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Monday, February 23, 2009
Examining the context of Tarvaris Jackson

By Kevin Seifert

Posted by's Kevin Seifert


As you might recall, Minnesota coach Brad Childress indicated last week that he would like for Tarvaris Jackson and Gus Frerotte to compete for the Vikings' starting quarterback job in training camp. Childress noted that it can take four years for a quarterback to develop into a bona-fide starter, suggesting he believes Jackson is ready to make the final step in 2009.

Armed with that news and context, Ryan McCrystal of ESPN Stats & Information went searching for similar scenarios in recent years to help determine Jackson's chances for success. One way to measure that likelihood is to look for trends among highly-drafted quarterbacks with performances similar to Jackson's in their first three seasons.

Jackson, a second-round pick in 2006, has a 10-9 career record as a starter. Ryan found eight quarterbacks drafted who had 10 or less victories in their first three seasons as a starter after being drafted in the first or second rounds between 1997-2006. Two of them, New Orleans' Drew Brees and Washington's Jason Campbell, have gone on to become permanent starters. Here's the full list:

Player Team Record as a starter in first three seasons
Tarvaris Jackson Minnesota 10-9
Matt Leinart Arizona 7-9
Jason Campbell Washington 8-12
Drew Brees San Diego 10-19*
J.P Losman Buffalo 8-16
Patrick Ramsey Washington 9-14
Akili Smith Cincinnati 3-13
Ryan Leaf San Diego 4-14
*Signed with New Orleans in 2006.

If you were judging strictly by this list, in which two of the other seven quarterbacks experienced success, you would say Jackson has a 29 percent chance of making it work in 2009. It's not nearly that simple, of course. But if you're someone who likes to know how things have happened in recent history, Ryan has given you an interesting interpretation.