Two quarterbacks: Not so fast on Flacco-Devlin comparisons

Posted: February 27, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS - The comparison is obvious, though flawed.

Joe Flacco and Pat Devlin both went to high school in the Philadelphia area and got a chance to play at a major Pennsylvania program but had to transfer to Delaware to find success. Both brought the Blue Hens to the Football Championship Subdivision title game but lost.

Both are expected to make the leap from the lower-tier college division to the NFL. But they play different games and face far different prospects in the pros, at least initially.

Flacco, who went to Audubon High in South Jersey and then Pitt, was drafted No. 18 overall in 2008 and started for the Ravens immediately.

On the other hand, Devlin - a Downington East graduate who began his college career at Penn State - is expected to go in the fourth round or later and will be a reserve to at least begin his career. But that didn't stop Devlin from attracting a media horde when he met with the press at the NFL combine. With such a premium placed on quarterbacks, Devlin even drew attention from the NFL's Japanese TV network, which also raised the inevitable Flacco comparison.

Devlin said Flacco's success coming from an FCS school can help show scouts that you don't need to play in a BCS game to have success, but he also made it clear that he doesn't want to be placed in the same box.

"There have been a lot of other small-school guys that have come in and made a great impact. I think that obviously does help," Devlin told the Japanese network. But he added, "I'm just trying to work as hard as I can to show the guys the talent that I have to do that."

Both Blue Hens have size: Flacco is listed at 6-foot-6, Devlin is only three inches shorter. But while Flacco has what many believe to be one of the strongest arms in the NFL, Devlin's game is precision and accuracy.

His performance in the East-West Shrine Game in January didn't show that talent. He completed 2 of 7 passes with an interception. But Devlin hopes the combine gives him another chance to show NFL scouts what he can do.

"It's extremely important just to go out and make sure I can make all the throws that I need to be able to make to be an NFL player," Devlin said.

He gets his chance Sunday, when quarterbacks are scheduled to work out for scouts. Their drills are scheduled to be televised on the NFL Network, where coverage will begin at 9 a.m.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock recently watched tape with Devlin for three hours and came away impressed with the quarterback's knowledge.

"He's a really intelligent kid," Mayock said in a recent conference call. "He's going to be really good in the interviews."

He'll likely have to sit for some time in the NFL, though, before he gets a chance to play. For all of the comparisons that continue to follow him, Devlin is now on his own path.

Linemen begin workouts. Offensive linemen, a category that will be closely watched by the Eagles and their fans, were the first to actually hit the field in Indianapolis after days of interviews and pre-workout medical exams.

Syracuse center Ryan Bartholomew led the way in the bench press, lifting 225 pounds 34 times. Penn State's Stefen Wisniewski put up 30 reps, which tied him for sixth. Gabe Carimi and Tyron Smith, considered two of the top tackles in the draft, lifted 29 times each.

Bartholomew also did well in the 40-yard dash, finishing second with a time of 4.97. Cincinnati's Jason Kelce finished first at 4.93, though times aren't exactly critical for linemen.

In fact, a couple of coaches here said they mostly value the interviews, not the physical tests, because they have full seasons of game tape to use when evaluating a player's on-field ability.

Five tackles could go in the first round, and interior linemen such as Wisniewski, Mike Pouncey, Danny Watkins, Clint Boling, and Jah Reid also have drawn praise from draft scouts.


Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214 or jtamari@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JonathanTamari

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