Mike Shanahan may never have insinuated that John Beck would be his 2011 starting quarterback, but he sure said some things that seemed intended to reassure a worried fan base. Perhaps the strongest was this: that he had ranked Beck as the best quarterback prospect coming out of college in the 2007 draft:
“It wasn’t even close,” Shanahan said back in April. “He has everything you look for in a quarterback. No. 1 you have to love the game, you have to have the mindset. What I’m looking for is a guy first to work and last to leave. You’ve got to be able to run this offense at a very high level. He can do things with his legs that a lot of quarterbacks can’t do.”
And, in a weird coincidence, it turns out that Shanahan’s son — then working for a different organization — also had Beck ranked as the top quarterback that year. This nugget comes from Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column:
“My first year as a position coach in the league, Houston had me scout all the quarterbacks coming out that year,’’ Kyle Shanahan said. “That was the JaMarcus Russell year, with Brady Quinn, Trent Edwards, Kevin Kolb and Beck. So they asked me who I’d pick if I had the 10th pick in the draft. I told them Beck. They said he’s not worth the 10th pick in the draft. I was standing on the table for him. I’ve never seen a guy play that well in college.’
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio happened to have Texans GM Rick Smith on his Web show this week, and so Florio asked Smith about this Shanahan love affair, and if the younger Shanahan really wanted to take Beck high in the first round. Smith laughed.
“I don’t know if he was quite....” Smith began. “I will say this, without getting into a whole long discussion about other players, he was a player that we had looked at and we felt good about in our organization. We liked him coming out. I think he’s capable, and Kyle did, he liked him, he liked him a lot. And I don’t know if he lobbied for him with the 10th pick, but we made a decision at that point to trade for Matt [Schaub] and haven’t looked back.”
If you listen to the clip, Smith is pretty well suggesting that no, Kyle Shanahan did not lobby to take Beck with the 10th overall pick. And yet Florio also interviewed King, who had no doubt about this.
“If Grossman’s clearly better Grossman will play, but I don’t think he’s gonna be clearly bette,” King said. “I think they’re gonna end up playing Beck. And you have to really go back and look at Kyle Shanahan’s involvement with John Beck. This is not just a Mike Shanahan production.
“In 2007, when [Kyle] Shanahan was the quarterbacks coach of the Houston Texans, they had just cut David Carr, and Rick Smith the general manager told Shanahan I want you to look at all these quarterbacks and come back and tell me what you think....And he comes back and he basically tells him I want John Beck over all these guys. And Rick Smith says well wait a second, we’ve got the 10th pick in the draft, he’s not worth that. And [Shanahan] said well you asked me who I would take with the 10th pick in the draft, and I said that Beck’s the best quarterback, I’d take him.”
So either Peter King got the story a bit wrong, or Kyle Shanahan is misremembering just how highly he rated Beck, or both father and son out in Ashburn really, really, really like this Beck kid.