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Max Hall or John Skelton? About That Other Cardinals Quarterback Controversy

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Surprise, surprise, it's another quarterback story!

In the midst of what has been a super fun Matt Leinart hate-fest, some people have suggested that the Cardinals best option for future success might lie in the abilities of 5th round draft pick John Skelton or undrafted free agent Max Hall.

I mean, after the way Skelton shredded the Texans 9th team defense or Hall posted an "electric" 63.5 QB rating in his debut, we've pretty much seen all we can see, right?

The old saying goes that everyone's favorite player is the backup quarterback and in this instance, when the Cardinals basically have a below average 1 and 1(a), the attention of the fans has dipped to the lowly-touted rookies.

With that in mind I set out to research the previous successes or failures or 5th round picks or undrafted free agents.

You may as well have called this story - I'm sick of Justin Burning calling for Skelton or Hall.

The 5th rounders:

For purposes of my quest, I searched back for the last 30 NFL Drafts to pull out each fifth rounder selected. (Note: I said fifth rounder; I get that Tom Brady was picked in the sixth round and is good at football.)

  • Since the 1979 draft (and through 2009) there have been 33 quarterbacks selected in the fifth round.
  • 22 of those 33 have been since 1999.
  • The 22 guys that came in between 1999-2009 started a grand total of 53 games combined, with Mike McMahon starting 14 games and A.J. Feeley getting the nod in 15. The other studs (starts in parantheses)? Dennis Dixon (1), Josh Johnson (4), Troy Smith (2), Dan Orlovsky (7), Craig Krenzel (5), Randy Fasani (1), Kurt Kittner (4).
  • Of those 53 starts, our nine heroes compiled a 15-38 career record, with only Krenzel holding a winning mark after his 3-2 record for the 2004 Chicago Bears (who finished 5-11).
  • If you dip beyond 1999, you find the only truly successful fifth round alum in the person of current Jets quarterback, 3-time Pro Bowler, and owner of 151 career NFL starts, Mark Brunell. However, even he did not find success until his third season and his second team (Jacksonville).
  • The pre-99ers also boast three different players who started more than 30 games, but odds are if you remember their starts then you're probably related to either Craig Erickson (35 starts) or Steve Pelluer (30 starts), or you watched Survivor during the season Gary Hogeboom (37 starts) was on there.
  • One of the more Arizona-related names on the list is current 1060 AM radio host Dan Manucci, who started a strike game for the Bills in 1987.
  • In case you want some laughs from the guys who didn't start a game, here's a partial list: John David Booty, Erik Ainge, Ingle Martin, Omar Jacobs, Adrian McPherson, (our old friend) Brian St. Pierre, Brandon Doman (BYU product), Craig Nall, Tee Martin, Rick Leach, and Chuck Fusina. Some of the greats really.

The Undrafteds:

  • The research is a little different with these guys, so you're basically stuck with guys who showed up on rosters and stuck for at least a brief period. 
  • In the last 20 years there have been four undrafted QBs who've gone on to make a large impact in the NFL: Kurt Warner, Jake Delhomme, Tony Romo, and Jeff Garcia. However, none of the four accomplished much of anything until at least their fourth seasons in the league and only Romo made an impact with his first team.
  • But those guys are obviously the very rare exception and not the rule. If Hall is lucky, maybe he'll end up like undrafted journeyman Todd Bouman, Anthony Wright, Billy Volek, or Shaun Hill. But in all likelihood, he'll have a career rivaling the memorable ones of Brett Basanez, Tory Woodbury, Kevin Thompson, Clint Stoerner, or Cory Sauter, each of which appeared in NFL games in the last 10 years that you've blocked from your memory.

Moral of the story? Stop getting so ahead of yourselves. Sure the fact that the Cardinals LOVE both guys matters to an extent, but I remember coaches being pretty smitten with Chad Hutchinson, Craig Nall, and Brian St. Pierre at certain points in their careers.

Odds are both guys are going to amount to absolutely nothing and if the offense is ever in either of their hands, it's probably going to suck. Exceptions exist, but they are rare. Probabilities matter.

Enjoy your weekend because I feel the quarterback drama has only just begun.