There’s at least one every year.
Draft experts and NFL scouts spend months surveying top quarterback talent, searching for the right guy to lead their team and, eventually, become the face of the franchise.
But, as history has shown, not every marquee pick makes a mark in the NFL.
Year after year, a quarterback is picked up in the first round, only to spend the majority of his career playing second or third string.
In the past 10 years, the draft has produced first-round “gems” like Jake Locker, Brandon Weeden, Johnny Manziel, Paxton Lynch, E.J. Manuel, Tim Tebow, DeShone Kizer, and Josh Rosen. I could go on. All of these prospects were fantastic college players and showed what seemed like obvious first-round talent. When they got to the NFL, however, their draft tape did not match their game tape.
The NFL draft is a crapshoot, especially for quarterbacks. Some first-rounders work out, while others are passed up for Super Bowl winners like Russell Wilson (3rd round) and Nick Foles (4th round), or Super Bowl contenders, like Jimmy Garoppolo and Colin Kaepernick (both 2nd round), or Pro Bowlers, such as Andy Dalton (2nd round) and Dak Prescott (4th round).
Drew Brees and Tom Brady were drafted over 10 years ago in the second and sixth rounds, respectively.
This year, four QB prospects will land in the first round. What are the chances one of them busts? History tells us it’s high.
So, which one will it be?
Burrow is going to be the No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft. The National Champion is coming off a nearly flawless season, but will he get the help he needs in Cincinnati? Burrow may need some time to settle into Cincy before he is considered a high-caliber starting QB. And his Heisman Trophy does not make him a lock for NFL QB royalty. Marcus Mariota and RG3 both won the Heisman and, after a handful of successful seasons, are now backups. But Burrow is one of the top prospects in the draft for a reason. It may take a while, but he will likely be a solid QB in the league for years to come.
When was the last time an Alabama QB flourished in the NFL? Ken Stabler? Joe Namath? Tuscaloosa is an NFL factory but they haven’t exactly figured out how to produce quarterbacks. Another red flag for Tua is his extensive injury history. Still, he is another solid prospect. As long as he stays healthy, he will light up the league.
Herbert is coming off a great year capped off with a Rose Bowl win. His arm is ridiculous, but it may not be able to carry an entire NFL team. He may look more like Josh Allen than a better version of Ryan Tannehill. But that certainly does not mean he will be a bust.
The guy no one has heard of and everyone is high on. He’ll be Drew Brees’ replacement, or the next Paxton Lynch (remember how he was supposed to take the reins from Peyton Manning?)
Love hails from a small conference with little national exposure. But he did lead the nation in one category: interceptions. First-rounders like Joe Flacco and Carson Wentz had similar college careers and fared well in the league. Maybe Love will surprise me. But if I had to pick any first round QB to bust, it would be him.
While some QB’s are taken too early, others will be snubbed. This year, that player could be Jalen Hurts. His resume stacks up with aforementioned prospects but his stock might fall for reasons that have nothing to do with football.
Hindsight is 2020. But, this year, I still predict one of these prospects will struggle in the NFL.