tennessee Titans have always been involved with more mobile quarterbacks. Steve McNair was actually fairly mobile for a man of his size, Vince Young was one of the best and most dynamic college quarterbacks ever. Jake Locker retired because of all of the injuries he received while running out of the pocket. We all know that Marcus Mariota knows how to run the ball, as well as throw the ball.
In 2006, Vince Young was coming off a National Championship and was considered the top quarterback coming out of college. He was a fantastic mix of speed and arm strength. The Titans decided to draft Young and turn him into the heir to Steve McNair. Young’s career started out strong. He won Offensive Rookie of the Year and was elected to the Pro Bowl in 2006. He looked like he was on his way to a Hall of Fame Career or at least being a starting quarterback for the Titans for years to come.
The football Gods had other ideas. Young struggled to produce consistently as a dual threat quarterback. He was not accurate enough as a passer to be a pocket quarterback alone. Here lies a problem with many dual threat quarterbacks: a lot of them are not the most accurate passers and use their legs to get out of trouble.
NFL defenses are the most complex defenses a quarterback will ever see. There is a reason that a lot of these quarterbacks start to struggle after their first or second year. The rest of the league catches up to new trends. Remember when the wildcat offense was the next big thing? Now the wildcat offense is practically obsolete. The reason why is because defensive coordinators are really good at their jobs and they have the best players in the world at their disposal. In college, it is easier to expose the poor players and look like a star even if you’re an average quarterback at the NFL level, just ask Tim Tebow.
Although it may be exciting to watch, teams should really think twice about drafting a dual threat quarterback. Sometimes they can adapt to the NFL, like Marcus Mariota and Michael Vick. Others end up like Vince Young, Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, & Tim Tebow.