NFL Scouts on Vince Young
Scouts agree UT's Young has NFL star quality
But the question is at which position?
By JOSEPH DUARTE
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
At 6-5, 230 pounds, Vince Young is an exceptional open-field runner with speed, acceleration and cut-and-miss ability.
AUSTIN — Professional scouts rave about Vince Young's rare gifts, a combination that borders on the unstoppable and unpredictable.
The University of Texas junior quarterback has the moves of a running back and the speed of a wide receiver. Young has been called a righthanded version of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick because of how difficult he is to defend.
The same pro scouts who dissect — and try to keep up with — his every move on the field spend the same amount of time putting his flaws under the microscope. His inconsistent arm angle and release point are at the top of the list. So are his decisions and touchdown-to-interception ratio.
"Obviously, he's a tremendous athlete, but as a quarterback, he has a long way to go," said Dan Shonka, publisher of Ourlads.com, an Internet scouting service based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Young has experienced the high-pressure environment at UT, but expectations are higher than ever going into this season. The Longhorns are forecast to make their most serious national title run in at least two decades. Young's Heisman Trophy candidacy could take off and end before the halfway point of the season. And what about finally beating Oklahoma?
As for his long-term future, Young can't dodge questions about whether he'll turn pro after this season or return in 2006.
His decision — and performance this season — most likely will influence whether he's destined to become an NFL quarterback or the next quarterback-turned-receiver.
"I'm a quarterback for life," he said. "I like guys saying, 'He can't do this, he can't do that.' "
Scouts, who spoke to the Chronicle on condition of anonymity, call Young an exceptional runner in the open field with his blend of speed, acceleration and cut-and-miss ability. None question his leadership ability and many point to Young's five-touchdown Most Valuable Player effort in the Longhorns' Rose Bowl win over Michigan as his coming-out party.
Accuracy a question
Young's accuracy is a concern even though he completed 60 percent of his passes the past two seasons. To correct glitches in his delivery, Young spent part of the offseason working with former NFL co-MVP and mentor Steve McNair of the Tennessee Titans.
UT coach Mack Brown said Young threw with more confidence and velocity than ever in spring workouts. And some scouts want to see how Young responds to losing his best receiver (Roy Williams) and running back (Cedric Benson) in successive years.
"The criticism is not really valid that he's not a good passer," ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. "When he makes some bad throws, he makes some really bad throws and is so far off target you wonder if he can play in the NFL. He has to eliminate those awful throws and questionable decisions.
"But whether he creates with his arm or legs, at the end of the day, who cares?"
Pro scouts agree on one thing: There is not a more exciting quarterback in college football than the 6-5 junior from Madison High School. Last season Young became the first Texas quarterback to pass and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season. More importantly, he's a proven winner with a 17-2 record as a starter.