The Myth of the First Round QB

Teal Fin

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There is a lot of talk in Dolphins-land recently discussing that the 'Fins should select a QB, any QB, in the first round and the ship will right itself.

And this line of thinking is based on the myth that "you need a First Round QB to win." But, the problem is, is that this is a myth. Let's look at some numbers:

First, most people agree that a mark of a good QB is that they can win in the playoffs.

QBs that have won playoff games since 2000

Brady, P. Manning*, McNabb*, Roethlisberger*, Warner^, McNair*, Delhomme^, Dilfer*, Gannon, Johnson, Hasselbeck, Brees, E. Manning*, Favre, Rivers*, Brunell, Collins*, Pennington*, Garcia^, Culpepper*, Vick*, Grossman*, Sanchez*, Flacco*, King, George*, Stewart, Fiedler^, Brooks, Maddox*, Grbac, Plummer, Bulger, Romo^, Garrard, Rodgers*, Cutler*
(Total: 37) (* - Denotes 1st round [18]) (^ - Denotes UDFA [5])

Since 2000, out of the 37 QBs who have won at least one playoff game 18 (48.6%) have been first round picks. Thus, there have been more non-first round QBs (19, or 51.4%) that won playoff games than first round QBs who have won playoff games. And in fact, 5 playoff game winning QBs have been UDFAs (13.5%).

So the idea that you need a first round QB to win a playoff game is not only a myth, but in fact is flat out wrong.

But fine, winning a playoff game is one thing, how about winning The Big Game?

The last 20 Super Bowl Winning QBs
Super Bowl XXVI - Mark Rypien
Super Bowl XXVII - Troy Aikman (1) *
Super Bowl XXVIII - Troy Aikman (1) *
Super Bowl XXIX - Steve Young (1) *
Super Bowl XXX - Troy Aikman (1) *
Super Bowl XXXI - Brett Favre
Super Bowl XXXII - John Elway (1) *
Super Bowl XXXIII - John Elway (1) *
Super Bowl XXXIV - Kurt Warner
Super Bowl XXXV - Trent Dilfer (1)
Super Bowl XXXVI - Tom Brady
Super Bowl XXXVII - Brad Johnson
Super Bowl XXXVIII - Tom Brady
Super Bowl XXXIX - Tom Brady
Super Bowl XL - Ben Roethlisberger (1)
Super Bowl XLI - Peyton Manning (1) *
Super Bowl XLII - Eli Manning (1) *
Super Bowl XLIII - Ben Roethlisberger (1)
Super Bowl XLIV - Drew Brees
Super Bowl XLV - Aaron Rodgers (1)

((1) - 1st round pick) / ( * - #1 overall)

Things to note:

This list only represents 14 Quarterbacks in total. 8 first round picks, and 6 who were not. Thus, out of the last 14 Super Bowl winning QBs 57% have been first round selections and 43% have not been first round selections. Or, you can think of it as 12 of the last 20 (60%) Superbowls have been won by a 1st Round quarterback, meaning 8 of 20 (40%) have not been.

Including Elway, since 1983 (not including 2011), 15 QBs have been chosen #1 overall, and 5 (33%) won a Superbowl.

Again, including Elway, since 1983 (not including 2011), 68 QBs have been chosen in the first round and only 8 (11%) have won a Superbowl. Or, only 3 of 53 (6%) QBs chosen in the first round that were not the #1 overall pick won a Superbowl.

There is a definitive distinction between simply a first round QB and a #1 overall picked QB. But, still, a non-first round QB can win a Super Bowl as well. In fact nearly half of the last 14 Super Bowl winners (6 of 14) have been non-First Round QBs.

Now, let's look at a list of QBs, both First Round QBs and Non-First Round QBs of Note since 2000:

First Round QBs since 2000

2011: Newton, Locker, Gabbert, Ponder
2010: Bradford, Tebow
2009: Stafford, Sanchez*, Freeman
2008: Ryan^, Flacco*
2007: Russell, Quinn
2006: Young^, Leinart, Cutler^*
2005: Smith, Rodgers^*, Campbell
2004: Manning^*, Rivers^*, Roesthlisberger^*, Losman
2003: Palmer^, Leftwich, Boller, Grossman*
2002: Carr, Harrington, Ramsey
2001: Vick^*
2000: Pennington*

(32 total) / (^ - Probowler [9]) / (* - Playoff Game Winner [10])


Notable Non-1st Round QBs since 2000
2011: Dalton, Kapernick
2010: McCoy
2009: Painter, Edleman (now WR)
2008: Henne, Flynn
2007: Kolb, Beck
2006: Whitehurst, Gradkowski, Jackson
2005: Orton, Cassel^, Fitzpatrick, Anderson^
2004: Schaub^
2003: Simms, Wallace, Bollinger, Romo^* (UDFA)
2002: McCown, Garrard^*, Delhomme^* (UDFA)
2001: Brees^*, Carter, Feeley, Weinke
2000: Bulger^*, Brady^*, Rattay, Garcia^* (UDFA)

(^ - Probowler [10]) / (* - Playoff Game Winner [7])

Things to note:

Only 36% of QBs selected in the First Round since 2000 (not counting 2011) have won a playoff game. And only 32% has become a Pro Bowler as of yet.

Meanwhile, there were a number of solid non-First Round QBs that went on to win playoff games and spots on a Pro Bowl team. In fact since 2000 there have been 3 UDFAs that became both Pro Bowlers and playoff game winners.

Yes, there are many non-First Round QBs that never amount to anything, but they also do not set their respective franchise back like missing on a First Round QB. For example: Russell, Leinart, Carr, Harrington, Leftwich, Smith, all mired their teams to years of mediocrity.

Conclusion

First Round QBs are not the only QBs that can be successful. In fact, many non-First Round QBs have been successful in the recent past, despite what the "general knowledge" seems to dictate. Also the difference between a #1 overall QB and a QB simply chosen in the First Round may be a lot greater than most people realize.

So, when it comes to the 'Fins, should the mantra really be "any First Round QB" will do? Because the numbers presented here do not seemingly support that. In fact, when only 33% of #1 overall QBs ever win the Super Bowl maybe finding a Super Bowl QB is just dumb luck.

Post #2: http://www.finheaven.com/forums/showthread.php?306996-The-Myth-of-the-First-Round-QB&p=1064047875&viewfull=1#post1064047875

Post #3: http://www.finheaven.com/forums/showthread.php?306996-The-Myth-of-the-First-Round-QB&p=1064048108&viewfull=1#post1064048108
 

Tallow

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I enjoyed the part where a link was requested when factual information was posted.


2+2=4!

No, I dont need a citation.
 

Dthrill_08

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I like this. I have always agreed with this. I bet if you do a list of #1 Rd busts and none winners it would be as high or higher than #1 picks that won a play off game.
 

BlueFin

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The facts are simple....the first round accounts for a small percentage of the overall pool....you have 6 other rounds now and of course undrafted players, there used to be a lot more rounds.

So if about half of your superbowl QB's come out of the first round...and they do if you go back to the start, then your odds are overwhelming better of finding one in the 1st round.

Going back to only 2000 is too limited a sampling.
 
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Sirspud

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I thought Cam Cameron was too busy playing the Jets tonight to post here. That, and I thought he would have family to attend to.
 

Sirspud

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I like this. I have always agreed with this. I bet if you do a list of #1 Rd busts and none winners it would be as high or higher than #1 picks that won a play off game.
And not nearly as long as the list of second round QB's alone that never amounted to winners in the regular season, much less playoffs or the other rounds.
 

Shabam88

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There is a lot of talk in Dolphins-land recently discussing that the 'Fins should select a QB, any QB, in the first round and the ship will right itself.

And this line of thinking is based on the myth that "you need a First Round QB to win." But, the problem is, is that this is a myth. Let's look at some numbers:

First, most people agree that a mark of a good QB is that they can win in the playoffs.

QBs that have won playoff games since 2000


(Total: 37) (* - Denotes 1st round [18]) (^ - Denotes UDFA [5])

Since 2000, out of the 37 QBs who have won at least one playoff game 18 (48.6%) have been first round picks. Thus, there have been more non-first round QBs (19, or 51.4%) that won playoff games than first round QBs who have won playoff games. And in fact, 5 playoff game winning QBs have been UDFAs (13.5%).

So the idea that you need a first round QB to win a playoff game is not only a myth, but in fact is flat out wrong.

But fine, winning a playoff game is one thing, how about winning The Big Game?

The last 20 Super Bowl Winning QBs
Super Bowl XXVI - Mark Rypien
Super Bowl XXVII - Troy Aikman (1) *
Super Bowl XXVIII - Troy Aikman (1) *
Super Bowl XXIX - Steve Young (1) *
Super Bowl XXX - Troy Aikman (1) *
Super Bowl XXXI - Brett Favre
Super Bowl XXXII - John Elway (1) *
Super Bowl XXXIII - John Elway (1) *
Super Bowl XXXIV - Kurt Warner
Super Bowl XXXV - Trent Dilfer (1)
Super Bowl XXXVI - Tom Brady
Super Bowl XXXVII - Brad Johnson
Super Bowl XXXVIII - Tom Brady
Super Bowl XXXIX - Tom Brady
Super Bowl XL - Ben Roethlisberger (1)
Super Bowl XLI - Peyton Manning (1) *
Super Bowl XLII - Eli Manning (1) *
Super Bowl XLIII - Ben Roethlisberger (1)
Super Bowl XLIV - Drew Brees
Super Bowl XLV - Aaron Rodgers (1)

((1) - 1st round pick) / ( * - #1 overall)

Things to note:

This list only represents 14 Quarterbacks in total. 8 first round picks, and 6 who were not. Thus, out of the last 14 Super Bowl winning QBs 57% have been first round selections and 43% have not been first round selections. Or, you can think of it as 12 of the last 20 (60%) Superbowls have been won by a 1st Round quarterback, meaning 8 of 20 (40%) have not been.

Including Elway, since 1983 (not including 2011), 15 QBs have been chosen #1 overall, and 5 (33%) won a Superbowl.

Again, including Elway, since 1983 (not including 2011), 68 QBs have been chosen in the first round and only 8 (11%) have won a Superbowl. Or, only 3 of 53 (6%) QBs chosen in the first round that were not the #1 overall pick won a Superbowl.

There is a definitive distinction between simply a first round QB and a #1 overall picked QB. But, still, a non-first round QB can win a Super Bowl as well. In fact nearly half of the last 14 Super Bowl winners (6 of 14) have been non-First Round QBs.

Now, let's look at a list of QBs, both First Round QBs and Non-First Round QBs of Note since 2000:

First Round QBs since 2000

2011: Newton, Locker, Gabbert, Ponder
2010: Bradford, Tebow
2009: Stafford, Sanchez*, Freeman
2008: Ryan^, Flacco*
2007: Russell, Quinn
2006: Young^, Leinart, Cutler^*
2005: Smith, Rodgers^*, Campbell
2004: Manning^*, Rivers^*, Roesthlisberger^*, Losman
2003: Palmer^, Leftwich, Boller, Grossman*
2002: Carr, Harrington, Ramsey
2001: Vick^*
2000: Pennington*

(32 total) / (^ - Probowler [9]) / (* - Playoff Game Winner [10])


Notable Non-1st Round QBs since 2000
2011: Dalton, Kapernick
2010: McCoy
2009: Painter, Edleman (now WR)
2008: Henne, Flynn
2007: Kolb, Beck
2006: Whitehurst, Gradkowski, Jackson
2005: Orton, Cassel^, Fitzpatrick, Anderson^
2004: Schaub^
2003: Simms, Wallace, Bollinger, Romo^* (UDFA)
2002: McCown, Garrard^*, Delhomme^* (UDFA)
2001: Brees^*, Carter, Feeley, Weinke
2000: Bulger^*, Brady^*, Rattay, Garcia^* (UDFA)

(^ - Probowler [10]) / (* - Playoff Game Winner [7])

Things to note:

Only 36% of QBs selected in the First Round since 2000 (not counting 2011) have won a playoff game. And only 32% has become a Pro Bowler as of yet.

Meanwhile, there were a number of solid non-First Round QBs that went on to win playoff games and spots on a Pro Bowl team. In fact since 2000 there have been 3 UDFAs that became both Pro Bowlers and playoff game winners.

Yes, there are many non-First Round QBs that never amount to anything, but they also do not set their respective franchise back like missing on a First Round QB. For example: Russell, Leinart, Carr, Harrington, Leftwich, Smith, all mired their teams to years of mediocrity.

Conclusion

First Round QBs are not the only QBs that can be successful. In fact, many non-First Round QBs have been successful in the recent past, despite what the "general knowledge" seems to dictate. Also the difference between a #1 overall QB and a QB simply chosen in the First Round may be a lot greater than most people realize.

So, when it comes to the 'Fins, should the mantra really be "any First Round QB" will do? Because the numbers presented here do not seemingly support that. In fact, when only 33% of #1 overall QBs ever win the Super Bowl maybe finding a Super Bowl QB is just dumb luck.
I am not going to bother with the first 7/8ths of your arguement because you are in essence only grading it on playoff win percentage which we all know is a joke of a way to measure a QB. There's way too many other variables that need to be considered. By your own logic, we can conclude you are one of the people who consider Marino to be an average QB because he never won a superbowl.

Anyways, your last point caught my attention. "Only" 33% of #1 overall pick QB's ever win the superbowl? So you are telling me we have a 1 in 3 chance to win a superbowl if we draft Luck? Tell me with a straight face you would not take those odds. Pure comedy.
 

MadDog 88

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There are QBs that bust in every round but the 1st rounders are always focused on because the expectation is much higher. The bottom line is drafting a QB worthy of a high first round pick provides a better chance of finding a franchise QB then in later rounds.
 

Pachyderm_Wave

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The statistics and comparisons you've made here really only prove that there are a helluva lot more "non-1st round QB's" in the league than there are 1st round QB's.

The sample pool for 1st round QB's is exponentially smaller than the pool of "non-1st round QB's".

Your research here is simply casting aside the literally THOUSANDS of "non-1st round QB's" that never amount to anything in the NFL.

The odds of hitting on a QB in the 1st round is somewhere in the neighborhood of 25% or so. The odds of hitting on a QB from the 2nd round-UDFA is immeasurable because the sample pool is so large, and the results are so microscopic.

Several of those 1st round QB's listed there haven't been in the league long enough to have a legitimate shot to win a playoff game yet, but they've already gotten their teams to the playoffs. Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Phil Simms, Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, etc.... were all in the league anywhere from 4-8 years before they won their first playoff game.


I don't believe you need a 1st round QB to win a playoff game, but I've been reading "analysis" just like the one you've provided here every year for about the last 10 years or so.

You don't draft a quarterback in the 1st round just to draft one, but when a legitimate quarterback prospect is there for the taking, you pick him. Especially when you don't have one. Doesn't matter if it's the #1 overall pick, 13th overall pick, 2nd round, 3rd round or 6th round.

You don't pass them up for fear of busting out. Any position can bust. But none of them are going to turn around a stagnant franchise even if they do "hit" quite like the quarterback position will.

Passing up quarterbacks when you don't have one is far worse than busting out on him. Not only did you fail to land your quarterback, you let someone else have him.

Those franchises that busted out on quarterbacks in the 1st round are no worse off than Miami has been by passing them up for the past decade. If you miss, you keep trying.

The Colts didn't throw their hands up in the air after they busted out on Jeff George, they drafted Peyton Manning when they had the chance. The Chargers didn't quit when they busted on Ryan Leaf, they took kept trying with Drew Brees and Eli Manning (who they traded to the Giants for Phillip Rivers).

The Bears busted on Cade McNown, but kept trying with Rex Grossman. They've played in a superbowl since then.... Miami hasn't. Joey Harrington didn't preven the Lions from taking Matthew Stafford when they had the chance.

Just about every team in the league has busted out on 1st round quarterbacks, and they keep trying.... and they've all had more success than Miami has had despite busting on these QB's.

Miami will continue to remain irrelevant in the landscape of the NFL until they figure it out, just like everybody else has.
 

Shabam88

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Horrible argument overall....but the last statement really caught my attention. "Only" 33% of #1 overall QB's ever win the superbowl. So you are conceding....in your own argument....that we have a 1 in 3 chance of winning the Superbowl by drafting Luck? And you would not take those odds?
 

COMEBACKRICKY

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The facts are simple....the first round accounts for a small percentage of the overall pool....you have 6 other rounds now and of course undrafted players, there used to be a lot more rounds.

So if about half of your superbowl QB's come out of the first round...and they do if you go back to the start, then your odds are overwhelming better of finding one in the 1st round.

Going back to only 2000 is too limited a sampling.
Yes. Exactly. If anything you are proving the point that you need a first round QB because 48% of the QBs that won a playoff game yet thats only one round out of 7.

As far as Super Bowl QB's, Tom Brady is a once in a lifetime theres an extremely small chance we will see another QB drafted after even the 4th round to do as well as he has. We should not be relying on finding the next Tom Brady or Kurt Warner. Brad Johnson played on a team with a terrific defense theres a lot of QBs that could've won a Super Bowl with that squad. Drew Brees is a guy everyone likes to doubt because of his height. If he was 6' 2'' he would've easily been a first rounder. Take those three guys out and it shows you need a first round QB to win a Super Bowl.
 
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