Every NFL off-season, fans and analysts across the league get excited for a new wave of quarterbacks coming from the collegiate levels in the upcoming draft. Questions like “How big are his hands?” “Can he win in a close game?” and “Is he a great leader?” get thrown out when analyzing the top prospects.
This year, guys like Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa sit at the top of this year’s incoming draft class and have high hopes to be first round draft picks. But I want to remind everyone that just because these quarterbacks are highly thought of, doesn’t mean they will amount to anything in the pros.
Lets rewind to five years ago when Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota were the number one and two overall picks in the draft. Winston had some off-the-field issues at Florida State but as a player, he showed great potential slinging the ball around to a talented receiver group. Mariota on the other hand played for the offensive juggernaut Oregon on the tail end of Chip Kelly’s run which inflated the quarterback’s numbers just enough to get him in the mix for top quarterback prospect.
Five years later, both quarterbacks’ teams have moved on from as their starter this off-season (Mariota during the season) and are being considered as backup-caliber quarterbacks around the league.
The following off-season, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz were drafted number one and two overall. While the two have been drastically better than Winston and Mariota, both come with their set of flaws. Wentz has missed eight games due to injury and played a handful of games hurt which has set the Eagles back at the most inopportune times. During their Super Bowl run in 2017, Wentz wasn’t available to go during the final stretch but Philadelphia was fortunate that backup Nick Foles was able to play at a high level.
Goff got off to a real sluggish start to his career under Jeff Fisher, emerged as this elite passer with head coach Sean McVay but has regressed since his performance in the Rams Super Bowl loss to the Patriots. In 2019, he finished with 22 touchdowns, the fewest of his career as a starter, and 16 interceptions, the highest mark of his career.
Not to forget, Paxton Lynch was also selected in the first round of that year’s draft by the Denver Broncos, started four games in two seasons and is no longer in the league – yikes!
2017 was a fun year because it brought us both the electrifying Deshaun Watson and the future GOAT Patrick Mahomes. But don’t forget the Chicago Bears traded up that year to draft Mitchel Trubisky second overall – big yikes!
The 2018 NFL Draft was a fun one because of all the hype leading up to it. Names like Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold and Lamar Jackson generated a lot of buzz pre-draft. Surprisingly enough, Josh Allen emerged as one of the better quarterbacks of that group behind Jackson who won the MVP in 2019. Darnold has been a better ghostbuster than quarterback, Mayfield jump started his acting career with Progressive in case football doesn’t work out and Rosen might not even be on a roster next season – triple yikes!
Last year, Kyler Murray had all the hype entering the draft and went first overall. His performance was very pedestrian but he still somehow managed to win the offensive rookie of the year award. Daniel Jones went sixth overall to the New York Giants and had a very promising start to his career. However, as he started more games he progressively looked worse. Dwayne Haskins played for such a bad Washington team that it’s hard to evaluate him but his new head coach Ron Rivera is already looking to upgrade, not a good sign.
So before we praise Burrow, Herbert or Tagovailoa as the next quarterback GOAT of the future, let’s take a step back and remember that not all of these guys are going to pan out the way we think they are.