College Quarterbacks need to stay in School

Going through the last 10 NFL Drafts we have seen 25 quarterbacks drafted in the first round of the draft. Since it is way too early to put any kind of grade on Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota who drafted with the first two selections of this past draft, we will look at the other 23 quarterbacks drafted in the other nine drafts. Of those 23 players only four have lived up to expectations: Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. There are another four who have had some success in the league but have not had the kind of success that their teams hoped they would have consisting of:  Jay Cutler, Matt Stafford and Sam Bradford and Ryan Tannehill. Fair or not, all the rest are busts. A few are still in the league as backups but they haven’t come close to living up to expectations. In 2006 the third pick of the draft that year was Vince Young. He came out early and was considered a bust. The next quarterback taken was Matt Leinart at #10 and he also busted and is out of the league. Cutler was the third quarterback drafted at # 11 and was traded by the team that originally drafted him (Denver). The 2007 draft saw two quarterbacks get drafted in the opening round. The first overall selection was Jamarcus Russell who entered the draft early and is looked upon as one of the biggest busts in NFL history. At #22, Brady Quinn from Notre Dame was drafted by the Cleveland Browns and never did much of anything as a starter and is out of the league. 2008 was a good year. Matt Ryan went third overall and has been a Pro Bowl type player for the Atlanta Falcons. Joe Flacco was drafted at the #18 slot by Baltimore and won a Super Bowl. Both quarterbacks had used all their college eligibility. 2009 saw Georgia’s Matt Stafford taken first overall by the Detroit Lions. Stafford has had some memorable games but overall has been a bit of a disappointment. When he gets into big games he struggles. Mark Sanchez was taken at #5 by the Jets and early on looked as if he would have a promising career but that ended quickly and he is a career backup. Josh Freeman was drafted by Tampa Bay at # 17 and busted. He is currently out of the league. In 2010 Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford was the first overall selection of the St. Louis Rams. He was an early entry and like most early entries, failed to live up to expectations. St Louis finally traded him this past off-season and it remains to be seen how he will do in Philadelphia. Tim Tebow was drafted at #25 that year even though most felt he wasn’t a first round talent. Like many of the others drafted in the first round he is already out of the league. Because of the labor impasse and league lockout we saw four quarterbacks drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft. Auburn’s Cam Newton who was an early entry was the first overall selection and has had a solid career and looks like he will become one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. The other three have all busted. Jake Locker drafted at #8 is out of the league, Christian Ponder (#12) and Blaine Gabbert (#10) are backups playing with their second NFL clubs after failing with the teams that originally drafted them. In 2012, Stanford’s Andrew Luck left college with a year of eligibility to become the first overall selection in the draft. He is on his way to becoming a premier NFL quarterback. Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, also an underclassmen, was the second overall selection by Washington. He was supposed to change how the quarterback position was played. That didn’t work out and he is looked at as the biggest bust since JaMarcus Russell. The third quarterback selected was Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill and he has been inconsistent at best. The fourth quarterback taken that year was overaged Brandon Weedon and he never did anything in Cleveland and just recently lost the starting job in Dallas after two games playing for the injured Tony Romo. In 2013 there really wasn’t a quarterback worthy of being drafted in the first round but that didn’t prevent Buffalo from taking E.J. Manuel. They have regretted the move ever since. In 2014 we saw two quarterbacks drafted in the opening round, Blake Bortles taken at the #3 slot has been very inconsistent and Johnny Manziel has had problems on and off the field in Cleveland. Both were underclassmen and not ready to make the transition to the NFL. As you can see less than one third of the first round quarterbacks have done anything in the NFL. The only underclassmen who have any kind of success at all have been Newton, Stafford and Luck. Why a quarterback would leave school early to play in the NFL is beyond me. History says they will fail. Quarterbacks no longer get the huge rookie contracts that Sam Bradford and Jamarcus Russell saw. It is more to their benefit to get experience and perfect their skills in the college game. By the nature of the position the quarterback has to be the leader of the team. Most players who give up eligibility and leave college early are not physically or mentally ready to compete in the NFL! This year we will again see the media and the draft media write all sort of superlatives about underclassmen quarterbacks telling them that they are the next Aaron Rodgers etc. Do yourself a favor and don’t listen, unless you want to be in the 67% who fail as NFL quarterbacks. Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe  

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