The 2012 NFL draft was supposed to be a good year for the quarterback position. NFL teams liked the quarterback class so much that they took four passers first and second overall, with two more quarterbacks later in the first round, one in the second round, two in the third round and one in the fourth round.
The 2017 performance of those eight quarterbacks is a good reminder of the unpredictability of the draft.
The four first-round quarterbacks in 2012 selected threw a combined total of zero passes in 2017. Andrew Luck, who went first overall to Indianapolis, missed the whole season with a shoulder injury. Robert Griffin III, who went second overall to Washington, is out of the NFL. Ryan Tannehill, who went eighth overall to Miami, missed the whole season with a knee injury. Brandon Weeden, who went 22nd overall to Cleveland, is a third-stringer for the Titans.
The quarterback selected in the second round in 2012, Brock Osweiler, is so bad that his primary contribution in 2017 was being part of one of the strangest trades in NFL history: The Texans traded a second-round pick to the Browns just to get them go take Osweiler and his expensive contract off their hands. After absorbing Osweiler’s cap hit and watching him in the preseason, the Browns cut him. He ended up back with the Broncos, the team that initially drafted him, and did not play well in 2017.
And then there were the next three quarterbacks drafted: Russell Wilson, who went 75th overall to Seattle, has won a Super Bowl and was an MVP candidate last season. Nick Foles, who went 88th overall to Philadelphia, just won the Super Bowl MVP award. And Kirk Cousins, who went 102nd overall to Washington, may sign the biggest contract in NFL history when he hits free agency next month.
So as we head toward a 2018 NFL draft that is viewed as similarly deep at the quarterback position, remember that we don’t have much of an idea which quarterbacks will be leading their teams to the Super Bowl five years from now.