If the Philadelphia Eagles are thinking about drafting a quarterback in round two or three of the NFL draft, it might behoove them to reconsider that idea.
The Eagles are showing a lot of interest in this year’s QB class prospects. They’ve already been linked to several players such as Kirk Cousins, Ryan Tannehill, Ryan Lindley and Russell Wilson.
They were even rumored to be interested in trading up to the No. 2 overall pick in order to snare Robert Griffin III.
- Would it be worth it to trade up for Tannehill? Photo: nfldraftroundup.wordpress.com
When the Eagles show a lot of interest in players of a certain position leading up to the draft, it means there is a good chance they are looking at drafting a player at that position. For example, prior to the draft last year the position the Eagles were linked to the most was linebacker (pre-draft visits, private workouts, general interest, etc).
They ended up drafting three of them (Casey Matthews, Brian Rolle and Greg Lloyd).
Therefore, given their level of interest in QBs so far this year, it appears there is a good chance the Eagles are strongly considering drafting one. The question is, at what point in the draft would they pull the trigger?
Anymore these days, QBs are severely over-drafted due to the high demand and lack of quality supply at the position. This means that, if the Eagles want one of the “second tier” quarterbacks, they will very likely have to use a second or third-round draft pick on one.
QBs Andrew Luck and RG3 will go Nos 1 and 2 and then Ryan Tannehill will most likely go in the top 10. After them, there is a clump of second-tier guys who are slated to go between the second and fourth rounds.
However, given the fact that this is a QB-needy league, the best, if not all, of these second-tier guys will be drafted between the second and third rounds because teams cannot afford to wait and gamble that their target will be there later.
So, one can come to a relatively certain conclusion that if the Eagles want a quarterback with any kind of potential, they’ll have to spend one of their top picks.
The problem is, it’s simply not worth it. And here’s why:
Disregarding the 2011 draft (because it’s too soon to judge), out of the last 15 drafts there have been a grand total of 34 quarterbacks taken in either the second or third round.
Out of those 34 QBs, only three…I repeat, three…have played at a level I’d be comfortable with as my starting quarterback. They are: Drew Brees, Matt Schaub and Jake Plummer.
Here is the full list of second and third-round QBs taken between 1996 and 2010:
Tony Banks – 2nd
Bobby Hoying – 3rd
Jake Plummer – 2nd
Charlie Batch – 2nd
Jonathan Quinn – 3rd
Brian Griese – 3rd
Shaun King – 2nd
Brock Huard – 3rd
Giovanni Carmazzi – 3rd
Chris Redman – 3rd
Drew Brees – 2nd
Quincy Carter – 2nd
Marques Tuiasosopo – 2nd
Josh McCown – 3rd
Dave Ragone – 3rd
Chris Simms- 3rd
Matt Schaub – 3rd
Charlie Frye – 3rd
Andrew Walter – 3rd
David Greene – 3rd
Kellen Clemens – 2nd
Tarvaris Jackson – 2nd
Charlie Whitehurst – 3rd
Brodie Croyle – 3rd
Kevin Kolb – 2nd
John Beck – 2nd
Drew Stanton – 2nd
Trent Edwards – 3rd
Brian Brohm – 2nd
Chad Henne – 2nd
Kevin O’Connell – 3rd
Pat White – 2nd
Jimmy Clausen – 2nd
Colt McCoy – 3rd
A rather unimpressive list, is it not?
If you want to consider some of them as viable backups, that’s fine, there are a few those on that list. However, only three of them ended up being a worthwhile starter.
So if you’re looking for your “quarterback of the future” in these rounds, history shows they have about a 9% success rate. Not very favorable odds if you ask me.
Furthermore, if you look around the NFL at all of the starting QBs as of the end of the 2011 season, 19 (59%) of them were first round selections. Then, if you only look at the QBs ranked in the top 15 (going by NFL.com), 10 (66%) of them were first-rounders.
Even more telling is the fact that there are more late-round and undrafted free agents who are having more success than second and third rounders since 1996. Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Marc Bulger, Matt Cassel and Matt Hasselbeck are, or have been, successful starters in the NFL.
That’s more than twice as many as the second and third rounders!
Therefore, we can conclude that Trent Edwards and Mike Kafka are just as good of a backup to Michael Vick as any second or third-rounder will be.
Do the Eagles need to think about the future at the quarterback position? Yes, they do. However, the reality is that for them to get one of quality, they will have to go through a miserable losing season in order to draft a good one with a high first round pick.
Either that or they would have to consider moving up into the top 10 of this draft in order to land Tannehill. However, they would have to give up too much to do so and it would pretty much solidify Andy Reid as head coach for the next five years regardless of what happens.
Otherwise, they would just be wasting a good draft pick on a position that has a very low chance of ever paying off.
****Author’s note: Apparently Jonathan Tamari at Philly.com agrees as I found his article, discussing this same aspect, just before publishing mine (original date and time for this post was 3/30/12 at 1:05pm).