2012 quarterback class a cautionary tale for 2018

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At least four quarterbacks will go in the first round of the NFL draft tomorrow night, making this year’s a particularly strong quarterback class. But the last draft class with four first-round quarterbacks serves as a cautionary tale.

That was in 2012, a draft class that was strong at the quarterback position — just not strong where the NFL personnel people and media “experts” thought it would be.

Three quarterbacks went in the Top 10 in 2012, with Andrew Luck going first to Indianapolis, Robert Griffin III going second to Washington, and Ryan Tannehill going eighth to Miami. Luck got off to a very good start but has been derailed recently by injuries. Griffin also got off to a good start but was derailed even more quickly by injuries and was out of the league altogether last year. And Tannehill has shown promise at times but missed all of last year with a knee injury, and the end of the previous year with a knee injury as well.

The next two quarterbacks taken were selected by two men with a great deal of quarterback expertise: Browns President Mike Holmgren, a quarterback guru credited with helping develop Joe Montana, Steve Young and Brett Favre, chose Brandon Weeden with the 22nd overall pick. And Broncos G.M. John Elway, a Hall of Fame quarterback himself, chose Brock Osweiler with the 57th overall pick.

Who else was available when Holmgren chose Weeden and Elway chose Osweiler? Oh, just Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson, who went to Seattle at 75, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Nick Foles, who went to Philadelphia at 88, and Kirk Cousins, who went to Washington at 102 and just got the biggest fully guaranteed contract in NFL history from the Vikings.

So while the 2012 quarterback class did have some big-time NFL talent, it didn’t go in the order it should have gone in — and even the talent evaluators who should have been the most equipped to recognize top quarterback talent whiffed badly.

That should serve as a warning for 2018. Whether four, five or six quarterbacks go in the first round on Thursday night, you can bet some quarterback who’s drafted on Friday or Saturday will end up having a better career than some quarterback who hears his name called on Thursday. The NFL draft is far too inexact a science for any player to be labeled a sure thing.

49 responses to “2012 quarterback class a cautionary tale for 2018

  1. Teams always overvalue QBs. They overlook flaws, talk about “coach-able mistakes” and pray and hope that it pans out. Cautionary tales are simply ignored. Hitting on one can secure your job for years – that’s the only tale they care about.

  2. The entire drafting process is fascinating. For all the scouting, interviewing, background checks, physicals and testing, you never know. How many “can’t miss” prospects fall flat? How many undrafted guys have decent careers? It’s more than just selecting a person; its getting a person the right system, teammates, coaching and then, just luck. Tom Brady drafted by another team, with another coach and thrust into action earlier than he was may have resulted in just an average QB.

  3. A few QBs, like Luck, can be labelled a sure thing–except for the possibility of injury.

  4. Wait until the Patriots take Luke Falk or Mike White in round 4, then wind up winning the Super Bowl in 2021.

    (yes, I am aware that the Patriots do not currently have a 4th round pick)

  5. I think alot of this goes to show how hard it is to evaluate players even during their career.

    You right this back in December and Foles is wrote up like a one year wonder. And even now, Foles came back to the Eagles as a UFA that was almost out of football for good a year ago.

  6. How many QBs taken does not make it a “strong QB class.” It mans many QBs were taken. All of them could bust out, or be mediocre, and that would make it a weak class. We need to stop overhyping these QBs. This isn’t 1983.

  7. thegreatgabbert says:
    April 25, 2018 at 1:54 pm
    No QB taken in the first two rounds of the 2010 or 2012 draft class won a game last season.

    20 0 Rate This

    Didn’t Sam Bradford win a game with the Vikings week 1?

  8. So all that talk about the strategy of tanking to move up in the draft because you get better players may have some holes? I’m shocked to find out it doesn’t always work out that way.

  9. It isn’t just about drafting a good QB. It is about surrounding that QB with the right people from the coaching staff to the players. Guys like Foles and Goff are perfect examples, both have shown what they can do with good coaching and with a good team around them, both on the otherhand looked inept under Jeff Fisher. You have to draft a QB, have good coaches for him, have to make sure your offensive line can protect him, you have to have a good running game to keep defenses honest. There are many factors IMO that go beyond just drafting a talented QB. How many QBs never reach their potential because the organizations fail to give that QB everything he needs for success?

  10. Minnesota giving Cousins “the biggest fully guaranteed contract in NFL history” is not a guarantee of the players quality, it may very well end up being a huge Queen reach.

  11. Here is how we’ll rank this class in 5-10 years:

    1. Rosen
    2. Darnold
    3. Jackson
    4. Rudolph
    5. White


    6. Fall
    7. Allen

    Mayfield will be a lunch greeter at Ruby Tuesdays and surfing with Todd Marinovich on the weekend.

  12. Foles and Cousins were looked at as backups and didn’t have any pressure from the beginning. They had time to adapt without the sting of failure. Russell Wilson started right away but had a great defense and a great running game to help him develop.

    Bottom line the situation does matter.

  13. It’s why the Browns should take “their no. 1” QB at #1 overall. Even if it fails and another succeeds…this article proves that isn’t a fireable offense.

    If they take the #2 or #3 QB at #4 overall – and the QB taken first outperforms theirs…THAT is a fireable offense.

  14. still cant knock that 2012 class though. luck and griffin took the league by storm out the gate and looked like theyd be the 2 greatest qbs of their generation. luck looked like peyton + big ben and griffin was peyton + vick. instead luck has turned out to be big boot ben and rg3 is as useful as incarcerated vick smh.

  15. Everybody wants to be an expert come draft day, then a few years later, everyone is an expert in hindsight.

    Remember all those fans who were so upset that their team passed on Ruben Foster….

  16. @mm556 – You’re right, Bradford did win a game. Replace 2010 in the statement with 2013. I don’t think Manuel or Smith won a game last year, although they weren’t as highly touted or drafted.

  17. This is the time of year when the delusional media experts rationalize and over value the QB position. They look through the flaws thinking that good coaching will make it all go away. Wrong! The college film on all these guys lends itself to big time question marks. All the while the Superbowl MVP, a man in his prime with ability and leadership isn’t worth a #1 pick. I don’t get it?

  18. To play devil’s advocate it’s hard to blame them on Luck and Griffin and their injuries. But yeah, QB’s seem to always be a gamble.

  19. Cousins was drafted later and even flopped in his first starting gig with a bunch of interceptions over a few games. Then he got another chance and played like a pro bowler for three seasons. I don’t know what you can use from him to predict whether a guy will be successful. Very hard.

  20. All of these QBs have major red flags. I think Darnold is the safest pick and Rosen could work in an ideal situation. If Rosen went to a good team with a good OL, he may be good. If he is getting beat up, he probably gives up.

  21. I have said it dozens of times, Wilson was knocked on cuz of his height. How can he see over the line in the NFL… how were they foolish enough to just ignore that Zeitler, Frederick Konz, and Wagner were all prospects to go to the NFL. So he was doing it for an entire season before he got to the pros.

  22. How about the YEAR BEFORE: 2011:

    Apart from Superman a/k/a “AceBoogie” a/k/a Cam(eron) Newton, teams whiffled on the likes of JAKE LOCKER (lol), BLAINE GABBERT (backing up m’boy Marcus Mariota, say WHAT?! lol) and Christian Ponder (LOL). I mean, this current drooling over The Two Joshes (Rosen and Allen) along with Sam Darnold is enough to make you want to pass on dessert tomorrow night hahaha

    Oy vey…

  23. skimbell says:
    April 25, 2018 at 2:27 pm
    Minnesota giving Cousins “the biggest fully guaranteed contract in NFL history” is not a guarantee of the players quality, it may very well end up being a huge Queen reach.


    Name another free agent QB this year that has been more consistent than Cousins over the past 3 years.

  24. All the while the Superbowl MVP, a man in his prime with ability and leadership isn’t worth a #1 pick. I don’t get it?
    Foles had 1 great year then years of nothing. Then last year he was mediocre in his 1st few games and 1st playoff game. Then was great again in both the NFC championship & super Bowl. How can a team invest a #1 pick on player that has been bad more than he has been good in his career?

  25. So no team who needs a qb should draft one in round one and everyone should take a guy in round 6 because of Tom brady?

    Or maybe if you like a guy and think he could be good, you draft him and if it fails, you try again.

    The only true way to not get a franchise qb is to not draft one because the media puts out garbage like this

  26. And this is why I’m going to homer for my fellow Western Ky Hilltopper and say Mike White will end up being the best in this draft. I just really hope the Patriots don’t pick him.

  27. Wanna talk cautionary tales? The raiders passed on Eli, rivers and Ben and were the worst team in the nfl for 10 years until they took carr.

    I’ll take my chances at 2 with one of the qbs thank ya very much.

  28. Jackson is the best QB in the draft, much like Deshaun Watson was the best in his,as Wilson was in his,as Cam was in his,etc ad infinitum.

  29. Of all the QB evaluations, saying that “he won” is the worst of all. First, often the QB is surrounded by superior talent in a great system under a great coach ala Tebow, Manziel, and the USC QBs. Oh, they won the Heisman? Who cares. Just about every QB who won the Heisman in the last 28 years or so has been average or an outright bust. The only one who has done anything of note is Cam Newton.

  30. As much draft capital as the Browns have I think I would draft 3 QBs at this point (1st, one in the 2nd, one between 4-6th rounds). It’s a lot of capital to invest, but given their track record on QBs and the track record of QBs overall (about 2 are decent starters in any given year) why hang your hat on one guy? Taylor is a stop gap. Having 3 of the next 34 picks after #1 affords you the luxury trying to find an Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, and Russel Wesbrook in the same draft.

  31. bowenfootdoc2013 says:
    April 25, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    How did Todd and Mel rank these QB’s?

    Great point. How come we never see these “experts” go back and show us their evaluations or draft grades from 3-4 years ago? I’d love to see how good they really are at projecting players.

  32. Hence the rookie salary cap, the smartest thing the League has done in many years.

  33. Russell Wilson wasn’t the reason Seattle “won” the SB. Malcolm Smith, a LB, was the MVP. In contrast, Nick Foles was the SB MVP. Wilson is also shorter than 6 ft., and that was one of the reasons he was not picked until the 3rd round. The media consistently ranks him as one of the top quarterbacks in the league, but if we give the Seattle defense to Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees Big Ben or Tom Brady, any of them would probably have 2 or even 3 SB rings instead of 1. To me, Wilson just happened to be at the right place at the right time in 2013. It is better to be lucky than to be good. Last season, the Seattle defense really flopped, and Wilson missed the playoffs.

  34. The GM of the Broncos drafted Osweiler while the Asst Gm of Washington decided to let Kirk Cousins go. The Asst GM in Washington beat the GM of the Broncos in the Super Bowl though. What does this all mean…nothing!!! Draft someone you believe in and give him every opportunity to be successful.

  35. Any starting QB you get in the later rounds is a steal. Luck and Griffin were both playing great before they both got hurt, although Luck made it through 5 seasons versus Griffin’s 1. Wilson is still playing good, Foles won a Super Bowl, Cousins is picking up a very big pay day, Tannehill is still going, and Case Keenum played good this year. So I would say this was an OK year for the QB class. The problem is that the scouts, GMs, and media overvalued some of these guys, and overvalued some of the others. Same thing will happen this year. Between 2003 and 2014 10 QBs won the Heisman. Of those 10 only 4 have had any success, and one of these is hurt over 70% of the time. So just because you had a great college year doesn’t mean you will make it in the pros.

  36. Expecting Cousins to be The Great One at stupid money is by far a bigger risk than taking any of the first six rookie QB’s in the draft.

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