When will Matt Leinart replace Kurt Warner in Arizona?
What about Jay Cutler? When will the Denver Broncos pull Jake Plummer to the side?
And Vince Young. How long until Kerry Collins gives way to the future of the Tennessee Titans?
These three heralded rookie quarterbacks were taken in the top 11 spots of the NFL Draft. All are awesome. All could be Pro Bowlers someday. And all of us are long awaiting just how soon one of these becomes a regular starter.
But this year's starting rookie quarterback may not be a studly first-round, multi-millionaire. Rather, it could be a sixth-round steal.
Meet Bruce Gradkowski of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was selected with the 194th overall pick, while ten other quarterbacks were snagged before him.
The Buccaneers didn't exactly need a signal caller going into the draft. They needed offensive line help, which is why they drafted linemen with their first two picks. Chris Simms, son of former QB Phil Simms, earned the job last year after leading the Bucs to the playoffs. Tampa Bay's depth chart wasn't exactly a wasteland of quarterbacks either. Tim Rattay, Jay Fiedler, Luke McCown, and Jared Allen were all in training camp along with Gradkowski.
Then the Mr. Burns' Softball Team effect came into play. McCown tore his ACL in June and was out for the season. Fiedler didn't recover from his shoulder surgery and was promply cut. So was Allen. That left Rattay and Gradkowski.
The former Toledo quarterback played so well in training camp that he earned the backup job over Rattay. Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden put Gradkowski in for the bulk of the preseason games, and the numbers came pouring out like the box office draw for Pirates of the Caribbean 2: 45-of-61 for 511 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions. That's a quarterback rating of 105.3.