As the 2016 NFL Draft approaches with the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles having traded for the first and second overall picks, a majority of pundits seem to agree that quarterbacks will be taken in those spots, namely Cal QB Jared Goff and North Dakota St. QB Carson Wentz. QBs have been taken with the first two picks six times dating back to 1965. You can see their names in the table below.
The bolded names are the players that succeeded at the next level relative to the other draft pick. The jury is still out on Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston and Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota, but in the next several years we could get our answer. In 1971, both Jim Plunkett and the original Manning were taken with the top spots; both had relatively the same careers, so both were bolded. They weren’t amazing careers by today’s standards, but this was 1971 and the RBs were more important for the offense.
The thing that jumps out at me is that when QBs go 1-2, one of them turns out to be a Pro Bowler or a Hall of Famer. The other…basically the opposite. The most striking example being Peyton Manning vs. Ryan Leaf. One finally retired having won two Super Bowls; the other tried to steal a bunch of things and is now sitting in jail. Even as recent as 2012 in just four years' time, Robert Griffin III is on another team with one good season under his belt as Andrew Luck has had only one bad season and a lone missed playoff opportunity with the Colts. A nagging injury might be responsible for that.
Also note that there was not a 1-2 combo where both picks were absolutely horrible and both turned into busts. Historically speaking, there’s a 17% chance that both players turn out fine; 73% that only one of the QBs will be good.
I can’t explain this trend, except that it’s real.
The moral of this exercise is that the Rams have put themselves in a historic situation. If they make the right pick, they have a franchise QB. If they make the wrong pick, they are set back by another several years.
I know some people don't care who they pick, but if history tells us anything, the Rams can't afford to screw up their selection on draft day. Whether you’re on #TeamGoff or #TeamWentz, I think we’ll agree that the LA Rams are on #TeamDontPickTheWrongGuy.
Thanks for reading and Horns Up!