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Why the Theory That you Don’t Have to Draft a QB High is Flat-Out Wrong

Jeremy Schaap from ESPN’s Outside the Lines recently came out with a video stressing the importance of being cautious with drafting a quarterback with a high pick.

Schaap isn’t off with his stats, although you can also certainly count John Elway and Eli Manning in the list since they were traded on draft day.

The belief that you don’t have to draft a quarterback early to be successful in the NFL has been circulating a lot recently on social media.

The thing is, it’s not really true. If you were to look at the last 25 drafts (1996-2020), the best quarterback from each class came in the first round in 15 of them. The only notable quarterbacks that have been the best past even the second round are of course Tom Brady, and then Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott.

via. GRMZY / NFL (YouTube)

Other than that, the best quarterbacks are coming from the first round.

Take a look at this years playoff picture. Of the 14 teams lucky enough to continue into the postseason, 11 of them were first round picks. Drew Brees is one of the three not a part of that group, but even he was the 32nd pick, which in today’s world is a first round pick.

So, while you may not need to take one with a top five pick to be successful, it still seems that you should be taking one earlier rather than later.

Patrick Mahomes wasn’t top five, but he was still top ten. The same can be said for Josh Allen and Ryan Tannehill. DeShaun Watson was a top-15 pick. Lamar Jackson was right at the end of the first round. And Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield, Matt Stafford, and Cam Newton lead the charge of number one picks still starting for franchises.

The bottom-line is that you may not have to pick a quarterback in the top few picks to be a successful franchise. The play of quarterbacks like Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen help justify that point to a degree.

Both in the NFL, you need a more than serviceable quarterback to win. If you have a guy that you want, select him high, or move up to get him.

Think back to the 09-10 New York Jets. A team with a dominant defense, a strong running game, and an above-average offensive line. What held them back? Mark Sanchez.

via. Paddy Dineen / NFL (YouTube)

All love to Sanchize, of course, but the Jets needed more. Having a good team is important, but being strong at the quarterback position is the key to winning Super Bowls.

Also, not very high on Jeremy Schaap either. His takes on the Jets not having any right to take Trevor Lawrence, then going quiet when it became Jacksonville’s pick still bother me.

The media will always hate the New York Jets and you need a good quarterback. Two facts of life.

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