Even before training camp begins, before a snap of the regular season commences and before their careers have a chance to take off, recent history tells us the top quarterbacks from the 2017 NFL Draft class will end up being viewed as busts. All three of the top quarterbacks taken in the draft — Mitch Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson — have some serious work ahead of them if they have any hope of bucking the trend.
Take a look at the list of quarterbacks who were landed in trade-up scenarios by their respective teams since 2006.
Am I missing anyone? Here are all the QBs that teams have traded up for in the 1st round of the draft since Eli/Rivers in 2004. pic.twitter.com/KS2aOHeFcD
— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) May 3, 2017
Of the 13 listed before the three who were drafted in 2017, we’ll go ahead and rule out Goff and Wentz for the purposes of this argument. They have not had the time to prove they will pan out.
Taking a look at the 11 quarterbacks in the last 10 years whom teams traded up to land, we can only say that one of them has had any real success in the NFL. And that one — Joe Flacco — quite honestly hasn’t been very good, minus his rookie campaign and his legendary playoff tear when he led the Baltimore Ravens to win Super Bowl XLVII over the San Francisco 49ers.
Baltimore traded up from No. 26 to No. 18 to land Flacco in 2008. Since then, he’s been very durable, starting 138 games. But statistically, he’s been just a bit above average minus his propensity to hit the long ball — 61.5 percent passer, 236.5 yards per game, 187 touchdowns, 117 interceptions and 84.5 passer rating.
He doesn’t come close to matching what his fellow first-rounder from 2008, Matt Ryan, has developed into.
Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco both entered the NFL in 2008. Here's how their careers have unfolded: pic.twitter.com/H46aCSNP4r
— PFF (@PFF) May 14, 2017
And Flacco is the high bar here, with Jay Cutler — the definition of mediocre — being a close second.
The remainder of this list of quarterbacks sends shivers up and down our spines. It’s a veritable horror show of failed quarterbacks, whether due to injury (in the case of Teddy Bridgewater and Robert Griffin III), self destructive tendencies (in the case of Johnny Manziel) or just plain old bad play.
Listen, we’re not saying Trubisky, Mahomes and Watson can’t turn into the franchise quarterbacks their respective teams hope they become. What we’re saying is that it’s going to be an uphill battle the entire way. Particularly in the case of Trubisky, who is not only battling against this bit of history but the history of the Chicago Bears organization, which hasn’t experienced a legitimate franchise passer since the days of Sid Luckman.
It’s going to be fascinating to see how these guys fare. They, along with Jared Goff and Carson Wentz (both of whom have much to prove still) will be heavily scrutinized in the next few seasons.
They’ll either prove that there’s a lesson to be learned about trading up, or that trends are meant to be broken.