As we look at the projected top quarterbacks available in this year’s draft, let’s hope they pan out as they did in 2004 and not like a bizarre year as in, say, 2011.
Not that the 2011 draft was a bad one. It was spectacular, just not for quarterbacks in the top 12.
Prior to that draft, three top QB prospects were on the cover of Sports Illustrated; Cam Newton Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker. They would all go in the top ten and Christian Ponder was nabbed 12th by the Vikings.
Well, every player taken in the top 12 that year has been to a Pro Bowl except for Gabbert, Locker and Ponder. In fact, 12 of the top 16 picks have all gotten tickets to Hawaii with the three quarterbacks and Nick Fairley left out in the cold.
And going into that draft, Cam Newton was no sure thing. But he’s been a success while seeing his former co-cover boys sputter. And isn’t it interesting that two 201 second round picks, Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick have a combined nine playoff starts and Newton, Locker, Gabbert and Ponder have combined for one (Ponder would have started a game in ’12 had he not been hurt, but you get the idea).
We bring up 2004 because there were also three quarterbacks projected to go early; Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger. They all became successful franchise quarterbacks with a combined 33 playoff starts and four Super Bowl wins.
The jury remains very much out on how Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles will perform. They all have positives and negatives. NFL GMs won’t weigh in publicly but the Gil Brandts, Daniel Jeremiahs and Greg Cosells of the world have varying opinions on how they will ultimately perform.
Millions of dollars are spent on player evaluation. Hundreds of hours of game footage are analyzed. Days of interviewing help further paint the picture. But the NFL Draft remains a very expensive educated guessing game and that’s what makes it fun to follow.