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A Study: You have to get your quarterback early.

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Just as a companion to what I wrote earlier this morning, I'm of the firm belief that if you want a franchise quarterback, you need to get them early in the draft. There are always of course exceptions like Tony Romo, Tom Brady, Matt Hasslebeck, Kurt Warner, etc., but the vast majority of the time your good quarterbacks come in the first round of the NFL draft. I don't just hold this belief just because, I've done a lot of research on it and studying, but I found someone else who did much more extensive research than myself.

The folks at draftmetrics.com are putting hard statistical evidence to that argument. Click the jump for some interesting examples.

The study looks at selections from the NFL Drafts from 1991-2010, so about 20 years worth of data. In the study, draftmetrics.com breaks down what they call the "value grouping" of draft picks. There are seven total groups.

Value Group 1 – Selections 1 through 13

Value Group 5 – Selections 75 through 114

Value Group 2 – Selections 14 through 28

Value Group 6 – Selections 115 through 200

Value Group 3 – Selections 29 through 48

Value Group 7 – Selections 201 and later

Value Group 4 – Selections 49 through 74

I suggest reading the entire study, because it makes some nice comparisons to what you get with other positions compared to quarterbacks as well. There are eight key observations they came away with:

  1. Over 48% of all QB starts have come from players drafted in the first two Value Groups, nearly twice as high as the average for all positions 
  2. About 12% of QB starts have been by free agents
  3. QBs are drafted disproportionately high in the draft
  4. An average of 12 QBs per year are selected annually in the draft
  5. Over the past 20 years, more QBs have been drafted from the PAC 10 than any other conference
  6. Over the past 20 years, 30 QBs have started at least 8 games in their rookie season
  7. Chances of drafting a 5-Year Starter by Value Group: a. VG 1 – 68.2% b. VG 2 – 12.5% c. VG 3 – 44.4% d. VG 4 – 14.3% e. VG 5 – 6.7% f. VG 6 – 15.6% g. VG 7 – 3.9%
  8. The trend is for more QBs to start as rookies

So, by their count of the past 20 years in the draft, 68.3% of the quarterbacks selected in the first 13 picks have been been at least 5-year starters. I didn't even think it was that high.

I highly suggest reading the entire study, as I found it rather fascinating.