Rutherford's future: NFL backup?

Mel Kiper Jr. takes draft-related questions on quarterbacks Rod Rutherford and Asad Abdul-Khaliq, the best blocking backs in the draft and others.

Originally Published: November 13, 2003
By Mel Kiper Jr. | Special to ESPN Insider
YOU'VE GOT MEL | Mel Kiper Jr.'s Mailbag
Q: Why is Pittsburgh quarterback Rod Rutherford omitted from your list of top prospects? He has more touchdown passes (27 to 23) and averages more yards per attempt (9.2 to 8.3) than Ole Miss QB Eli Manning, who is the top player on your board right now. I am not the expert here, but those stats combined with his physical abilities seem to be what pro teams look for.
Matt, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Rod Rutherford can throw over or run away from defenders.
KIPER -- At 6-2 and 215 pounds, with good athletic ability, a terrific work ethic and outstanding coachability, Rutherford has some potential. Pittsburgh coach Walt Harris raves about how much Rutherford has developed and matured over the past few years.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst
Mel Kiper has served as an NFL draft analyst for ESPN since 1984. He is a regular contributor on SportsCenter and ESPN Radio and writes weekly for ESPN Insider.