Carson Palmer, Byron Leftwich, Kyle Boller and perhaps even former Florida Gator Rex Grossman will be awaiting a first-round draft call Saturday -- four offering reassurance that the NFL hasn't lost its appreciation for good old-fashioned pocket quarterbacks.
There isn't a Mike Vick, Donovan McNabb or Daunte Culpepper among them. They're all adept at taking those nifty little steps within the cocoon to avoid the rush.
But, unlike those three swift men, running over, around or through defenders is not their specialty.
They drop back and pass downfield and, in that sense, they will go into professional football with an edge over those runners who have been proclaimed the vanguard of the new age of quarterbacks.
"It's a great dimension to be able to take off and run," former San Francisco quarterback Steve Young noted last season. "But until Michael Vick learns how to throw from the pocket he won't be a complete quarterback."
That was what was on Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Reeves' mind at the end of the season, when he dismissed quarterback coach Jack Burns and replaced him with Mike Johnson, who has more background in the nuts and bolts of quarterbacking technique.
No one questions that Vick, Culpepper and McNabb are reinventing the job in a way that further expands the power of quarterbacking.
Last season, for example, Vick rushed for 777 yards, and there was that stunning 46-yard dash to a touchdown in overtime against Minnesota.
But when you get to the playoffs, against the better defenses, scrambling is not enough.
Or has it gone unnoticed that the past four Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks have been pocket passers -- Kurt Warner of St. Louis, Trent Dilfer of Baltimore, Tom Brady of New England and Brad Johnson of Tampa Bay?
Palmer, who clocked a 4.7-second 40-yard sprint for scouts, can run. Boller has been known to take flight.
But none of these prized 2003 draftees, who include 251-pound Dave Ragone of Louisville and Chris "Son of Phil" Simms of Texas, is a runner first and passer second.
That is why, if they sign and get into camp on time, they can be starters from Day One.
Vick was not ready as a 2001 rookie. He had little guile within the pocket. Nor was McNabb ready in 1999, though he developed as a passer more quickly than Vick with former Brett Favre mentor Andy Reid as his coach at Philadelphia.
Last week Joe Theismann recalled his days in the 1970s as a running quarterback.
"I had to learn to be a dropback quarterback, and playing behind Sonny Jurgensen and Billy Kilmer was the best thing that happened to me," he said.
"I could make things happen with my legs. But I had to be good in the pocket to be complete. If you can run around, that's nice. But the No. 1 requirement is to throw accurately from the pocket."
If Palmer, Leftwich, Boller, Grossman, Simms and Ragone hit it big in the NFL, it will be in the way Drew Bledsoe, Peyton Manning and Brad Johnson succeeded -- by using their legs only selectively.
Maybe there is a new wave of quarterbacks out there, but there will always be Brad Johnson and Peyton Manning.
And maybe Carson Palmer and Byron Leftwich. Check with me again in three years.