First Round QBs and the Blind Optimism of the Draft

There has been much debate over the past few months on the Rams starting QB and whether it’s time to move on. There are many supports of Sam Bradford of which I am one who think he has and is improving and will become the QB we expected when he was drafted. Then there are those who don’t think he will ever be a good enough QB and should be cut or traded immediately and we should draft a new QB in the first round.

It is the second notion that has prompted me to write this, my first fanpost. I first threw something like this together very quickly in a back and forth on another post a while back and decide to reprise it with a bit more context and color.

Every year running up to draft time those of us who play at the mock draft game do our best to put together our version of the ideal draft for our team. We make our selections based on perceived need or best player available and then pontificate on why these players are the perfect fit. Inevitably though, it is the first round picks that draw the most attention from supporters and detractors alike. When it comes to QBs, like all things in the NFL, the emphasis is heightened, often beyond reason. Inevitably anyone’s choice for a first round QB at some time is justified with these words "Can’t Miss".

I thought it might be a worthwhile exercise to test the ‘can’t miss’ first round QB against our own Sam Bradford. Other than the past three drafts governed by the new CBA when drafting a QB was a far less expensive proposition, in 2010 and before doing so came at a high cost so it is reasonable to assume that most QBs drafted in the first round came with high expectations.

So I thought let’s take a look at all the first round drafted QBs since 2000 (listed below by name – year – selection#) and put them into 4 groups. Each is defined below and the QBs I would put in that group. My criteria was this: Based on what I know today would I trade that QB straight up for Sam if each was beginning their career. I added some commentary on each.

Group 1: Don’t talk to me, what are you drinking to think I would make a swap that bad!

Blaine Gabbert – 2011 – 10; He can’t keep a starting job in Jax for God’s sake!

Christian Ponder – 2011 – 12: On his way out, Vikes are looking to move on.

Tim Tebow – 2010 – 25: 32 teams wouldn’t give him a backup job.

JaMarcus Russell – 2007 – 1: On of the biggest (no pun intended) busts of all time!

Matt Leinart 2006 – 10: Bust, is he even in the league anymore?

J.P. Losman – 2004 -22: Forgot he even played football!

Group 2: Would consider for about, oh, three seconds, chuckle and pass, thank you very much:

EJ Manuel - 2013 – 16: Struggled as a rookie. Sam had a much better first year.

Brandon Weeden – 2011 – 22: Rumors have Cleveland cutting both QBs this off season.

Jake Locker – 2011 – 8: Couldn’t keep his starting job in TN.

Mark Sanchez – 2009 – 5: Out in NY + butt fumble, enough said.

Josh Freeman – 2009 – 17: Rumors have Cleveland cutting both QBs this off season. Wait, didn’t I already say that?

Brady Quinn – 2007 – 22: Every teams back-up.

Vince Young – 2006-3: Despite QB starved teams, he is out of the league.

Alex Smith - 2005 – 1: How many years of mediocre play, 7, 8?

Jason Campbell – 2005 – 25: Journeyman.

Byron Leftwich – 2003 – 7: OK at best.
Kyle Boller – 2003 – 19: Perennial backup.
Rex Grossman – 2003 – 22: Could not keep a starting job anywhere.

David Carr - 2002 – 1: What could have been had he not been a human tackling dummy for so long.
Joey Harrington - 2002 – 3: Pedestrian career w/more INTs than TDs.
Patrick Ramsey - 2002 – 32: Played 37 games in 7 years, four of those years he had less than 50 attempts.

Michael Vick - 2001 – 1: Dyanmic…when he could stay on the field. Played 16 games once in 11 seasons.

Chad Pennington - 2000 – 18: Mediocre at best. 102 TDs in 89 games.

Group 3: Would think about, maybe, but in the end, I sit tight with Bradford:

Robert Griffin III – 2013 – 2: Injured and benched, may never be the same after surgery #????
Ryan Tannehill – 2011 – 8: Doing OK, not much more after Miami spent huge in FA to get over the hump.

Matthew Stafford – 2009 – 1: Best WR in the game, good RB, good D, terrific stats, not a lot of wins.

Matt Ryan – 2008 – 3: ATL mortgaged the draft to get him top WRs and then got the RB that was going to put them over the top. How did that work out? On the same team with same talent he is not better than Sam.
Jay Cutler – 2006-11: Good QB but not great. I will take Bradford’s promise over Cutler’s known.

Eli Manning – 2004 – 1: This was hard but his SB wins were on loaded teams, without that he is a turnover machine. Career 229 TDs, 171 INTs + 58 Fumbles.

Carson Palmer - 2003 – 1: Ok career, nothing spectacular.

Group 4: Love ya Sam but gotta pull the trigger and make the deal:

Andrew Luck - 2013 – 1: Great promise.
Cam Newton – 2011 – 1: Great promise.
Joe Flacco – 2008 – 18: This was close but I will give him the nod.

Aaron Rodgers – 2005 – 24: No question, elite.
Ben Roethlisberger – 2004 – 11: Another close one but I would do it.

Philip Rivers – 2004 – 4: Sometimes inconsistent but gotta do it.

So there you have it, only 6 QBs would I take straight up for Sam out of 36 or 16.7%. So before you say this college QB (insert name here) is a can’t miss NFL star, remember that history says your chances aren’t as good as you think.

So a simple question, how many of the above would you take straight up for Sam? Let me know make your case. Thanks for reading my first fanpost.

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