Saturday, December 30, 2006

QB in the 1st Round: Good or Bad idea?

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.

*=active

STAR PLAYERS
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

SOLID STARTERS
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

TOTAL BUSTS
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.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your orginal statement was in relation to NFL GM's who had say that top ten QBs are make or break a team but you then went onto use the entire first round to make a case against drafting a QB.

If the point is to avoid taking a bust or sub par QB then look at the numbers to determine the best positive correllation to find the best chance for success. Its evident the best chance for success is within the top three picks.

All five of what you label star players were selected within the top three picks.

Two of what you label solid starters were taken in the top three.

Two below average QBs were selected in the top three.

And five what you label, total busts, were taken in the top three.

The averages of top three QBs are:

~ 35% Stars
~ 15% Solid
~ 15% Below average
~ 35% Total busts

Split right down the middle. An optimist would claim a fifty percent chance of landing a Solid or Star QB in the top three selections.

And I have to castigate you for arbitrarily begining your data collection in 1990, had you included 1989 you would have to include Troy Aikman who provided 3 Super Bowl trophies and a Hall of Fame induction. Its clear you did not want to be fair. Your labels are innacurate and biased and so is your data.

You should not cherry pick data to try and make a case against taking a QB by arbitrarily collecting data that suits your contention such as using an odd 13 year time and instead of trying to substantiate the original statement by NFL GMs of top ten QBs being are a risky proposition bu using data from lower first round picks of 11 through 32.

Basically any team selecing a QB in the top three would have done their due dilligence and chosen the player based on their merits but history shows that QBs deemed worthy of a top three selection fair out FAR BETTER than your biased and cherry picked data would suggest.

You really should do the homework to show the only positive Super Bowl correlations to the NFL draft. I know both of them. Hint top three drafted QBs is one of them. If you do the homework you'll find the other one. People want to know the best chance of their team becoming a Super Bowl team, they don't want opinions based off of cherry picked data to support fear mongering claims. Also you failed to place QBs in context with out positions so you in fact proved nothing. Sorry to be so harsh but this sort of thing is better suited for common rant boards rather than worthy of a blog of someone who should know more than a run of the mill Yahoo.

JP said...

I was really just trying to say how big of a risk it is to take a QB in the 1st round. Sorry for offending you, but that's what I think and I'm sticking to it. And as far as "cherry picking", I'm sorry but that was completely random, starting in 1990. I kind of wanted to do 15 years, and the last 2 years are too early to tell, and 1990 is a good, even number. I'd like to know why this is such a touchy subject for you? Blogs are used to voice opinions, and that is mine. You can have yours, but your not changing what I think,

JP

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