NFL Week 5 Preview & Picks: A new Passing King set to take his throne

Saints QB Drew Brees needs 201 yards to become the NFL's all-time leading passer

Seth Dunlap
October 04, 2018 - 7:43 pm

As teams prepared for the 2001 NFL Draft most were incredibly excited about a quarterback prospect who, their scouts thought, would help modernize the position as a new post-realignment era of professional football was ushered in. 

That quarterback wasn’t Drew Brees, the record-setting signal caller from Purdue that, while certainly an intriguing prospect to most teams, had too many negatives on his draft profile to warrant the investment of a first round pick.  The supposed can’t-miss quarterback was Michael Vick, an athletically freakish product out of Virginia Tech who enamored scouts with his arm strength and mobility.   

Brees played in a spread system at Purdue which, at that time, was considered high-risk.  As was his supposed sidearm delivery.  Then there was his height, or lack thereof, that led nearly every scout to predict he could never be an elite quarterback in the NFL. 

Twenty-nine different teams, including the Saints, had a combined 31 chances to select Brees in the first round of the NFL Draft that season. The Seahawks and Rams had two chances.  With every pick, teams followed the advice of their now-flawed scouting reports and passed on Brees in the first round.  Atlanta, with the first overall selection aquired via trade from the San Diego Chargers, selected Vick, the only quarterback taken in the first round that year.

The Chargers, now with the fifth overall pick after the Atlanta trade, also initially passed on Brees, instead selecting future Hall of Fame running back LaDanian Tomlinson with the fifth overall selection.  With Brees still on the board as the second round began, they jumped at the chance to pair a high-upside rookie quarterback with Tomlinson and selected Brees 32nd overall.

While Vick had a briefly successful NFL career, he will be remembered more for the dog fighting scandal that sent him to prison, or perhaps his Madden-breaking player avatar in that video game series. Instead, 18 seasons later, it is Brees that is re-writing the NFL record books.   Just a couple of weeks ago he set the career completion record, now at a remarkable 6,344 and climbing.  This week, he will likely break one of the most iconic records in a sport that isn’t made for iconic records.

The NFL’s career passing yardage record might be one of those made-to-be-broken numbers that inflates with every successive football generation.  Peyton Manning, the current record holder with 71,941 career yards, passed Brett Favre just a few seasons ago.    Before Favre it was Dan Marino, who had broken Fran Tarkenton’s record of 47,003 that had stood for 19 seasons, the longest this record has been held by any quarterback.  

On and on it has gone since the time of Arnie Herber, who set the initial career standard at 8,041 career passing yards during his playing days with the Packers and Giants from 1932-43.

After Brees there is likely to be a Wentz, Goff or Mahomes who eventually tops this list.  Or maybe it will be a Brees-esque unexpected star who sits on the Passing Yardage Throne. 

Whatever happens down the road doesn’t matter.  This week, this celebration that is likely to happen on Monday night against Washington at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, will be the culmination of one of the unexpectedly great careers in professional sports.

This moment is going to be special.  A moment for a truly remarkable quarterback.  A moment for a truly remarkable man.




Colts @ Patriots (Thursday Night Football)

Pick: Patriots 29, Colts 24

Pick Against the Spread: Colts (+11)


Titans @ Bills

Pick: Titans 23, Bills 20

ATS: Bills (+5)


Dolphins @ Bengals

Pick: Bengals 30, Dolphins 24

ATS: Bengals (-5.5)


Ravens @ Browns

Pick: Ravens 26, Browns 17

ATS: Ravens (-3)


Packers @ Lions

Pick: Lions 28, Packers 24

ATS: Lions (-1)


Jaguars @ Chiefs

Pick: Jaguars 24, Chiefs 23

ATS: Jaguars (+3)


Broncos @ Jets

Pick: Jets 23, Broncos 21

ATS: Jets (-1)


Falcons @ Steelers

Pick: Steelers 28, Falcons 27

ATS: Falcons (+3.5)


Giants @ Panthers

Pick: Panthers 24, Giants 20

ATS: Giants (+6)


Raiders @ Chargers

Pick: Chargers 30, Raiders 20

ATS: Chargers (-5)


Vikings @ Eagles

Pick: Vikings 24, Eagles 23

ATS: Vikings (+3)


Cardinals @ 49ers

Pick: 49ers 23, Cardinals 20

ATS:  Cardinals (+4)


Rams @ Seahawks

Pick: Rams 36, Seahawks 24

ATS: Rams (-7)


Cowboys @ Texans (Sunday Night Football)

Pick: Texans 26, Cowboys 23

ATS:  Cowboys (+3)


Washington @ New Orleans (Monday Night Football)

Pick: New Orleans 36, Washington 24

ATS: New Orleans (-6.5)



SEASON ATS:  15-21


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