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.