To avoid making future mistakes we must learn from the past. Although every draft is different, there have been some trends that have played out over the years. Based on draft results from 2000-20010, here are some of the facts we’ve learned about the quarterback position.
The quarterback is certainly the most important position in all of sports, and missing on a signal caller early in a draft can set a franchise back for years. With that being said, the statistics overwhelmingly say that selecting a quarterback early is the best way to get to the playoffs and eventually a Super Bowl.
We know that Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin, III and Ryan Tannehill will hear their names called in the first-round of the draft next Thursday. But how many of those three will make their teams regret the selection?
From 2000 through 2010, 28 quarterbacks have been selected in the first round and half of those have worked out to become solid starters. Eight out of the last 12 Super Bowl representatives started a first-round pick at quarterback and in 2010, each of the final four teams standing started a signal caller selected in the first round.
But what about avoiding the risk of spending a top pick and millions of guaranteed dollars?
You can always hope for the next Tom Brady, and there very well may be another one out there…somewhere. The odds say that you’re much more likely to run into a Tim Rattay or Spergon Wynn.
As we go down the draft, round by round, the quarterback successes go from slim to slimmer. In the second round, just two of 13 quarterbacks (15.4 percent) have worked out (Drew Brees and Kevin Kolb– who has a pretty slim body of work and is closer to a bust than a hit). In round three, Houston’s Matt Schaub was the only one of 14 signal callers (7.1 percent) selected that became a solid starter.
What about the late-round guys? Low risk, potentially high reward right?
Of course we have the aforementioned Tom Brady who has won three Super Bowls and will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Since Brady there really hasn’t been much to speak of. Including Brady, just five of 85 quarterbacks selected (5.9 percent) have turned into solid picks (Marc Bulger, David Garrard, Kyle Orton and Matt Cassel). Those “solid picks” are judged on where they are selected and we use different criteria as say a first or second round pick. Excluding Brady, those other four quarterbacks, “solid picks” have just six postseason starts combined and only two playoff victories.
The statistics say that drafting a quarterback in the first round is the best way to get to the promised land. If you avoid selecting a quarterback early, you’re guaranteed to avoid a JaMarcus Russell-sized disaster, but Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning will also be out of your grasp.
Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie