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ADP vs. Actual: Quarterbacks
David Dorey
July 5, 2010
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Other Positions:  Quarterback  |  Running Back  |  Wide Receiver

Every summer there is conventional wisdom that is expressed in the average draft positions (ADP) that you see on the internet and in magazines. They are merely the collections of numerous drafts to see where, on average, players are taken. Certainly every draft has at least the team owners to make them unique and there are plenty of scoring systems out there as well. You cannot take anything too finite from the results of averaging but comparing that to what actually happened last year using a standard fantasy scoring system gives an interesting view. It shows how well, on average, we all drafted against what happened to those players.

Just to see if there is anything in past history to help us not repeat a bad season, I've taken the liberty of assembling the Average Draft Positions from the last three years for quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers and compared each to what happened that season. For ease of viewing, I have highlighted in green or red which players were respectively very good or very bad draft picks.

2009 2008 2007
ADP Actual    Diff    Player ADP Actual    Diff    Player ADP Actual    Diff    Player
1 2 -1 Drew Brees 1 na Inj Tom Brady 1 3 -2 Peyton Manning
2 8 -6 Tom Brady 2 6 -4 Peyton Manning 2 9 -7 Carson Palmer
3 3 0 Peyton Manning 3 10 -7 Tony Romo 3 1 2 Tom Brady
4 1 3 Aaron Rodgers 4 1 3 Drew Brees 4 4 0 Drew Brees
5 6 -1 Philip Rivers 5 na Inj Carson Palmer 5 21 -16 Marc Bulger
6 10 -4 Kurt Warner 6 16 -10 Ben Roethlisberger 6 13 -7 Donovan McNabb
7 5 2 Tony Romo 7 32 -25 Derek Anderson 7 2 5 Tony Romo
8 12 -4 Donovan McNabb 8 7 1 Donovan McNabb 8 17 -9 Vince Young
9 19 -10 Matt Ryan 9 36 -27 Matt Hasselbeck 9 15 -6 Philip Rivers
10 13 -3 Jay Cutler 10 3 7 Jay Cutler 10 12 -2 Jon Kitna
11 7 4 Matt Schaub 11 14 -3 Eli Manning 11 6 5 Matt Hasselbeck
12 18 -6 Carson Palmer 12 12 0 Brett Favre 12 44 -32 Todd Collins
13 9 4 Ben Roethlisberger 13 9 4 David Garrard 13 53 -40 Matt Leinart
14 11 3 Eli Manning 14 5 9 Philip Rivers 14 7 7 Ben Roethlisberger
15 21 -6 Matt Hasselbeck 15 26 -11 Marc Bulger 15 11 4 Jay Cutler
16 22 -6 Matt Cassel 16 21 -5 Matt Schaub 16 14 2 Eli Manning
17 14 3 David Garrard 17 19 -2 Jake Delhomme 17 8 9 Brett Favre
18 32 -14 Trent Edwards 18 2 16 Aaron Rodgers 18 47 -29 Alex Smith
19 4 15 Brett Favre 19 na Inj Jon Kitna 19 43 -24 Jake Delhomme
20 17 3 Joe Flacco 20 na Bench Vince Young 20 37 -17 J.P. Losman
21 16 5 Kyle Orton 21 4 17 Kurt Warner 21 16 5 David Garrard
22 28 -6 Jake Delhomme 22 17 5 Jason Campbell 22 22 0 Matt Schaub
23 50 -27 Chad Pennington 23 na Bench Matt Leinart 23 36 -13 Rex Grossman
24 15 9 Jason Campbell 24 23 1 Jeff Garcia 24 19 5 Jeff Garcia
25 20 5 Mark Sanchez 25 24 1 JaMarcus Russell 25 27 -2 Chad Pennington
26 30 -4 Brady Quinn 26 34 -8 Tarvaris Jackson 26 46 -20 Steve McNair
27 36 -9 Shaun Hill 27 22 5 Trent Edwards 27 18 9 Jason Campbell
28 25 3 Matthew Stafford 28 15 13 Matt Ryan 28 42 -14 Trent Green
29 31 -2 Marc Bulger 29 31 -2 J.T. O'Sullivan 29 26 3 Joey Harrington
30 33 -3 Kerry Collins 30 11 19 Chad Pennington 30 64 -34 Byron Leftwich

What Can We Learn?

2009 was a highly uncharacteristic season in that it had so much passing - ten players passed for over 4000 yards when six is more common. As you can see above, everyone pretty much got their quarterback pick right. The only real value was Brett Favre only because he waited until so late to play his ADP numbers were low. For the most part, your quarterback roughly did what you expected last year and no one took a big fall that mattered.

This was in direct contrast to 2008 when both Tom Brady and Carson Palmer were injured. Big Ben Roethlisberger did not match his big touchdown totals of the previous year and fell and as we tried to warn you, Derek Anderson was not going to repeat his surprising 2007 season. 2008 was a horrible season for quarterbacks and yet there were a few very nice picks to have made - Jay Cutler, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers and Kurt Warner all were drafted as backups and yet turned in top ten numbers as big difference makers.

The previous year was when Tom Brady went nuts but other than picking Marc Bulger, your first round quarterback probably did okay for you. 2007 was another big passing year and the top ten quarterbacks almost all responded well while your backup was likely a dog.

The best element to take from this is that everyone will feel pretty comfortable with their quarterback after such a remarkable 2009 season but that had to be an aberration. Don't wait too late to get your starter - usually the top eight are followed by a big step down.

Short of injury, quarterbacks are one of the more predictable positions. There is plenty of rising and falling each year of course but overall, your quarterbacks probably have not hurt you if they remained healthy. That makes taking one earlier than a risky back or receiver to make more sense.

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