It speaks for itself. Rich Campbell of the The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va. compiled a list of quarterbacks recently selected in the second round of the NFL draft. A warning: the following contains graphic and disturbing names…
Jimmy Clausen, Carolina, 2010
Pat White, Miami, 2009
Brian Brohm, Green Bay, 2008
Chad Henne, Miami, 2008
Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia, 2007
John Beck, Miami, 2007
Drew Stanton, Detroit, 2007
Kellen Clemens, New York Jets, 2006
Tarvaris Jackson, Minnesota, 2006
Prior to that batch of disaster, no signal callers were selected in the second round for four consecutive years. Drew Brees was the first pick in the second round in 2001, but since that was prior to expansion to Houston, he was taken in what would be the first round now (pick No. 32). Later in that very round, the Cowboys selected Quincy Carter and the Raiders took Marques Tuiasosopo. No QBs were picked in the second round of the 2000 draft.
So that means that this century, not one quarterback selected between pick 33 and pick 64 has gone on to have a successful career. The jury’s still out on Henne and Kolb, but neither appear to be franchise quarterbacks. The last Pro Bowl quarterback not named Brees to be selected in the second round: Jake Plummer in 1997.
What makes this particularly relevant this year is that we have a large number of good, not great quarterbacks that are projected to be drafted in or around that area. While Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton are expected to be chosen in the first round, as many as six quarterbacks could go in Round 2.
Teams that don’t pick high enough to draft Gabbert or Newton will face a lot of pressure from fans to draft one of the left-over quarterbacks in the second round. If the above duo is gone in the top five, that leaves teams like the 49ers, Titans, Redskins, Vikings, Dolphins, Jaguars and Seahawks to consider prospects like Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Ryan Mallett, Colin Kaepernick, Andy Dalton and Ricky Stanzi.
History is not on their side. But maybe this year is an exception, as ESPN’s Todd McShay suggests:
“I think it’s just you get more quality seniors coming out,” McShay told Campbell. “Even though we’re seeing more spread offenses and systems that don’t fit the NFL, I do think you have a bunch of seniors who have played a bunch of games and have been successful and a lot of intelligent players. I think guys like Dalton and Ponder and even guys like [Nevada’s] Collin Kaepernick and [Iowa’s] Ricky Stanzi, they know what it takes to be successful. They’ve been through a lot of games and have really gotten it done at the college level.
“While each of them will have to make a certain type of transition to the NFL, I think this year is unique in that we have so many quality quarterbacks that can get it done in different kinds of system. Andy Dalton, I thought, just got better and better every year. I think a lot of that had to do with playing of reps.”
Franchise quarterbacks come along maybe once a year, which is why if a team feels they don’t already have one, they have to either make a trade for a veteran (have fun trying to pry a stud QB away from an opponent) or draft one. Trading up or paying big to take one at the top of the first round has proven to be risky, but it’s just as risky, obviously, to wait and take one in Round 2.
Maybe finding those diamonds in the rough is the key. In 2000, Tom Brady was selected 199th overall. In 2003, Tony Romo went undrafted. Kyle Orton was a fourth-round pick in 2005 and Matt Cassel was picked 230th that same year.
Teams would be smart to avoid gambling on quarterbacks early, instead investing in scouting in order to find the next Brady, Romo, Orton or Cassel.