Quarterbacks always get more attention than anyone else in the draft, and there’s plenty of pressure on first round QBs taken, often seen as the new face of the franchise, although most of the time, that attempt falls flat on its face.
Some years have more hyped up talent at the position and twice over the last 10 years quarterbacks have gone 1-2 (2012 with Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III; 2015 with Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota), but there was also one year with only one quarterback in the first round: 2013 When the Buffalo Bills picked EJ Manuel.
2006 NFL Draft: Vince Young, Jay Cutler, Matt Leinart
There were 13 quarterbacks taken in the 2006 draft, three of them in the first round. Vince Young, after an illustrious career with Texas, got picked third overall. He had a good start to his career, but things quickly fell off and hasn’t played an NFL game since 2013. Leinart, the 10th overall picks by the Arizona Cardinals, started only 18 games from 2006 to 2012, finishing his career with more interceptions than touchdowns. Jay Cutler has been the starting QB for two franchises and still is with the Bears, but having just one playoff appearance in 10 seasons reeks of disappointment.
2007: JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn
A very disappointing first round, with 11 quarterbacks overall taken in the draft. Russell came out of LSU looking like a star, but was a disaster for the Oakland Raiders and despite a couple of comeback attempts, hasn’t played in the NFL since 2009. Quinn has been on seven different NFL teams, playing a total of 24 games (starting 20 of them). He hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since 2012.
2008: Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco
A successful crop, with 13 quarterbacks overall getting picked. Ryan was the third overall pick out of Boston College. He’s made it to three Pro Bowls and is 74-52 as a starter in Atlanta, going to the postseason four times, including being one good play away from making the Super Bowl in 2012. Flacco won the Super Bowl that year, and like Ryan, has been a starter for eight years, not missing a single game until last season.
2009: Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman
A total of 11 quarterbacks were selected in the 2009 draft. Stafford was the number one overall pick coming out of Georgia, and has been the starter for the Detroit Lions ever since. He has one Pro Bowl appearance since then and although he’s often criticized for a number of things, he has helped the Lions into the playoffs twice, which hasn’t happened since the Barry Sanders days. Sanchez (5th overall) was a starter on the Jets for the first four years of his career, but seemed to get worse with time. He has since then been a backup on the Eagles, and now will be playing for the Denver Broncos. Freeman was the 17th overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was a starter for four years and a bit before Greg Schiano decided he hates him. Since then, Freeman hasn’t really found a team to hold on to him for too long.
2010: Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow
An interesting duo to focus on, out of the 14 quarterbacks taken in the draft. Bradford was the first overall pick after starring for Bob Stoops at Oklahoma. He was injured too much while playing in St. Louis, and by the time they had a good offensive line, he got traded. In Philadelphia he had an above average first season and then signed a two-year deal, but might get traded again. Tebow was a champion megastar in college football, but despite carrying the Broncos to the playoffs on his second season, he never really got a chance again to be a quarterback for anyone.
2011: Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, Jake Locker
One star, and the others simply don’t have what it takes. Newton tas the first overall pick by the Carolina Panthers and although he hasn’t put up numbers of a “classic” star quarterback, he’s certainly a force that’s hard to deal with, leading them to a 15-1 season in 2015 and a Super Bowl loss while winning the regular season MVP. The others? Locker is retired and never played more than 11 games in a season. Ponder hasn’t played since 2014 but is hoping someone signs him to be a backup. Gabbert started some games for the 49ers after a disastrous time with the Jaguars, but might or might not be a favorite to start for them in 2016.
2012: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin, Brandon Weeden, Ryan Tannehill
An interesting class, that might have its best quarterback in the third round: Russell Wilson. Luck has taken the Colts to the playoffs three years in a row and has overall lived up to expectations, but had an injury filled 2015. Griffin, the second overall pick, went from superstar his rookie year to almost untouchable by his fourth season in the league. He’ll now try to pick up the pieces with the Browns. Weeden is just bad everywhere he goes, while Tannehill is the chosen one for the Miami Dolphins, still waiting for him to play like one.
2013: EJ Manuel
None of the 11 quarterbacks picked in this draft are starters in the NFL right now. Manuel, coming out of Florida State, hasn’t really lifted the Buffalo Bills in his time there, and seems to be going backwards. After starting 10 games his rookie year injuries and bad play got him benched in 2014. Last season he made two starts, looking bad both times, while Tyrod Taylor pushed him down the depth chart.
2014: Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater
Bortles was the third overall pick for the Jags and while it didn’t look so right away, after two years as a starter for them he & the team seem to be on the right path. Bridgewater has done OK for the Vikings including one playoff appearance, but it’s hard to decide whether he’s simply being held back by a run-heavy offensive scheme or actually hiding his flaws behind it. Manziel? Reality star and not football player seems to be his current career path.
2015: Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota
Two QBs in the first round, going in the first two picks. Winston, a Heisman winner in 2013 out of Florida State, made the Pro Bowl and was the league’s rookie of the year. He didn’t take the Bucs to the playoffs, but it seems like they made the right choice with him. Mariota was on a worse team (Titans) and saw his head coach getting fired early in the season. He also missed four games with injury. But he did well most of the time when he was healthy, and even if Winston ends up having the better career, Mariota will always have that win on their debuts.