Does Brandon Weeden’s age matter?

Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden is coming off a record-setting season which put him in the Heisman conversation and elevated his NFL draft stock to surprising heights.

But there’s one problem. He’s 28 years old.

In a younger man’s body, Weeden’s talents may have earned him a late 1st-round grade from some scouts, but draft prospects – especially quarterbacks – are graded as much on their current ability, as their potential to improve. And just how much room for improvement is left in a 28 year old?

Where Weeden should be drafted will be an interesting debate to follow in the upcoming months. In 2011, 19 different quarterbacks younger than Weeden started at least five games in the NFL, many of whom could be acquired at a relatively cheap price this offseason. Alex Smith (unrestricted free agent) may be the most highly sought after, but will likely re-sign with San Francisco. Others, such as T.J. Yates, John Skelton or perhaps even Mark Sanchez could be available on the trade market.

Games Passing
Rk Player Age ▾ Tm GS Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD Int Rate Sk Y/A
2 Aaron Rodgers 28 GNB 15 343 502 68.3% 4643 45 6 122.5 36 9.25
3 Alex Smith 27 SFO 16 273 445 61.3% 3144 17 5 90.7 44 7.07
4 Matt Moore 27 MIA 12 210 347 60.5% 2497 16 9 87.1 36 7.20
5 Kevin Kolb 27 ARI 9 146 253 57.7% 1955 9 8 81.1 30 7.73
6 Joe Flacco 26 BAL 16 312 542 57.6% 3610 20 12 80.9 31 6.66
7 Matt Ryan 26 ATL 16 347 566 61.3% 4177 29 12 92.2 26 7.38
8 Curtis Painter 26 IND 8 132 243 54.3% 1541 6 9 66.6 16 6.34
9 Mark Sanchez 25 NYJ 16 308 543 56.7% 3474 26 18 78.2 39 6.40
10 Sam Bradford 24 STL 10 191 357 53.5% 2164 6 6 70.5 36 6.06
11 Tim Tebow 24 DEN 11 126 271 46.5% 1729 12 6 72.9 33 6.38
12 Colt McCoy 24 CLE 13 265 463 57.2% 2733 14 11 74.6 32 5.90
13 Andy Dalton 24 CIN 16 300 516 58.1% 3398 20 13 80.4 24 6.59
14 T.J. Yates 24 HOU 5 82 134 61.2% 949 3 3 80.7 15 7.08
15 Matthew Stafford 23 DET 16 421 663 63.5% 5038 41 16 97.2 36 7.60
16 Christian Ponder 23 MIN 10 158 291 54.3% 1853 13 13 70.1 30 6.37
17 Josh Freeman 23 TAM 15 346 551 62.8% 3592 16 22 74.6 29 6.52
18 John Skelton 23 ARI 7 151 275 54.9% 1913 11 14 68.9 23 6.96
19 Blaine Gabbert 22 JAX 14 210 413 50.8% 2214 12 11 65.4 40 5.36
20 Cam Newton 22 CAR 16 310 517 60.0% 4051 21 17 84.5 35 7.84

And this list doesn’t even include others such as Chad Henne and Matt Flynn, both unrestricted free agents, who could be given an opportunity as starters elsewhere in 2012.

So who would you rather have, an unproven Brandon Weeden or a player roughly the same age who is, to some extent, a proven commodity?

While some teams may prefer Weeden, unfortunately he has little value to anyone not interested in his services as a starter. As a 28-year-old rookie, his value as a developmental prospect is limited. If you don’t envision him helping your team within the next three years, why spend a pick on Weeden, when you could spend a similar pick on a prospect with more long-term upside such as Brock Osweiler or B.J. Coleman?

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Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

About the author

Ryan McCrystal

Ryan launched DraftAce in 2004. His Top 100 board is currently ranked 1st out of 20 publications in The Huddle Report's five-year averages. His mock draft is ranked 10th out of 32 competitors.You can also find Ryan's weekly Heisman Predictor series on ESPN Insider every fall.