At a news conference the Cardinals held after Kurt Warner re-signed last month, vice president of football operations Rod Graves smiled when a reporter suggested Vince Young might still be available in the draft for Arizona.
“I’d pick him up at the airport,” Graves said, a nod to the Cards’ interest in the University of Texas quarterback.
Young hasn’t played any football since then, but the perception of his pro potential might have changed as many teams wonder how easily he will make the jump to the NFL.
Young hopes to ease those doubts today when he works out for NFL personnel for the first time in Austin — an event that may have a major impact on April’s NFL draft.
“It’ll be critical, because a lot of eyes will be there to see him up close and personal,” Graves said. “But to be honest, I think that workout will only account for about 25 percent of a team’s evaluation.”
The Cardinals aren’t going overboard in the assumption Young will slip. Neither Graves — who has meetings he can’t miss — nor coach Dennis Green is making the trip to Texas today. Offensive coordinator Keith Rowen will go, along with quarterbacks coach Mike Kruczek and one or two scouts.
The recent quarterback shuffles — Drew Brees to New Orleans (picking No. 2), Pat Ramsey to the Jets (No. 4), Craig Nall to Buffalo (No. 8), Josh McCown and Jon Kitna to Detroit (No. 9) — have thrown a wrench into whether those quarterback-starved teams will choose a quarterback in the first round.
Tennessee (No. 3) and Oakland (No. 7) are the other teams that may take a quarterback. The Raiders in particular are thought to be high on Young.
But with Young, Matt Leinart and Jay Cutler all highly ranked, one still might be there for the Cardinals at No. 10.
Young is the wildest card, however, with his funky throwing motion and unbelievable running skills. He spent his college career at Texas running more often than he will in the NFL, and frequently playing in the shotgun.
“His style doesn't project for success in the NFL,” former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski told the Philadelphia Daily News.
That’s why the workout is so important: To show teams Young can indeed be a “normal” quarterback.
“Hearing the different things (coaches) have been saying about my throwing motion is that there’s nothing really wrong with it,” Young said recently at the scouting combine. “The media, that’s who keeps talking about the throwing motion. There’s nothing wrong with the throwing motion. I (need to) just keep getting my mental part of the game better and better, and keep playing what I’ve been doing all my life — playing football.”