The quarterback position is the hardest to draft and the hardest to play in professional sports, and the evidence has become very clear. Quarterbacks in the NFL are getting better and better. We’ll begin to this this era of quarterbacks slowly but surely take over the all time leaderboards when their careers are over.
Patrick Mahomes is on pace to break a ton of quarterback passing records. Lamar Jackson is already the best running quarterback in NFL history, and Justin Herbert’s first two seasons in the NFL were the best in terms of passing the league has ever seen. In an age where elite quarterback play is necessary to win championships, the way to go about getting said quarterbacks becomes very hard.
During draft season, we’ll hear many analysts say things like “He’s the most pro ready at his position.” It’s a common phrase, “pro ready” that is uttered by many people who have a ton invested in the NFL draft. Quenton Nelson was seen as day one ready, and he’ll end his career as a Hall of Famer, for example.
These pro ready prospects are likely general manager’s best friends, because being pro ready gives them a near certain chance to have a good NFL career. However, that pro ready mindset hasn’t seemed to work for a certain position: quarterback.
Quarterbacks in the NFL are an interesting bunch. They come in all shapes and sizes. Two of the better QBs in the NFL, Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray, are both 5’10”. One of the best of all time, Peyton Manning, is 6’5″ and could hardly move.
You have prototypical pocket passers, others who are true dual threats, and others who are truly in between. When looking at the most successful quarterbacks as of late, some of these players were called “raw” and “projects,” but funnily enough, some of them ended up working out.
Patrick Mahomes was seen as a raw type who needed some refinement in his game. He may finish his career as the best quarterback of all time.
Josh Allen came from absolutely Nowhere, USA in college football, was seen as an incredibly raw quarterback and perhaps a better athlete than signal caller, and is now an MVP candidate.
The same goes for Lamar Jackson who dropped to the bottom of the first round. You see, it seems as if the “pro ready” ones of recent past like Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, and Baker Mayfield haven’t panned out in the NFL.
Maybe the “pro ready” phrase we attach to quarterbacks should be seen as a negative quality. Perhaps teams should be more willing to take chances on quarterbacks who have that so called “raw” talent.