The five teams that took quarterbacks in the first NFL draft head into the offseason program full of optimism that they have found the franchise cornerstone that will lead to great success for the next decade. History indicates that at least a couple of those teams will be looking for new answers sooner than they hoped with the hit rate on successful first-round quarterbacks being no better than a coin toss, something the New York Jets know all too well after taking Zach Wilson second overall just three years after making Sam Darnold the third overall pick. The chances that the five teams that selected quarterbacks after round one found a keeper is considerably smaller based on the recent track records of those picks.
The days of first-round snubs going onto superstar careers such as Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Drew Brees or becoming solid long-term starters like Matt Hasselbeck, Trent Green, and Mark Brunell are a thing of the past.
Only a rare few had made it since a stretch in 2011-12 when Russell Wilson, Andy Dalton, Kirk Cousins, and Colin Kaepernick fashioned successful careers after being passed over in round one.
Of the 70 quarterbacks taken after round 1 from 2013-20, including 26 who went in games two through four, only Dak Prescott, Derek Carr, and Jimmy Garoppolo have become successful starters.
The jury is still out on a few others, such as Jalen Hurts, picked in the second round last year by Philadelphia, and 2019 second-rounder Drew Lock in Denver, but that history doesn’t bode well for this year’s class.
Five quarterbacks were drafted after the first round this year, matching the fewest taken after round one in the common draft era in 1967. As more teams elevate quarterbacks up their draft boards to take them in the first round, the quality in the later rounds has dropped.
There was speculation that a record-tying six quarterbacks could go in the first round this year with Trevor Lawrence, Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, and Mac Jones near locks. The next to go off the board was Florida’s Kyle Trask, who went to Tampa Bay with the final pick of the second round.