During Kevin Kolb's short career as an Arizona Cardinal, he has had to overcome quite a bit of criticism levied against him. People have been questioning whether or not he is worth everything the Cards had to trade to the Eagles in order to acquire him. It's hard to argue that Kolb has been underwhelming thus far, but what if we were to compare him to a quarterback that is extremely similar and went on to have a rather successful career.
Scott Mitchell was considered a bust by many during his tenure in the league, but he was able to have two very successful seasons with the Detroit Lions in which he led them to the playoffs. Could Kevin Kolb be the next Scott Mitchell? Is that something Cardinals fans should look forward to?
We know that the Cardinals had to surrender Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second round pick in order to get Kolb and what he has done so far this season has not shown that he is franchise quarterback material. When Scott Mitchell left the Dolphins to seek greener pastures in Motor City in 1994, his first season was subpar as well.
Detroit took a gamble in signing him, as he only had played a few games when Dan Marino was injured during 1993 (sound familiar?). In his first year as a Lion, Mitchell posted a 48% completion rate in the nine games he played. Passing for only 1,456 yards and racking up a 62.0 QB rating is not the way to start off your days with a new team.
When Mitchell came back in 1995, not only was he able to take Detroit to the playoffs, but he also broke team records and passed for over 4,300 yards. 1997 was also one of Mitchell's better seasons. In '97, another playoff year, he passed for 3,400 yards with a 58% completion rate and 19 touchdowns.
If we prorate Kolb's stats to a 16 game season, he will come just shy of 4,100 yards passing and he will have 16 touchdowns and around a 59% completion rate. As you can see, the numbers are very comparable between the two.
Throw in the fact that they both had/have incredible offensive weapons around them (Barry Sanders for the Lions and Larry Fitzgerald for the Cards) and we start to see some more similarities. Oddly enough, they both had fumbling issues as well. Mitchell fumbled 15 times and lost six of them in 1997. Kolb's prorated 2011 season? Around 16 fumbles and 9 lost.
One of the most telling stats is the sack category. Mitchell was always under pressure, being sacked 31 times in 1995 and 41 times in '97. By the time 2011 is over, Kolb will have been sacked somewhere around 50 times.
Getting to the point, Mitchell was able to give the Lions two playoff berths and he was a fairly decent quarterback in the league. Would you, as a fan, be happy if Kolb ended up having similar numbers and was able to lead the team to the playoffs?
Let's take into account that we are not going to find a Kurt Warner every time we need a new quarterback. Someone that can make plays and help his team win games can be a rare find in this league, just look at the history of Cardinals quarterbacks. With time, Kolb's numbers are likely to improve, so there is a good chance that he could be better than Scott Mitchell ever was.
So after seeing these numbers and someone to compare him to, do you have a little more faith in Kolb? Is he a player that you feel would be worth the contract and the compensation that was given up to get him if he is able to do what Mitchell did? Let your voice be heard in the comments section below.