ESPN analyst Jon Gruden at the NFL draft - Howard Smith-- US Presswire
I've heard of a reach but giving Jon Gruden credit for the success of the 2012 quarterback draft class is beyond that.
Each year for the past three years, former NFL head coach turned ESPN analyst, Jon Gruden, has what he calls the Gruden quarterback camp. In this QB camp, he talks with the top quarterback prospects in the coming draft.
The series is reasonably popular despite Gruden never having a single critical word to say about any of the quarterbacks who he speaks with. Fans enjoy it just as a way of familiarizing themselves with the upcoming QB class.
Last season's class saw saw unprecedented success. And now ESPN is trying to cash in on that success by tying it to their attendance in Gruden's QB camp.
"Last year, Gruden mentored Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill and others, arguably the most successful class of rookie quarterbacks in NFL history," said Bill Hofheimer in an article for ESPN Front Row. "He helped prep each of them for the jump to the NFL."
Sure, it is carefully worded to not say any outright untruths, but it rides the line of suggesting their success is somehow tied to their experience in Gruden's camp.
These quarterbacks were already seen as the best class in quite some time. It is the reason Andrew Luck was a lock for the top pick despite Heisman winner Robert Grifffin III being there and the Redskins trading the farm to get him at number two overall, and then Ryan Tannehill going in the top ten as well. Russell Wilson only dropped due to height concerns.
I'm sure there a lot of people latching onto the success of these quarterbacks and trying to lay claim as their "mentors" or helping prep them for their sudden NFL super stardom. But a day on a field and in a film room talking with Gruden is not it. It's entertainment. It's for the fans, not the player.
We'll see next year if ESPN uses this year's class to promote Gruden's QB camp. My guess is they won't. It is looking to be one of the weakest classes in a while with none of the quarterbacks as a surefire first round pick. Let alone the top two picks and three of the top ten. That is, of course, before they set foot in Gruden's QB camp and their future as an NFL star becomes inevitable.Follow @LeviDamien