Yesterday we looked at the 2006 draft that brought Matt Leinart to the Arizona Cardinals but there was one thing that I hadn't thought about in a while when I looked back at that draft. It had somewhat slipped my mind that Jay Cutler was picked immediately after Matt. At the time I didn't give it a second thought because I viewed Leinart as the superior quarterback, as I think most Cardinals fans did. If you look at Leinart's pre-draft scouting report versus Cutler's scouting report, both would seem to have solid attributes even though the same question marks still hang on their career to this point.
Their pro careers though have hardly been reflective of their respective draft status. Leinart struggled mightily in his second season after a somewhat promising rookie season. Cutler on the other hand has played two productive seasons and has solidified himself as the Broncos future at quarterback. There are have been external forces that have effected their short careers though. Leinart has had to deal with a coaching change, learning a two new play books and playing with an ineffective running game. One could also argue though that Cutler's weapons aren't even comparable to Fitz and Boldin. In the end it's too early to make any definitive grade on their careers, but at least to this point Cutler's been the better quarterback.
The way I see it: Some people consider this a 'make or break' season for Leinart. I won't go that far but I do expect Leinart to make significant strides in his second season under Whisenhunt. I can almost give him a pass on 2007 considering that he was learning a new offense and since he had one of the worst running games in the NFL. I still believe that Matt has a higher 'ceiling' than Cutler and I think he'll have a better career when all is said and done, but this blog isn't about what I think. So my questions to Arizona Cardinals fans: Would you trade Leinart for Cutler today? Do you think Cutler could have performed better than Leinart given the same circumstances or should a young QB not be expected to learn a new system that quickly? Would Leinart have been as successful as Cutler if he'd been in Denver's run oriented system? And lastly at the end of their careers, who do you think will have had the better career?