Making The Decision On Your Starting Quarterback
Herm Edwards once said, “you either have your franchise quarterback or you are looking for your franchise quarterback.”
That statement is so true around the NFL.
Every year when the draft comes along teams salivate over the possibility of finding their “franchise quarterback” in the draft. Teams believe they have hitched their franchise to this first rounder for at least the next 10 seasons.
History suggests that it doesn’t work out that way.
For example, if we look back at the last 10 years of drafts and take just the first round quarterbacks the results aren’t that impressive. In 2011 the Carolina Panthers selected Cam Newton number 1. Cam won an MVP, he led the team to a Super Bowl and had a very good run in Carolina. He didn’t make it 10 seasons there, but I still think should be deemed as a successful pick.
The Titans took Jake Locker, Jacksonville picked up Blaine Gabbert and Minnesota snagged Christian Ponder.
2012 featured four 1st round quarterbacks. Andrew Luck, who two years ago this week retired. He was successful, but didn’t make in to a decade in the NFL. Robert Griffin III burst onto the scene, but that flame was doused after a couple of seasons. Ryan Tannehill has actually turned into a very productive quarterback but he has done a lot of that with his second team the Tennessee Titans.
The final first round QB was Brandon Weeden and well we will just leave it at that.
In 2013, the Buffalo Bills took EJ Manuel. 2014 brought us Blake Bortles with Jacksonville, Johnny Manziel to Cleveland and Teddy Bridgewater to Minnesota.
Teddy is still going, and just today was named the starting quarterback in Denver, his fifth team.
The top two picks in the 2015 draft were Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Both are on team two and both haven’t been able to secure strangleholds on starting jobs with their second chances. In 2016 both the Rams and Eagles moved up to get Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. Both were moved in this offseason and Paxton Lynch never materialized in the NFL.
The 2017 group looks better today but the drafting order of the QB’s should be re-shuffled. Trubisky was the first to be drafted amongst QB’s and he is already out of Chicago. Patrick Mahomes is the “franchise guy” in Kansas City, and DeShaun Watson would be but there are concerns with his off the field situation.
Five quarterbacks were taken in 2018’s first round. Baker Mayfield, still with Cleveland. Sam Darnold is now on team two after the Jets moved on. Buffalo is very happy with Josh Allen. Josh Rosen just got picked up by Atlanta, which is already his fourth team. Lamar Jackson certainly has fit the label as a franchise quarterback for Baltimore.
2019 gave us Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins, whom Washington has already moved on from. It feels like a make-or-break season for Jones, while Murray has settled in quite nicely for Arizona.
That takes us to the last two drafts. We are probably in the far-too-early evaluation stage, but that’s not the way sports work anymore.
You have to prove it and prove it now or teams will move on. Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Jordan Love, Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields and Mac Jones were all taken on day one of the draft. Some have been thrown in as starters, others have been given some time to wait.
Teams are as good as their options. In Green Bay the Packers have Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers, so they can wait on Jordan Love. Jacksonville does not have that luxury as Trevor Lawrence is joining a (1-15) team and has been named the starter by Urban Meyer.
To me this clearly shows how desperate teams are to find their franchise quarterback. In fact, Tennessee, Washington, Buffalo, Miami, Minnesota, New York Jets, Arizona and Chicago have all drafted two first round quarterbacks in the last decade. Jacksonville and Cleveland have drafted 3 first round quarterbacks.
The position is critical. You must get it right. It sure looks like most teams don’t get it right. That’s why they will keep pushing and prodding until they do.