There are always plenty of teams in the NFL looking for their next franchise quarterback. The majority of those searches begin in the NFL Draft, but that may not be the case this April. The last four drafts have seen a quarterback be the number one overall pick and only three times since 1998 has a quarterback not been taken with the top selection. This year’s draft class seems poised to make this the fourth time and that might not be such a bad thing.
Not since Peyton Manning was taken in 1998 has a quarterback going first overall actually been a sure-fire Hall of Fame type of selection. One could argue that his brother, Eli Manning, has enjoyed similar success, but two Super Bowl rings doesn’t necessarily validate a career.
Excluding the past four years where quarterbacks were taken because the jury is still out on those selections, the seven quarterbacks taken after the elder Manning first overall have been a mixed bag. Eli, Carson Palmer, Michael Vick, and Alex Smith have all had mild success in the league, but only the younger Manning has actually won anything of significance. Three of those picks in Tim Couch, David Carr, and Jamarcus Russell were by all accounts complete misses.
Of the three players since Peyton taken first overall who were not quarterbacks, only Courtney Brown was a miss. Both Jake Long and Mario Williams have been very successful and named to multiple Pro Bowls at their respective positions.
For those who consider this year’s draft class a down year just because a quarterback will in all likelihood not be the first overall selection, shame on you. This year’s class has a wealth of talent along the offensive and defensive lines. Just because there doesn’t appear to be a quarterback worthy of a first round grade doesn’t mean this year’s draft won’t produce plenty of high-caliber NFL players.
For all of the teams at the top of the draft desperate for a savior in the form of a new signal caller, sorry about your luck. You picked the wrong year to have one of the league’s worst records. There is no Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III in this year’s class, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We may still look back on this year’s draft class as one of the best in history, but for the quality of play in the trenches rather than at the typical glory positions.
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