What if Michael Vick Were a Draft Bust?
Since everyone is going crazy on this “What if Mike Vick Were White” topic, I decided to take things even further. What if Mike Vick was still black, still from Virginia Tech, still athletic, but instead couldn’t play Quarterback in the NFL worth a damn?
Let’s go back in time. Back in 2001 draft the Atlanta Falcons were in the market for a QB with incumbent QB Chris Chandler looking like a battered veteran on his last leg. Just two years after being soundly defeated by John Elway and the Denver Broncos in the 1999 Super Bowl, the Falcons held the number five selection and were poised to select TCU running back Ladainian Tomlinson in the NFL Draft. The night before the draft the Falcons wrangled the 1st overall pick away from the Chargers and selected Virginia Tech QB, Michael Vick.
The rest was… history so they say. But let’s assume Vick didn’t pan out as well as he did in Atlanta. That means no playoff wins, and few exciting runs. Let’s assume Vick was another Jamarcus Russell level draft bust. What would have happened?
In our alternate universe, the Falcons get rid of Vick after three uneventful seasons and are poised to select in the top five again in the 2004 NFL Draft. Who would they have selected?
In 2004 the top QBs were Eli Manning and Phillip Rivers. The Chargers, already trading out of #1 with the Falcons three years prior aren’t going to miss out on “can’t miss” prospect Eli Manning and select him with the #1 overall selection again. Eli refuses to sign in San Diego and with his father orchestrate a trade to another team…. the Atlanta Falcons who have selected Philip Rivers out of North Carolina State. The Falcons give up a kings ransom of picks, along with Rivers and get the services of one Mr. Eli Manning.
The 2005 Falcons rebuild around an offensive core of Manning, Warrick Dunn, and in the 2005 draft they select in the 10-15 range drafting WR Mike Williams out of USC. Williams at the time is a “can’t miss” WR prospect in many’s eyes but fights weight and commitment issues and sets the Falcons back another three years waiting for him develop. Meanwhile Roddy White finds a soft landing spot going to the Eagles in the second round. Atlanta cuts bait with Williams after three seasons and in the 2008 summer sign unrestricted free agent WR Bernard Berrian to help the development of their young quarterback. The Falcons go on to remain a middle of the road team while Eli continues to show flashes of brilliance but is ultimately hampered by his lack of talent at WR.
Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger and the New York Giants win the 2007 Super Bowl over the AFC Champion Denver Broncos. Jake Plummer never has three turnovers in the 2005 AFC Championship, as the Steelers don’t make it without Ben so Mike Shanahan keeps the Broncos roster intact, and instead of drafting QB Jay Cutler out of Vanderbilt he selects WR Santonio Holmes out of Ohio State. The Broncos offense is no match however for the Giants’ combo of Ben Roethlisberger, Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward, and Plaxico Burress.
After his three years in Atlanta Vick is left to put the pieces back together in his career. Not many teams need a QB, and are not willing to develop the former Hokie Quarterback who has been labeled as an athlete, and not a “real” NFL Quarterback. In the summer of 2004, Vick signs a free agent deal with the Cleveland Browns as a developmental WR. Vick enters in a training camp battle with WR Andre King from Miami and Richard Alston from East Carolina.
The Browns install Vick as a starting kick returner and punt returner where he earns a spot on the roster alongside college teammate WR Andre Davis.
Vick continues to develop and becomes the team’s starting kick returner. He has a decent year in 2004 and even though he fights nagging injuries he finishes with around 590 return yards. In 2005 Vick is beat out for his roster spot in preseason by another former QB turned WR, rookie Joshua Cribbs out of Kent State. In the summer of 2006 Vick’s career is pretty much over and after appearing with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2006 preseaon Vick is cut and washes out of the league, never to be heard of again.
No NFL scandals, no breaking news, no comebacks. Michael Vick is pretty much left to his own devices after the 2006 NFL preseason. Without the spotlight on him Vick is still convicted of dog fighting after his cousin is arrested in 2007 but it does not make the news and Vick isn’t made a pariah in the media and made an example in the court of law. After a 12 month jail sentence Vick returns to Newport News, gets a job at Home Depot and helps out with coaching his local high school’s wide reciever squad.
This is just an example of how things could have went for Vick who as we all know is enjoying an un-probable comeback. What are the chances that things could have went the way presented here? We may never know… but we do know that Vick is extremely lucky that things have worked out for him and he still has a NFL career to salvage.
**If you enjoyed this article please spread it around to your blog, twitter, forums, etc. A lot of research went into this!