We all know that any draft pick is a gamble. The stakes are raised even more in the first round. Yet, there are "safe" first round picks (offensive linemen), there are picks that have decent odds of a smooth transition to the NFL, and finally, you have the biggest gamble of them all - the first round quarterback. What are the odds of drafting a franchise QB?
1990 – Andre Ware (Detroit), Jeff George (Indianapolis)
1991 – Dan McGwire (Seattle), Todd Marinovich (Oakland)
1992 – David Klingler (Cincinnati), Dave Brown (N.Y. Giants), Tommy Maddox (Broncos)
1993 – Drew Bledsoe (New England), Rick Mirer (Seattle)
1994 – Heath Shuler (Washington), Trent Dilfer (Tampa Bay)
1995 – Steve McNair (Houston), Kerry Collins (Carolina)
1996 – NONE
1997 – Jim Druckenmiller (San Francisco)
1998 – Peyton Manning (Indianapolis), Ryan Leaf (San Diego)
1999 – Tim Couch (Cleveland), Donavan McNabb (Philly) Akili Smith (Cincinnati), Daunte Culpepper (Minnesota), Cade McNown (Chicago)
2000 – Chad Pennington (New York Jets)
2001 – Mike Vick (Atlanta)
2002 – David Carr (Houston), Joey Harrington (Detroit), Patrick Ramsey (Washington)
2003 – Carson Palmer (Cincinnati), Byron Leftwich (Jacksonville), Kyle Boller (Baltimore), Rex Grossman (Chicago)
2004 – Eli Manning (N.Y. Giants), Philip Rivers (San Diego), Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh), J.P. Losman (Buffalo)
2005 – Alex Smith (San Francisco), Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay), Jason Campbell (Washington)
2006 – Matt Leinart (Arizona), Jay Cutler (Denver), Vince Young (Tennessee)
2007 – JaMarcus Russell (Oakland), Brady Quinn (Cleveland)
2008 – Matt Ryan (Atlanta), Joe Flacco (Baltimore)
2009 – Matt Stafford (Detroit), Mark Sanchez (N.Y. Jets), Josh Freeman (Tampa Bay)
So who are our franchise quarterbacks in this list of the 46 1st round quarterbacks taken from 1990-2009?
By my count, there are 14. Some ranging from an elite franchise QB (Rodgers) through a standard franchise QB (Matt Ryan). I have Stafford, McNabb, Ryan, Flacco, Cutler, Rodgers, E. Manning, Rivers, Roethlisberger, Palmer, Vick, Culpepper, P. Manning and McNair. That's about 30%. In other words, the odds are not good. Less than half of quarterbacks drafted since 1990 have turned out to be franchise quarterbacks.
Also, an interesting side note.
The last two drafts have produced 8 first round quarterbacks (4 each). The last time this happened was the 2003 and 2004 drafts, where half of those QB's have gone on to become franchise QB's and I'll throw in Leftwich as a serviceable starter. What's even more striking is the similarities of the draft positions when comparing 2004 and 2012. In 2004, #1 overall Eli Manning, #4 Phillip Rivers, and #11 Ben Roethlisberger. In 2012, #1 Luck, #2, RGIII and #8 Tannehill.
Call me superstitious, but I believe the 2012 draft can be a modern version of the 2004 draft. If any 1st round quarterback draft class can do it, it is this one. Luck, RGIII, Tannehill, and Weeden have all the potential in the world.