I was debating between playing a game of Madden or writing this post, (notice I said nothing about studying or reading for law school, needless to say this isn't going well) and I decided to go with writing a post no one will ever read, but irregardless here it is. I know everyone says that the NFL draft is a crapshoot, (maybe everyone doesn't say this, but who can forget the 10,000 Rome is Burning commercials from two years ago where Rome repeated this mantra every 30 seconds), but I never really thought to much about this. So while I was sitting in class, not paying attention to the professor I was trying to think of all the first round quarterbacks in the last ten years or so and how there careers turned out. As I was going through this quick list I realized that for every Peyton Manning, I could think of 3 or 4 Cade McNown's. I decided I'd do a little more research to see if first round qb's were really this bad, so with a little help from nfl.com I was able to compile a list of the successes and (mostly) failures of teams drafting first round quarterbacks.
1. Eli Manning, Giants: It's probably to early to pass judgment on this draft class, especially considering Eli has only started about half a seasons worth of games. But considering how much the Giants gave up to get him in a trade from San Diego he'll have to exceed the expectations normally given to a No.1 pick to prove his worth.
4. Phillip Rivers, Chargers: Impossible to tell because he hasn't played but I'm sure backing up Drew Brees for two seasons wasn't what he had in mind when he came to San Diego. I think San Diego should have went with Rivers this year and not be blinded by a potential fluke Brees season, much like how the Bengals handled the Kitna-Palmer situation. And its never a good sign when the Bengals potentially handled a situation better than you.
11. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers: Hard to argue with a 17-0 regular season record although he was a little shaky in the playoffs, he was a rookie and looks to be the real deal.
22. J.P. Losman, Bills: I hate this guy. Only because I drafted Lee Evans for my fantasy team expecting a breakout season from him, and then quickly realized he wouldn't have anyone to get the ball to him. The Brett Favre quotes were a little disturbing too. And its never a good thing when people are calling for Kelly Holcomb after your second NFL start.
1. Carson Palmer, Bengals: This guy is the anti-Losman. I have him on my fantasy team and the early returns are phenomenal. I'm a big proponent of letting a young quarterback sit for a year to learn before throwing him out there, a la the Titans with McNair, where the team let Chris Chandler get killed and show McNair how not to play qb. I know it was tough to make the switch because Kitna had such a good season that year, but Kitna does look like the fat cigar smoking baby from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, which justified the move.
7. Byron Leftwich, Jaguars: MAC conference quarterbacks are the way to go, as evidenced by Pennington, Leftwich and Roethlisberger, so look out Cleveland here comes Charlie Frye.
19. Kyle Boller, Ravens: Yeesh, as previously stated its never a good sign to be this early in your career and having the natives calling for the backup and cheering your injury. Especially when the backup is Anthony Wright, whose just dying to be this generations Jeff Blake. Good thing Brian Billick is such an offensive genius, considering all the success he had with Tony Banks, Chris Redman, Elvis Grbac, and Jeff Blake...........err moving on.
22. Rex Grossman, Bears: I know he's had a ton of tough luck with injuries but, come on, does anyone really think he's going to be good. If anyone has a crappier stable of overrated college qb's than Jeff Tedford it's Steve Spurrier. Jesse Palmer, Doug Johnson, Danny Wuerffel, Shane Mathews, etc......... The second coming of Cade McNown
1. David Carr, Texans: 1st pick of what will probably be the worst set of 1st round qb's in NFL draft history when all is said and done. And that's saying something.
3. Joey Harrington, Lions: See every post from the last week. Just thinking about this guy makes my heart rate increase........getting dizzy............moving on........
32. Patrick Ramsey, Redskins: If your a G.M. and your thinking of taking a Tulane q.b. in the first round, get up stick your hand in the closest electrical socket and sit down. Repeat if necessary.
1. Michael Vick, Falcons: This was a no-brainer. He has the potential to change the game every time he has the ball in his hands, and I don't think he really understands how to play quarterback yet, which is scary for the rest of the league. Although one could argue that the Chargers did just as good for themselves by trading this pick, getting LaDanian Tomlinson and Brees in return, then if they would have taken Vick.
18. Chad Pennington, Jets: Didn't play much his first two season as he backed up everyone's favorite color-blind quarterback Vinny Testaverde. But personally I like Pennington, everyone rips his arm strength, but I think that if put in the right system, which could utilize his accuracy, he can dink and dunk a team deep into the playoffs.
1. Tim Couch, Browns: Ah yes, the draft that was supposed to rival the great quarterback class of '83. Hmmmm....this didn't really turn out well. I remember seeing Couch on David Letterman the night before the draft and they had a segment where he tried to throw a football through a moving taxi with the window rolled down, and he tried........and tried.........and tried, and tried, until finally the taxi slowed down to about 5 mph and he did it and was celebrated with a mock cheer. Not a very inspiring performance. Another warning flag was when he said the Browns playbook was overwhelming because at Kentucky he ran variations of the same 7 base plays. Thats right 7.......... 7!. Not to mention having Cade McNown steal your Playmate girlfriend because I'm assuming Joe Germaine was already in a relationship.
2. Donovan McNabb, Eagles. Finally a bona fide elite quarterback taken in the first round and it was only six years ago.
3. Akili Smith, Bengals: Yeesh. This guy was absolutely atrocious. He makes Joey Joe Joe Shabababoo Harrington look like Steve Young. I mean check out these stats.
11. Daunte Culpepper, Vikings: I think he's a good qb, but there is no question he's off to a sloooooooowwww start this season, and if you look at his career he's been surprisingly inconsistent. However, when he's on, like last season, he's as good as it gets.
12. Cade McNown, Bears: If you have a top ten pick and a history of crappy quarterbacks rivaled only by the Lions, why not draft a 5'8 quarterback, with no athletic ability, an enormous ego, minimal arm strength, coming off one good season in which his team choked in the last game of the year. Quick Note: Rod Allen just said country mile, three times in thirty seconds, setting a single season record for most times the same cliche has been used over a single season, breaking his own record set last year, with 10,826 recorded sayings.
1. Peyton Manning, Colts: I hate Peyton Manning, and I hate his face, and how he and the governor of Tennessee openly lobbied for the Heisman trophy over Charles Woodson. Maybe if he had ever won at Florida he could've made a case, and the fact that Tennessee won the title the next year with Tee Martin, that's right Tee Martin, made it all the more sweet. However Manning breaking the TD record while battling down syndrome was inspiring.
2. Ryan Leaf, Chargers. I feel bad even bringing this up. I really thought he was legit. Especially after watching him in the Rose Bowl against Michigan leading a comeback that had all Michigan fans a little nervous.
26: Jim Drunkenmiller, 49ers: Who? Next.
1996: GM's finally wisen up for one season and don't take a quarterback in the first round. But considering Tony Banks was the best in that class, it wasn't a hard decision.
3. Steve McNair, Oilers: Good quarterback, led his team to the Super Bowl, and has had a solid career. I can't really think of anything else to add....
5. Kerry Collins, Panthers: Had a see-saw career there in the beginning and failed to reach his potential as the next Jeff George. He did provide some entertainment though, with the alcoholism, racial slurs, and quitting/retiring for about two weeks in the middle of the 1998 season. Priceless.
I'm going to stop there, but by my final count in last 10 first rounds, not including this year, which includes 23 quarterbacks, you have 2 elite quarterbacks in Peyton Manning and Donovan McNabb. 3 very good/borderline elite guys in Culpepper, McNair, and Vick. A couple of serviceable guys in Collins and Pennington, and some potentially good qbs in Eli Manning, Carson Palmer, Roethlisberger and Leftwich one or two of which may make the jump to great/elite. So that leaves 12 guys taken in the first round who are/were just flat out busts. Not good, and this only goes back ten years, before that it was even shakier.
3: Heath Shuler, Redskins
6: Trent Dilfer, Buccaneers
1: Drew Bledsoe, Patriots
2: Rick Mirer, Seahawks (Yuck)
6: David Klingler, Bengals
25: Tommy Maddox, Broncos: who was great in replacing John Elw..........
16: Dan McGwire, Seahawks: Made everyone forget about his less talented brother Mark
24: Todd Marinovich, Raiders: There's a Marv Marinovich joke in here somewhere, but I'm too tired to do it.
1: Jeff George, Colts
7: Andre Ware, Lions
So there you have it. Draft a qb in Round 1 and you've got a less than 5% chance of him turning into an elite qb, and less than 50% that he won't be an outright joke/bust. So why risk it GM's. Go the safe route and draft a cornerback, because we've all seen how great the tandem of Bryant Westbrook and Terry Fair turned out to be.