NFL Draft: Stop Wasting Picks on QB’s


Back in 2007, the NFL draft was full of quarterback prospects. Besides likely high-first round selections JaMarcus Russell and Brady Quinn, there were four other prospects that were thought to have starting potential: Kevin Kolb, John Beck and Drew Stanton went in the second round and Trent Edwards went in the third.

Fast forward to 2011 and you’ll see that only one of those second and third round picks (Kolb) has even a smidgen of success. Edwards is currently out of the league, Beck is a back-up for his third team and Stanton hasn’t been able to progress past third string quarterback in Detroit.

Quarterbacks drafted high in the first round are potential franchise signal callers, typically possessing all of the necessary talents and intangibles to become elite. Obviously, it doesn’t always work out that way but the majority of upper echelon quarterbacks were taken towards the top of the first round.

When you take a chance on a quarterback in the second or third round, it’s almost as if you’re drafting someone you already hope to replace sometime soon. Quarterbacks that fall out of the top half of the first round typically have some flaw – inaccuracy, bad decision making, not athletic enough – that will keep them from being a front-line starter.

Since it’s too soon to comment on the 2011 class (and maybe the 2010 class, but at least we have a year-plus of data), below are the second and third round quarterbacks drafted from ’06 – ’10:


Kellen Clemens

Tavaris Jackson

Charlie Whitehurst

Brodie Croyle


Kevin Kolb

John Beck

Drew Stanton

Trent Edwards


Brian Brohm

Chad Henne

Kevin O’Connell


Pat White


Jimmy Clausen

Colt McCoy

Armanti Edwards

Leaving Armanti Edwards out since he was actually drafted as a WR, that is fourteen picks. Out of those, you have four starters: Kolb, Henne, Jackson and McCoy. Kolb has not lived up to his contract with Arizona, Henne and Jackson will be replaced as soon as possible and after a promising start, McCoy appears to be just another guy. Out of the other ten, you have four back-ups at best and six who aren’t even in the league anymore.

Let’s look at the list again, but this time we’ll focus on the team that drafted the player and what other quarterback moves they’ve made since the draft pick:

NY Jets: Clemens – Took Mark Sanchez #5 overall in 2009

Vikings: Jackson – Signed Brett Farve; drafted Christian Ponder in 1st round

Chargers: Whitehurst – Drafted as a back-up; nothing of note

Chiefs: Croyle – traded for Matt Cassel

Eagles: Kolb – Signed Michael Vick

Dolphins: Beck – Drafted Chad Henne

Lions: Stanton – Drafted Matthew Stafford #1 overall in 2009

Bills: Edwards – Nothing of note

Packers: Brohm- Drafted as a back-up

Dolphins: Henne – Nothing of note

Patriots: O’Connell – Drafted as a back-up; drafted Ryan Mallet in 3rd round in 2011

Dolphins: White – Nothing of note

Panthers: Clausen – Drafted Cam Newton #1 overall in 2011

Browns: McCoy – Nothing of note

I find it amusing that the Dolphins show up on this list three times; this off season, they will once again be looking for a quarterback. Other than teams that were drafting a back-up, all of the teams have either spent other resources to get a quarterback or still need to.

Of course, there is another side of drafting a QB in the 2nd/3rd round, and that is the players you pass up instead. Once more, here is our list above but this time the quarterbacks are paired with a player that went in the next 15 selections:

Clemens – WR Greg Jennings

Jackson – T Eric Winston

Whitehurst – TE Owen Daniels

Croyle – G Jahri Evans

Kolb – WR Sidney Rice

Beck – LB Lamarr Woodley

Stanton – LB David Harris

Edwards – RB Michael Bush

Brohm – CB Terrell Thomas

Henne – CB Thomas (Brohm and Henne were drafted with back-to-back picks)

O’Connell – WR Mario Manningham

White – OL Max Unger

Clausen – LB Sean Lee

McCoy – TE Jimmy Graham

How would the Jets look with Greg Jennings? Think the Dolphins might be better with Lamarr Woodley? The second and third rounds of the NFL draft are where good teams become great. They don’t do that by drafting quarterbacks.