With the first pick in the National Football League draft, the Oakland Raiders select . . . whom? JaMarcus Russell? Brady Quinn? Wide receiver Calvin Johnson? If the Raiders opt for a quarterback, they won't make a bad choice with either Russell or Quinn. It is a two-man race.
JaMarcus Russell, 6-foot-6, 263 pounds, Louisiana State. Do you want a ridiculously strong arm? A dangerous pocket passer? A 6-foot-6 - that's right, 6-6 - quarterback? Then Russell is for you. He's big, strong, and can throw the length of the field. His weakness is that he relies on his arm too much, and forces throws or hangs on to the ball too long. But Russell was 25-4 as a starter at LSU, and last season completed 67.8 percent of his passes with 28 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. A can't-miss pick.
Brady Quinn, 6-foot-3, 226 pounds, Notre Dame. Considered the safer pick when compared to Russell, Quinn started 46 of 49 games for the Irish, and leaves Notre Dame with 36 school records. Last year, he followed up a nearly 4,000-yard junior year by completing nearly 62 percent of his passes, with 37 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Quinn is a pocket passer with adequate mobility.
Drew Stanton, 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, Michigan State. Like Edwards, Stanton was not blessed with a lot of help at Michigan State. Scouts like his size, mobility, ability to throw on the run, and his strength, and pin the Spartans' offensive problems on a lack of talented wide receivers and offensive linemen. Stanton threw for more than 3,000 yards as a junior, but was dogged by injuries and sat on the bench for his career finale against Penn State.
Trent Edwards, 6-foot-3, 222 pounds, Stanford. A player loaded with potential. He has good size, is adequately mobile, and is smart, but Edwards got pounded behind an inadequate offensive line that left him in the training room all too often. A broken right foot ended his collegiate career in October. Edwards was 10-21 as a starter, but that shouldn't scare off suitors.
Others: Troy Smith, Ohio State; Kevin Kolb, Houston; Chris Leak, Florida; John Beck, Brigham Young.
- Ashley Fox