- Todd McShay, Scouts Inc.
Matt Leinart did not participate in the workout portion of last month's combine and USC's pro day is not until Sunday. Still, I've seen enough over the course of the last three years to confidently say Leinart is the top quarterback prospect in the 2006 draft.
Young seemed to slip into hibernation following his extraordinary performance in the Longhorns' upset victory over the Trojans in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 4. His absence from the highlights created a vacuum and Cutler has benefited. During the 11-week stretch between the Rose Bowl and last week's pro day workout in Austin, Texas, it was easy to get caught up in the hype tornado surrounding Cutler. After all, the only new information regarding Young's draft stock was an embarrassing Wonderlic score (15 was his best of two attempts).
Meanwhile, Cutler clearly distinguished himself as the best quarterback prospect at the Senior Bowl. He had a solid all-around performance at the combine. He scored a 29 on the Wonderlic, ran the 40-yard dash in the high 4.7-second range, notched 23 reps on the 225-pound bench press and displayed the second-best arm strength of the participating quarterback prospects. The fact that he also wowed scouts with a strong passing performance in windy conditions at his Vanderbilt pro day on March 17 doesn't hurt, either.
With that being said, it's critical to remember that the draft process is a marathon, not a sprint. Over the course of the last week I have gone back and studied five game films on both Young and Cutler while also analyzing Cutler's combine workout compared to that of Young's pro day workout. Although the decision is admittedly still not an easy one, I can make a stronger case for drafting Young than I can for Cutler.