Football Memo

Don’t fall into QB trap

Photo by FaceTimebaby.wordpress.com

The quarterback is the most important position in team sports.

Teams with franchise quarterbacks are consistently in the playoffs. The NFL highway is littered with teams who don’t have a franchise quarterback. Just ask the Browns, Raiders and Jaguars, who seem to draft in the top five nearly every season.

Those without reliable QBs remain stuck in mediocrity, or worse, and naturally grow increasingly desperate to find a savior.

Their thirst for a franchise signal-caller becomes an obsession. They bring in retreads and veterans in hopes they can magically right the ship. More times than not this attempt fails – or any success is usually fleeting.

When that fails, they turn to the draft for the cure. They gamble on a quarterback, drafting for need instead of talent. This misuse of a high draft pick further handcuffs the team, and all but guarantees they will remain spinning their wheels for at least another season or two.

My advice: Unless there is an Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning or Troy Aikman out there, teams are better off waiting until the second, third, or later in the draft to pick a quarterback.

In the meantime, build the rest of your roster. In the past five seasons, there are as many successful quarterbacks that’ve been drafted in the second and third rounds as in the first.

Since 2010, these quarterbacks were taken in the first round: Matthew Stafford (No. 1 overall); Mark Sanchez (No. 5); Josh Freeman (No. 17); Sam Bradford (No. 1); Tim Tebow (No. 25); Cam Newton (No. 1); Jake Locker (No. 8); Blaine Gabbert (No. 10); Christian Ponder (No. 12); Andrew Luck (No. 1); Robert Griffin (No. 2); Ryan Tannehill (No. 8); Brandon Weeden (No. 22); E.J. Manuel (No. 16).

Out of these 14, there are four (Stafford, Newton, Luck and Griffin) that I would draft again in that spot. Two (Tannehill, Manuel) that I’m not sure of yet. That means the other eight were drafted way too high. Most of them either already own, or are on the cusp of gaining, the ‘Bust’ label.

These quarterbacks: Andy Dalton (No. 35); Colin Kaepernick (No. 36); Russell Wilson (No. 76); Nick Foles (No. 89); Kirk Cousins (No. 103); Geno Smith (No. 39) and Mike Glennon (No. 73) were all drafted in the second round or later in the same time span.

Among these seven guys, four (Wilson, Kaepernick, Foles and Dalton) are proven starters and the remaining three have already seen significant action and could have solid careers.

Once again, there doesn’t seem to be a Luck, Stafford or Newton in the 2014 draft. How much difference is there between the top three quarterbacks (Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel) and the other top 10 guys like: Zach Mettenberger, Jimmy Garoppolo or Derek Carr?

So why gamble in the first round to find the answer?

A message to general managers: Do your team and fans a favor by improving your defense … solidifying your offensive line … adding another weapon at receiver or tight end … and waiting until the second, third or fourth rounds to take a quarterback, or two.

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