NFL Teams Should Probably Stop Trading Up for Quarterbacks in the First Round

Front offices continue to trade up in the first round to grab quarterbacks, but history tells us that it isn't wise.

We saw it again last night.

Three times.

Teams continue to trade up in the first round of the NFL Draft to get "their guy" at quarterback, but we intuitively know that the NFL Draft can be quite random. It's very difficult to pinpoint the guy to draft based on evaluation, let alone a quarterback.

To put it kindly, teams that trade up to grab a quarterback are being...kind of arrogant.

And history shows us that front offices who are making transactions to move up in the NFL Draft are probably reaching for quarterbacks who aren't nearly as good as the teams drafting them think. The table below shows just that, comparing and contrasting first-round quarterbacks since the turn of the century, bucketing the passers in the category of "traded up for" versus "drafted naturally."

Traded Up For Naturally Selected
YearQuarterback YearQuarterback
2001Michael Vick 2000Chad Pennington
2003Kyle Boller 2002David Carr
2004Eli Manning** 2002Joey Harrington
2004JP Losman 2003Carson Palmer
2005Jason Campbell 2003Byron Leftwich
2006Jay Cutler 2004Philip Rivers
2007Brady Quinn 2004Ben Roethlisberger
2008Joe Flacco 2005Alex Smith
2009Mark Sanchez 2005Aaron Rodgers
2009Josh Freeman 2006Vince Young
2010Tim Tebow 2006Matt Leinart
2011Blaine Gabbert 2007Jamarcus Russell
2012Robert Griffin III 2008Matt Ryan
2014Johnny Manziel 2009Matthew Stafford
2014Teddy Bridgewater 2010Sam Bradford
2016Jared Goff 2011Cam Newton
2016Carson Wentz 2011Jake Locker
2016Paxton Lynch 2011Christian Ponder
2017Mitchell Trubisky 2012Andrew Luck
2017Patrick Mahomes 2012Ryan Tannehill
2017Deshaun Watson 2012Brandon Weeden
2013EJ Manuel
2014Blake Bortles
2015Jameis Winston
2015Marcus Mariota

As you can see, the "traded up for" tier is filled with draft busts. The best players on the list are Michael Vick, Joe Flacco, and Jay Cutler, and each of them have had problems at the NFL level. Eli Manning is on there with an asterisk, considering the trade went down after the selection was made.

Perhaps it's time for teams to stop making bold moves and let the draft fall to them.