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NFL Draft: Player Profile - Joe Flacco
John Tuvey
April 14, 2008
Quarterback - Delaware

Combine Height: 6-6
Combine Weight: 236
Combine 40 Time: 4.78

Threw for 4,263 yards and 23 touchdowns as a senior, with just five interceptions and a completion percentage of 63.5.

Skill Set:
Flacco has all the measurables scouts seek in a quarterback prospect: he’s tall but not skinny and possesses what is widely regarded as the best arm in the draft. He succeeded at a lower level of collegiate competition before scaling the draft boards following his Senior Bowl and Combine performances. Pro teams know they’ll have to develop a quarterback, and in Flacco they see the ideal physical specimen to start with.

That development, however, may some time. Flacco’s numbers were compiled playing primarily out of the shotgun, so he’ll need to learn how to get under center and read defenses while backpedaling. Recent history has shown us that even talented quarterbacks (Alex Smith in San Francisco, for example) struggle with this adjustment. In addition, he’ll be stepping up in class from the FCS (formerly Division I-AA) to the NFL; the windows into which he squeezes his throws will shrink, while the pressure of the pass rush will be arriving sooner than he’s used to. There will be a learning curve wherever Flacco lands.

Possible Destinations:
All the teams who pass on quarterbacks in Round One but still have a need in that area are potential landing zones for Flacco. He could develop for a couple years behind Josh McCown and John Beck in Miami, Chris Redman in Atlanta, Brodie Croyle in Kansas City, even Steve McNair in Baltimore. Where Joe goes really depends on how far Brian Brohm slides, and whether anyone trades back into the bottom of the first round to grab him. Teams with a more immediate quarterback need might prefer Chad Henne; Flacco is the developmental guy, which could also bring a team like the Panthers—who could get by with Jake Delhomme while Flacco understudies—into the mix as well.

Fantasy Impact:
Astute fantasy players are already wary of rookie quarterbacks; attach attributes like “developing” and “Division I-AA” and “learning to play under center” to a signal-caller and he becomes little more than a sucker bet in redraft leagues. Dynasty leaguers can take the same approach as pro teams, putting Flacco on clipboard duties while the rest of his game catches up with his NFL body. His physical skills resemble those of Derek Anderson, who took a couple years to develop into an NFL quarterback and fantasy stud; a similar timetable wouldn’t be unrealistic.

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