By ANDY ORTON
The Pro Bowl is an event that has significantly lost its original purpose. The game itself does not matter, and is played that way. Players are avoiding injury at all cost, so the game itself is almost unwatchable. This year was no different. We saw a complete blowout by the AFC, and at one point Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley were on the field as pass rushers. The game is nothing but a good bit of fun for the players, and should be treated as such.
However, what does matter a lot to players is making the Pro Bowl in the first place. The amount of Pro Bowls a player makes is one of the many things looked at for contract negotiations, hall of fame resumes, etc. In general the Pro Bowl gets it right. The best players in football from any given year are there. I want to focus on the most important position in football.
“Just wait ‘til the Quarterbacks next year.” I remember hearing those exact words from the commentators while watching the NFL scouting combine in 2017. The 2017 draft class for QB’s was widely considered to not be great, there weren’t any sure fire first round guys, and teams should’ve waited for the prodigal QBs in the 2018 draft like Sam Darnold. Three Quarterbacks ended up going in the first round in 2017. Mitch Trubisky was picked at No. 2 overall by the Bears. Patrick Mahomes went to the Chiefs at No. 10, and Deshaun Watson went to the Texans at No. 12.
What happened next is nothing short of remarkable. In their sophomore campaigns, all three QBs led their teams to the playoffs. Patrick Mahomes will be the MVP this year, Deshaun Watson is a surefire franchise QB, and Mitch Trubisky showed so much improvement from year one to two that he made the Pro Bowl. It’s the first time in NFL history that three first round QBs from the same class have made the Pro Bowl in their Sophomore Campaigns. This just proves how much scouts, and especially the media, may not know. The draft will always be somewhat of a crapshoot. The 2018 draft class was supposed to be the best since ‘83, and after their rookie season, only one of the guys looks like a sure thing. That’s Baker Mayfield who was the most controversial No. 1 overall pick I can remember. There are huge question marks surrounding every other quarterback in that class.
But if yesterday proves anything it’s don’t give up on a QB after a rough rookie season, and a lot of guys are going to have “Yeah but’s.” Teams shouldn’t be afraid to pull the trigger on Quarterbacks in the first round.
Can you imagine where Kansas City would be if they would have said “Yeah but he threw a lot of picks in college.” That 50 touchdown season as a first year starter would’ve never happened. “Yeah but he only started one year in college.” The Bears probably wouldn’t have made the playoffs. I don’t know what the hesitation with Deshaun Watson was. I have no idea why he fell to No. 12, but the Texans got lucky and have their guy for the next decade.
So congrats to you QB class of 2017 for shutting up all the haters and earning those hefty first round contracts. I can’t wait to watch you play for years to come.
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