With the dueling mock draft done between Mel Kiper Jr and Todd McShay something came to my attention that I wanted to look over.
Now, Lamar Jackson went at pick 22 (Kiper) and pick 29 (McShay), so it had me look back through the ages.
How many times have six or more quarterbacks been taken in the first three rounds?
Let’s start from the beginning:
1971: Jim Plunkett, Archie Manning, Dan Pastrioni, Lynn Dickey, Leo Hart and Ken Anderson.
Plunkett and Anderson were the stars of this class, but Archie and Pastrioni were no slouches. Dickey was a journeyman while Hart was the lone bust.
1973: Bert Jones, Gary Huff, Ron Jaworski, Gary Keithley, Joe Ferguson, Dan Fouts.
While Jones and Jaworski were nice players, Fouts was the jewel of this class.
1983: John Elway, Todd Blackledge, Jim Kelly, Tony Eason, Ken O’Brien, Dan Marino.
Three Hall of Famer’s and three guys. Unfortunate for those that missed.
1995: Steve McNair, Kerry Collins, Todd Collins, Kordell Stewart, Stoney Case, Eric Zeier
Yuck. McNair was great, Kerry Collins was a good quarterback for a long time and Kordell was a phenom for a couple of years.
This is when the quarterback picks really started to take off though.
1999: Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, Akili Smith, Daunte Culpepper, Cade McNown, Shaun King, Brock Huard.
Nine Pro Bowls between McNabb and Culpepper, 42 wins between the other five picks.
2003: Carson Palmer, Byron Leftwich, Kyle Boller, Rex Grossman, Dave Ragone, Chris Simms
Palmer was the only winner out of this group, that included four first round quarterbacks.
2005: Alex Smith, Aaron Rodgers, Jason Campbell, Charlie Frye, Andrew Walter, David Greene
The best quarterback of his generation, a long time talent with two Pro Bowls and then… Nothing.
2006: Vince Young, Matt Leinart, Jay Cutler, Kellen Clemens, Tavaris Jackson, Charlie Whitehurst, Brodie Croyle
Seven quarterbacks and one good one in Jay Cutler and a flash-in-the-pan phenom in Vince Young, who has one more career Pro Bowl than Cutler and is the only quarterback with an above 0.500 record from this group.
2007: JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn, Kevin Kolb, John Beck, Drew Stanton, Trent Edwards
Drew Stanton is still playing, no one else is. That’s all.
2011: Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick, Ryan Mallett
Newton and Kaepernick have led their teams to Super Bowl appearances, Dalton has been the most successful Bengals quarterback since the 80’s and Ryan Mallett and Blaine Gabbert are still hanging around.
2012: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden, Brock Osweiler, Russell Wilson, Nick Foles
Two top ten players in Luck and Wilson and then… Nick Foles?
2016: Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Paxton Lynch, Christian Hackenberg, Jacoby Brissett, Cody Kessler
Goff and Wentz are the top but Brissett has been a nice find.
2017: Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer, Davis Webb, C.J. Beathard
Trubisky had an okay season, Mahomes is taking over for a very successful quarterback and Watson took the NFL by storm before an ACL injury. The rest… not much yet.
The moral of the story? It doesn’t matter where or when, but if six or seven quarterbacks are taken, it is unlikely more than three will be any good and it is more likely that only two will be high end starters in the league.
Those numbers could change based on the 2016 and 2017 class, but the Cardinals, whether it is at 15, 47, 79 or 97 will be playing with long odds to get a good one.