Congratulations to Baker Mayfield (#1 overall), Sam Darnold (#3 overall), Josh Allen (#7 overall), Josh Rosen (#10 overall) and Lamar Jackson (#32 overall).
This year’s first round in the NFL Draft was a big one for quarterbacks.
The last time 5 QBs were taken in the first round, it was 1999. Of those, Daunte Culpepper (taken with the #11 pick by Minnesota) and Donovan McNabb (taken #2 overall by Philadelphia) enjoyed the longest NFL careers. The Bears took Cade McNown with the 12th overall pick, the Bengals took Akili Smith with the 3rd overall pick and I bet you can’t guess who took Tim Couch with the 1st overall pick? The Cleveland Browns.
If they could draft in hindsight, the Browns would have likely gone a different route. But that’s the beauty of the draft – no matter what, you can’t foresee the future. Sometimes a player gets drafted way too high, sometimes a player gets drafted way too low. Here are 8 QBs that should have been drafted higher, in hindsight.
Joe Montana, 3rd Round, #82 Overall (1979)
The Comeback Kid. Joe Montana fell to the 3rd round, as his scouting report was less than impressive. The San Francisco 49ers lucked out, getting one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game with the 82nd overall pick. Montana played in 16 NFL seasons (split between the 49ers and the Chiefs), appearing in and winning 4 Super Bowls.
Kurt Warner, Undrafted
One of sports greatest Cinderella stories, Kurt Warner’s journey to the NFL is fascinating. He went from stocking shelves at a grocery store in Northern Iowa to having a video game named after him. Along the way, Warner spent time in the Arena Football League as well as NFL Europe, and once tried out for the Packers but got stuck behind a bevy of NFL calibre talent including a former Heisman winner as well as fellow future Hall of Famer, Brett Favre. The only undrafted QB to ever win a Super Bowl, Warner had a 12 year NFL career (with the Rams, Giants and Cardinals), appearing in 3 Super Bowls.
Russell Wilson, 3rd Round, #75 Overall (2012)
Wilson’s height is what turned a lot of scouts off – many didn’t think a QB of his stature could make it in the NFL. The Seahawks weren’t scared, drafting Wilson in the 3rd round. Of the 5 QBs drafted before him, only Andrew Luck is still considered an elite player. Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden and Brock Osweiler have all played in the NFL to varying degrees, but none of them have enjoyed nearly as much success as Wilson. So far, Wilson’s career has spanned 6 seasons and 2 Super Bowl appearances. Wilson is the shortest QB to ever win a Super Bowl.
Matt Hasselbeck, 6th Round, #187 Overall (1998)
Although he never won a Super Bowl, Hasselbeck enjoyed an incredible 17 year career with the Packers, Seahawks, Titans and Colts. His 11 playoff games include 1 Super Bowl appearance – Super Bowl XL, a game in which officiating was considered questionable. All in all, not a bad career for someone selected so deep in the draft.
Bart Starr, 17th Round, #200 Overall (1956)
The winner of the first ever Super Bowl was drafted in the 17th round. Let that sink in. Starr played 16 seasons with the Packers, winning 5 Championships (2 Super Bowls). He will go down as one of the greatest football players of all time.
Kirk Cousins, 4th Round, #102 Overall (2012)
The highest paid player in the history of the NFL was selected #102 overall, let that one sink in too. In the same draft as Russell Wilson, Cousins too was passed by a lot of teams. So far, Cousins has played 6 seasons in the NFL – he’s still chasing his first Super Bowl, but with Vikings in win-now mode, his chances look pretty good.
Jimmy Garoppolo, 2nd Round, #62 Overall (2014)
The former highest paid player in NFL history (for about a month) was also drafted outside of the first round. He’s played 5 seasons, coming up on his second with San Francisco after years of learning from Tom Brady.
Tom Brady, 6th Round, #199 Overall (2000)
Think we’d create this list without including Brady? Nope. Tom Brady has shattered a number of records in his 17 year (and counting) career. He’s played in the most Super Bowls as a QB (8), winning 5 of them. We could go on about Brady, but something tells me you know how good he is and how he should have been drafted way higher.
Not all elite QBs are taken in the first round, as evident above. If we could draft in hindsight, these players would likely move way up in their respective classes. But that’s the beauty of sports – right? PS, we also could have included Dak Prescott (4th Round, 135th Overall in 2016), Drew Brees (2nd Round, 32nd Overall in 2001) and Brett Favre (2nd Round, 33rd Overall in 1991) on this list.