Way back in the PSBC days in Foxborough – pres Super Bowl Championship – the Patriots found the ultimate diamond in the rough quarterback by drafting Tom Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft.
That single move set the foundation for the NFL's most successful franchise over the last decade-plus and ensured that the Patriots wouldn't be among the handful of teams each offseason looking for a quarterback for quite some time.
But other teams aren't so lucky, and even those that think they have established starters in place have to do their due diligence to procure talent – even for backup purposes – at the position. This week with that in mind the Chicago Bears are working out a group of passers that includes former No. 1 overall pick and colossal bust JaMarcus Russell.
That got my early-June, no-OTA-practices-today brain thinking about Russell getting another chance at the NFL and the fact that Tim Tebow may not. Is that fair? Is that the way it should be?
Russell was the Raiders top pick in 2007. The big-bodied and big-armed passer lasted three seasons in Oakland, where he started 25 of 31 games played. He completed 52.1 percent of his passes. Had 18 touchdowns and 23 interceptions and a 65.2 passer rating.
He also had issues off the field – Purple Drank anyone? – and was an overweight mess.
I recall watching Russell play against the Patriots in Oakland in 2008 when he completed 17 of 32 passes for 242 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in a 49-26 New England win. Those numbers don't look awful, but I recall seeing him make some of the most inaccurate throws I can ever recall seeing.
Russell should never have been the No.1 overall pick. He was never close to worth it. He clearly wasn't ready to be the face of a franchise or its leader on the field. He was a guy coming out of LSU who seemed to lack the ability to quickly read a defense and make accurate, NFL-caliber throws.
That of course brings us to Tebow. The former Broncos first-round pick was released by the Jets this offseason. Tebow has played three seasons in the NFL, starting 16 of 35 games played. He's completed 47.9 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions for a career 75.3 passer rating.
The story making the rounds this offseason is that Tebow might be getting blackballed out of the league and that he simply can't play the quarterback position at the NFL level. Heck, one Yahoo! Sports story reported that Bill Belichick "hates" Tebow as a player.
But if you look at the numbers, the reputation, the winning of games and just about everything else that goes into it, Tebow would seem far more worthy of a workout for a team looking for a quarterback than Russell. Yet Russell is getting a chance, even if it's just a small one with the Bears, and Tebow's calendar seems free of any NFL opportunities.
I'm as big a Tebow detractor as there is on the planet. I don't think he can play QB in the NFL. Unlike others, I also think he's probably a fraud as a worker and a teammate.
But in what world does Russell -- regardless of how much he's worked to change and prepare for a comeback -- deserve another chance and Tebow not?
Is it fair that Tebow isn't getting a chance while Russell is? If you absolutely needed to sign a quarterback and could only pick from Russell and Tebow, who would you choose? Let us know with a comment below!