Drafting a QB in the first round is like playing Russian Roulette:

As we enter this 2012 offseason and the Andrew Luck/Robert Griffin III chatter begins many NFL GMs are shaking in their boots about who will be the future leader of their franchise. This ever-building anxiety will then force these general managers to reach on players come next year's NFL Draft. I ask you: How many first round QBs have actually amounted to anything? Let's take a look at the past first round draft picks, since the NFL implemented the salary cap (1994).

As we all know from the last two years of drafts, no matter what anyone says these teams are GOING TO draft guys higher than their worth due to the nature of the position...but the true BAP (best available player) question remains: Should first round QBs even be considered a premium position?

Player Team Year Yrs in top 8 yardage in NFL (top 1/4 of league)
Trent Dilfer TB 1994
Heath Shuler WASH 1994
Steve McNair TENN 1995
Kerry Collins CAR 1995 (4 none w/ team that drafted him)
Jim Druckenmiller SF 1997
Peyton Manning INDY 1998 12
Ryan Leaf SD 1998
Tim Couch CLE 1999
Donovan McNabb PHI 1999 2
Akoli Smith CIN 1999
Cade McNown CHI 1999
Daunte Culpepper MIN 1999 2
Chad Pennington NYJ 2000
Michael Vick ATL 2001
David Carr HOU 2002
Joey Harrington DET 2002
Patrick Ramsey WAS 2002
Carson Palmer CIN 2003 4
Bryon Leftwich JAX 2003
Kyle Boller BAL 2003
Rex Grossman CHI 2003
Eli Manning NYG 2004 3
Rhillip Rivers SD 2004 4
Ben Roethlisberger PITT 2004 2
J. P. Losman BUF 2004
Alex Smith SF 2005
Aaron Rodgers GB 2005 4
Jason Campbell WASH 2005
Vince Young TENN 2006
Matt Leinart ARIZ 2006
Jay Cutler DEN 2006
2
Brady Quinn CLEVE 2007
JaMarcus Russell OAK 2007
Matt Ryan ATL 2008 1
Joe Flacco BAL 2008
Matt Stafford DET 2009 1
Mark Sanchez NYJ 2009
Josh Freeman TB 2009

So, there we have it. No Tom Brady (8) , Drew Brees (7), Matt Schaub (2), Tony Romo (4), Kurt Warner (4), or Marc Bulger (3 yrs) on that list...all either drafted outside of the first round or totally undrafted!

Heck, I'd even take Jake Plummer (2), Jeff Garcia, Jon Kitna (2), Matt Hasselbeck (2), Matt Cassel (1), Jake Delhomme (1), Gus Frerotte, Kordell Stewart, David Garrard, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kyle Orton, Chad Henne, and potentially even Matt Flynn over a good portion of these guys. Yet all of these second tier QBs cost less to their team than any of those first round picks, while doing more for their team than 75% of the above names.

While there's always an argument to be made that the above quarterbacks are a dime per dozen, none of them cost their team a first round pick or set them back years "taking a chance" on a guy. As we see from the table above 26 of the 39 first round QBs drafted since 1994 have never been in the top 8 in passing yards in any given season (66% or 2 out of every 3). Think about what would have happened if each of those 26 teams would have instead drafted a true premier position instead of the "reach" that they went with, and maybe picked up one of the "lower ranked" guys above? In the past 18 years there have only been 13 first round QBs in the top 8 in NFL passing yards.

I believe that the reach for Tim Tebow, Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, and potentially Blaine Gabbert may set their respective teams back for 3-4 years. Just my take...(and I definitely believe in Gabbert, but I'm not sure if he's THE answer-only time will tell)....NFL GMs must stop reaching for QBs simply because of their position. This is the same mentality that is taken with many positions, so why not QB? If they're not THE guy and just A guy...then use that pick on someone else and pick up someone that fits that pick. That is true BAP. QB is absolutely a premium position with all things constant, but only if the athlete is premium player themselves.

Sources:

http://www.twominutewarning.com/qbrd1.htm

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfldraft/story?id=1539344

http://www.giftsandfreeadvice.com/free_advice/quarterbacks-drafted-in-the-nfl-1970-2008-by-year-team-round-college/

http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/Does-a-club-need-to-use-a-firstround-pick-on-a-QB.html

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