A lot of GM's and coach's say that drafting a QB in the first round, especially the top 10 picks, is a make or break deal. Multiple seasons can be thrown away trying to decide when or if to give up on a bust. If he ends up being a star, it can guarantee playoffs for several years. Teams should definitely use caution when taking a QB so early, especially after the recent successes of Tom Brady (6th Round), Tony Romo (Undrafted), and several other 2nd day/Undrafted QBs. Here are all the quarterbacks selected in the 1st round from 1990 to 2003, with my opinion (although most of these are probably the consensus) of what kind of player they are, as well as their career statistics. You might be surprised at the success rate.
Drew Bledsoe* (1st Overall, Patriots, 1993) Career Stats: 251 TD's 206 INT's
Steve McNair* (3rd, Titans, 1995) Career Stats: 172 TD's 113 INT's
Peyton Manning* (1st, Colts, 1998) Career Stats: 273 TD's 139 INT's
Donovan McNabb* (2nd, Eagles, 1999) Career Stats: 152 TD's 72 INT's
Carson Palmer* (1st, Bengals, 2003) Career Stats: 76 TD's 43 INT's
Jeff George (1st, Colts, 1990) Career Stats: 154 TD’s 113 INT’s
Trent Dilfer* (6th, Buccaneers, 1994) Career Stats: 106 TD’s 117 INT’s
Kerry Collins* (5th, Panthers, 1995) Career Stats: 174 TD’s 172 INT’s
Daunte Culpepper* (11th, Vikings, 1999) Career Stats: 137 TD’s 89 INT’s
Chad Pennington* (18th, Jets, 2000) Career Stats: 71 TD’s 46 INT’s
Michael Vick* (1st, Falcons, 2001) Career Stats: 70 TD's 52 INT's, 21 rush TDs
Byron Leftwich* (7th, Jaguars, 2003) Career Stats: 51 TD’s 36 INT’s
BELOW AVG STARTERS/BACKUPS
David Carr* (1st Overall, Texans, 2002) Career Stats: 59 TD’s 64 INT’s
Joey Harrington* (3rd, Lions, 2002) Career Stats: 72 TD’s 77 INT’s
Patrick Ramsey* (32nd, Redskins, 2002) Career Stats: 34 TD’s 29 INT’s
Kyle Boller* (19th, Ravens, 2003) Career Stats: 36 TD’s 34 INT’s
Rex Grossman* (22nd, Bears, 2003) Career Stats: 27 TD’s 23 INT’s
Andre Ware (7th Overall, Lions, 1990) Career Stats: 5 TD’s 8 INT’s
Dan McGwire (16th, Seahawks, 1991) Career Stats: 2 TD’s 6 INT’s
Todd Marinovich (24th, Raiders, 1991) Career Stats: 8 TD’s 9 INT’s
David Klingler (6th, Bengals, 1992) Career Stats: 16 TD’s 21 INT’s
Tommy Maddox (25th, Broncos, 1992) Career Stats: 48 TD’s 54 INT’s
Rick Mirer (2nd, Seahawks, 1993) Career Stats: 50 TD’s 76 INT’s
Heath Shuler (3rd, Redskins, 1994) Career Stats: 15 TD’s 33 INT’s
Jim Druckenmiller (26th, 49ers, 1997) Career Stats: 1 TD 4 INT’s
Ryan Leaf (2nd, Chargers, 1998) Career Stats: 14 TD’s 36 INT’s
Tim Couch (1st, Browns, 1999) Career Stats: 64 TD’s 67 INT’s
Akili Smith (3rd, Bengals, 1999) Career Stats: 5 TD’s 13 INT’s
Cade McNown (12th, Bears, 1999) Career Stats: 16 TD’s 19 INT’s
Percentages of each of the above categories:
Star Players: 5/29 or 17.2%
Solid Starters: 7/29 or 24.1%
Below Avg Starters/Backups: 5/29 or 17.2%
Total Busts: 12/29 or 41.4%
So, if you’d consider a solid starter a success, there is about a 41% success rate. You’re just as likely to draft a total bust. Basically, you better know what you’re getting before you decide to jump the gun and draft a QB. But the Chargers thought they knew with Ryan Leaf. And the Browns thought they knew with Tim Couch, and so on…If you want to be safe, just spend more money and sign a veteran QB with a good track record while trying to strike gold in the later rounds. (See Drew Brees/New Orleans, Tom Brady/New England, Tony Romo/Dallas, Kurt Warner/St. Louis, etc.)
I felt it was too early to call on players who haven’t been in the league for over 3 years, but here is how I’d rank them so far in their careers. Remember, it is still very early and this is just my opinion:
1. Vince Young (3rd Overall, Titans, 2006) Looks like a superstar, almost single-handedly led Titans to the playoff chase.
2. Ben Roethlisberger (11th, Steelers, 2004) Sure, he’s had a down year, but he has won a Super Bowl.
3. Philip Rivers (4th, Chargers, 2004) He can lead a team, but probably won’t be a star.
4. Matt Leinart (10th, Cardinals, 2006) Played pretty well for a rookie.
5. Eli Manning (1st, Giants, 2004) I’m not a big fan, doesn’t appear to be a team leader at all.
6. Jay Cutler (11th, Broncos, 2006) He’s got a chance to go to the playoffs, then we’ll see what he’s really made of.
7. Jason Campbell (25th, Redskins, 2005) Really impressed me in the 7 games he started this year.
8. Alex Smith (1st, 49ers, 2005) Terrible rookie season, but has looked alright so far this year.
9. J.P. Losman (22nd, Bills, 2004) Earlier in his career, everyone was saying bust, but he’s good 3rd season.
10. Aaron Rodgers (24th, Packers, 2005) Not played any meaningful time so far.
One last interesting note: Out of all the Super Bowl QB’s from 2001 through 2006 (there’s 9 of them), only 2 were 1st round QB’s that led their original team there, (Donovan McNabb, Ben Roethlisberger), and only Roethlisberger won. Six of them were drafted in the 4th round or later.