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NFL Draft: Do you have to find your QB in the first 2 rounds?

Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery essentially stated that "developmental quarterbacks" don't exist in his pre-draft press conference.


I've written in the past, multiple times, that waiting to find a quarterback is generally a recipe for disaster in the NFL. The vast majority of players picked outside of the first round end up either never starting an NFL game or end up just being spot-starters and backups.

A recent trend has seen some successful second round quarterbacks have success, but they're generally on teams that are "filled out", so to speak. Since 2001, there have been 14 quarterbacks picked in the second round with roughly three (Drew Brees, Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick) being at least mid-level NFL starters, four if you want to count Chad Henne, but I don't. That makes it a less than 22 percent hit rate.

The feeling that you have to get quarterbacks early is also shared by some of those in the NFL, including one general manager who spoke specifically on that subject.

"I just did a little study. It's very interesting," Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery said at his pre-draft press conference last week. "That developmental theory doesn't hold a whole lot of water. There's entire classes of quarterbacks, since '06, I went back and looked at from Jay's on -- when people say developmental quarterbacks, OK, so who has gotten developed? There isn't a single quarterback after the third round since 2006 that has been a long-term starter. So you're either developing thirds, and most of them have been wiped out of the league. So to get a quality quarterback, you've got to draft them high. That 2012 class is a blip on the radar that's unusual, highly unusual."

The time frame Emery references, 2006 through 2013 in the third round and beyond, saw 61 quarterbacks drafted and just two have shown to be capable starters, albeit in a limited timeframe. Both Russell Wilson and Nick Foles are the only quarterbacks in that run who've shown much of anything.

That's just three percent.

"Most of the starters in this league come from the first and second round. So that's where you need to take a quarterback," Emery continued. "So when you talk about quarterback every year, they have to be somebody that you truly believe will beat out the second and third quarterback that you perceive on your roster. And if not, history shows that you shouldn't make that pick."

Emery's statement is true. If you look at the starting quarterbacks in the NFL the vast majority were first or second round picks, more so first round picks.

And again, this is not to say that the Jaguars must pick a quarterback high in the NFL Draft, just that the whole notion of waiting and picking a developmental quarterback sounds a lot better than the result.

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