Tuesday, July 31, 2007


By Neil Bisman, NFL Draft Bible

When you think of Louisville, Kentucky, the first two things that come to mind are horse racing and college basketball. Approximately eighty miles east of Louisville sits the city of Lexington which is also known for, you guessed it, horse racing and college basketball. It should come as no surprise then that all eyes will be watching two thoroughbreds from the Bluegrass State this upcoming fall. The surprise is that in the land of ponies and pick and rolls, the two thoroughbreds in mind are the quarterbacks for the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky.

The two thoroughbreds in mind, Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm and Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson, are the types of quarterbacks that NFL scouts drool over. Both are large, hulking figures with rocket arms and pinpoint accuracy. Though no one is quite ready to crown either pocket passer as the next Peyton Manning, neither is going to be confused for Ryan Leaf anytime soon. Just about every publication and scouting service in America, including nfldraftbible.com, agrees that Brohm is the better prospect. But is it really that clear cut?

Brohm, whom currently sits at #2 on the 2008 Draft Bible Big Board, is your prototypical NFL quarterback. Listed at 6’4”, 224 pounds, the Heisman Trophy candidate has been drawing interest nationally for quite some time. A top prospect coming out of high school, he chose Louisville over Tennessee, Notre Dame and Kentucky. To go along with the size, physical tools and notoriety, Brohm also has the pedigree that many people around the NFL covet. Brohm is the fourth member of his family to play for the Cardinals, as his father Oscar and brothers’ Greg and Jeff have suited up in the red and black in years past.

The 2007 FedEx Orange Bowl MVP has also backed up all of the talk with his play on the field. Brohm is coming off of a year in which he led the Big East in total offense and passing yards per game, ranked eighth in the nation in passing yards per game and ninth nationally in both passing efficiency and total offense. He also holds the all-time Big East record with eleven career 300-yard passing games. As a result, he is a preseason candidate for the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award, and was named the ’07 Playboy Preseason All-American Team. And in this age of technology, nothing would be complete without his own webpage promoting his accolades, BrianBrohm.info.

So what’s not to like about Brian Brohm? More than you may think. Brohm has had quite a bit of trouble staying healthy during his tenure at Louisville. He started the season last year recovering from knee surgery, followed that up by tearing ligaments in his right thumb and finished his season by suffering a torn labrum in his left shoulder during the Orange Bowl. None of the effects appear to be lingering but it should certainly sound off an alarm. If Brohm is this injury prone at such a young age, it is doubtful that more things won’t pop up as he gets older. Some have also questioned whether or not he is a product of the passing-friendly system of former coach Bobby Petrino. Petrino has since moved on to become the coach of the Atlanta Falcons. If Brohm can have an injury-free season while replicating his numbers from years past, he should do a lot to quell any doubts that people may have.

Lurking in Brohm’s shadows is the highly underrated Andre Woodson. Woodson may not have the pedigree or the national acclaim of a Brian Brohm but make no mistake about it, the kid can play. Woodson single-handedly saved Kentucky coach Rich Brooks’ job last season after leading the Wildcats to an 8-5 record last season which included a victory over Clemson in the Music City Bowl. Woodson capped off his great season by becoming the Music City Bowl MVP. While Woodson may not have the name value of a Brian Brohm, or even a John David Booty, Chad Henne or Colt Brennan, his numbers should be enough to open quite a few eyes. Woodson teamed up with another unheralded Kentucky star in wide receiver Keenan Burton and managed to finish first in the SEC in passing yards per game and total offense while finishing second in the SEC in passing efficiency. The numbers rank comparatively to Brohm nationally as well as he finished eleventh in the nation in passing yards per game, twelfth in total offense and thirteenth in passing efficiency.

Some people shutter at the thought of a top quarterback coming out of Kentucky because the taste of Tim Couch still lingers in the mouths of many. Those doubts are unwarranted though because while at Kentucky, Couch’s offensive coordinator was the then relatively unknown Mike Leach, whom you may now know as the head coach of the passing-happy Texas Tech Red Raiders. Woodson is also slightly larger than Brohm at 6’5” and 230 pounds, has all of the same physical tools and no previous history of injuries.

Naturally, as luck would have it, Brohm’s Louisville squad travels to Lexington to take on Woodson’s Kentucky Wildcats on September, 15th. The match-up takes place nearly eight months before the Kentucky Derby and a month before Midnight Madness so all eyes should be on the 2007 edition of the Government Cup, the trophy for which the two schools compete over each year. Louisville has won seven of the last ten games between these two schools, which dates back to the Tim Couch days, including the last four. Win or lose, a solid performance in the nationally televised contest should be enough to give Woodson some of the limelight he deserves and possibly even propel him into the discussion of first round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.

In 1919, Kentucky-bred Man O’ War, one of the greatest horses of all time, lost to an underdog by the name of Upset. Urban legend has it that the term “upset,” which we use so often today, was born on this day as a term to use when a long-shot beats the favorite. Should Brian Brohm, the thoroughbred with the pedigree and bloodlines that are valued so much in horse racing, be surpassed by Andre Woodson as the better quarterback either this year or in the years to come, it will not be the “upset” than many would have you to believe.

Catch NFL Draft Bible Insider Neil Bisman all season long as he will be bringing you exclusive reports on College Football and the NFL Draft.

Email: neil@nfldraftbible.com