I imagine the home of Skip Bayless isn't really a home. I imagine it has approximately 500 mirrors and mostly serves as a shrine to Skip's favorite person, himself. Every article he writes at ESPN.com is really just about Skip's opinion and the opinion of others regarding Skip's opinion. There's no substance to any of Skip's writing, instead it is mostly "Here is my opinion and what others thought about my opinion and do you mind if we talk about me a little bit more?" So under the guise of figuring out why quarterbacks taken in the first round of the NFL Draft miss the mark in the NFL, Skip reviews the quarterbacks who he believed would succeed and discusses how sometimes he's right and sometimes he is wrong, but mostly it's just another shrine to Skip Bayless and his opinions. The use of the words "I," "I'm," and "I've" in this article is so prevalent only the most noble and bored of adventurers would take on the expedition of counting how many times Skip uses these words.
I'll admit it's getting a little eerie. Six times before NFL drafts,
I've taken a stand for quarterbacks doubted by many. For a while,
they've all made me look like a genius.
It's eerie that Skip really doesn't know what the fuck he is talking about. Weird, isn't it?
Things have gone wrong.
They have gone wrong for a variety of reasons, but mostly because Skip was never right and NFL defensive coordinators found a way to game plan around stopping the strengths of these quarterbacks. It's much in the same way that Skip would build a bridge and claim "for a while" it was a work of genius until one day the entire bridge fell and killed dozens of people and hundreds of innocent water creatures. Skip will still insist "for a while" that bridge worked really well, while ignoring that isn't the mark of success at all.
In each case I wound up publicly pilloried as a madman, a football fool,
a quarterback hack who is daft when it comes to the draft. I still
believe I deserve credit for always being so initially right. You
It's all about Skip and the reaction of the public to the idiotic words he speaks because ESPN inexplicably gives him a forum to speak these words. And no, there is no credit being given for being initially right, because being initially right where a quarterback plays well for a season or two isn't correctly predicting that quarterback will succeed in the NFL. Success isn't determined over a short span of time. There's really no debate that can be had on this. Skip isn't right because Tim Tebow fooled defensive coordinators for almost an entire season, at least until they caught on to how to game plan around him.
But as we go case by case, you'll see a common cause of eventual failure -- one I can't account for pre-draft.
Skip tries to blame outside forces for the reason each quarterback didn't succeed in the NFL, in order to cover up for the fact "He isn't a good quarterback" could not have been accounted for prior to the draft. Skip can try and talk around it all he wants, and I will admit it's a guessing game whether some of these quarterbacks will succeed in the NFL, but the bottom line is that Skip went hard all-in on some of these quarterbacks and has ended up being wrong. He can talk around it, but that's the bottom line.
Most of these quarterbacks wound up with franchises whose executives and
coaches were dangerously split on them. I was all-in. The team that
drafted them was not.
Of course, it is the franchise's fault for not being all-in on these quarterbacks. Naturally. It's not that those executives and coaches who argued against the drafting of these quarterbacks were right, it's just they were only right because they argued against drafting these quarterbacks based on legitimate reasons that ended up being correct. But the reasons wouldn't have been correct if they had just been all-in on the quarterback. It all makes sense if you turn your brain off.
You'll also see a common flaw: Several of "my guys" failed to handle
their success and/or failure in unstable and uneasy situations.
And really, who could have seen that coming? Johnny Manziel partied a lot in college and was drafted by an organization that seems somewhat dysfunctional? Who could have seen that he wouldn't succeed?
You can argue I've been much more long-term accurate on which
quarterbacks are being dangerously overrated. I said on air JaMarcus
Russell and Sam Bradford were very bad ideas for No.1 overall picks, that Alex Smith would never live up to being taken No. 1 and that Matt Leinart, Brady Quinn, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder were not first-round picks.
You could argue that, but it wouldn't mean Skip wasn't wrong about these other six quarterbacks.
Those weren't popular stances.
Skip is a rebel and takes unpopular stances, based on the fact Stephen A. Smith disagrees with him. As is well known, Stephen A. Smith speaks for the majority opinion of the sports-loving world.
Neither were these ...
2006: I said on air the Houston Texans should take Vince Young No. 1 overall, in part because he grew up in Houston and had just led the University of Texas to the national championship with the greatest individual performance in title-game history.
Does Skip remember how popular Vince Young was coming out of Texas? It was not popular to say he would be successful in the NFL? I do disagree. Also, you can see from the start this isn't a column about WHY NFL quarterbacks taken early in the draft fail, as promised in the column title, but is about Skip Bayless and what he has said on the air. One other thing, to indicate the Texans should have taken Young simply because he grew up in Houston and led the University of Texas to a national championship is very bad reasoning for taking Young #1 overall.
Houston shockingly opted for defensive end Mario Williams, leaving Reggie Bush for the New Orleans Saints and Young for the Tennessee Titans general manager Floyd Reese and Titans owner Bud Adams,
It was shocking in that Mario Williams really worked out well for the Texans and Bush never really was the running back he promised himself to be in college. So it's almost like the Texans knew what they were doing.
One big problem: coach Jeff Fisher was against drafting Young.
Jeff Fisher is never wrong and you take it back right now.
Still, Young often made me look pretty good. He was offensive rookie of
the year. He made two Pro Bowls. He went 30-17 as Tennessee's starter.
And that's really what this is all about isn't it? Which quarterbacks made Skip look good and which quarterbacks didn't make Skip look good. Vince Young did have success for a while, but this doesn't mean Skip was right about him. I think Mario Williams was the right pick for the Texans.
But predictably, he often clashed with Fisher. It appeared Fisher helped
turn some in the local and national media against Young. His skin grew
IT WASN'T YOUNG'S FAULT HE FAILED IN THE NFL! IF HE HAD JUST GOTTEN ANOTHER SHOT WITH ANOTHER NFL TEAM HE WOULD HAVE SUCCEE---
Incredibly, after a season in Philadelphia and a camp with the Buffalo Bills and another with the Green Bay Packers, the league rejected Young at age 30.
This is shocking that Skip blames Young's failures on the environment in Tennessee and Young goes to another NFL team and continues to not be a good quarterbacks. It's almost like, and I almost dare not say it, Vince Young wasn't really a great quarterback and Skip was wrong about Young. But no, I'm sure the issues Jeff Fisher had with Young followed him to Philadelphia, Buffalo and to Green Bay. That makes more sense than Skip just outright being wrong.
What if Fisher had wanted to draft Young, had publicly invested his
pride in him, had supported him through the growing pains? Young was too
good for it to go so wrong.
What if Vince Young had success early in his career and this pretty much rejects the idea the biggest issue with Young's progress in the NFL is that he wasn't supported enough, because it doesn't make sense for him to play well at the beginning of his career and suddenly need more nurturing as he played more NFL games? I'm sure the Titans could have done something to help Young more, but three other teams took a look at Young and rejected him.
Another quarterback taken in that 2006 draft made the Pro Bowl in his second full season of starting. When Jay Cutler was a junior at Vanderbilt (my
alma mater) I began raving about him on air, predicting he'd be a
"franchise quarterback." Of course, that proclamation was met with
chuckles. A Vandy quarterback?
As always, it is about Skip Bayless. Sense a trend that permeates Skip's entire writing style?
"Here's a quarterback. Here's what I thought about that quarterback. Here's what others thought about my thoughts about this quarterback. Here's an excuse for why I was wrong, but this doesn't mean I was wrong and others were right."
Cutler was the "lucky" one of the six debatable quarterbacks I loved
before their drafts. (He's also the most prototypical pocket passer who
least relied on his legs.) Shanahan really wanted him. So did the Bears.
I certainly wasn't wrong about Cutler's ability. He's no bust. But he
is what he was at Vandy: a little more interested in pulling off the
occasional "wow" throw than winning.
Skip wasn't wrong about Cutler's ability? Is Cutler a franchise quarterback? No? Skip said Cutler was a franchise quarterback and he isn't, so that leads me to the conclusion Skip was wrong.
2009: I said on air that Mark Sanchez was being overrated. He went fifth to the Jets. I also raved about Josh Freeman and said the Tampa Bay Bucs stole him at No. 17.
Ah yes, the inconsistencies of Skip come to the forefront. He uses "games won" to make a case for why Vince Young could have been a great quarterback if it weren't for that meddling Jeff Fisher. All of a sudden he skips over that Mark Sanchez went to two AFC Championship Games as the starter for the Jets. Sure, I wouldn't give Sanchez credit for that, but in his eagerness to show how right he was about Sanchez, Skip changes the metric he uses for quarterback success. All of a sudden "games won" doesn't hold as much meaning to Skip when he's talking about a quarterback he thought wouldn't succeed in the NFL. Weird how that works.
I'd watched Kansas State's 6-6, 240-pound Freeman play big in his biggest games against Texas and Oklahoma.
No one else saw this. Only Skip saw Freeman play big in his biggest games against Texas and Oklahoma. (By the way, notice how Skip's love for the University of Texas seems to play a part in his evaluations?)
In his first full season as Tampa Bay's starter, he made me look
pretty great by throwing 25 touchdown passes to only six interceptions
and leading the Bucs to a 10-6 record. He was a Pro Bowl alternate.
... it all fell apart in 2011. Rumors swirled. Maybe Freeman let
success go to his head (or stomach). Maybe Raheem Morris lost control of
the team as it went from 3-1 to 4-12. Morris was fired.
Freeman played pretty well in coach Greg Schiano's first season -- 27
touchdown passes, 17 interceptions -- but the team went 7-9.
Welp, it seems using team performance to evaluate a quarterback means something important again.
After three starts in 2013, the Bucs tried to trade Freeman, couldn't
and released him. After one horrendous Monday night start for the Minnesota Vikings, a 23-7 loss at the New York Giants, Freeman was out of football at age 25.
You still hear speculation Freeman will get another shot. But how could he go from 2010 to this? Again: so right, so wrong.
Probably the same reason a rookie baseball player can have a fantastic rookie year and then fail to improve on or reach those heights for the rest of his career. Opponents adjust to the rookie's tendencies, and when the player's true talent comes to light after opponents have adjusted, it turns out he isn't the star people thought he could end up being.
2010: I said on air I would take Tim Tebow late in the first round. "If you let him run the read option he ran at Florida," I said, "he'll win games in the NFL. He'll never make a Pro Bowl, but he can win games as a starting quarterback."
He'll "win games," which is exactly the type of thing you want your first round pick quarterback to do. Just don't suck and win a few games.
Under John Fox, the Broncos began the next season 1-4, and a new
Broncos regime (led by John Elway) that clearly didn't believe in Tebow
threw him into the fire, at Miami, out of desperation. I was asked on
air what I thought Tebow's record would be the rest of the season. I
said 7-4. Chuckles.
Tebow went 7-4, led Denver to the AFC West
title, led the NFL in QBR in the last five minutes of games and turned
the Broncos into the NFL's No. 1 rushing attack.
And let's be clear that the Broncos HAD to become the NFL's No. 1 rushing attack with Tebow as the quarterback, because he wasn't going to win games by throwing the football. Regardless of whether the Elway regime believed in Tebow or not, it doesn't mean they stunted his growth. Tebow failed in New York, where Rex Ryan took Mark Sanchez (the same Sanchez that Skip didn't like as an NFL QB) to two AFC Championship Games and he flamed out in New England. I would think if Belichick could have used Tebow in any productive way then he would have.
That offseason the Broncos replaced Tebow with ... Peyton Manning! No shame there. Tebow was traded to the Jets, with whom he was never even given a shot at starting.
That's funny. Tebow was in New York the season that Mark Sanchez was horrible and the Jets needed someone, anyone, to come in and play well at the quarterback position. Even going up against the quarterback that Skip thinks sucks, Mark Sanchez, Tebow couldn't win the starting job on a team desperate for a starting quarterback. So yeah, he was never given a shot. That's the lie that Skip will go with.
Tebow began to doubt himself and drifted from one throwing guru to another.
Maybe he started doubting himself because he's really not that good at throwing the football?
It's still possible the Philadelphia Eagles' Chip Kelly will sign Tebow, but again, I was so sensationally right ... and ultimately condemned as so dead wrong.
No, not at all. You were so sensationally wrong. Tim Tebow is now a co-worker of Skip's at ESPN. Tebow is not in the NFL anymore, so Skip was right for a brief period of time, but in the longer span of time he was absolutely wrong about Tebow. Again, simply because a bridge holds up for a brief span of time before it collapses does not mean it was a safe bridge to cross for that brief span of time.
I do really like how Skip talks about how he was right about Tebow winning games as an NFL quarterback, while also ignoring that Tebow couldn't beat out the quarterback Skip proudly beats his chest in this article for correctly stating wouldn't be successful (Mark Sanchez). Ignore that which makes Skip look dumb. That's A LOT of ignoring.
2012: On air long before the draft, I said Robert Griffin III would prove to be an even better pro than Andrew Luck. The Washington Redskins traded three first-rounders and a second to move up from No. 6 to No. 2 to take RG III. Way too much? Not to me.
It's hard for Skip to talk his way out of this one. He'll try to do so by ignoring the issue he himself brought up when arguing for Griffin. The issue Skip presented was that Griffin will be a better quarterback than Andrew Luck. He's not and he won't ever be. Skip was wrong.
Still, In RG III's rookie season, at age 22, he went superstar on the
NFL. Offensive rookie of the year, 20 touchdown passes to just five
interceptions, led the league in yards per pass attempt and per rush,
led his team to the NFC East crown, had a better QBR than Luck -- 71.4
FOR ONE YEAR! ONE SOLITARY SEASON!
RG III sprained his knee late in the season, then tweaked it just before his team jumped out 14-0 on the Seattle Seahawks in
a home playoff game, then wrecked it late in that eventual loss. And he
has spent the past two seasons looking like a sad shell of a guy who no
longer trusts his legs or eyes or arm.
I like how Skip always blames outside forces for the failure of these quarterbacks. It's never, "Griffin got injured and his lack of mobility revealed him as a one-read quarterback who just couldn't grasp the passing concepts required to be an NFL quarterback." Skip reasons that Griffin no longer trusted his leg or arm after his injury. Of course, because Skip could never be wrong with his evaluation of Griffin's abilities.
He clashed with Shanahan and failed to click with new coach Jay Gruden.
Now ESPN's John Clayton is reporting new GM Scot McCloughan will take
Mariota if he's there at No. 5.
Now it feels like RG III's best bet is to start over with another team in another town.
Where when/if Griffin fails there, then Skip will conveniently ignore that Griffin was away from the Redskins' toxic environment and he still couldn't succeed.
2014: I said on air the Texans would forever regret not taking Texas native Johnny Manziel, the Heisman winner from Texas A&M, with the No. 1 overall pick.
And so far, the Texans have been correct twice when Skip has claimed they would regret not taking a quarterback that Skip suggests they draft.
I was told the Texans were considering Manziel until they asked him to
lay low and behave himself in the month leading up to the draft. Manziel
attended the Masters, had too much to drink and -- the Texans were told
-- made a spectacle of himself. They were out.
Again and again I said before the draft: If alcohol proves to be an ongoing issue for Manziel, I'm out.
Skip is blaming alcohol for Manziel's poor rookie season, while acknowledging that he thought alcohol could be an issue for Manziel prior to his being drafted. This sort of contradicts what Skip said earlier in this column:
But as we go case by case, you'll see a common cause of eventual failure -- one I can't account for pre-draft.
Oh, except Skip did account for Manziel's alcohol use pre-draft. I wouldn't expect Skip to stay consistent.
Loggains showed the text to owner Jimmy Haslam, who encouraged GM Ray
Farmer, coach Mike Pettine and coordinator Kyle Shanahan to trade up to
take Manziel. The Browns did, from 26 to 22.
But the GM, coach and coordinator were not sold on Manziel. I said on
air the next morning this was the wrong place for a quarterback whose
coaches and execs must be united in their belief in him and his
crazy-competitive playmaking genius. This, I said, will not work.
Me, me, me, me. Skip said this or that "on air." I wonder if Skip could write a column without once referencing his own opinion or in any way trying to bring the subject of the column back around to himself? Most definitely not. Remember, Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for Robert Griffin when he had his great rookie season. I'm not entirely sure what this means, so forget I brought it up.
The Browns lost last year's starter, Brian Hoyer, a Pettine favorite, to free agency but have signed Josh McCown and Thad Lewis and
recently (according to an ESPN report) tried to trade for Bradford.
Manziel no longer appears to be in the Browns' plans -- and shouldn't
have been in the first place.
Manziel needs a second chance with a GM and coach who completely buy in.
Maybe he'll prove to be nothing but a bust. The other five did not.
The other five quarterbacks that Skip caped up for weren't busts, but neither were quarterbacks that Skip proudly tells his readers he never liked and look at how right he was about that. Mark Sanchez wasn't a bust if Tim Tebow wasn't a bust, Sam Bradford hasn't been a bust, and Alex Smith is a lot of things, but he's also been a better quarterback than the six Skip has listed here as QB's he was temporarily right about.
I can't predict injury or addiction or sorry situations. But I must
admit, if I were a hotly debated draftee, I wouldn't want me pushing for
It's not like Skip is a well-known personnel genius or anything like that. He's just a guy with a hot take who likes to take guesses and then make excuses if he is wrong. But yes, I wouldn't want you speaking about me at all if I were a draftee. I would prefer you just disappear or try to write a column that isn't simply about you.