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Too Good To Pass Up: Steve McNair defied the odds in 1995 NFL Draft

They questioned his school and his brain. But Steve McNair’s talent was too much to pass up.

“This kid will be better than Steve Young…”

Terrence Moore, a long-time reporter, and columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had seen it all play out before. The week before the April 22nd draft, Moore wrote a column called “It should be a snap,” pointing out how scouts were using an unfair, but not unfamiliar, tactic to try to downgrade McNair’s stock.

“They frowned upon Jerry Rice, because they said he caught all of those passes courtesy of an “unstructured” system at Mississippi Valley State. They laughed at Walter Payton, a former star at Jackson State, because they said Payton was a former star at Jackson State.

One scout Moore mentioned was Glenn Cumbee who worked for the then-Houston Oilers. Cumbee raved McNair with high praise.

“This kid will be better than Steve Young, and he’ll redefine the quarterback position. He can show every pass that’s imaginable. I don’t know where this (dumb) tag came from, but we put him through extensive classroom work, and he’s one of the most intelligent players I’ve seen. He’s one of the few guys I would actually pay to watch as a fan.”

Long-time NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. had McNair as his top-rated quarterback, stating that McNair could be “spectacular” in four years. But the day before the draft he noted that several teams seemed to have moved Collins ahead of McNair on their draft boards, due to his ‘low-key approach and quiet demeanor.”

Kiper speculated that he could fall as low as 11 to Minnesota, who was looking for a potential replacement to Warren Moon.

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Too Good To Pass Up: Steve McNair defied the odds in 1995 NFL Draft
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