FanPost

The Quarterback

As we move into the third part of the series, I find myself deep into the most controversial position, the quarterback. When it comes to the other groups on the field everyone has their favorite, sure, but just a pick at the right position is seen as the right thing. If Scott Pioli dares to choose the wrong quarterback, however, the heavens open up and four letter words (usually incorrectly spelled and/or improperly used) pour into the blogosphere. So it is with some trepidation that I cannonball into the deep end, where the water isn’t quite so warm. As always, please keep in mind that the selection I choose is only what I see Mr. Pioli choosing at #11 or trades up to get. It does not include any choices made later than #11, first round or later.

The first thing I wanted to look at was to see just how many QBs are usually taken in the first round, to perhaps give me an idea who will be there when, and if recent history supports taking a risk for perhaps the third or fourth best QB. What I found surprised me. If fact, after looking at just five years, I went back another two just to see if that affected the number at all. What was so shocking is the average number was just under 3. Last year’s four seems like a complete anomaly of GMs panicking to grab at scraps (especially when you see that all four were grabbed in the first 12 picks.

The second thing to look at is see how many of those guys that were taken in the top 15, started their rookie year. The key to looking at this is, unlike the OL guys, is not how much they improved the offense, but if they improved in the win column. While a better offensive does tend to improve wins, I want to know wins only. I do understand that not all of these guys started all of the games in the season, but I am still just looking at overall team record.

Player

QB Taken

Prev. Yr Wins

Rkie Yr Wins

Change

Newton

1

2

6

+4

Gabbert

2

8

5

-3

Ponder

4

6

3

-3

Bradford

1

1

7

+6

Stafford

1

0

2

+2

Sanchez

2

9

9

0

Ryan

1

4

11

+7

Russell

1

2

4

+2

Now this gives us something really fun to look at. The first thing to notice is that the only QBs that had a positive effect on the win column were the first ones to be taken, although they all had a positive affect. The second and third picks totaled a loss of 6 games altogether. Think about that. According to this admittedly small sample size, grabbing the second or third best QB in the top 15 will net you 2 more losses on the year, on average. Would any of you be happy with a 5 win season next year?

Now there is something else to be found in that table, or rather not found. What is missing is the lone QB taken in the top 15 in the last 5 years that did not start a game. Jake Locker was taken with the 8th pick, but sat behind Matt Hasselbeck. Other than the rare situation, it seems that when a team picks a quarterback in the top 15, they want him to be ready to start. What happens if they don’t start? To find this, I ignored the last 5 years of the draft, and opened my sample pool up to the entire 1st round. With such a small group, I don’t think we can accurately judge the guys from the last five years in terms of success or bust, so I looked at draft picks from 1997-2006, picks made in the 1st round, and did not start their rookie year, and then looked at their career records. Care to guess what my sample size was? 4. 10 years, only 2 (what I thought were) simply qualifiers, and a whopping 4 players. With that in mind here are the lucky ones, and how they fared throughout their careers.

Player

QB Taken

Years as Backup

Career Record

Aaron Rodgers

2

3

41-21

Philip Rivers

2

2

63-33

J.P. Losman

4

1

10-23

Dante Culpepper

4

1

41-59

Looking at this, I’m not really sure I can draw any conclusions mind-boggling conclusions from this. The simple deduction is that if you draft a QB in the first round, he will probably be starting the next season. Sitting a quarterback out for a season or two doesn’t really show up as being an effective way to groom a player, to my extreme surprise. Rather it seems just as hit or miss as the rest of the draft. Perhaps if more general managers decided to sit on a first round pick, we could make a judgment in the future, but the data just isn’t out there at the moment.

Let’s do a quick review of what we have found out today. If you have a chance to grab the first QB of the draft, he has a really good chance to make an immediate, positive, impact with your team. The second, and perhaps biggest, lesson of the day is that everyone, from the front office to the fans to the sportswriters, expects a quarterback drafted in the first round to start in his rookie season. So with that in mind, you have to make the choice of a quarterback that you know can produce in his first time out, and you have to be willing to reach for him. IF the Chiefs move for a QB in the first, and IF we choose him at #11 or higher, I am fully confident that QB will be none other than Andrew Luck (Standford).

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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