Vincent Paul Young is a University of Texas legend.
His No. 10 jersey will forever be synonymous with the ultimate success– a college football National Championship.
His professional football career, however, has been one of aborted fits and starts–never one of momentum or the fulfillment of the promise that preceded him as a Tennessee Titans draft pick.
In spite of his Pro Bowl appearances in 2006–which largely had more to do with other quarterbacks having poor seasons, than his excellence–Young has shown that he doesn’t have what it takes to be a competent NFL quarterback.
As a simple illustration, Young was cut by the Buffalo Bills yesterday in favor of the recently traded-for Tarvaris Jackson, who many believe doesn’t belong in the NFL either. If Tarvaris Jackson is a better option than you in a coaching staff’s mind, you’ve simply reached the end of the road and it’s time to move on.
During high school competition–and in large part, with the Texas Longhorns as well–Young dominated the competition purely on his athletic ability alone. If you dared to blitz linebackers at him out of a 3-4 set, he’d lope right by them for a huge pickup on the zone read or even out of a broken play. If you tried to stop him from running, he was an adept enough playmaker to make the throws necessary to move the chains.
It truly was a Catch 22 for opposing defensive coordinators. No matter what you tried to take away from Young, he beat you with what you did allow him to do.
When Young entered the NFL with the Titans for the 2006-2007 season, there was plenty of buzz about his future and plenty of confusion among the conference’s defensive coordinators to handle someone of his size with his running and athletic ability. For that season, Young looked like he could indeed be a viable NFL quarterback, earning Pro Bowl honors and winning the league’s Rookie of the Year Award.
Beyond that, apart from the anomaly that was the 2009 season, everything was downhill for Young. As defenses started to adapt to his style, Young couldn’t do the same. The knock on No. 10 is that he just flat out couldn’t, and hasn’t, been able to read defenses and make the necessary changes at the line of scrimmage to make something happen that wasn’t obvious pre-snap.
Successful NFL quarterbacks have two distinct abilities: athletic and intellectual.
Unfortunately for Young, the latter never has caught up to the former.
It’s a death knoll for a pro quarterback, one that is getting louder each time he is released from another team.
Will anyone else take a chance on Vince Young?
Kris Hughes is the College Football Network Manager for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.
Kris is also the host of Rant Sports Radio on the Blog Talk Radio Network Wednesday evenings at 8 Central Time.