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Evaluating Cutler from all sides

3/10/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

ESPN's Mel Kiper has never been high on quarterback Jay Cutler and he is sticking to his guns.

ESPN's draft guru chimes in with his thoughts on Cutler after Denver considered a deal that would have shipped Cutler out in exchange for Matt Cassel on Feb. 28. The link requires a subscription but it's worth a gander.

Kiper focuses on the Broncos' 17-20 record with Cutler under center as well as Cutler's penchant for making an occasional poor throw.

Kiper is a terrific talent evaluator, and I have long used him as a source at draft time. But I think he's wrong on Cutler.

As I remember, Kiper liked Vince Young and Matt Leinart better than Cutler when the three quarterbacks came out in 2006. In Kiper's defense, so did many in the league as Young was drafted third and Leinart was drafted 10th. Cutler went 11th.

But Cutler has been much better than Young and Leinart through three seasons. Cutler earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2008 and Young and Leinart were backups on their teams.

Yes, Cutler has improvements to make, but he is 25 and has played 37 games. Cutler isn't elite yet, but he could be on his way.