With the Jets potentially in the market to take a quarterback in the first round of April's NFL Draft, this is a good time to examine the issue. Taking a quarterback so early can help bring a team glory or cripple it for five years. The purpose of this is to determine whether any trends can be useful in evaluation. This will be a brief summary of quarterbacks selected in the past ten years.
This part of what will be an ungoing series will focus only on the success rate of first round quarterbacks in the past decade. The criteria is simple. A quarterback will either go down as a hit, a miss, or not having enough evidence to determine either at this point. The riating method is very unscientific.The question is ultimately whether the quarterback in question played above average football for the team that selected him for a sustained stretch.
We are only judging the success rate of picking a quarterback so early and will get into specifics at a later date.
1999 NFL Draft
Tim Couch (Browns)-Miss
Donovan McNabb (Eagles)-Hit
Akili Smith (Bengals)-Miss
Daunte Culpepper (Vikings)-Hit
Cade McNown (Bears)-Miss
2000 NFL Draft
Chad Pennington (Jets)-Hit
2001 NFL Draft
Michael Vick (Falcons)-Hit
*This will undoubtedly be a controversial topic, but he dominated the Packers in a Playoff game in Lambeau Field and brought the Falcons to within a game of the Super Bowl two years later. His off field discretions aside, he was an above average albeit unconventional quarterback. A lot of teams would have traded for him before his arrest.*
2002 NFL Draft
David Carr (Texans)-Miss
Patrick Ramsey (Redskins)-Miss
2003 NFL Draft
Carson Palmer (Bengals)-Hit
Byron Leftwich (Jaguars)-Miss
Kyle Boller (Ravens)-Miss
Rex Grossman (Bears)-Miss
2004 NFL Draft
Eli Manning (Giants)-Hit
Philip Rivers (Chargers)-Hit
Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers)-Hit
J.P. Losman (Bills)-Miss
2005 NFL Draft
Alex Smith (49ers)-Miss
Aaron Rodgers (Packers)-Apparent Hit
Jason Campbell (Redskins)-Not Enough Information
2006 NFL Draft
Vince Young (Titans)-Apparent Miss
Matt Leinart (Cardinals)-Apparent Miss
Jay Cutler (Broncos)-Hit
2007 NFL Draft
Jamarcus Russell (Raiders)-Not Enough Information
Brady Quinn (Browns)-Not Enough Information
2008 NFL Draft
Matt Ryan (Falcons)-Apparent Hit
Joe Flacco (Ravens)-Apparent Hit
I had to qualify some of my choices because some of these players could see their play improve or regress with more experience. For now, the fact neither Vince Young nor Matt Leinart is a starter makes them disappointing, but they have time to turn things around. Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, and Joe Flacco did exceptionally well in their respective first seasons as starters, but they have not experienced sustained success as of yet and could potentially regress. Jason Campbell has been around for a while, but his final reputation in Washington is still anybody's guess. Some of these choices may have been debatable, but for the most part, teams would have selected the hits if given the chance to do so again, and the opposite is true of the misses.
Overall, 27 quarterbacks were taken in the first round of the past 10 Drafts. Of these, there is not enough information to make a judgement on 3 of them. Of the 24 remaining, 12 were hits. This means the odds of finding a quality quarterback in the first round is about 50/50 in a vacuum.
Finding a good quarterback is one thing. However, the goal is winning the Super Bowl, which only two quarterbacks on this list have done. That will be the focus of the next part of this series.