The validity of the first overall pick in the NFL Draft is in question as only eight out of the 34 Super Bowl winning starting quarterbacks were taken first overall.
Furthermore, only 19 of the 34 were taken with the first 32 picks, with seven taken outside the top 100 picks. This indicates that you can review college tape and look at their combine and pro day all you like but predicting who will be a star in the NFL is unreliable.
Over the years, we have seen the importance of a quarterback to hit it off straight away increase more and more over the years. It appears that there is no longer that requirement for a player to sit and learn.
The quarterback is the most important position in the NFL, with some arguing it to be the most important position in all of sport. Whether they are in high school, college or the NFL, the quarterback is the leader of the pack and someone that the teammates look up to and rely upon. Looking at this infographic, you can see the rise in quarterbacks taken early in the NFL Draft. In fact, you can see that this decade has already seen six quarterbacks taken in the first round, only two less than the entire of the 1980’s.
It does not stop at the top ten, with a clear increase in quarterbacks taken in the first round. Not only are we seeing this from the above infographic, but we are also seeing an increase in the amount of starts in their rookie season. There is a 17 quarterback increase on those making ten or more starts in their rookie campaigns.
Whether it is from the fanbase who are eager to see their new star or the front office looking to justify their decision to trade up, or purposely “tank” the prior season, there is definitely an increase in rookie quarterbacks playing straight away.
However, the one thing that hasn’t increased is the number of Super Bowls won by first round quarterbacks. Of course, legendary quarterback Tom Brady has won a lot of Super Bowls over the last twenty years since being drafted 199th overall.
The NFL is a great league and is often admired from an outsider’s perspective due to the parity. However, this also causes issues for the top college players. American sports media personality Colin Cowherd always refers to the fact that where you land matters. A college quarterback will rightly be high on team’s draft boards but there is often a reason why the teams have a high draft pick. It is because they aren’t good. Whether this be a bad offensive line, bad defense or a lack of offensive talent around them, this is often why we often see the most successful NFL players not taken early. Of course, there are exceptions such as Troy Aikman and Peyton Manning but nine times out of ten, the high draft picks are often unsuccessful because they are going to a bad team.
Either way, it is important to draft well.