Given Aaron Rodgers‘ success as a starting quarterback and the fact that he led the Packers to a Super Bowl title last season, the case has often been made that the 49ers made the wrong decision in drafting Alex Smith over Rodgers with the No. 1 overall pick in 2005.
Some say that’s a simplistic way of looking at things, given the circumstances surrounding both of their careers, and NFL.com reader Colin Hillsinger of Napa, Calif., used the Smith-Rodgers situation to present his theory on quarterbacks to NFL.com senior analyst Vic Carucci during his live chat Friday:
“This is my theory and wanted to get your opinion on it. QBs are the most overrated and underrated position on the field. Are Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees really that great? Or do they all have amazing O-lines and coaches? If the Niners drafted Aaron Rodgers instead, I guarantee that Rodgers would have had as little success as Alex Smith. I believe Alex, when it comes to talent, is as great as anyone; he’s just lacked the great O-line and coaches. What are your thoughts?”
Carucci’s response: “You make some sound points about a quarterback’s success depending on more than simply the performance of the quarterback. But I don’t agree with the premise that you can make a blanket statement about the success of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees merely being the result of amazing O-lines and coaches. They have done too well over too long a period of time, with varying degrees of quality with their supporting casts and with (in Brady’s case) different coaches, to think that they didn’t have plenty to do with their performance.
“I also don’t buy that Alex Smith’s struggles have been mostly because of a poor offensive line and bad coaching. Those other factors haven’t helped, but he has had his share of opportunity to demonstrate whether he has the makings of a QB the caliber of Aaron Rodgers and he hasn’t shown it. And I’m not sure he ever will, regardless of what’s around him.”
Apparently, Smith will have one last chance (hasn’t that been said before?) with the 49ers, as new coach Jim Harbaugh would like to have him officially back once the lockout ends.