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NFL Draft 1997 - 2002: Quarterbacks
by David M. Dorey
July 2, 2003
 

Quarterbacks are definitely related to their initial draft position for success, but normally in the sense that the good ones most often come from the highly drafted players but there have been so many duds in the past years that you cannot, and should not, rely on their draft placement as any primary characteristic. Draft position is related strongly to receivers, somewhat to runningbacks but only mildly to quarterbacks.

Stud Dud Now Cold Rising
Rnd 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
1
J. Druckenmiller
Peyton Manning
Ryan Leaf
Tim Couch
D. McNabb
Akili Smith
D. Culpepper
Cade McNown
C. Pennington
Michael Vick
David Carr
Joey Harrington
Patrick Ramsey
2
Jake Plummer
Charlie Batch
Shaun King
G. Carmazzi
Chris Redman
Drew Brees
Quincy Carter
M. Tuiasosopo
 
3  
Jonathan Quinn
Brian Griese
Brock Huard
   
Josh Mccown
4
Danny Wuerffel
Pat Barnes
 
Joe Germaine
Aaron Brooks
 
Chris Weinke
Sage Rosenfels
Jesse Palmer
David Garrard
Rohan Davey
5    
Kevin Daft
Tee Martin
Mike McMahon
A.J. Feeley
Randy Fasani
Kurt Kittner
Brandon Doman
Craig Nall
6
Mike Cherry
Chuck Clements
John Dutton
Matt Hasselbeck
 
Marc Bulger
Spergon Wynn
Tom Brady
Todd Husak
JaJuan Seider
Josh Booty
Josh Heupel
"J.T." O'Sullivan
Steve Bellisari
7
Tony Graziani
Koy Detmer
Wally Richardson
Tony Corbin
Moses Moreno
Michael Bishop
Chris Greisen
Scott Covington
Tim Rattay
Jarious Jackson
Joe Hamilton
 
Seth Burford
Jeff Kelly
Ronald Curry
Wes Pate

1999 was considered the strongest quarterback draft in two decades and it has provided McNabb, Culpepper and Brooks to the top ten in fantasy rankings. Tim Couch is now battling with Kelly Holcomb for the Browns steering wheel. As a point of reference, Couch was the #1 QB in the big 1999 QB rich draft. Holcomb was never drafted. Imagine if Cleveland would have taken McNabb instead. Then again, they could have gotten Akili Smith too.

Quarterbacks come from all different sources lately and last year the Superbowl had both quarterbacks be previous castoffs from other teams. Gannon was a 4th round pick by the Patriots in 1987 and Brad Johnson
2003 Rookie QBs
1.01 CIN Carson Palmer
1.07 JAX Byron Leftwich
1.19 BAL Kyle Boller
1.22 CHI Rex Grossman
3.24 HOU Dave Ragone
3.33 TB Chris Simms
4.13 SEA Seneca Wallace
5.28 PIT Brian St. Pierre
6.19 HOU Drew Henson
6.27 NYJ Brooks Bollinger
6.28 NE Kliff Kingsbury
7.18 WAS Gibran Hamdan
7.27 SF Ken Dorsey
was a 9th round flyer by the Vikings in 1992. Just goes to show you never can tell, even though the position may be the most important one on the entire team.

The draft position matters little to a quarterback in the long run since they must develop and short of Peyton Manning, that takes a bit of time. This season has no rookie quarterbacks that will be immediately thrown into the fire though it is a very safe bet that Palmer, Leftwich and Boller will get their shot if only eventually.

If you can take anything from this interesting but less significant look at the drafts and quarterbacks, it is that all first round quarterbacks get a chance to play. Opportunity is everything in the NFL, but playing quarterback is not something that natural ability alone can ensure success. For dynasty leagues, taking a first round quarterback ensures two things - your guy will get a chance and that chance may only prove you wasted a roster spot for two years or more.

Hang your hat on developing receivers and stick with established quarterbacks.