Bears General Manager Phil Emery is not a believer in taking a quarterback late in the draft.
Emery says he has studied the development of quarterbacks in the NFL and found that teams that draft quarterbacks in the late round rarely turn those players into franchise starters.
“I just did a little study. It’s very interesting,” Emery said. “That developmental theory doesn’t hold a whole lot of water. There’s entire classes of quarterbacks, since ’06, I went back and looked at from [Jay Cutler's draft class] on — when people say developmental quarterbacks, OK, so who has gotten developed? There isn’t a single quarterback after the third round since 2006 that has been a long-term starter. So you’re either developing thirds, and most of them have been wiped out of the league. So to get a quality quarterback, you’ve got to draft them high. That 2012 class is a blip on the radar that’s unusual, highly unusual.
In 2012, the Seahawks got Russell Wilson in the third round and the Eagles got Nick Foles in the third round. But Emery says the good quarterbacks are usually snapped up in the first and second rounds.
“That 2012 class is a blip on the radar that’s unusual, highly unusual,” Emery said. “Most of the starters in this league come from the first and second round. So that’s where you need to take a quarterback. So when you talk about quarterback every year, they have to be somebody that you truly believe will beat out the second and third quarterback that you perceive on your roster. And if not, history shows that you shouldn’t make that pick.”
There is, of course, a glaring exception in Tom Brady, a sixth-round pick of the Patriots in 1999. But according to Emery, the odds of finding a quarterback late in the draft are so long that you’re better off not trying.