NFL Teams Should Probably Stop Trading Up for Quarterbacks in the First Round
We saw it again last night.
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|
|2001||Michael Vick||2000||Chad Pennington|
|2003||Kyle Boller||2002||David Carr|
|2004||Eli Manning**||2002||Joey Harrington|
|2004||JP Losman||2003||Carson Palmer|
|2005||Jason Campbell||2003||Byron Leftwich|
|2006||Jay Cutler||2004||Philip Rivers|
|2007||Brady Quinn||2004||Ben Roethlisberger|
|2008||Joe Flacco||2005||Alex Smith|
|2009||Mark Sanchez||2005||Aaron Rodgers|
|2009||Josh Freeman||2006||Vince Young|
|2010||Tim Tebow||2006||Matt Leinart|
|2011||Blaine Gabbert||2007||Jamarcus Russell|
|2012||Robert Griffin III||2008||Matt Ryan|
|2014||Johnny Manziel||2009||Matthew Stafford|
|2014||Teddy Bridgewater||2010||Sam Bradford|
|2016||Jared Goff||2011||Cam Newton|
|2016||Carson Wentz||2011||Jake Locker|
|2016||Paxton Lynch||2011||Christian Ponder|
|2017||Mitchell Trubisky||2012||Andrew Luck|
|2017||Patrick Mahomes||2012||Ryan Tannehill|
|2017||Deshaun Watson||2012||Brandon Weeden|
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.