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Bovi: Waiting Game

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Editor’s note: Be sure to cash in with Paul Bovi’s pro football selections all year long. Click to win!

Poor Billy Volek. He must feel like the guy that nobody wants to play with.

At 31 years old, he should be in the prime of his career, but in reality, if Billy was a baby, he’d still be wearing pampers.

An un-drafted product out of Fresno State, and mentor to David Carr during the Houston Texan signal callers’ freshman and sophomore years, Volek began his career with the Titans in 2000 and proceeded to throw all of three passes in three seasons, with the entire trio coming in 2001.

In garnering some added playing time as a result of Steve McNair’s bumps and bruises, including 10 games in 2004, Volek completed more than 60 percent of his 512 passes over the last three seasons with an impressive 2 to 1 (26 to 13) TD to interception ratio. However, with the Titan’s selection of Vince Young as the No. 3 pick overall in this year’s draft, Volek is once again the obvious heir apparent to the clipboard.

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As far as not being selected in the 2000 draft, one could have easily made a case for Volek being no worse than a second round selection given his 30 touchdown, three-interception senior season in compiling a 153.0 efficiency rating for the Bulldogs. Even Giovanni Carmazzi of Hofstra fame was selected in the third round.

Coach Jeff Fisher has acknowledged that Volek is in showcase mode, and publicly stated that ‘Vince is going to play early.’ But can you blame Fisher? Young was bestowed a contract worth nearly 26 million in guaranteed money over the next five years, with a potential to reach upwards of 60 million if he can hit certain performance bogeys. That’s not clipboard money!

In 2004, with only 72 lifetime passes behind him, not only did Volek rank 13th amongst all QBs with an 87.1 rating, but he accomplished a feat in having logged consecutive 400 yard passing performances which put in him in the select company of Dan Fouts, Dan Marino, and Phil Simms.

Last year, Volek’s numbers were understandably down. The Titan’s receiving corps were at times, decimated by injury. Their leading receiver Drew Bennett battled a shoulder injury and was down almost 50 percent in total yardage off the previous year, while the running game was choppy, at best.

This season, the free agency acquisition of ex Patriot David Givens, along with a healthy Drew Bennett, Ty Calico, and Brandon Jones, should give Volek a nice quartet of receivers to throw to, even if it is only temporary and for auditioning purposes.

If it’s any solace to Billy Volek, current Panther QB Jake Delhomme was also not drafted, and at 28, had logged all of 86 passes prior to 2003, which was his first season in Carolina after years of carrying Aaron Brooks’ jockstrap.

Only an Adam Vinateri field goal with four seconds left may have prevented Delhomme from achieving instant glory in a game that may very well be more remembered for its’ halftime show featuring Justin and Janet.

And if you still think the NFL scouts and coaches have this game to a science, it should be noted that Billy Volek is 17 days older than Ryan Leaf. Nuff said!

  
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