After Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell surprisingly went undrafted this past weekend, Red Raiders coach Mike Leach questioned how the NFL evaluates college quarterbacks.
Harrell set all sorts of NCAA records this past season while leading Tech to an impressive 11-2 record, a Cotton Bowl berth and a share of the Big 12 South title with Oklahoma and Texas. But when the NFL had its annual draft this past weekend, Harrell went undrafted, and that infuriated Leach.
"I think everybody has different priorities at quarterback, and that's a position that the NFL drafts incredibly poorly,'' Leach said. "If you look at all the NFL teams, if they're any good at drafting quarterbacks, then every NFL quarterback that starts should be a first-round draft pick. But that's not the case but for a fraction of the teams.
"The reason is because they're not very good at accessing and selecting (quarterbacks). And it's really not possible to disagree with my opinion on this subject, because we're back at the thing I said at the beginning. If they were able to access this (quarterback) position, then how come a first-round pick isn't starting at quarterback on all the NFL teams?''
Harrell, who signed a free agent contract Monday with the Cleveland Browns, passed for 5,111 yards and 45 touchdowns this past season. That comes on the heels of the 2007 season when he passed for 5,705 yards and 48 TDs.
For his career, Harrell threw an NCAA record 134 touchdowns and passed for 15,793 yards. But none of those eye-popping stats apparently mattered to the NFL scouts, who questioned whether Harrell _ who worked mostly out of the spread offense at Tech _ could successfully make the transition and comfortably work while taking the snap from under center.
Leach also questioned how the Cowboys could use the first pick of the fourth round to draft Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee, who played in just six games and threw only two TDs this past season and for the Aggies
"They've got to make their decisions,'' Leach said of the Cowboys. "And then A&M, for what they tried to do offensively, played the other fella (quarterback Jerrod Johnson).
"Well, I can't really say anything's wrong. I watched them and you look at them and you decide what you need accomplished. But for what A&M is doing, I'm sure they made the right decision, because they watched the players and practices more than anybody else.''
Leach said everyone will find out in due time if the Browns are a perfect fit for Harrell, a 6-3, 205-pounder from Ennis. The Browns have wavered between starting Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn at quarterback, which could mean Harrell may have some opportunities in Cleveland.
"I think they'll probably want to throw the ball some, so I think that part is good,'' Leach said. "I just think the field of quarterbacks, there's not really anybody there that's really established as a guy or as a starter.
"So I think it's a really good opportunity for him to go in there and make some noise and show what he can do.''
-- Dwain Price