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Myth of the Top 5 Quarterback


The All-Time Great
Jul 19, 2009
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Bethesda Md
I believe that Mike Shanahan is going to take a quarterback in the draft this year. But there really is no 'can't miss' prospect to go all in on.

Expect a pick in Round 2 or a move back to pick up a quarterback in Round 3 with an additional pick later on.

All you have to do is look at the quarterbacks that made the playoffs this year to see it's really a myth that you have to draft a quarterback high in Round 1 to have a chance to contend.

Tony Romo was an undrafted free agent.

Kurt Warner was an undrafted free agent with the Rams who was eventually acquired by the Cardinals after being released by the Giants.

Tom Brady was a #6 pick, the #199 overall.

Drew Brees and Brett Favre were both originally taken in Round 2 of the draft.

Aaron Rodgers was a #1 pick but chosen late in the round at #24 overall.

So, for every Peyton Manning or Carson Palmer taken at the head of the draft class that leads his team to the postseason, there are just as many quarterbacks that come into the NFL and develop their games at this level from more humble origins.
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Phillip Rivers, Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, Mark Sanchez and Carson Palmer were all top 5 picks. Rodgers and Flacco were 1st round QBs. Drew Brees was taken with the first pick in the 2nd round, Favre was a top 5 pick in the 2nd. Warner and Brady were lucky finds that most likely will not happen again. Tony Romo sat on the Cowboys practice squad and bench for 3 years before starting a game.

Look at the past 20 (or so) SB winning QBs:
Roethlisberger: 11th overall
E Manning: 1st overall
P Manning: 1st overall
Brady: 6th rounder
Brad Johnson: 9th rounder (defense oriented team)
Dilfer: 6th overall
Warner: undrafted
Elway: 1st overall
Farve: 33rd overall
Aikman: 1st overall
Young: 1st round supplemental draft (USFL - would have been 1st rounder in NFL draft)
Hostetler: 3rd rounder, backup playing because of injury to Simms
Rypien: 6th rounder
Montana: 3rd round 82nd overall
Williams: 17th overall
Simms: 7th overall
McMahon: 5th overall
Plunkett: 1st overall
Bradshaw: 1st overall

I think its clear that you need to invest a top pick in a QB, or get really lucky. I still think drafting a QB in the 2nd is the way to go with this class, but if Bradford is the guy at #4, I will not be upset.
I agree ... I think he'll bag a developmental QB either in the draft or by plucking some young backup off another team, and start either JC (which I still find hard to believe he'll want to do given JC's limitations, but am keeping an open mind) or a veteran FA for a year.

And I'm comfortable with that general philosophy. MS has been around long enough to know what he needs from that position, even on a team in flux as will be the 2010 Redskins.
I have a feeling Shanahan knows about every available QB in the NFL. He has studied all the coaches in the league. This makes me think he also knows about QB's on practice squads and or backups.
We should go after that Colt Brennen guy. I can't remember who's practice squad he's on though.................
Sanchez is a bad example because the Jets made the playoffs in spite of him with his 12 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.

I think Shanahan will do what Parcells did when he took left tackle #1 and then selected Henne in Round 2.

Parcells brought in Pennington in Year 1 to be the veteran presence.

What about a Jeff Garcia here with a rookie #2 pick behind him for a year?
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Shanahan has never started a rookie qb to begin a season. In fact, as head coach, it was nine games into the season before he started Cutler.

And, Cutler never gave him a winning season...which led to his being fired in Denver.

Mike admitted he should have stuck with Plummer in 2007 instead of throwing Cutler to the wolves. He succumbed to pressure from Pat Bowlen, who was not a huge fan of Jake the Snake, to see what Cutler could do. Naturally, he struggled.

As for Cutler not giving him a winning season, you can't blame Jay for ANY of that. He gave Mike the 2nd ranked offense in the NFL in 2008. It was the 29th ranked Defense that prevented Denver from having a winning season and making the playoffs. That falls on Shanahan for poor drafting and FA acquisitions on defense.

You are correct in that he probably won't start a rookie QB. At least not initially. Then again, if the record is bad and JC (or whoever the starter is) is playing poorly, there's no reason NOT to give a rookie a shot.
Spiller/Okung in the 1st, McCoy in the second would be sweet.
Mike admitted he should have stuck with Plummer in 2007 instead of throwing Cutler to the wolves. He succumbed to pressure from Pat Bowlen, who was not a huge fan of Jake the Snake, to see what Cutler could do. Naturally, he struggled.

Do you have a source for this? I can't really imagine why in hindsight he would regret his decision when Jay Cutler outperformed Jake Plummer.
So, for every Peyton Manning or Carson Palmer taken at the head of the draft class that leads his team to the postseason, there are just as many quarterbacks that come into the NFL and develop their games at this level from more humble origins.

While the first round may be 50/50 or even less, it still gives you a lot better odds than trying to find your franchise quarterback in the sixth round, seventh round, or undrafted free agent pool. So while you don't have to, probability dictates that if you're going to find an unknown franchise quarterback, you should look for him in the early rounds.
Larry Weisman today mentioned an interesting possibility: Sage Rosenfels.
I was going to see if I could gather some stats and see if there was a correlation between the draft position a QB is taken in and his performance in the NFl-but it's been done already, thankfully.

The Wages of Wins Journal-a book published by three Stanford University professors of economics ( David Berri, Martin Schmidt, and Stacey Brook) has articles involving statistical analyses of sports performance and what I found in one entitled "The Inconsistent Quarterback Story Told Again in Less than 3,000 Words" the author gathered various QB performance stats used in the NFL and calculated the statistical correlation between those and draft position.

The result-draft position as a predictor of QB performance is a dud. There is virtually no correlation between draft position and QB performance. Here are the numbers and some pertinent remarks

Completion Percentage: -0.01

Passing Yards per Pass Attempt: -0.02

Touchdowns per Pass Attempt: -0.12

Interceptions per Pass Attempt: 0.00

QB Score per Play: -0.01

Net Points per Play: -0.02

Wins per Play: -0.02

QB Rating: -0.06

Directly below this data — and I mean, directly below this data – I wrote the following sentences:

Our data set runs from 1970 to 2007 (adjustments were made for how performance changed over time). We also looked at career performance after 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8 years. In addition, we also looked at what a player did in each year from 1 to 10. And with each data set our story looks essentially the same. The above stats are not really correlated with draft position.

We should note that although draft position and performance are not related – and our story is the same regardless of when we look at the relationship — draft position and salary are clearly correlated. To illustrate, JaMarcus Russell has collected millions of dollars to play quarterback in the NFL. But he clearly has not performed at a level consistent with all those dollars. And a similar story can be told about David Carr, Ryan Leaf, Tim Couch, Joey Harrington, etc… Quarterbacks who are drafted early clearly get paid more. They just don’t seem to perform any better.

The majority of the article is a comparison between Jay Cutler and Kurt Warner from the perspective of consistency versus inconsistency. Some other very interesting results non-draft related were found also (including two sentences I put in bold which should, IMO, be the opening sentence to any discussion comparing QBs!)

The problem facing decision-makers in the NFL is the numbers – which are often cited – don’t tell us very much about the future performance of a quarterback. A quarterback’s statistics depend on his teammates and the quality of his coaching. Change the teammates and coaches and you often see the numbers change as well. Unlike basketball – where player statistics are remarkably consistent from season to season – football numbers suffer from very significant interaction effects. This means those numbers – which told us that Cassel and Cutler are “great” quarterbacks – may not tell us much about what these quarterbacks will do when these players change teams.

And it’s important to note that this isn’t just some numbers or some quarterbacks. Less than 25% of a quarterback’s completion percentage and passing yards per attempt are explained by what the quarterback did with respect to these statistics last season. Less than 10% of touchdowns per pass attempt this season are explained by last year; and when we turn to interceptions per attempt, explanatory power falls to less than 2% (these results come from an examination of 399 quarterbacks who played consecutive seasons from 1994 to 2007). When we turn to measures such as QB Score, the NFL’s quarterback rating, or the numbers at FootballOutsiders.com, again we see inconsistency (explanatory power is less than 20%).
Here's the article link.http://dberri.wordpress.com/2009/12/06/the-inconsistent-quarterback-story-told-again-in-less-than-3000-words/
Or you draft a 1st rounder high and get Alex Smith or Ryan Leaf.

Really, QBs in the 1st are crapshoots.

I expected Joe Flacco to be a 3 year project for the Ravens as an example.
Larry Weisman today mentioned an interesting possibility: Sage Rosenfels.

I said this a few days ago. Is KFFL accurate in stating he is a FA?

I am not sure how accurate KFFL is, there seems to be a lot of players listed as 2010 FA's who are not FA's this year? It shows Brandon Marshall as a FA, but it also has a report that says Marshall could be signed to an extension if his play is worthy. That report has him signed through 2011 w/out the extension.

If he is indeed a FA this season, I wouldn't mind seeing Sage Rosenfels come in here for a season or two to backup whomever, perhaps even earning a a chance to start. I think it is time for Collins to move on and I have finally concluded that the Colt Brennan experiment is over.
Hi guys new to this board but a Skins fan since 72. While the game has changed alot towards an explosive pass attack as opposed to a ball control type of offense to be succesful.
Some things haven't, like being able to move the chains and eat up the clock with a lead. Protecting the qb is as much of a premium quality today as it has ever been. Those are the 2 factors that are lacking on this team for the last couple of years.
Some teams are a player or 2 and a franchise qb away from being a superbowl contender. Alot of teams are 5-6 players away and regardless of who may be qb they will continue to flounder. I think the Skins are in the latter group.
Unfortunately the team has chosen to ignore the needs of the Oline for the last several years and instead wasted draft picks on players like Campbell,Laron Landry and Carlos Rogers.
To make matters worse they traded away picks to get Schottenheimer and only retained him for a year. We've all expressed our displeasure with the bad moves the organization has made so no need to beat a dead horse. Regardless Superbowl talk is a bit premature at this point lol. I'd be content at this point just to have the Skins in the playoff mix going into december.
In summation Peyton Manning couldn't get this team into the playoffs at status quo. We don't protect the qb and our running game is far from reliable. Address those shortcomings this season then look for that qb makes more sense imho over trying to find the qb and then addressing the Oline.
omG, a retread of sage?
if that's all that's out there, my guess is that shany takes a late round qb, sticks with jason and goes to training camp with campbell, colt, collins & his draft pick -- unsatisfied and looking to make a deal if accuracy and leadership aren't displayed early...
Welcome Cycleans - I would have to disagree, Peyton Manning would have had this team in the playoffs for a lot of reasons. Despite woeful protection, he has the leadership skills to get guys to play for him, he knows how to take advantage of his own team's weaknesses, he'd know where his quick reads were when protection broke down, he'd step up in the pocket to buy himself another second or two, he wouldn't fumble repeatedly when sacked, and he'd effectively change the play at the line of scrimmage when he saw trouble coming.

I think it's a myth that you have to have a great offensive line to be moderately successful. Now, would Peyton Manning look like Peyton Manning on the 2009 Redskins team? No - he'd look like a far superior QB leading a far superior offense than what we saw out there. My opinion.

And before anyone argues with me, think about how you repeatedly see NFL offenses struggling like hell until a QB change is made - and BAM - it looks like a whole new offense out there. There's a reason for that - and a lot of it is centered around how the guys on that offense feel about the guy leading them, and his ability to get them playing effectively together.
To everyone out there that says we should pick up a FA veterian QB... Who? When you look potential free agent QBs in 2010, only two of them started this past year. Kyle Orton and Jason Campbell. Now there are a lot of QBs that are free agents like Troy Smith, Tavaris Jackson or Good ol' Sage (who by the way we drafted) but I think we would be better off with Campbell. I could see picking up one of these guys to be back up but they don't want to go from one backup situation to another. So I say Campbell is the starter, Colt will be backup, and Shanahan will draft a QB in the 2nd round to develop him. After the 2010 season Campbell is traded and Shanahan's second round pick is the new starting QB. Colt is a career backup. I don't see him starting in the NFL.

We trade out of that #4 pick. Get more picks. LT in 1st round, QB with a second round pick, RB, another Lineman or Linebacker with another second round pick (whatever we get from trading down) and then spend the rest of the draft on those positions that we need to fill in. Remember we need a linebacker too. I think the new D Coordinator will move Orapko to DE so that will create a hole plus Fletcher isn't getting in younger.
I think it's a myth that you have to have a great offensive line to be moderately successful.

It is true that the West Coast Offense was invented to hide deficiencies in a weak offensive line...

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