I dont think that its a ridiculous proposition to make. First we have to look at what other quarterbacks got taken that year.
There were 11 QBs taken in the 2006 draft: Vince Young to Tennessee in the first round, Matt Leinart to Arizona in the first, Jay Cutler in the first to Denver, Kellen Clemens in the second to NYJ, Tavaris Jackson in the second to Minnesota, Charlie Whitehurst to SD in the third, Brodie Croyle to KC in the third, Ingle Martin to GB in the fifth, Omar Jacobs to Pittsburgh in the fifth, Bruce Gradkowski to TB in the sixth, and DJ Shockley in the seventh to ATL.
We can pretty much discard DJ Shockley, Ingle Martin, and Omar Jacobs as none of them are on NFL rosters any longer, and to the best of my knowledge none of them even played a snap in the NFL regular season.
Next would be Bruce Gradkowski, who started 11 games for TB his rookie season, putting up a 55% completion percentage, 1661 yds, 9 TDs and 9 INTs with a 65.9 QB rating. He then proceeded to lose the starting spot and became a journey man, getting cut from the Cleveland Browns after failing to secure a spot playing for injured Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson and Ken Dorsey. He is now in Oakland, God bless his heart.
Charlie Whitehurst has never attempted a regular season pass in the NFL, but he does have a rushing touchdown so good for him. He is now third on the depth chart for San Diego with a totally rockin hair du.
Kellen Clemens has gotten plenty of playing time since he entered the league playing for the Jets. He's played in 14 games, seeing time both a starter and behind Brett Favre, Chad Pennington and now Mark Sanchez. Over that time, he has just a 52% completion percentage and a TD/INT ratio of 5/11, which makes puppies cry. So like I said he's sitting now in NYJ.
Tavaris Jackson has actually seen a lot of playing time in Minnesota and was, as everyone knows, was involved in a QB battle with Sage Rosenfels right up until the Vikes signed Favre. Jackson has seen action in 25 games, and despite a negative ere about him, he's actually not totally sucked. Jackson has a career completion percentage of 58%, with a 20/18 TD/INT ration and a 76.4 QB rating. All that being said, I think very much of that owes itself to having the best one-two rushing punch in the NFL playing behind him with a solid o-line in front of him. Jackson's QB ratings without Adrian Peterson: 62.5 and 70.8. With AP: 95.4. Coincidence? I think not.
Then theres the enigma that is Vince Young in Tennessee. The guy has graced the cover of Madden but has failed to light the world on fire in the Music City and has also brought along some off the field issues and distractions. In his career, Young has played 33 games, starting the 15 games of both his rookie and sophomore seasons in the NFL. In that time, Young has a 57% completion percentage, a 22/32 TD/INT ratio, a 6.4 yd avg, and a 68.8 QB Rating. This is pretty average play from a Madden cover player, and he is now sitting behind Kerry Collins after a less than impressive preseason in 09.
Matt Leinart has also shown flashes in his playing time with Arizona, which amounts to 21 games, much higher than I had thought. He has only a 55% completion percentage and also sports a negative 14/17 TD/INT ratio surrounded by talent at WR. Leinart has shown progress though, but still sits behind a resurgent Kurt Warner for the reigning NFC champs, sporting a career QB rating of 80.2.
Finally is Jay Cutler, drafted by the Denver Broncos and quickly ejected out the other end quite appropriately in to Chicago. As of today, Cutler has far and away received the most playing time, with 36 games. Cutler has also been far and away been the most productive QB of the bunch and has thrown for 55 tds, compared to 41 INTs, including tonights laughable 1 TD, 4 INT performance. He's completed 62% of his passes, averaging about 7 yds and totes an 85.6 QB rating for his career. Looking at this its clear to see that at this point, Cutler has been the best but one has to wonder if the 2009 preseason and tonight's game are a harbinger of things to come. Cutler has been dumped into a situation similar to Croyle's or perhaps even worse: a team with a solid RB, meh oline and very shallow receiving corps, and so far he's performed much less than admirably there. Also he's Jay Cutler and thats lame, although he gets points for getting the hell out of Denver while the getting was good.
So then we have the legend himself, the Alabama Blacksnake, R2P2, Brokie, BroCro, Brodemus, Kelli's Husband, Vanilla Vick (as he was called by his UA teammates): Brodie Croyle. Croyle's only played in 14 games after being plagues (many would say predictably) by injury in his career. In that time he sports a sucky 56% completion percentage. Today's game broke him even in his TD/INT ratio at 8/8 after throwing 2 picks in his only appearance against Pittsburgh in the 2006 season. His rating is 71.6. MEH. Some would point out though that Croyle hasn't been substantially outperformed in the same offense with the same talent, as Huard played better coming off his hot 06 campaign and Thigpen played better in Arrowspread, though markedly worse in Croyle's own offense. It could also be noted that Croyle has shown year-to-year improvement as a QB, posting an 11.9 QB rating in 06, a 69.9 QB rating in 07, an 81.3 rating in 08, and a 116.1 as of 1 game in 09 vs Baltimore, so he is certainly trending upwards, an idea bolstered by his preseason play this year and better play calling from Haley. We would also be remiss to discount Croyle's Hot Wife Rating and Hunting Knowledgability Score, which are both almost maxed out at 10, beating the rest of the pack by a county mile.
So four years in, here's how I rank the 2006 QB class that remains in the NFL. Honestly I think its mostly completely up for grabs and interchangeable.
1. Jay Cutler
2. Tavaris Jackson
3. Brodie Croyle
4. Matt Leinart
5. Kellon Clemons
6. Vince Young
7. Charlie Whitehurst (he hasn't screwed anything up or gotten cut)
8. Bruce Gradkowski