John David Booty proved to be a disciplined and cool-headed field general when he quarterbacked the USC Trojans. In two years as USC’s starting QB, Booty threw 52 touchdown passes and earned a rating of 141.01. He tossed a total of 19 interceptions. He completed 62.5-percent of his passes, connecting on 484 of 776 attempts. In two seasons, he racked up 5,708 yards in the air.

The rookie, who was the 137th pick overall in the fifth-round of the 2008 NFL Draft, had said prior to the draft that he wanted to be picked by the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings wanted him too. So much so that they traded up from number 150 to 137 with the Green Bay Packers giving the Pack an extra seventh-round pick.

When he was with the Trojans, Booty showed an ability to drop back, find the pocket and get rid of the ball on time. He understands and feels the rhythms that a quarterback must master in order to make plays happen. His timing is impeccable and that bodes well for the rookie quarterback and his new club. Additionally, his footwork is sure and quick. He possesses a good NFL arm. His balance is quite good. These attributes are all needed in Viking-land where passes are thrown via split-second timed routes.

Of course, NFL playbooks, patterns and audibles are much more complex than those found in the college ranks. The defensive lines are bigger, faster and meaner making quarterbacks scramble and ramble. The sacks hurt more and the linebackers often show superior pursuit tactics. Additionally, players in the secondary are pickoff artists who can read a quarterback’s body language and eyes like a 12-year old reads a comic book.

Right now, the new guy is trying to win the third-string spot at QB. The starting spot will go to Tarvaris Jackson and the second-string job looks to be held by traveling guy Gus Frerotte. Jackson is headed into his third NFL season. Over his first two years with the Vikings, he’s played in 16 games, completing 58.1-percent of his throws and hitting for 11 touchdowns. Jackson has thrown 16 interceptions and earned a rating of 69.0.

Frerotte, who is in his 15th NFL season, has been with seven NFL clubs. From 2003-2004, he played in 32 regular season games with Minnesota before going to the Miami Dolphins in 2005 and then the St. Louis Rams from 2006-2007. Now he’s back with the Vikings.

Don’t look for Booty to start in his first season. He’ll be waiting in the wings, sharpening his skills and learning the playbook. The USC signal caller will also be working at being part of the team and developing his fine leadership skills even further. John David Booty looks to be the future of this club.

Paul mroczka
Sports Pundit member

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