Football's Draft is Two Months Away 2.24.03
You know how negative comments/ predictions are often prefaced with "I hope I'm wrong, but..."? Well, I hope I'm right. Because this looks like a no-brainer.
I'm talking about Carson Palmer. This guy comes out of high school, highly rated, steps on the USC field and simply stinks up the place for two and a half years. One good half year under Pete Carroll and an accidental Heisman trophy later, he's tabbed to be the first pick in the draft over a guy who I don't think ever had a very bad performance in Byron Leftwich.
I look at Palmer and I see a guy who got great protection in his last year, had an excellent defense, and capitalized on it. He's a big guy, six foot six, immobile, good arm. This translates into "he'll be killed in the pros." Unless he gets, again, great protection. Here is a telling quote, from Peter King's page on cnnsi.com:
"I believe Palmer does not radiate the leadership and command in the huddle that teams would like to see. I have concerns about his poise under pressure at times. ... Palmer lacks a quick arm, and the ball does not explode out of his hand the way teams would like to see and do see with an Elway or a Michael Vick. Palmer is a very streaky thrower. ... He does not read, react, or sense the rush as quickly as is desired, and he makes far too many boneheaded decisions."
--The late (and highly respected) draft analyst Joel Buchsbaum, writing about the consensus No. 1 pick in the upcoming NFL draft, USC quarterback Carson Palmer, in his fall 2002 Pro Football Weekly draft prospects manual
His decisionmaking got better... I guess. But I never saw the ball rocket out of his hands. I never saw anything one could call "quickness." And he's only done it for a f--kin' year. With an excellent defense to back him up. With better talent around him than 85% of the teams USC played. This is not the man to lift a franchise with below average talent in the Cincinnatti Bungles, I mean, Bengals.