There have been 27 QB's taken in the 1st round since 2000. According to the below article (data goes through the 2009 season) the bust rate for these players is a whopping 41%. Taking a QB with the earliest of picks leads to greater success, but it doesn't eliminate the bust factor. The chance for a bust QB in the 1st three picks of all the drafts is the same, 40%. Of the 27 players taken, only 8 have ever won a playoff game. Last year, of the 12 QB's in the playoffs 8 were 1st round picks (Drew Brees was the 1st pick in the 2nd round) and of course Tom Brady, the all-time exception to every rule. The other 2 QB's in the playoffs didn't win a game. Despite the high rate, the odds of winning without a 1st round talent aren't high.
Need more convincing? When looking at 2nd rounders (according to the info provided below), only 3 of 22 second rounders (Favre, Brees and throwing in Dalton) have been successful QB's OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS! Make if 4 if you generously include Jake Plummer. Futhermore, both Favre and Brees were 1st round talents who fell. Just look at the Mock drafts of 1991 and 2001 for proof.
What about the later gems? There are only 4 of note: Matt Cassel, Matt Schaub, Marc Bulger and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Of all the QB's worth a mention taken in round 3 or later over the last 10 years, 9 have thrown more TD's than INT's in there career. Along with the above 4, there is: Chris Redman, Sage Rosenfels, David Garrard and Tyler Thigpen, that's it. Now, how many of those 4 are the type of fanchise QB we are talking about. Being generous and saying that the often injured and non playoff winning Matt Schaub is (3rd rounder), that would be 1 out of 89 quaterbacks taken in the 3rd round or later over the 10 year period
Unless you are Tom Brady, you have VERY little chance of being a winner outside round 1. http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/nfl/40340/60/2nd-round-qb-success-rate
The sobering reality is that Matt Cassel isn't a 1st round talent, never was. Neither is Ricky Stanzi and it's safe to say that Brady Quinn falls into the bust category. On any given Sunday, I can see Cassel beating Peyton Manning. I can see him beating Brady and I can see him beating Aaron Rodgers. I just can't see him beating all three in a row. If we now know the talent necessary to win, how many season are you willing to wait before we go out and get that talent?
What makes this worse is the cost of getting a 1st round talent at QB. What will it take to get one of these players? "Hey, lets just grab our franchise QB next year" is what I read a lot. Is it that easy? If so, why didn't we just do it this year? Would we really have outbid Washington for Robert Griffin? There are 2 QB's thought to be franchise players next year. If they prove to be the real deal, isn't it likely that we would have to put a Washington type of deal to get one? Hell I've been reading that Tannehill is not even a 1st round talent, yet you may have to trade up to the 4th pick in the draft just to find out.
This leads me to the case for Brandon Weeden. Let me say upfront that I'm not a particular fan of Weeden. I make the case for Weeden based solely on one thing. He is a 1st round talent. No one has suggested that he is not and that is the only criteria I am looking for, period. I love his ability to throw the deep ball. His accuracy is what I like most, sticking throws into tight windows. And you know what that gets you? The same 41% bust chance as any other 1st round talent. The difference is we won't have to mortgage our future, with picks we don't even have. Brandon Weeden is a gift with our 2nd round pick. The only legit argument I hear is that because of his age we may only have him for 5 or 6 years. Yet isn't that the same argument we hear against running backs? Runners can have 1st round talent but because of the short career they are only worth picking in the 2nd round? Think about that for a moment. It's OK to draft a less important position, running back in the 2nd round because of the 5 or 6 year window, but it's not OK for a 1st round talent QB? It doesn't make sense. If Weeden's talent holds up we will have 5 or 6 years to work with the one ingredient we know we must have, 1st round talent. Because of his age we should know if he will fall into the bust category sooner rather than later. His physical talent, mental and emotional maturity don't have to be projected.
With Weeden we can have the conversation of risking our future in a few years, not now, not when we have a chance to win now. Looking at he facts about what it really takes, Weeden is the safest, cheapest and best choice we have if we want to go deep into the playoffs any time soon.